Confidence. One of those oh-so-elusive things at the times we need it most.
I’m sure I’m not alone in finding it a little anxiety-inducing to have to enter a room full of strangers. I admit that I still find unfamiliar social situations a challenge but many times I have pushed myself to face the fear head on. A couple of examples include when I travelled alone to Italy to be an au pair for a family I had never met before as well as more common situations such as weddings where I knew very few of the other guests beforehand.
Yes, having to find the confidence to meet new people in social situations is unavoidable at times, so here are some strategies you could follow:
Visualise What Might Happen
…and anticipate likely questions, so that you can think about potential answers beforehand, as well as questions to ask the other person. For example when your child starts school, think what the other parents may ask you at the school gates. You could make a mental note to ask them whether they have any older children at the school and heather there is a PTA.
Seek Out a Friendly Face
If you attend a party alone, quickly scan the room for someone who looks friendly and approachable. Without delay (to give yourself time to change your mind), stroll over to them with a smile and say hello. An easy ice breaker is to ask them how they know the hostess. Then you can ask a few questions about them or compliment them on something they are wearing. Most people are happy to talk about themselves and also enjoy having the pressure off having to think of their own questions!
Accept Compliments With Grace
If someone offers you a compliment, just smile and thank them. Resist the urge to downplay it by adding “what, this old thing?!”. That would only lower the energy to a more negative level and make the complimenter wonder why they bothered.
Wear Bright Colours
They can have a positive psychological impact on our mood when we look in the mirror and make us look more approachable, too.
Be Mindful of Your Body Language
Crossed arms may make you feel safer but they say “don’t approach me”. Instead, aim for open body language with relaxed arms or gesticulate with your hands to show friendliness and confidence. If you have side pockets you could loosely keep your hands in them.
Spritz on a Favourite Scent
Studies show that women gain instant confidence by wearing their preferred scent. Carry a travel sized bottle to top it up later as needed.
It is Usually Worth Making Making the Effort
Scary though it can be, it is usually worth making the effort. You may even make some great new friends and make long-lasting memories. The more experience you gain in the types of situations you find difficult, the more easier you will find it to cope with future situations.
Do you have any of your own tips for increasing your confidence in social situations? I would love to hear them in the comments section below.