Isn’t it awesome when you really connect with people? But for a connection to form, people should be able to relax around you. Leaving satisfied and positive after a conversation.
So how do you make people comfortable? When you yourself feel shy or anxious. You can achieve this by applying a few tactics. Even if you feel terrible about your social skills, you can learn this.
It feels great to make people comfortable around you. To become a bit more charming. So you have fun and connect with ease.
But I get it. It is scary. You fear to look like a fool and be laughed at. So let’s get to terms with some truths. So it will be easier.
You thinking ‘you make people uncomfortable’, causes part of your shyness. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead of staying in this negative feedback loop, start acting like you are not anxious. Because: “It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking, than think your way into a new way of acting.” (Jerry Sternin)
So how do charming people act? How do they put others at ease? Well someone like that is smiling, joking, listening. Showing interest and warmth. Someone that shows an affectionate interest in YOU!
You can do that as well!
Say you start a conversation with someone. Start by focusing on the other. Imagine they are also very anxious. Maybe they are stuck with negative thoughts as well. Be the best person you can be. Shift your attention to them. Make them feel welcome and interesting.
You will notice that as you shift your focus to someone else, you will forget your own anxiety. Result: You are more at ease. They are more at ease.
So how do you focus on other people?
Start with a smile. Be the first one to smile. Open up and give a nice smirk as welcome. It feels good when someone accepts you with an easy grin. Minimal effort, maximal effect. Maybe it feels a bit weird at first. But you’ll get used to having an affectionate smile.
As you talk to people, use their name. It feels good to hear your own name. You actually get a small dopamine kick when you do. So share the dope! Mention people’s name naturally throughout a conversation.
Third, people feel comfortable when listened to. Ask questions, show interest and listen intently. If you catch yourself falling back into your thoughts. Catch yourself and refocus on what is said. It helps to paraphrase what people said. This forces you to listen. And shows people you are interested.
On top of that, ask questions about what is said. Best questions ask for more emotional depth. So ask WHY people do things. Or HOW things made them feel.
But, even with all your new found social fluency. Sometimes, things just get awkward. Instead of ignoring it, state the awkwardness. For example, you try to fist bump and someone else high fives? Fusing in this awkward fist grab. Just say: “Wow, we fucked up” and laugh it off. Acting like nothing happened makes it weird. Addressing the tension will release it. Giving you both a laugh.
Don’t be afraid to show some vulnerability. Be true and say what you really think or feel. Pussyfooting around issues creates an emotional barrier. Most people can’t put their fingers on it, but they will feel you are holding off.
So say what you think. Share how you feel. Being radically honest is a fresh breath of air. Sharing true feelings and thoughts connects you to others.
But most importantly, don’t take it all too serious. Not the conversation, not yourself and not other people. Make crappy jokes, enjoy yourself, laugh about ridiculous things. No matter what situation, everything can be put in perspective with some dry witty remarks. Nobody likes stuck up assholes. So let your fucks fly and enjoy yourself.
Tldr: When you feel anxious, but still want to make people comfortable. Focus on making them feel at ease. Instead of focusing on yourself.
Smile, use names, listen intently, paraphrase what’s said, ask for emotions, address awkwardness, show vulnerability and don’t take it too seriously.