You don't have to be a wallflower or introvert to feel like you're not at a 100 percent when it comes to social skills. Even those that can work a room prettily easily can find themselves wishing they knew how to be more outgoing. When it comes to owning a room, a lot of factors can come into play that could discourage you from coming up to new people. Maybe the group is a little too big, maybe the people you're with are on the intimidating side, maybe you're having an off-day and don't feel your most confident, or maybe past crash-and-burn experiences are starting to crop up in the back of your mind. Even the biggest people-person could get a hitch in their step with one of these factors. But you can't let things like that cramp up your intentions — when you think about them, they're just excuses, really. You won't ever breeze into the "perfect social situation." Rather, you have to take baby steps that will get you used to being uncomfortable, intimidated, and social. After awhile, you'll find those specific types of feelings melting away. Ready for it? Below are seven tips on how to become more outgoing.
1. Let Your Body Language Convince You You're Outgoing
You might feel like a natural wallflower, but we all know that sometimes you have to fake it till you make it in order to get anything done. And the cool thing with that tactic? If you do it enough, you'll start believing in your own show. So when you enter a bar or a place crowded with people, let your body language reflect that of an outgoing person: Sure strides, warm smile, and — most importantly — an expressive eyebrow. Lifestyle writer Amanda Tust from Huffington Post explained, "A quick body language trick you can use when approaching someone you are about to meet for the first time is to briefly flash your eyebrows upward when you're about 15 feet away." Not only do you show the person you're wiggling your brows at that you're open and easygoing, but it also makes you feel that way. So go ahead — practice the move in the mirror.
2. To Make Things Easier, Go To Places Where The People Are Like You
When someone holds the same interests, ideas, and humor as you, it's super easy to connect. Everything sort of just clicks into place and you find yourself tripping over all these questions and stories in your head, in a rush to share them. During a moment like that, being outgoing is super easy.
So while you're still getting your feet wet being an extrovert, ease yourself in by going to places and events where you'll think you'll find like-minded people. Lifestyle writer Scott Young from self-improvement site Pick the Brain explained, "One barrier that forces many people to be introverted is if they don’t see any enjoyable social activities around them. If you don’t like going to bars, and all the people you know are party animals, you might feel happier staying in." If you like reading, go to a literary event. If you like riding your bike, join a meet up group, and so on.
3. Set Yourself Friendship Goals
Don't think you're one to easily make friends? Feel like chatting up a stranger would make you cringe and wither inside? Well, it's not like one day you'll wake up and have the charisma of Cary Grant. If you want to become more friendly, you're going to have to make strides towards it. And how do you go about doing that? You set goals. Tust suggested, "One thing true extroverts are great at is taking the initiative to talk to people and make new friends. If that doesn't come naturally to you, set a goal to engage one person every week."
Just one person a week isn't a tall order, and if you have this goal hanging out in the back of your mind, you'll feel more ready and determined to approach someone new.
4. Challenge Yourself With Baby Steps
No one is asking you to kick down the door of a party with confetti canons underneath your arms. You don't have to go from zero to extrovert in a day. Rather, challenge yourself to try outgoing moves that just mildly scare you, and build on from that.
For example, if I walk into a coffee shop and 85% of the seats are taken, I ask if I can join someone's table and chat them up. Or if I see someone hovering without a circle at a party, I make it my mission to go over them and keep them company. Once you start the ball rolling on these smaller extroverted moves, you'll only progress onto bigger ones. Young agreed, "Build up to it by slowly picking bigger challenges. The key to this tactic is to find the intermediate step between what terrifies you and what you do every day." Get outside that comfort zone; it's the only way.
5. See Meeting New People As An Adventure
Shift your thinking about what it means to go out and meet new people! Instead of seeing it as potentially stressful or frightening, view it as a chance for an adventure. People have so many amazing stories under their belt, and you can create such wonderful memories sitting down with them and hearing them all. True, not every night is going to be chock full of these guys, but you won't ever meet anyone cool if you stay home. So new rule: Being social isn't scary, it's an adventure. An opportunity. A challenge you can crush.
Lifestyle writer David Ursillo from Lifehack explained,, "Did you know that modern scientific and psychological studies prove that when you interpret difficult, uncomfortable situations as 'challenges' and 'adventures,' we are better able to cope with stress and anxiety?" There you go: Cut your anxiety by changing your thinking.
6. Get Inspired By Your Outgoing Pals
You know how your chatty, friendly pal approaches a table of people and you watch her immediately click and hold the attention of the whole group? She makes it seem so easy, unintimidating, and...fun. Watching someone be extremely comfortable in their own skin and outgoing rubs off on you, and you feel like you can do just the same. So take the opportunity to go out with the chatterboxes of your group and let them become your inspiration. The more you watch them effortlessly slide into conversation, the more you'll believe it really is just that easy.
On top of that, they can be your icebreakers when you're still working up the nerve to chat. Ursillo suggested, "You can even ask your friend outright for help meeting people — they will happily oblige." You don't have to do this alone!
7. Ask Questions
Being outgoing doesn't necessarily mean you have to be the only one doing the talking. People love when someone shows an interest and peppers them with questions, so make sure you're listening just as much as you're talking. Tust shared her rule of thumb, "Try to ask a question each time before you make a comment. If you do this, the person will feel more understood and the relationship will grow stronger." If you keep the conversation ping ponging like that, all the responsibility won't rest on you.
Try these tips out and you just might feel comfortable working a room yourself!
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