I may not be the best at socializing, but over the past few years I have definitely improved in my socializing skills. Although we are in pandemic mode being able to communicate has gotten very important. Communication and socializing may not be important so much now, but in this world socializing can open a lot of closed doors, especially in the job market. These days communication and networking is everything and for a lot of people with or without mental illness communication and socializing can be difficult. So let’s make it easier, with a few tips.
Eye Contact. Eye contact can be very difficult for people. However eye contact is very important it shows that you care, and are a confident person. A couple ways of being able to make eye contact easier maybe to look in between a person’s eyes so it makes it look like you are making eye contact, or at the ear lobe, just under the eye, or just a little above the eye. If you still find this difficult you could always practice for example if a family member is talking to you, or even just staring at yourself in the mirror and talking. Eventually It will become basic nature to you. Remember practice makes perfect it won’t happen overnight.
Small talk is another important factor in socializing. However small talk is just an icebreaker, just small questions to help you be able to see what people are interested in. This way you can discover their passions and have deeper, more interesting conversations. Small talk is not supposed to be deep; it’s just light questions, so don’t over think them too much. Some examples might be; Where did you live before this? What did you think you were going to be growing up? Do you have any hidden talents or surprising hobbies? What was your favourite extracurricular in elementary school? What was the must-have accessory or item when you were growing up? etc. Just remember to not over complicate it or think too much about it, You might even find something you can relate to and be able to build a relationship from the experience.
Focus on your surroundings
Focus on your surroundings. This is one I often struggle with. I get to focused on my appearance or if I’m slouching, what am I doing with my hands? What should I be doing? Do I stand out, do I blend in?… I can go on and on, but the simple solution is to focus on what’s going on outside of you, what does space look like? Who are the people? Do you know anyone? If they eat, or drink? Just observe and don’t judge yourself. When you judge yourself it can make a negative experience for everyone so just observe and sit in your observation and not in your mind. The only person who can hurt you is yourself.
Don’t forget to listen to the person. Think about what they are saying, see what makes them passionate, this can be hard, but If you find that they keep bringing something up they may be very passionate about it. So don’t forget to Listen and also to make eye contact, because when you make eye contact you listen with your eyes. Also if you find it hard to make eye contact don’t forget the tips above this can really help when socializing, because at the end of the day everyone wants to be heard.
Talk about yourself as well
Talk about yourself a little bit. Everyone likes talking about themselves, but don’t forget to talk a little about yourself. If you’re just asking questions the person might feel like they’re in an interview. So every once in a while ask yourself if there is something you can add to the conversation just a little bit goes a long way. You don’t want to dominate the conversation, but just something personal can break the ice a bit.
Breath. This may seem dumb, Like we breath all the time or we would live dah! This tip is really important if you feel anxious or nervous just take 3-5 deep breaths. Breathing can really regulate your body and mind so never forget to breathe. This can also help before a presentation as well.
I really hope this helps, and once again I’m not perfect at this either, but just remember these 6 tips and hopefully soon you can socialize like a champ! I believe that everyone no matter who you are, or what you suffer from can become a socializing butterfly/ networking champion. So get on out there (this is a metaphor don’t really go out there if you’re not allowed to, because the world is still in pandemic mode.) and get socializing!
Note: The Free Your Mind Mental Health Society is an independent youth-led organization. The contents of this blog are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In the event of a medical emergency, please call your doctor or 911 or other local emergency numbers immediately.