How To Be More Social In 10 Steps (Even If You're An Introvert)

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three female friends cheersing coffee
Self

The act of breaking out of your shell and trying to be more social can be a rather daunting task, especially if you’re an introvert who struggles with talking to new people.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with spending time by yourself. In fact, it’s been proven that spending time alone can greatly improve your mind and also revitalize your body.

However, it’s also important to socialize with other people, and in return, create new bonds with different people. 

To help you do so, here's how to be more social (even if you're an introvert).

RELATED: There Are 4 Types Of Introverts: Which One Are You?

1. Change your mindset.

You won’t meet new people if you’re constantly thinking about what can go wrong in any social situation that you’re putting yourself in. It’s important to enter each new social environment with a positive attitude, and even some positive affirmations

They can include things like:

"I will make some new friends."

"This conversation starter might not have worked, but I have faith that the next one will."

"If I don’t succeed today, it will work out the next time."

Manifestations and creating positive assurances can greatly improve your chances of entering an environment with a successful end result. Don’t be afraid to try it!

2. Start conversations.

Anytime that you’re entering a social situation, don’t be afraid to go up to strangers and start conversations. It can range from picking up small talk to finding something in common and striking up a conversation about that.

People also love talking about themselves, and that can be a great ice breaker, according to Registered Psychotherapist Stacy Bremner. Then, “Depending on what you hear," she explains, "you can ask more questions or validate them or share a personal detail of your own.”

If you’re stuck and need some help with conversation starters, here are a few:

  • Do you have any interesting hobbies or interests?
  • Where has been the best place that you’ve traveled recently?
  • What do you do in your spare time?

“The trick to starting a conversation is to get out of your head and say almost anything. Something simple works best from a question to a compliment,” says Ronnie Ann Ryan, a love & cosmic coach. “Most people are happy to talk for a short time and will be friendly."

"You can start by practicing in low-risk situations like at the convenience store when you check out or in the checkout line at the grocery store," she suggests. "Start small — just a sentence or two and take the pressure off yourself. You will become more comfortable with practice and then continue to stretch and try longer conversations.”

Practice makes perfect!

3. Find ways to get involved.

Finding activities or hobbies that allow you to surround yourself with different groups of people is probably the best way to become social.

If you’re actively searching for events that contain things that are of interest to you, also means that you’d be around like-minded individuals. Striking up conversations with people who share the same genuine interests that you do can actually be a lot easier.

Try anything from a networking event, to volunteering for an organization, to even attending an art class or social event of some kind. 

4. Host an event.

If you’re the type of person who enjoys hosting, this is an awesome opportunity for meeting new people and practicing your social skills.

You can invite current friends and ask them to bring people, which can greatly increase your chances of talking to new people. It can also be a great test to climb out of your comfort zone and force yourself to overcome the social anxiety that can come with engaging with a new crowd of people.

It can range from something that you host weekly to something that you can host monthly. Either way, it’s a way to have fun, but also still be in control of the event.

5. Have welcoming body language.

Nine times out of ten, how a person looks can determine if they are approachable or not.

If you are at any kind of social event or gathering, it’s important to look as if you’re ready to have conversations and interactions with people. Standing in the corner with your arms crossed, or constantly looking at your phone can automatically give people the impression that you’d rather not be at that certain event, which will lead them to not want to approach you.

You could be the friendliest person on the planet, but your body language can easily say otherwise.

Some tips on better body language include:

1. Smile, wave, or even nod your head in acknowledgment of other people at the event.

2. Try to make eye contact with people around the room as a way to invite them to talk to you.

3. Move around and mingle with other people, don’t just stick to one corner of the room.

RELATED: The Skill That Will Instantly Make You More Socially Likable

6. Be a good listener

The most memorable part of conversing with someone is knowing that the other person is actually listening to what you have to say. There’s nothing worse than being in a conversation with someone else and realizing they aren’t listening and therefore don’t care what you have to say.

By being a good listener, you’re also showing that you have a genuine interest in the conversation which will make people want to seek you out and have more conversations.

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Being fully engaged in a social situation shows that you’re involved and care about the subject, which leads to more stimulating interactions with people.

7. Make socializing a priority

This might seem like a given for some people, but for others, it can sometimes not be at the forefront of our minds.

Like everything else, making time to socialize and go out is really important, and if you want to improve your social skills and form new relationships, then it’s even more important.

Try to go out at least once a week. It’s important that even in stressful times that you are taking time off to enjoy and treat yourself. You shouldn’t be going a long time without going out and socializing with different people. 

8. Say yes when people ask to hang out with you

Don’t be the person who is always canceling or saying no when people are asking to hang out. The best experiences can happen when you agree to go out, and from there, you can meet some fun new people.

Try not to let your shyness or aversion to going out because you think you won’t know anyone stop you from actually going out and having a great time. Even if you don’t know anyone at whatever event you’ve been invited to, chances are you’ll end up leaving with at least a few positive interactions and potential plans to meet up with these new people again.

So make a habit of saying 'yes,' and you definitely won’t regret it.

9. Extend your own invitations

Even though it’s important to say 'yes' when other people ask you to go out, it’s even more important to extend your own invitations to things.

Even if it’s just hanging out in a casual setting, forming those social connections and expanding your friendships can happen by simply reaching out to others. If you’re failing to reach out in a consistent manner it might give the impression that you don’t really care about the relationship.

It’s another great way to work on your social skills, and stepping out of your comfort zone so you can interact with people.

10. Seek out professional help

Sometimes our social anxiety can’t be fixed by simply waltzing into an event or party and starting to chat to strangers. Sometimes the problems run deeper than that, and you may need to seek outside resources or professional help.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to therapists or even try and find online support groups for people who struggle with socializing and/or social anxiety.

There is nothing wrong with recognizing you need help and then actively going out to search for it. Forming human connections is important, but so is putting your mental health first. 

RELATED: 17 Crazy Hacks That Make You More Likeable (And Attract Friends And Guys)

Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.