Although the world is becoming ever more connected, there always will be distinct areas of our lives with their own sets of rules, expectations and social dynamics. Whether it is a new job, a new school, a new set of friends, or even an old group of friends in a bar you’ve never been to; the dynamic will always be a little bit new. Some people are able to effortlessly glide between these situations and adapt to the differing dynamics with ease, but most, like myself, occasionally struggle to “fit in” to that environment.
If you’ve ever felt awkward in a social setting I have three pieces of advice that will make being a social butterfly simpler than you ever thought it could be.
Rule 1: Know that you’re awesome, and know that people will realize that you’re awesome if you let them.
Part of the reason why it’s so difficult to transition into a new social setting, especially if it’s with people that you don’t know, is that it seems like the people around you just wont get you. We deal with this in different ways: maybe you don’t tell that story about the time you passed out on the toilet because we are afraid that no one will think it was funny or maybe you don’t tell anyone about your mild obsession with pygmy animals because people might think something is wrong with you. The truth of the matter is that these are the things that make you unique. Genuinely opening up to people means that you have to show that you’re vulnerable. You’ll probably weed out the losers when you share that you have full blown conversations while you sleep on the first date, but showing that you’re vulnerable dramatically impacts how you bond with other people. Moral of the story, you’re awesome, and if you want to make meaningful connections easily the easiest way is to let people understand that you are awesome.
Rule 2: Understand that you live a life by design; the world around you is shaped by your mindset and the energy you give off to the world.
Something that has occasionally creeped up on me in a new social setting is the feeling that I don’t belong there. It’s easy for this to happen, you’re with a group of coworkers who know each other very well and you’re just the new guy or you meet your partner’s friends for the first time and it feels like you aren’t meant to be there. What people often forget in situations like this is the fact that we live a life by design, meaning that every experience that we have is a direct result of the choices that we have made and directly controlled by the way that we choose to react to it. I wrongly allowed myself to forget that I earned my job because of the choices that I made, and then I chose to react to that situation by being reserved. That is why the “imposter syndrome” -the feeling that you don’t belong- is so hard to break free from. It creates negative energy that produces negative results. If you want to be the social butterfly in every situation understand that you’re choices put you in that room and that the type of experience that you have ultimately is governed only by how you choose to interpret and react to it. There are no limits to what your life can become, there are only mentally limits that we impose on ourselves when we think about what is possible. Translation: thoughts become things so start thinking about the life you want to have and the person you want to become.
Rule 3: Sit back and enjoy the ride.
Mark Twain said, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.” If you don’t know who Mark Twain is you shouldn’t be worrying about dealing with social situations and you should pour yourself a glass of wine and get to Wikipedia a soon as possible. In new social situations it is very easy to make judgments about people; it’s ingrained in our human nature to observe, judge, and react over and over again. Often times though we make judgments about what type of person the people we meet are. Equally often we are surprised by what type of person they actually are compared to what we thought they would be like. This is the reason why rule number three is to sit back and enjoy the ride. It doesn’t matter how good your intuition is, people will always surprise you. The people that I am closest to now are the same people that I thought would have anything in common with. Next time you have the opportunity to be around new people, don’t limit yourself with judgments about what that connection will be like. There are 7 billion people on this planet; don’t fool yourself into believing that you can figure out a person when you first meet them, with an open mind you will meet the most amazing people that you never thought existed.
Applying these three principles has drastically altered my life. If nothing else take one of them and try it out next time you’re in a new social situation or even the ones that you are used to. I guarantee that it will help you forge amazing relationships with people and improve the ones that you already have.
Author Chris Wyman is a modern day renaissance man, a philosopher and a reality sculptor. He believes in living a deliberate life of dreams actualized. You can follow his journey to help people live life powerfully, share your feedback, or reach out for help living the life that you want all on his facebook page.