So you're awkward — that's OK. A lot of extremely successful people had issues in social situations and had to overcome that, too. Maybe you're an introvert or just shy, but there are some ways you can hide your awkwardness in social situations. These are extremely important tips for you to keep in mind especially when you're trying to network:
- Pretend everyone's your good friend: You're supercomfortable with your best friend, so try to imagine the stranger as your good friend. You'll smile more and be more friendly than you're used to and that will work in your favor.
- Just think about the worst scenario: OK, so the worst thing that could happen is you won't click with the person and you won't see them again. Now, that's not so bad is it? If you're not going to see them again, why would you care so much about what they think about you? Tell yourself this every time you're feeling awkward.
- Be presentable: People can be fooled by a very shiny exterior, and if you present yourself well, people will assume you have better social skills than you actually have.
- Be authentic: People gravitate toward authenticity. Stop trying to impress people and sound smart and you'll find people warming up to you.
- But have a filter: Although you're trying to be authentic, remember to have a filter lest you say something inappropriate. There are some things you just don't talk about with people you don't know well, and try to figure out what they are by observing people with good social skills. Ask your friends to give you feedback as well. Or think back on times when you felt awkward and try to remember what you said to see if it was an appropriate comment.
- And be observant: When you crack a joke and people don't laugh or give you strange looks, it's probably best not to continue. Make note of what happened, so you won't do something similar again. Sometimes, you can even dispel the awkwardness by saying, "Wow, I'm sorry, that joke was a fail!" You should also learn to distinguish the difference between forced, polite laughter and genuine laughter.
- Be kind: Treat every single person as if they are important and be kind to everyone. Always be the bigger person, even if you're dealing with someone rude, and you'll find that you won't get as stressed out in social situations.
- Have empathy and curiosity: At the heart of it all, people want other people to care about them and validate them. Having empathy means having the ability to put yourself in other people's shoes. You'll understand why something excites them, and seeing it through their eyes will spark some genuine interest in you as well.