If your social skills are feeling a little bit rusty, you're not alone. We've spent the last two and a half years kind of sequestered to our homes, not really interacting as much as we might have if circumstances were different. The reality is, now we are starting to adapt to this new normal, this new way of life.
We're going to start to realize that we do need to get back out there and try to interact with people like we were previously. So, first of all, don't feel ashamed that your social skills might have fallen on the back burner and maybe not take up that much space in your everyday life for the past two and a half years.
The point is, just like any muscle in your body, you can retrain the muscles that are social skills and get back on track, whatever your goals are: if your goals are to make friends, if your goals are to just be more social in general, if your goal is to network more for better business opportunities. Whatever your goals are, the fact is that we do need social interaction.
That's how we've evolved as a species. That's how we thrive. And that's what the research also supports with how happy we are and how satisfied we feel with our lives. So I'm going to share three steps that you can start implementing as soon as you'd like. This will help you to put yourself back out there. and to work on those social skills.
They might be a little bit rusty, but again, that's OK. We have a remedy for that. All right. So if you're ready, let's get into it.
Say “Yes” More
The first thing is to say yes, more. Say yes to any type of social interaction opportunity or social gathering opportunity or any type of outing that you might not have necessarily accepted in the past.
For example, if there's a networking event that in the past, you might not have been that interested in going to say “yes” to it now. Put yourself out there. Yes, it might be a little bit scary to interact in a group setting, especially with people that you might not know. They might be strangers, people that you've just never seen before.
Whatever the case, yes, that can be a little bit daunting, but the point is to put ourselves out there so that we can start engaging those muscles that haven't really been getting that much action. We don't want those muscles to atrophy. We want to strengthen them. And the only way to do that is to really put yourself out there and to challenge yourself.
And that's going to require us to get a little bit outside of our comfort zones. But let's say it's that networking event that you have lined up on the docket and you say “yes” to it. Bring a friend, bring a colleague from work. That way you're not completely alone. Or if you want to take it a step further and you really do want to challenge yourself, then I encourage you to just go out there alone and that's OK. Make friends with the other people there and try to connect with different people in that professional networking setting.
Bring your business cards, have your party line, have your small talk framework ready to be put to use and really make the most of it. The other thing you can do is say yes to someone who you've been putting off. Let's say you have a colleague that's constantly been asking you for the past few weeks to get coffee. Why don't you say “yes” to that?
So we don't have to search far and wide for social interaction. We can find these little opportunities just peppered in our day to day and to our weeks into our months, if we just say “yes” to more opportunities for social interaction. Be on the lookout and keep that in mind. And again, this might be something that you might have previously said no to in the past and pass up the opportunity for that networking event, politely decline that coffee invitation.
But now, things are different.
Because we realize the intrinsic value of social interaction. And we need to brush up on our social skills.
We're putting ourselves back out there. So it's really important to now think of it in a new light. Think of it as really trying to prevent atrophying muscles and encourage the promotion of strengthening your muscles. And we're talking about social skills in this context. That's what we're referring to when we say strengthening those muscles.
Join A Group
The next thing you can do is to join a group. This could be online or offline. Maybe you want to join a book club, that could be something that you find in an online forum. And you see that there are people in your area maybe having a book club or you can start your own book club. Being part of a book club is about getting together with people so that you can read a book and then discuss the book but then also talk about other things.
Oftentimes, these groups are a great way to also learn about other people's lives and experiences and share your life with them. It's about being able to interact with each other and have a nice conversation with people who have similar interests. But it's also a way of learning new things because of course, interacting with people will open up your eyes to different interests, different things, different perspectives. And that's what we want.
Now, you can also try to look for a meetup in your area. You'll see different listings and try to participate in something like that. This can be based on your interests or it could be something where you are sort of intrigued by something.
For instance, maybe you want to learn how to play tennis and you haven't played tennis before, but you really want to learn it. That could incentivize you join a tennis group or a tennis league or seek out tennis lessons.
Reconnect with Friends
And lastly, try to reconnect with some old friends. Now, these can be people that you might have lost touch with over the last two or three years or maybe you haven't spoken to them since college. No matter the time that's passed, the point is to reconnect with people that you previously have had a lot of nice social interaction with that you might miss interacting with them or miss having them in your life.
You be the person to reach out. There's no reason not to. If you want them in your life again just start with a simple, “How's it going? I haven't talked to you forever!” Or if you see something that they posted on social, maybe send them a DM, maybe send them an email. It's really nice to get messages from people, especially out of the blue, when you're least expecting it.
And, you know, if you've had a lot of really wonderful memories, shared experiences together, why not? The point here is to put ourselves out there. So of course it's going to take a little bit of getting going, right? We might feel like not doing anything, but that's not going to move the needle forward, right? We don't want to be in a situation where we're not interacting anymore and we just feel isolated.
After being in isolation for so long, we really want to take advantage of starting to be able to put ourselves out there again. And what better way than to start with these three steps?
To recap, the first thing that you can do is to say yes more often. Say yes to social opportunities that you might have in the past, rejected or not been that interested in, and just try to keep an open mind and remember that you're doing it so that you can put yourself back out there.
The reality is, we really do need social interaction. And this doesn't mean that you need to start going out every day and being social with people every waking moment or have, you know, a million friends and be super popular. That's one way of interpreting all of this. And if that's what you want to do, all the power to you.
We only need a handful of people that we can really lean on and really have nice social interaction with in order to reap the benefits of being social. So just keep that in mind, even if it's just three to five people, right? That's still going to make a world of difference with your social skills, but also with your own headspace. Being in a good place socially and mentally and just feeling really fulfilled with life, and happy ultimately.
And the second thing is to join different groups. They can be online and offline, and the idea here is to have it be an opportunity to engage with people socially, right? So if it's that book club that you want to join, join it. If you want to learn a new skill like learning tennis, join a tennis club. If you want to take up knitting, do that. Do whatever it is that you want to do.
Now is your opportunity. Now is your moment to take that in and say, OK, well, I'm going to join this group. Or if you see people at the gym that you go to and they seem like a nice, fun bunch to hang out with, you see them, you know, just trekking along in the gym. Why not say hello, why not introduce yourself?
There's no harm in that, especially in the way you do it right? There is a way to do it that is just authentic. And just genuine. Right? So find what that is for you and go for it.
And then lastly, reconnect with old friends, people that were previously in your life. You have a lot of shared fond memories with and reach out to them, reconnect, say “how's it going after all this time? I would love to catch up. I miss you.” Try that as well because you might be pleasantly surprised.
We are putting ourselves out there. We're taking a little bit of risk on. We're getting outside of our comfort zones. This will enable us to strengthen our social skills and ultimately be happier and more social because we know that social interaction is essential for happiness and overall life fulfillment.
So keep that in mind and let that motivate you.
All right, Explearners, thank you so much for joining me for this lesson. I hope that you enjoyed these three strategies, and if you have any suggestions or comments and anything that you would like to share with the Explearnity, feel free to leave a comment down below and I will see you in another video, so be sure to stay tuned.
Alright! Happy Explearning, everyone.⚡