As a young adult, making friends can be difficult, even for extroverts. Talking to new people may seem pointless or daunting, especially if you can’t find something you share in common with them.
Though social media has made it easier to interact with people from all over the world, it has also harmed our social skills. Most people just want to update their “stories” and post on their “wall”, hoping for positive reactions without being interested in the person reacting.
And, as I realized after college, it is not enough to share your thoughts and feelings, you need to “connect” with the people you’re sharing with on a deeper level to reap the benefit of social interactions
That’s why in this piece, we’ll look into how to be social (both online, and in real life).
Who Is A Social Person, And Why You Need To Be One?
A social person is someone who likes being around others and enjoys spending time with friends. They somewhat feel happy and energized when they are with people and often participate in group activities and events that they find interesting. Although, sometimes, social people participate in social activities even if they don’t really like it.
Socializing is good because connecting with others is not just about avoiding loneliness or pleasing them, but improving the quality of your life as it enhances your memory, thinking abilities, and overall well-being.
Furthermore, being social is a gateway to different opportunities. If you are social, people are more likely to talk to you, listen to you, buy from you, respect your ideas, partner with you, or even help you.
Many people share similar challenges with you, and by socializing with them, you increase your chances of finding the solution to most of your troubles.
“It’s all about being a part of something in the community, socializing with people who share interests and coming together to help improve the world we live in.” – Zach Braff– Zach Braff
Socialization Barriers: Causes Of Poor Social Interaction
The reasons for not being social might be an outcome of various unhealthy factors, such as;
- Lack of social exposure or practice: If you spend most of your time isolated at home, rarely interacting with others, you may struggle to navigate social situations due to limited experience.
- Social anxiety or shyness: If you feel extremely nervous in social gatherings so that you find it hard to initiate conversations or join group activities, that anxiety may prevent you from comfortably engaging with others.
- Communication difficulties: If you are someone who frequently misinterprets body language, you might think every eye rolling is a response to something annoying or exasperating. And this may cause you to struggle with connecting with them or expressing yourself clearly.
- Environmental factor: Think of a child, who grew up in the Ghetto – where most of the social interactions are toxic or abusive. This child may grow up often uneasy when it comes to connecting with people, and this may hinder their ability to form connections later in life (even with their significant other).
- Learning or developmental disorders: Learning disorders that make it hard to read, spell, and understand words, can make it challenging to keep up with peers.
- Low Self-Esteem: if you constantly doubt yourself, believing you are unworthy of others’ attention or approval. You are likely to develop an inferior self-image which stops you from being assertive or social.
- Cultural or societal influences: Certain cultures and religions often discourage self-awareness and prioritize conformity over individual expression. For example, some cultures and religions encourage unhealthy dynamics such as patriarchy, and restrict the communication between opposite genders.
Being social requires taking a mix of freedom, intelligence, trust, respect, and vulnerability, but when a person’s safety, ability to think, trust, respect, or get vulnerable are compromised by certain circumstances, it becomes increasingly hard to socialize.
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Conversation Starters: What To Say And How To Say It
For the introverted, striking up a conversation might seem like a confrontation with a beast in the wild. However, with the right tools, you can overcome your fears
To do this;
Start with a friendly greeting:
Kick off the conversation with a genuine and friendly salutation like;
- “Good day, what’s up?”,
- “How you dey, guy/babe?”
- “Yo! Nice to meet you. What brings you here today?”
- “Hey, I couldn’t help but notice your awesome T-shirt. Mind sharing the story behind it?”
Find common ground:
Look for shared interests or experiences that can serve as a springboard for conversation. It’s like discovering a hidden cable that instantly connects you.
- “Omo, I bin see you dy rock Attack On Titan T-shirt. Are you an Otaku (Anime Lover)?”
- “I noticed you’re carrying a camera. Are you into photography?”
- “I overheard you talking about a book. Do you love reading?”
Ask open-ended questions:
Ask questions that require more than one-word answers, as it invites the other person to share their thoughts and experiences. For example;
- “Wait’ng dy give you joy to do?”
- “If you could teleport to any time and place in history, which one would it be and why?”
- “Tell me about a passion project or a side hustle you’re currently pursuing.”
Practice active listening:
Engage in attentive listening, leaning in to soak up their words and displaying genuine interest in what they have to say.
- “That your song sweet! Oboy, I go like hear more.”
- “I can sense your passion shining through. What sparked your interest in that?”
- “I completely resonate with what you’re sharing. Can you elaborate on how it impacted you personally?”
Share your own experiences:
When the time feels right, sprinkle in personal anecdotes or stories that relate to the topic at hand. It adds depth and vulnerability to the conversation.
- “You’re into traveling? I remember when I enter Lagos. That place na better place to dy.”
- “That movie you mentioned? It blew my mind too! I remember being on the edge of my seat the whole time.”
- “I used to play football too, and man, it was an incredible mix of intense competition and pure joy.”
