Ways to Deal with Social Awkwardness
You’ve probably had moments where you felt like an outsider looking in. You might have observed social situations and given a piece of your mind about how awkward they were, wondering how anyone could find those people interesting. Or maybe you’ve been on the other end of the spectrum, feeling so insecure that even making eye contact was difficult. We all get there occasionally. Whether it is because of shyness, social anxiety, or simply a fear of rejection, we all struggle with our inhibitions at some point in life. It is perfectly natural to feel this way, as everyone has their own ideas about what’s acceptable and what isn’t; what’s cool and what’s not; or who we want to be and who we are afraid to be seen as. And although it sounds like brooding would be a good thing for our souls, it can actually become quite annoying when these things prevent us from living our lives to their fullest potential.
Why is it so hard for us to act naturally?
Our brains are wired to be cautious. Evolution has programmed us to be alert to potential threats, so we are more likely to notice the bad than the good. Over time, we build up a collection of experiences. These are stored as memories in our brains, and we use them to inform our current behavior. If a situation was awkward in the past, we are more likely to perceive that to happen again. When we are young, we tend to be very imaginative. As we age, we become more realistic. Along with that shift, we learn more about the world around us and conform more to the expectations of our surroundings.
Step 1: Acknowledge and understand your fears
One of the best ways to overcome your fears is to be aware of what they are. Understanding why you feel the way you do will help you to take a step back, look at the situation objectively and realize that the source of your anxiety is not a real threat. If you have a fear of public speaking, for example, you might have a fear of being judged by others. Start with small things, like speaking up in a group, or showing your enthusiasm for something. This way, you can work up to bigger challenges as you get more comfortable with your social situation.
Step 2: Talk to yourself (and your friends)
As we mentioned before, our brains are wired to be cautious, so rather than trying to actively change your thoughts, try to create a distance between your feelings and your thoughts. When you find yourself in a social situation that makes you feel uncomfortable, try to take a step back and look at the situation in a more relaxed way. Say to yourself “I am feeling uncomfortable right now because of X, Y and Z.” Instead of trying to shut down these thoughts, try to engage with them. Ask yourself questions like “Why are they so important?” or “What can I learn from this situation?” And then, “How can I overcome my social challenges?”
Step 3: Try Exposure Therapy
As we mentioned earlier, our brains are wired to be cautious. But what we sometimes forget is that we can train our brains to be more optimistic. Exposure therapy is a technique used to help you overcome your fears by gradually exposing you to the things that make you anxious so that over time, they don’t bother you as much. For example, if you have a fear of public speaking, you can try to overcome this by preparing a short speech, and then putting yourself in an environment where you have to give the speech (a mock presentation, for example). The more often you do this, the more your brain will adapt and you will feel less anxious about public speaking in the future.
Step 4: Commit to small acts of courage
As we said, our brains are wired to be cautious, so when we try to actively change our thought patterns, it can take a while before we actually feel more optimistic. In the meantime, you can speed up the process by doing small things that make you feel more confident, such as striking up a conversation. There are many ways to build your confidence and get over social awkwardness. Get out there and try something new that you have always wanted to do. You can even challenge yourself: try to shake someone’s hand every day, or go to a party by yourself. Keep in mind that confidence isn’t something that you are born with — it’s something that you have to actively build up.
As we have discussed in this article, the best ways to deal with social awkwardness are by acknowledging and understanding your fears, talking to yourself and others, trying exposure therapy, and committing to small acts of courage. These things will help you get over your inhibitions and feel more confident in social situations. Keep in mind that even the best of us can feel awkward sometimes; what is important is how we handle those feelings. If you are feeling socially anxious, try not to think of it as a sign of weakness, but as an opportunity for growth. You can read more articles on neonpolice official website.