How to Not Be Antisocial (Beating Shyness to Become the Life of the Party)
One of the main things I say about dealing with shyness and social anxiety is getting that social exposure when you feel comfortable enough to do so (none of this ‘just get out there’ crap). Of course, this isn’t always so easy when shyness tends to lend itself to being pretty antisocial.
So let’s look at how to not be antisocial and make yourself the life of the party (it’s easier than you might think).
First up, you need to look at the actual meaning of being antisocial. I’m not generally big on labels (see my constant rant about shyness v social anxiety) but there’s an important distinction here. Normally, the problem isn’t that you’re being anti-social but that your shyness is making it hard for you to socialize.
This can absolutely come off as being anti-social to other people who expect you to act as they would.
I’ve been writing and coaching on shyness and social anxiety for years now. I’ve seen a lot of different solutions being offered and not only is this the absolute best (I’ve literally seen it change lives) – but it’s entirely free.
It takes a simple premise ‘how to talk to anyone’ and shows you how to do it. Once you can talk to people it gets a lot easier to get social exposure and that’s the real key to dealing with social anxiety. Cut the root of the problem away and the rest just evaporates.
The best part is Amazon gives you the ‘how to talk to anyone’ audiobook free when you sign up to a trial with Audible. Even if you cancel, you keep the whole book for free. So not only is it honestly the best answer I can give you – it doesn’t cost you anything. You can download it for yourself here and tell me in the contact page tomorrow how fired up you are to try it out.
The used definition of antisocial gets a bit hazy when you compare the actual definition and how it’s used but we’ll not get too bogged down in it here.
In general, the best thing to do is learning to deal with shyness and improve your social skills (which is always worth doing anyway). If you want to be more social but feel that shyness is holding you back then by removing that roadblock you’ll naturally find yourself being more social. And the more social you are – the more social opportunities you find yourself in.
There’s also some great advice in this answer:
A person is normally perceived as shy or introverted when he/ she is uncomfortable in the presence of others. The three common situations when a person exhibits his/ her shy introverted nature are:
- In the presence of authorities or people of a higher status / power
- In social situations e.g. in a wedding or a public meeting or an informal get-together / formal party
- In situations where one needs to be assertive .e.g. To go and make an inquiry or register a complaint
It is not necessary that a person has to be an extrovert in order to be bold i.e. not shy. Introverts are merely comfortable being aloof and prefer not to to interact with others but when required they are confident about themselves and bold enough to articulate / interact as required.
My suggestions are as under:
• Be prepared to converse with others. Unless you make up your mind to have an interaction with those around you, chances of you initiating a conversation would be very bleak. Your preparation could include mulling over how you would introduce yourself to others, being ready to respond to or participate in an ongoing conversation with interesting inputs, having an opinion without being too overbearing or forcefully in stating it etc.
• Listening is a critical skill that will help you participate meaningfully. Listen not just to the words but the tone, the underlying message and the passion of the speaker. This will give you clues as to how you can seamlessly and meaningfully contribute to the conversation.
• Ask open ended questions which are not loaded or biased. Ensure you do not ask questions which have a yes/ no answer. Instead ask questions that will prompt your listener to respond with his/ her views, thoughts, feelings etc.
• Be aware that current affairs and sports offer maximum opportunity to initiate a relatively non controversial conversation. Steer clear of politics/ religion/ sexist / controversial topics. Talks on the weather and criticism are best left out of any conversation. It would help you if are updated well and passionate about the topics you initiate or participate in.
• Learn the art of politely existing a group if the conversation is not of your interest or it has got stilted. It also helps you interact with a wider variety of people and you could find more meaningful conversations going on elsewhere.
• Take the opportunity to introduce a known person who as just arrived to the group you are conversing with. A line or two about the new persons expertise or specialty would enable the group to get a clue as to how to get the person involved in the conversation. The other person will also return you the favor an other time and it could open up channels of new conversations.
• Never hog the limelight by continuously talking. Those new to conversational skills could be under the mistaken notion that they have to keep the conversation going. Actually people are too polite to interrupt or intervene. So ideally have a couple of points to share and let other add or contribute.
• Be spontaneous not scholarly or academic. The art of conversation is being informal in your communication whilst sharing useful information. Do not use quotes and statistics or if required use it very sparingly in a conversation. Use simple language and avoid jargon as far as possible.
• Make eye contact with all in the group. While you may respond to a question or share an opinion in response an individuals observation or question, you have to make eye contact with all in the group so that they are involved in what you have to share.
• Do not read out from your mobile phone. The worst put off is pulling out your mobile to share a joke or a quote or an incident. It is a put off as you then lose eye contact with your group members and worse still there is no spontaneity in your contribution. In conversation, the key is to talk freely and be your human/ humane self.