Be mindful of non-verbal cues:
Pay attention to their body language and facial expressions, such as;
- Tight Fist
- Pouting lips
- Crossed legs
- Squinted brow
Because they offer valuable clues about their emotions and level of engagement.
So, subtly observe or mirror their body language to establish a sense of connection and understanding.
Be respectful and considerate:
Acknowledge and validate their viewpoints, even if they differ from your own. It fosters a sense of mutual respect and allows for a more enriching exchange.
- For example; “I no see am that way. Wait’ng you just talk make sense ooh”
- “Your insights on this matter are valuable, and I appreciate you sharing them with me.”
- “It’s clear we have different opinions, but I admire your ability to articulate yours so well.”
Use humor when appropriate:
Lighten the mood with a well-timed joke or playful comment. Laughter is a fantastic way to create an instant connection and break down barriers.
- “Why bicycle easily dy fall over? Na Because e two-tired.”
- “I told my girlfriend she should embrace her mistakes. She gave me a hug.”
“Great conversations always spark in a genuine interest to recognize and know the other person’s story and, therefore, recognizing and understanding and celebrating their humanity.”– Janet Mock
5 things to say to make your conversations more interesting
Tell them your thoughts
“I was just thinking about you.”
” You popped into my thoughts”
“I’ve been reminiscing about the times we spent together. ”
A simple sentence yet remarkably powerful. It could melt hearts and evoke feelings of nostalgia and appreciation because almost everyone desires to be remembered.
Use it to spark curiosity, leading the other person to ask why you were thinking of them. Be genuine in your intentions and share positive memories you have of the person.
Ask for their opinion
“How about you?”
“What would you say?”
“I’d love to hear your take on it.”
These kinds of words boost conversation and friendliness. It encourages the other person to share personal information in return.
Use it after sharing or responding to foster compassion and learn more about others.
“You are so interesting.”
“You have a lot of depth.”
“You have a unique charm.”
Once you’ve shown genuine concern, go further by complimenting the person and accentuating their inherent fascination.
Everyone has a unique perspective shaped by different influences, which makes them interesting. By acknowledging and expressing this, you uplift others and boost your self-confidence.
Show Interest in their thoughts and ideas
“You were saying something impressive before the call came in.”
“It is so enjoyable to talk with you. You are a funny and smart person.”
“You have a fascinating mind. Chats with you are beyond this world.”
Highlight the intriguing aspects of someone’s conversation or personality with this versatile phrase. Seek the good in them. Complimenting them boosts their confidence and yours, fostering open expression.
Appreciate their ideas and efforts
“Hey, your ideas are a lifesaver.”
“Thank you, I wouldn’t have done great on my own.”
“I can’t believe it took you a few hours to complete a two-day task, remarkably.”
Make others feel like the smartest person in the room. Because valuing another person’s intellect creates an environment that nurtures their enthusiasm, and a stronger bond.
To do this;
- Be an attentive listener.
- Genuinely care about what the person might be saying.
- Acknowledge that you don’t know everything.
- Embrace humour to lighten the atmosphere.
In essence, to make conversations engaging and enthralling, genuinely acknowledge and appreciate others, creating an atmosphere for authentic connections.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”– Dale Carnegie
Conclusion: Be Social, Make Great Friends, And Thrive
To truly thrive, we need more than just ourselves. Connecting with other people around may not always be easy, but our collective and individual success relies on our ability to work together rather than in isolation.
It is our social-biological responsibility to seek ways to coexist, socialize, and build lasting bonds for our own benefit and the betterment of future generations.
So embrace this duty, like a newly initiated scout, because it’s a necessary skill for personal growth, fulfilment, and meaningful friendships.
Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Being Social
Is It Okay Not To Be Social?
Being a non-social person is cool. We all have unique inclinations and comfort zones for socializing. Introversion is a normal thing and you don’t have to be ashamed of it.
Prioritize your well-being. If social interaction causes you genuine distress, then you don’t have to force yourself. Antisocial or asocial tendencies may be due to external factors that can be addressed if identified, so also consider how your environment is affecting you.
What are some common social interaction mistakes?
- Excessive talking
- Interrupting others
- Poor listening skills
- Lack of awareness of body language.
- Disrespect for differing viewpoints.
What is the difference between an introvert and an asocial person?
An Introvert is someone who is more inward-focused and gains energy from spending time alone. They may enjoy social interactions but need more downtime and solitude to recharge. They may prefer small gatherings or one-on-one interactions over large groups and may feel drained after prolonged social engagement.
While an Asocial person is someone who actively avoids or lacks interest in social interactions and prefers solitude. They may not feel the need for socializing or find it unappealing or draining. Unlike introverts, who may still value social connections but need breaks, asocial individuals tend to have little to no desire for social engagement and may feel content in their own company.
Have more questions? Drop them in the comments section. Thanks.
A mindful self-help writer and photographer