Life can be a challenge and trying to do everything alone can be even harder. We, as people, have an innate desire to connect. There’s enough loneliness in this world and unfortunately as people, we tend to be attracted to the great communicators and don’t bother with the socially awkward. So what can the socially awkward do? I’m here to help.
A little background before I dive in. This year I have put a lot of focus into building better relationships. I started this year as a quiet, sad individual who said too much and tried just a little too hard to make others like me. While I meant well, I was, how do i put it? Well, I was more or less perceived as an asshole by others. And guess what? Nobody likes assholes. So let’s go over the do’s and don’t to make sure others don’t see you as an asshole!
- Make assumptions – Once you start making assumptions of what others think of you, it’s game over. YOU aren’t the other person and I’ve found out the hard way that until you talk to the other person, you should assume your assumption is wrong until proven otherwise.
- Be Direct – Say what you need to say, beating around the bush only leads to further frustration. The longer you wait, the more opportunity there is for doubt to enter your mind. Time is precious and it shouldn’t be wasted playing a guessing game with the other party. So go ahead, say what you need to say!
- Try to control the relationship – Yes life is scary and we try to control as much as we can to give ourselves the illusion of stability. Control never ends well, especially when you try to do so with people. Relationships form naturally and if you try to force them, you won’t make any friends. Everyone is unique and nobody likes being told what to do.
- Genuinely Listen to Others – I used to think I was a great listener, but in truth, I wasn’t. I was simply going through the motions (nodding my head, smiling, laughing, etc.) all the while waiting for the other person to finish (or briefly pause) so that I could make my point. What I’ve had to train myself to do is not push my agenda, to chat with someone for the sake of them being heard. You have to be patient. Listen first, be engaged, and more often than not the other party will want to hear about you.
- cross your arms – Watch your body language! If you are someone who crosses their arms out of habit, train yourself to pop your hands in your pocket, lay them on the side, or whatever else you need to do. Closed vs. open body language. It may not seem like much, but having an open posture will go a long ways in making you seem approachable.
- Smile – So important! If you’re upset? Smile! If you’re sad? Smile. If you’re happy? Have an even bigger smile! Smiling goes much further than making others perceive you as more friendly. Smiling, one, makes you feel better. And two, it has the potential to make someone else’s crappy day great! You’d be amazed by the power of a smile. So, go ahead, smile at strangers, friends, and whoever you might see! Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself and watch the magic happen!
So there you have it. A few Do’s and Don’ts that will help you build better relationships! Remember, building genuine relationships takes time! It won’t happen over night! Keep at it and don’t lose hope!