Being socially connected is important for our mental and emotional health, but it’s not easy if you are shy, and can be quite lonely.
“Loneliness is not only emotionally painful; it can harm your health. It’s a risk factor for a host of problems: high blood pressure; sleep problems; decreased ability to deal with the stress of daily life; and the body’s reduced ability to handle inflammation, leading to conditions such as atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and tendinitis, as well as a weakened immune system, so you’re more susceptible to illness” according to Web MD.
Loneliness could motivate you to start socializing, but It’s awkward to be around people we don’t know and sometimes we struggle for something to say.
It’s normal for a shy person, in a social situation, to be embarrassed or feel like they are being judged, come across as boring, or fear rejection.
Many people don’t want to put forth the effort because they don’t want to be stuck in an anxiety driven situation.
They’d rather be at home, yet being at home is lonely so what’s a person supposed to do? Sounds like a Catch 22 to me.
If you really want to combat the loneliness, here’s the secret!
Get out there and “fake it till you make it”!
Consciously put yourself in situations where you’ll meet others, even if it’s uncomfortable.
You could start with something simple like the grocery store or the gym, and work your way up to attending a party.
Trust me, I know it’s a hard thing to do, because I’ve battled shyness my entire life!
Here are some things that have helped me at parties and out in the world:
Give A Compliment!
What I’ve learned in these situations is to give a compliment on what someone is wearing.
You could say “nice shoes, where did you get them?”
I once asked someone standing in line at Costco if I could take a picture of their shoes?
She gladly said “yes”.
Ask Open Ended Questions!
When you meet others, ask open ended questions which don’t require yes or no answers.
People love to talk about themselves.
Genuinely be interested!
If the story is relatable, you can share a similar story.
Plan Conversation Topics!
When attending a party, plan some conversation topics.
Brush up on topics that you know the people at the party would be interested in talking about, like the weather or current events.
Never show up without at least six things to talk about.
You could even write down keywords and keep them in your pocket.
Always Have a Way Out!
Just knowing that you are allowed to leave at anytime is helpful when you are at a party.
You can even tell the host that you are only staying for a little while and then see how it goes.
I’ve done this at a couple of different gatherings and it worked out great.
The hosts are normally just happy that you made the effort to show up!
Add Music and Games!
When I throw parties, I always make sure that there is music playing and that everyone is involved in some kind of game, or shared activity.
People like to be busy and it really helps us shy folks!
Who knows, maybe after doing this a while, you’ll end up with a new friend!.
I’d love to hear if any of the ideas in this post helped you.