Use these clever social hacks if social situations make you feel awkward and uncomfortable.
Interacting with others in a social setting is what makes us human. It sets us apart from other animals and allows us to make plans for the future, form relationships and seal business deals.
But what if these types of social settings make you anxious and overwhelm you? Social anxiety is on the rise in the 21st century, but there are ways to overcome it.
Social situations are full of unwritten rules and etiquette guidelines that frame our behaviour. That’s why knowing some social hacks can greatly help you master them.
With these simple social hacks, you can regain your confidence in any social situation and learn to cope with whatever life throws at you.
1. Imagine you already know the person
When we meet our friends, our brains feel comforted and relaxed. But you can fool your brain when you meet new people by imagining that you already know them and they are old, familiar friends of yours.
2. People remember the first and last things you do
Everything in between is forgotten, so concentrate on first impressions when you meet someone for the first time and end the meeting or conversation with a bang.
3. If you want people to like you – nod when they speak
We all want to be liked, especially in a new and awkward situation. By nodding whenever someone speaks, you are giving them a powerful message that you agree with them and they, in turn, will like you.
4. Chew gum if you are about to go into a stressful situation
This is to fool the brain that you are relaxed and confident because usually when you chew gum you do so in this state of mind. It is also true that your body cannot produce the fight or flight hormones when your stomach is processing food.
5. Get people to feel good by repeating what they say
This is along the lines of mimicking the same behaviour, only in a language form. When we paraphrase what a person has said, it makes the speaker believe that they are being listened to and it validates them. This is one of the simplest but most effective social hacks.
6. If you want people to like you – get yourself in a great mood before you meet
We take our social cues from the people around us. If we meet someone who is morose and sombre, it is likely to affect our mood. Conversely, someone who is upbeat and happy will have a more positive effect on us.
7. Look at people’s feet before you interrupt them
It’s hard to know whether a group of people are in the middle of an important conversation. If you look at their feet, you’ll get a clue. When you approach them if they turn their bodies and their feet towards you it is a sign you can join them. If it is just their bodies and not their feet keep quiet until they have finished.
8. Repeat a person’s name if you want to remember it
We’ve all been there, you meet a new group of people and they rattle off their names in quick-fire succession and there’s no way you can remember them. So as soon as you meet someone, repeat their name, for instance, ‘Hi I’m John, nice to meet you.’ Say ‘Hello John, how long have you worked here for?’
9. Use a person’s name often if you want them to like you
We all love talking about ourselves, in fact, you could say we are our own favourite subject. Using a person’s name frequently during a conversation strokes our egos and in turn, makes us like the person who is doing the stroking.
10. Make people like you by asking them a small favour
Research has shown that if you do someone a favour, you will like them more afterwards than you did before. This is because even if you didn’t like the person, our brains are telling us the fact we did them a favour must mean we do like them.
11. Spot who likes you when you are in a group
If you are in a new group and you are unsure of who likes you, wait until someone makes the whole group laugh, then look to see who the group looks towards. People tend to turn towards the person they trust and like the most.
12. Mirror a person’s body language to build up trust
Research has proved that we naturally enjoy speaking and interacting with people that behave and act the same way as we do. If you subtly mimic another person’s actions it makes you appear more compatible with them.
13. Make others repeat bad jokes
As soon as you have to explain or repeat a joke, it ceases to be funny. If someone is having a joke at your expense, then ask them to repeat it and to explain it and it will soon lose its power over you. This is one of the most useful social hacks when things get awkward.
14. Use the ‘Halo Effect’ to your advantage
The Halo Effect is a psychological phenomenon that suggests a form of psychological bias in that if a person is talented and good looking, they must also be intelligent and kind. Use this effect by concentrating on just one of these traits and let others assume the rest.
15. Use perception and context to help impress others
There is a story that one of the world’s best classical musician played on a $3.5million violin but in a subway and dressed in scruffy clothes. By the end of the day, he had earned less than $40 whereas usually, he played to auditoriums where seats cost upwards of $100. The moral is to present yourself properly with clean and smart clothes and speak and act professionally and you will impress people.
Remember these social hacks and use them the next time you feel uncomfortable in a social setting. You will see how much easier socializing will become for you.