Building good relationships with other people can greatly reduce stress and anxiety in your life. In fact, improving your social support is linked to better mental health in general, since having good friends can act as a “buffer” for feelings of anxiety and low mood. This is especially true if you are socially anxious and desperately want to make friends but are either too fearful to do so or are unsure about how to reach out to others. As a result of these anxious feelings, you may even be avoiding social situations
In Body Language, I teach how to decipher the two key body language signals : “Comfort” and “Discomfort.” I explain how to respond when someone is comfortable or uncomfortable, and also show you how to use your own body language to send positive messages.
Conversation is your guide to smooth, comfortable conversation. I explain how the principle of “Inspiration and Invitation” enables you to have smooth, enjoyable conversation with anyone, on any topic.
Support Your Friends
It’s important to be there for your friends when they are struggling. In Support Your Friends, I share helpful tips that will prepare you to support others.
lack of good social skills can make life lonely, causing anxiety and depression. We get depressed and anxious when we don’t meet our fundamental human needs. And the need to socialize, to connect with others is fundamental. We all need social contact. But it’s a trap to assume that you either have social skills or you don’t.
Sure, some people find it easier to naturally relax around people, talk and listen confidently. But like any set of skills, social skills can be learned, honed and developed by anyone. And social skills training are a vital part of building confidence.
But what are social skills? I’ve made a list here of some of the most important:
Regardless of how many social skills you have; if you’re anxious then your brain won’t work properly. It’s always harder to think and speak clearly when we become agitated. So calming down is vital. But relaxing in social situations helps in another way too.
If your body and face give the unconscious message that you’re nervous, it will be more difficult for others to relax with you making harder for you to build rapport with them.
People make a huge mistake though when they assume that gaining good social skills is just about starting to speak well.
“When you had dinner with Gladstone, you were left feeling that he was the most charming person you had ever met. But after dinner with Disraeli, you felt that you were the wittiest, the most intelligent, the most charming person.”
Dr Warren Bennis PhD, University of California
The best social situations are the ones in which you actually forget about yourself and become focused on what is going on and other people. A major social skill is being able to focus outward.
Rapport is a state of understanding or connection that occurs in a good social interaction. It says basically “I am like you, we understand each other”. Rapport occurs on an unconscious level, and when it happens between two people you can see it because, the language, speech patterns, body movement and posture of the two people seem to mirror and match.
Rapport is an unconscious process, but it can be increased as part of social skills training.
Talking about yourself too much and too early can be a major turn-off for the other party in conversation. Good initial small-talk is often characterized by discussion of subjects not personal to either party, or by an exchanging of personal views in a balanced way. Immediately describing your deepest desires and darkest fears to a stranger may freak them out.
However, as conversations and relationships progress, disclosing personal facts (small, non-emotional ones first!) leads to a feeling of getting to know each other.
If you don’t look at someone when you are talking or listening to them, they’ll feel:
- You are ignoring them
- You are untrustworthy
- You don’t like the look of them (!)
This doesn’t mean you have to stare at them. Too much eye contact too early on in a relationship can be unsettling too.
Research on attractiveness has shown (not surprisingly) that smiling whilst looking directly at someone makes you appear much more attractive (1)
Don’t lament not being naturally confident or socially able; rather, instead, seek to enhance your social skills for a better life.
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