Editor’s note: This article is written by Social Life Expert David Morin
A few years ago, I spent a lot of time on my own. Sometimes I appreciated it, but not having friends to hang out with at evenings and weekends was tough. I started to research what it takes to be an outgoing person, without compromising who you really are. Eight years of testing later, I’ve decided to put everything I’ve learned together in a guide. Here are the highlights on how to be more outgoing and successful in your social life.
1. Initiating conversation
When you go to a social gathering, find someone who is outgoing and watch how they interact with others. To help you learn from them and mirror their approach, here are steps you can take to build your confidence:
- First, practice the art of conversation. Start off easy. Find a trusted friend or relative and practice everyday conversation with them. What you will find is that the more you do this the more confidence you gain.
- Start off small. If you go too far out of your comfort zone too fast, you risk feeling demotivated. If you go to a party or a gathering, find a few other people to introduce yourself to just to practice talking to others. When you do this, smile, shake their hand and ask them a relevant open-ended question. Simplicity is key. If you’re at a party, ask people how they know the other guests. If you’re new in class, ask people what subjects they’re taking or where they’re from.
- Know that some people that attend parties are just as anxious if not more than you are. While they made a courageous first step in attending the party, they may not be ready to initiate conversation with others. If you take the initiative to introduce yourself, it can help others relax.
2. Engaging others
Another trait that outgoing people share is that they express interest in others. They will maintain eye contact, match the energy and emotion of the other person speaking, and they will ask questions to get to know the other person better.
No one needs a smile as much as a person who fails to give one. – Unknown
Similar to step 1 of initiating conversations, this will take time and experience for you to develop this skill. Your focus when talking to others is to practice active listening skills by having good posture, maintaining eye contact and listen for ways to keep the conversation going naturally.
3. Being more charismatic
Another distinction that outgoing people have is they are able to exude charisma. Simply, they have an energy and confidence about them that attracts others to them. As you build confidence through speaking to others, you’ll notice your personality will shine through more. Don’t suppress this; instead, allow your personality to shine. This may seem daunting at first, but this is what will attract others to you.
Attractiveness and magnetism of man’s personality is the result of his inner radiance. – Yajur Veda
For example, if you tell a funny or exciting story be sure to use voice inflection to highlight exciting points and use your hands to tell the story. If you speak in the same tone and remain motionless, people will find you to be stiff.
4. Outgoing people have a sense of humor
People love to be around others that make them laugh. Therefore, don’t be afraid to make funny observations or crack a joke if the timing is appropriate. Some things to keep in mind with this are:
- Be sensitive to those around you. Just because a joke is funny to you, it may not be to them.
- You should avoid jokes dealing with race, religion, specific people or tragic events.
- Don’t force things to happen, instead live in the moment, as the best jokes happen organically.
5. Showing that You Like and Appreciate People
It’s natural for people to want to spend time with others that are kind. Conversely, if someone doesn’t express interest in you that gives you less incentive to want to get to know him or her.
No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted. – Aesop
With these factors in mind, to show others you are caring be sure to smile when you meet them, listen carefully to them and be willing to help them out if they are going through anything difficult. By showing others that you are kind you will earn their respect and be more appealing.
6. Find New Ways to Socialize
Outgoing people are going to go where they can be around others. They will join social clubs, sports teams and will regularly attend meetings or outings. The best way for you to gain experience and build confidence is to attend social groups regularly, because at the very least you are around other people.
I believe you learn social skills by mixing with people. – Joe Morgan
Best of all, there are a myriad of ways to do this. If you are in school, they offer plenty of activities such as intramural sports, clubs and volunteer opportunities. You can also use websites such as Meetup to find groups in your area where you will meet others that share your interest. Once you sign up for a group, make it a habit to go persistently. Even if the first couple of meetings feel odd those feelings will melt away in time. Overall, becoming outgoing can take time and some hard work on your part. However, the transition going from shy and timid to outgoing is totally doable, and by following these examples it will help you take small steps towards a more successful social life.