Whether we love it or hate it, socializing is a part of life. And sometimes it can really pay off to showcase our most vivacious and magnetic selves (networking events, anyone?). It's why knowing how to be the life of the party is a pretty clutch skill to have in our back pockets, even if we secretly feel more like curling up at home on the couch with a blanket and a House Hunters marathon.
According to Psychology Today, extroverts make up between 50 to 74 percent of the population. That means that up to half of people may be introverts, meaning up to half of us may not particularly enjoy playing the role of a party person. Not only that, but introversion and extroversion aside, some of us are just plain shy. This means that the idea of being the center of attention in any situation isn't exactly our dream scenario.
Yet, the reality is, sometimes it pays to turn up the charm, and sometimes if we do have to socialize, putting our best foot forward is better than pretending to check our e-mail in a corner. if you're looking for ways to up your social game, here are 11 tips for being more magnetic.
1. Choose Your Spot Wisely
According to Cosmopolitan's body language expert Janine Driver, choosing where you stand at a party is the first step in attracting others. "When you arrive, grab one or two of your friends and head straight for the middle of the room. As other people walk in, you'll appear to be the center of attention and they'll naturally gravitate towards you," Driver said.
2. Show Some Shoulder
In the same Cosmo piece, Driver noted that the more shoulder and arm you show off (especially in colder months) the more you'll stand out. "Wear a strapless dress that maximizes the amount of shoulder you show off. Make sure it's a solid color (patterns cause you to blend in) such as red, fuchsia or turquoise and you'll turn more heads than all the women in LBDs...combined."
3. Put Your Phone Away
According to Morgan Evans, production coordinator at Eventique, in a piece for Women's Health Magazine, one of the fastest ways to make yourself seem unapproachable is by seeming preoccupied with your phone. Instead, aim to seem totally engaged in what's happening around you — people will really notice when another person is truly present, especially because it's rarer than ever now.
4. Compliment Someone
If your trouble with small talk is just making initial contact with another person to begin with, entrepreneur and lifestyle blogger Kevin Kleitches recommended the "compliment and transition" strategy on a piece for The Huffington Post. "The fact is, everyone loves compliments," Kleitches said. He suggested simply saying you like someone's tie or outfit, and then transition into introducing yourself.
5. Ask Open-Ended Questions
A compilation piece for Forbes noted the importance of following up one-word answer questions like, "Where are you from?" with more open-ended conversation starters like, "Oh, is that very different from here?" A huge part of being the life of the party is guiding a conversation and keeping it lively and interesting.
6. Grab A Drink Beforehand
This tip isn't for everyone, and that's more than OK. But for those of us who enjoy a glass of wine or a beer, I find there's no better time to grab a drink than before a social situation you're nervous about. And I definitely don't mean to go crazy and over-indulge; I just mean I've always found that a single drink can seriously help calm my social jitters.
7. Take The Pressure Off
In a piece on how to best socialize at parties on his website, Chris Macleod, author of The Social Skills Guidebook, reminded us to first and foremost take the pressure off ourselves. Remember: it's just a party. You likely won't see the majority of the people there ever again, and most people will be so worried about their own lives and situations that they're not going to notice if you don't wow and dazzle. Instead, just think of it as an opportunity to meet a few people and maybe have a few good conversations.
8. Listen More
In a piece for Mind Body Green on ways to be the most magnetic person you know, feng shui expert and holistic lifestyle blogger Dana Claudat recommended simply listening more when others speak. "There's a great listener who goes to parties and barely talks; he mainly listens," Claudat wrote. "The feedback on this guy is that he's unbeatable, he's the most interesting guy. Though you know little about him, its hard to ignore him because his energy is so different from all the talkers."
9. Don't Cross Your Arms
This one is a personal tip that someone told me years ago (specifically before I went on college interviews). Crossing our arms over our chests is a very defensive stance, and even though it might be tempting to do so when we're nervous, it instantly advertises, "Don't approach me." If you want people to be drawn to you, stay conscious of what your body language is saying.
10. Point Your Feet Towards Your Conversation Partner
In a piece for The Huffington Post, behavioral author Vanessa Van Edwards stressed the importance of open body language that sends the message that you're harmless, interested, and approachable. She said to keep your feet pointed towards the other person, keep your arms and legs uncrossed if possible, and keep your head tilted — all are subconscious signs of attraction.
And finally, Driver suggested that we don't be afraid to casually touch others. "When you're chatting with someone, casually place a hand on his or her arm," Driver said. "Touch triggers good feelings and signals special treatment — so not only will the person you're talking to like you more, other people will wish they were the object of your rapt attention."
Social magnetism isn't an exact science, but the good news is there are a ton of things you can do to up your charm and improve your party game. So utilize some or all of the above tips, and don't forget to enjoy yourself!