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How to be More Socially Confident and Find New Opportunities

by eharmony Editorial Team - November 22, 2023

Social confidence can be tricky when we’re interacting. This has become a particularly modern trend given how we tend to be stuck to our devices engaging with content and people on social media, but often neglecting face-to-face interactions and many let their mental reflexes for how to be more social and confident in real-life settings wane somewhat.  

So, let’s take a look at the notions behind self-confidence, how it can vary depending on certain settings and just general advice on how to be more socially confident in your everyday life.  

What makes someone socially confident

What is social confidence? In basic terms it’s our innate ability to feel comfortable and self-assured in social settings, communicating with natural fluency and engaging authentically with both crowds and individuals. 

This isn’t about extroversion. Even when looking at how to be more socially confident as an introvert, it’s not about holding a room rapt but rather about your ability to be comfortable in your own skin when interacting. Self-confident people aren’t affected but rather exude naturalness. 

Confidence can have quite profound benefits to your social life. It lets you not only build stronger connections with the people but also helps weather those times when things aren’t going well. 

When trying to find out how to be more socially confident, it’s often at its core a mode of expression. It’s not just about winning people over but also has practical benefits like pushing through communication barriers and avoiding misunderstanding.  

A byproduct of this is a greater sense of self-esteem, as you navigate social situations more effectively. This naturalness also opens you up to many more dating opportunities, as you feel less reserved about approaching people, conveying your personality and making your romantic intentions known. 

The roles self-awareness plays in social confidence 

The first step when looking at how to be more socially confident is self-knowledge. When you’re interacting with other people, try to look at how you react in these situations. What are your common thought patterns, what emotions do you feel and what common behaviors of yours typically define these interactions? This self-knowledge and introspection can help you better grapple with and overcome some of the insecurities standing in your way. 

Here are some techniques to enhance self-awareness. 

  • Practice mindfulness and presence in social situations, taking note of quirks that affect your interactions. 
  • Keep a journal. This will help you distinguish between which daily events you have on autopilot and which are you actively engaging in. 
  • Be more assertive in your social interactions.  Don’t just go with it, but rather test the waters of expressing your genuine opinion and being comfortable with whatever reaction you get.  

How to be more socially confident by overcoming social anxiety and shyness

Social anxiety and shyness can be one of the toughest obstacles to get past when figuring out how to become more social. It can feel psychologically overwhelming. These often relate to a fear of rejection, past trauma, low self-esteem, and poor communication skills. 

To attenuate these physiological reactions, try deep breathing exercises and indulge in positive affirmations daily. 

Here are some practical tips for how to deal with shyness and social anxiety: 

  • Initiate tiny interactions daily to expand your comfort zone. For instance, you could offer a stranger a compliment (ensure it’s appropriate though) and see how they react. 
  • Try to smile more in social interactions. It often puts the other person at ease and promotes empathy in conversations. A recent study found that smiling in social situations can create more high-value outcomes1
  • Set your own pace for exposing yourself to these situations. Never rush your natural process.  

Tip 1: Adopt a positive self-image and create a pathway to self-acceptance

When trying to figure out how to be more outgoing, you can’t underestimate the unbreakable connection between self-confidence to self-image. You can’t project a notion of confidence without being at ease with yourself. 

This isn’t about having an over-inflated view of yourself but rather self-acceptance. Learn to embrace not only your strengths but all the other things that make you unique.  

Here are some ways you can develop a more positive mindset. 

  • Try to cut down on negative self-talk. We all make mistakes but letting your internal dialogue become too toxic can impact your self-image.  
  • Make a list of things you like and dislike about yourself. Can these negative things be changed or are they just part of your personality? 
  • Take care of your personal appearance. Try to practice good hygiene, change your clothes regularly and just generally consistently project the way you want others to see you. 

Tip 2: Develop healthy and effective communication skills

Having clear and effective communication skills is essential to creating a notion of understanding, leading to a foundation for deeper connectivity. 

Tying this to how to be more socially confident, this includes active listening where you try to root out the deeper meaning of their words, assertiveness and being clearer and more direct in your interactions.  

Here are some basic tips for building on your communication skills. 

  • Practice curiosity in conversations. Don’t just talk about yourself but rather probe more deeply into people’s statements.  
  • Establish a rapport with the other person by being present. Maintain eye contact and really try to hear what they’re saying and incorporate that perspective into your responses.  
  • Body language plays a large role in communication so make sure your arms aren’t crossed, that you aren’t fiddling with objects and or using negative hand gestures in interactions.  

Tip 3: Build positively on empathy and connectivity

As people, we tend to instinctively feel when others are expressing genuine empathy and interest. When looking at how to be more social and confident in situations, it’s important to remember that the best interactions are about how you and others connect, not just the possible social opportunity. 

 Here are some approaches you can use to foster greater empathy and connectivity in interactions.  

  • Listen actively in conversations. This involves three steps: focusing your attention solely on the person, trying to understand not just the words but the message and being thoughtful in your responses. 
  • Be empathetic in your responses. Avoid platitudes or just shallow observations and try to convey that you genuinely share and empathize with their words.  
  • Don’t be afraid to go a little deeper once you feel comfortable with the person. While small talk can be fun, meaningful connections are built on intimacy.     

How to be more outgoing while navigating social settings and networking

Feeling more confident at social gatherings, parties, or networking events can be tough as the group dynamic can often compound your sense of social anxiety. 

Try to be bolder about joining group discussions and individuals. Don’t be afraid to initially rely on small talk cliches like common interests. If it’s a group, try taking a minute or two to take the temperature of the conversation and how you could join it. 

Here are some more practical tips.  

  • Ask open-ended questions and try to dig deeper and show genuine interest in their responses.  
  • Don’t take rejection personally. Not everyone is open to new connections but don’t let it dissuade you from trying again.  
  • If you feel a meaningful connection don’t be afraid to take it further. Ask for their contact details or to make plans at a later date.   

How to be more socially confident while dating and its impact

While approaching people socially can feel natural enough, doing it with romantic intentions tends to be more nerve-wracking, stirring up fears of rejection and judgment.  

When looking at how to become more social from a dating perspective, it’s important to not take rejection universally. One negative response isn’t representative of your dating potential. Try to reframe it that you took a chance and went for it, regardless of whether it was successful or not.  

Here are tips for facing your social fears and building resilience. 

  • Take small steps. Try just starting a simple conversation with someone who sparks your interest and see how you react to it. 
  • Try performing small acts of kindness for people like giving them a compliment. A study found that these acts can significantly reduce social avoidance in people2.   
  • Avoid social coping strategies like self-deprecation and alcohol. These not only ironically create greater social distance but hinder your ability to learn genuine social skills.  

Get an overview about how to be more confident

We look on healthy and constructive ways like how to be more confident in yourself so you can authentically enrich your interactions with colleagues, friends, social circles and, hopefully, your romantic interactions too.  

Self-confidence is about being comfortable with you are

When trying to find ways  to be more socially confident, it can essentially be broken down into practicing empathy, being kinder to yourself in your self-image and the willingness to take a chance and try to connect with somebody.  

Move at your own pace, taking small but still affirming steps towards reducing social anxiety and being willing to step out of your comfort zone. You can reinforce these efforts with small exercises like exposure therapy, role-playing with friends or joining formal social groups for people with similar interests.  

But you can’t achieve everything in one day, so it’s important to also practice resilience – even in the face of rejection – and to take time to celebrate those small victories, even if it was just a casual five-minute chat in a supermarket. The important thing is growth.  

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