Decrease Social Anxiety and Make Friends at Any Age with 3 Science Backed Strategies

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If your goal is to be social and make more friends, but you are struggling with crippling social anxiety, you'll enjoy this communication lesson. We cover three science-backed strategies to help you become confident when interacting with people.

When it comes to making friends, there are two main challenges. First, the administrative part of Making Friends, which is what clubs should I join, which is what book clubs are in my area? Or is there a hiking club for outdoorsy folks? So physically like where do you meet these people?

Right? All the admin, so to speak. And then the second challenge is facing social anxieties and the fears surrounding awkwardness, likability, and the big R rejection. Okay, so in this lesson we're going to talk about three strategies to help you transcend social anxiety. And I'm drawing from Dr. Marissa Franco, a psychologist and the author of Platonic, How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make and Keep Friends.

All right, if you're ready, let's jump right into it.

So Dr. Franco outlines three intriguing theories surrounding the dynamics of friendship making, and I'm going to share those with you today. You can also think of these as strategies to overcome social anxiety. So the first one is the liking gap. So this means that we underestimate how likable the other person finds us when we're interacting with them.

When we first meet them, we don't really know them well. They don't know us well yet, so we don't really know what they're thinking in terms of how likable we are to them. So in other words, we think that the other person does not like us as much as they actually do.

We underestimate our likability. According to Dr. Franco, she says, when strangers interact, they're usually more liked by the other person than they assume. So that's a good thing to keep in mind. When you feel social anxiety start to bubble up, you can actually remember this phenomenon.

You are actually more likable than you think. So remember that the next time you're feeling anxious or nervous to speak with someone, and you are really starting to lose your self-esteem, don't, because the likability is there, you just have to support it. Follow up with it.

Number two, the acceptance prophecy. This is the idea that if we assume that we're likable, we'll actually start to behave in a way that makes us more likable. So in a way, it's a positive self-fulfilling prophecy. We will act in a warmer and friendlier way towards the person. If we believe that they're enjoying our company, they find us interesting and have an overall positive impression of us, and that they want to be our friend.

So the idea here is that you should act in a way that you want people to treat you, and you're halfway there. By doing this, the other person will respond in a warm and kind way in return. You're in the fast lane for making friends, in this case.

Number three, the theory of inferred attraction. So this means that you're more likely to like someone who you think likes you. Okay, that makes sense when we think about it, right?

If someone is acting in a way that makes you feel like they want to be your friend, you are going to like them even more. The same is true in the opposite direction. If you don't think someone likes you, then you probably don't like them very much either, even if they do like you, but you think that they don't like you.

So, you see how much of this is really all in our heads. A lot of this anxiety stems from our own perception. So sometimes the biggest enemy here is ourselves, and we have to get past that nagging voice inside our head. So, I really encourage you to keep an open mind and to shut down that voice every time it says something negative towards you.

Because it simply could not reflect reality. It simply could be your imagination, spiraling out of control. So this is important to keep in mind, if you can show someone that you like them and that you value them as an individual and that you want to get to know them better, then the potential of actually becoming true and real friends increases dramatically.

These three strategies can be extremely powerful when it comes to decreasing social anxiety. As you can tell, it's very much a mindset. When you feel social anxiety creep into your thought patterns, recalibrate those brainwaves of yours and start initiating positive self-talk. Draw from these three strategies to help you act friendlier towards someone, also yourself with the positive self-talk.

Assume the best in people and shine as your most authentic self.

There's no need to put on a show or put on an act for anyone. Just show up as your authentic self. Show up in an energized way and be your own person.

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