Social butterflies can be very intriguing to watch. They can work a room and effortlessly attract people to them. They thrive on being the center of attention. These social butterflies have active social lives. Posting on social media is something they live for. They actually live a life so many of us envy. They make everything in life look so easy.
Are you a quiet, socially awkward person wishing you could be more like that? Have you ever put yourself down for not being social enough? Would you like some advice on how to get over the struggle of socializing and become a social butterfly? I have a few things to tell you.
First of all, do not see your silence as something negative about yourself. The problem with struggling with your silence is partly that it can make you feel very lonely and misunderstood. It can feel as if the bridge between you and other people is broken. Though being a social butterfly seems great, there are great things about being a quiet person as well. So don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be something that you’re not.
It’s not all or nothing. You can be something in between. There is no need to be a social butterfly nor is it necessary to compare yourself to them. I’ve felt belittled and ignored many times because of my silence. But I also know my own worth. If people can’t stop for a second to hear you or notice you, then it’s not worth your time. If you’re anything like me, you might be more comfortable with a few close friends rather than many acquaintances, anyway. Focus on the ones close to you. Understand why they appreciate you and what you like about yourself.
Your friends appreciate you for who you are. I’m often the friend people can talk to because I’m good at listening and let people vent. When I do say something, it’s not just for the sake of it. My friends know they will get my honest opinion and genuine advice. I try to turn my “weakness” of being quiet into a strength. Society might not favor your silence, but your close ones might. I’ve been told by people that they feel honored that I’ve chosen to let them in. This is because they know I don’t talk about things (deep talk or small talk) with just anyone. They feel treasured by me that way, and in return, I feel so cherished because of how they feel. That’s how I was able to start appreciating myself. I know that my worth doesn’t come from the outside. It’s what’s on the inside and what I choose to share of it.
But if you’re really struggling with socializing and you want to change it, here are some tips:
Practice, practice, practice
For me, practicing came through my job. But you can socialize whenever you meet people. For example, when meeting new people, try to have a couple of questions or comments ready in your head. Just basic ones to always go back to. It’s something I do all the time.
Study the environment
Perhaps make a comment or ask a question about the meeting that just finished. Or the beverages that are being served. I’ve heard that most people love to talk about themselves. So ask them a question and listen so that you can ask a follow-up question. Afterwards, they will feel as if they’ve had a conversation with you even though they’ve done most of the talking.
If anxiety kicks in
You will have moments of panic, where you start sweating and shaking, but accept it. Take a deep breath and go back to a basic question you have ready. Or if they ask you something, try to continue a one-word answer with a comment. It might feel unnecessary, but you are speaking more words. Do this every time you feel you have the courage to do it. Baby steps are still steps forward.
Start smaller if needed
Start small, like looking a cashier in the eye and greeting them with a smile. It’s not just using words. Remember: it’s also about body language. With eye contact and smiling, you can show someone that they have your attention. You don’t have to use words all the time to connect with other people. This might seem scary as well, looking people in the eye and all. And you might feel awkward, but you’ll also feel proud of yourself afterwards. Allow yourself to feel proud of the most trivial things. Pat yourself on the shoulder when you do well, acknowledge it. Build up your courage for next time.
Don’t set your standards too high
I think a lot of us visualise this completely different, better version of ourselves. Where we are social butterflies, thriving in our extroverted work roles. We’re economically comfortable, self-confident with a healthy lifestyle, have time to spend with our family and are in a loving relationship. Our house is always clean. I think you know what I’m getting at (we’ve all seen it on TV and social media). Hopefully, this could be where you find yourself at some point in your life. But be realistic for a minute, and think about who you are at this moment and who you want to be. How are you going to get there? Remember, every change you want to make in your life is not an overnight thing. It’s a long process that will feel like a rollercoaster, but will be worth it in the long run.
You’re not alone
I think a lot of us berate ourselves for having this “problem” because it just feels so ridiculous, doesn’t it? We’re not children anymore and we should be able to socialize like everyone else. But this is a common problem for a lot of people. So know that you’re definitely not alone in this.
Have any advice to add? Share below and then go out there and look a cashier in the eye!
Edited by Viveca Shearin