Studies have shown that in the last 20 years, adults admitting to being lonely has doubled. One of the raging theories out there, is that while we have the ability to connect to everything in seconds through the internet and mobile devices…we are having a harder time connecting in person.
At times, there comes the paralyzing social anxiety and I shared how I deal with that. But when you get past that….
how do you ace a social situation?
1. Pick Your Poison – Hang out in places that reflect your interests.
Test your social skills by going to events and parties that revolve around your interests.
♥ Love books? Check out your local bookstore to find when authors are reading and stick around for the after mingling.
♥ Love music? Connect with forums online and make plans to have meet ups in person. Love – choose what things interest you – find people you have things in common with.
♥ Love themed parties? Check online listings and local newspapers/magazines to find things that appeal to you.
If you attend an event that is interesting to you, conversation will be easy with like-minded people who also share your interests.
2. Rock Your Storytelling Skills.
We all have stories to tell. If you step back from yourself for a moment and try and see your life story with new eyes – there will be some interesting gems in there.
Before heading out, while you’re getting ready, think of three stories that you might be able to tell if the conversation falls to that dreaded lull. Think of stories that might be funny, interesting or somehow connecting that you can throw down if needed. It’s so hard to remember these things at the spur of the moment – so think about it beforehand.
3. Be a Great Listener.
Steal this Tip: I was a Secret Agent.
Okay, not really…. but when I first got to New York City, I was overwhelmed by how many people live here. To overcome my fear at parties, I would play a game with myself by pretending I was a secret agent. My personal mission was to leave with three interesting gems of information from three different strangers. Like all gems, they must be dug for….that’s where your question asking ability can shine.
When you meet someone and they are telling you their story – take it in and ask further questions about things that interest you. Most people are comfortable with talking about themselves and it will get you into an easy and interesting conversation in no time. And if you’re nervous about interacting, it takes the focus off of you and puts it on to someone else.
4. Be Prepared for the “What Do You Do?” Question.
Speaking of questions…. the dreaded “What do you do?” question is the go-to question for people trying to start conversation. In my first few years in NYC, I took it to heart what they were asking. I would answer back that I was a student at NYU (with no further information) or I would tell them that I was a Temp.
Both of these answers of mine would leave them with not much to go on and weren’t particularly interesting – yet I would be confused when time after time, people would walk away from me minutes after this exchange.
Once I started learning how to feather fan dance and performed burlesque twice, I changed my answer. Sure, I was a temp, but I also performed burlesque and that was far more interesting. Even though I wasn’t making a living from it at the time, it was something I was doing and more importantly, something I was passionate about.
Be ready for this question by thinking of stuff you are doing or working on that you are really passionate about at this moment. If your job isn’t something you’re passionate about – don’t reveal it. They are asking what you do – so choose to answer this by telling them something exciting that you are up to.
5. Ditch the Cell Phone.
The moment you whip it out…you are escaping the party and saying, “I’m not available and this party doesn’t interest me enough.”
The other night, while I was out with my friend Sparkles, we looked up and all the people walking towards us were on their phones. The least appealing thing in the world is some zombies coming toward you staring into a lit box. Don’t cut yourself off from the physical world. Put the phone away until after the party is over.
What tips do you guys have to share for rocking out social situations? Do you have wildly bad social situation stories to share? Did you discover how to deal with talking to a bunch of people at a party?
Hit me in the comments!