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12 Brilliant Ways To Appear Instantly 'Cooler' In Group Settings

Photo: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock
a group of friends have fun with each other

Whether you’re an introvert, an extrovert, or somewhere in between, group settings can be intimidating for some people. You have the power to make people feel more comfortable, however, and that makes you pretty cool.

Here are 12 brilliant ways you can engage and connect with your friends, which will also make you appear a lot cooler.

1. Address people by their names.

While it's a small effort, it makes a huge impact. Remembering and using someone’s name in conversation “creates a culture of respect, recognition, and consideration for the discussion.”

People remember you when you remember them, making you cooler than you realize.

2. Be the person who asks, 'You were saying?'

Getting interrupted is frustrating. While it's inevitable in group settings, you can easily redirect the conversation back to the original topic and score some cool points in the process.

   

   

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3. Be the person who keeps up with everyone's conversations.

When conversation flows into different topics, some people miss the opportunity to finish their thoughts. 

Diverting the conversation and asking them to finish what they were saying, shows active listening and care. In fact, studies show that people are happier and healthier when they feel listened to. 

4. Be fair when someone outside the setting is being criticized. 

Gossip is the guilty pleasure of many, and some friend groups may overindulge in criticizing others behind their backs, which might go against your moral compass. 

Changing the subject or using what experts call "neutralizing" language can bring balance to the conversation and detract from negativity.

5. Ask follow-up questions.

Asking questions like, “What’s that?” or “Can you explain what that means?” will add more depth and understanding to the conversation. This makes you a great listener and more likable.

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6. Ask people to clarify what they mean.

If you notice a shady undertone or something negative someone may have said to you or someone else, rather than staying quiet, challenge this person politely by asking them, “What do you mean by that?” 

Doing this is a sign of integrity and strength, and it will shut down a potentially toxic conversation

7. Pay attention to others’ life changes.

Before attending the group function, pay attention to your friends’ life updates on social media and bring them up later. This behavior shows you care about more than your own life, and you’re eager to be involved in your friends’ lives. 

8. Include others in your conversations.

You know when you’re talking about something with a group, and a new friend walks up to listen? You have the power to make them feel included and comfortable. 

   

   

Acknowledge them and give context to the conversation, telling them “We were just saying …” This will make your friend feel welcome and happy.

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9. Be the ‘buoy’ of the group.

Pay attention to everyone’s behaviors and body language in group settings. If you happen to notice someone doesn’t seem to be having a good time, or they seem uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to approach them and cheer them up.

Being the "buoy" figuratively means to lift someone’s spirits. 

   

   

10. Be the person who approaches the outsider.

There’s no greater sign of leadership than a person who befriends the outsider of a group. 

   

   

According to the Mayo Clinic, when people feel a sense of support and belonging, they will feel "more resilient, often coping more effectively with difficult times."

11. Be the person who saves someone from embarrassment.

A good example of this is when someone has something in their teeth; be the person who lets them know discreetly.

   

   

12. Engage the group with games and activities.

Especially in larger settings, friends will sometimes break off into smaller groups. A great way to engage everyone is to suggest a card game, board game, or other group activity. 

Ultimately, being inclusive to others is the coolest thing anyone can do at get-togethers with friends. Next time you're invited to a party, keep these tips in mind to ensure an enjoyable time and a cooler reputation.

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Francesca Duarte is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team based in Orlando, FL. She covers lifestyle, human-interest, and spirituality topics.