I’d love to imagine that you all sit there and think of me as some ultra slick woman- full of words, wit and humor. However, I can be quiet, awkward and tend to keep to myself. Sure, once I’m comfortable with a group I can be quite gregarious, but making real friends has been a challenge. I have a real difficult time opening up and staying in touch with people.
OK- close your eyes for a moment (after you’re done reading- of course!) and imagine yourself plopped into the middle of a party. You may know a few people, but do you stand there awkwardly on the outside hoping maybe someone will pity you and come engage in some polite conversation with you? Yeah. That’s me. Can I keep the conversation going? Nope, not usually- unless the other person is a outgoing oddball that I find interesting.
So what can I do? What can WE do? I’m sure if you’re still reading this you might have some challenges of your own. Social anxiety can be a real downer.
So my BIG GOAL is this- Host a professional event
UGHHHH!! How terrifying is that? No way. No how. At least, not for the time being. As usual with my challenges I like to start with some mini goals to start working on things I’d love to improve in my life. Check out my first 4 mini goals and tell me what you think.
- Write a full typed page of things that you like about yourself.
- Engage in 3 different acts of “Goodness”.
- Call someone you know and practice asking follow up questions until you hear a story from them that you’ve never heard before.
- Invite another blogger/coworker out to coffee to discuss work/brainstorm.
1. Write a full typed page of things that you like about yourself.
Let’s face the facts. If you aren’t impressed with yourself no one is going to come in and rescue you. You’re going to know yourself so you can show off the wonderful things that make you- YOU! Are you great at art? Do you love movies and know a lot about them? Are you passionate about your work? List them all out so you can see the things people might be drawn into a conversation with you about.
2. Engage in 3 DIFFERENT acts of “Goodness”.
Sure, you could go write a check for 3 charities, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Help someone with their bags, go donate your clothes or find a way to make someone’s day brighter. Use your imagination and be sincere. You’re a wonderful human being and break the cycle of keeping to yourself. Even if your gesture isn’t well received- it’s your intention that counts. Don’t sit there waiting for praise, do it because even an unnoticed kind act will make you feel better and more confident in initiating social interactions.
3. Call someone you know and practice asking follow up questions until you get a story from their past that you have never heard before.
Call a friend, family member or someone you know and practice asking them questions. “How was your day?” should be followed up with another question based on what they tell you. If they answer “Good.” be prepared with a probing question to get more out of them. People want to feel special and this will show them that you are prepared to listen to them too. AVOID HIJACKING THE CONVERSATION. Let them speak and don’t dish out any wise antidotes until they are 100% done. You can -of course- ask them more questions to help clarify their story or share a VERY SHORT similarity to allow them to continue. Did they see a band that you love? Say that. This conversation has nothing to do with you and has everything to do with the other person. At the end of the conversation take some time to rate yourself: Did you listen without interjecting your opinion without being asked? Did the other person seem comfortable? Were you able to come up with engaging new questions based off their story? Even more importantly- did they start asking YOU questions?
4. Invite another blogger (or whatever field you’re in) out for coffee to brainstorm/work.
Let’s face it. Most of our lives are wrapped up in our occupations. We can (and should) make connections (and friends!) out of our coworkers or other people in our field. This may be a good way to learn more about your field, how to improve your career and how someone else views the way you work. Hey- if the topic changes and it isn’t solely work based don’t stress! Bring a notepad with basic things you’re working on to help prompt you if the conversation starts to get awkward. For me, this will be so important as I really want to establish myself as a blogger and it can get a little lonely working out of the house.
So how do you guys feel about the social challenge? Are you ready to jump in and work on building a stronger social life?
I hope you all have a great day!