As a former shy guy, I had no choice but to learn how to be socially confident.
If not, I wouldn’t have had any idea how to put myself out there. And my life would have been much lonelier.
Let me give you a clearer idea of how rough my situation was. My family and I immigrated to Canada from the Philippines when I was 17 years old. I didn’t really speak English at that point. And I was 60 lbs. overweight with crippling social anxiety.
After graduation, I got a job as a structural designer at an engineering company. That required me to sit in front of a computer 40 hours a week. My interactions with co-workers were limited to work-related questions.
Even though I was making good money, I was tortured by the feeling that something was missing. I knew that I was missing out on a big part of life because I couldn’t develop meaningful relationships.
I didn’t feel in control of my life and it frustrated the hell out of me. Finally, I was motivated to make a change.
Today – after many years of learning through trial and error – I have more confidence, more dates, and more friends.
By the way… my name is Myke Macapinlac and I help STEM professionals create meaningful connections in their personal, romantic, and professional lives.
I’m the host of the Social Confidence Mastery podcast where I interview a variety of experts to help listeners improve their social confidence. I’ve also published a variety of books on the subject.
In this post, I want to share my personal journey with you and my best tips on how you can successfully go from shy to social.
Tip 1: Learn The Fundamentals
You talk to people everyday. That’s why learning how to be socially confident is one of the best skills you’ll ever acquire.
Still, you may need help to see where the gaps in your social abilities lie and to find the best ways to improve them.
As a social skills coach, this is something that I’ve noticed with all my past students. They would tend to dedicate immense time and resources to learning technical skills – all while completely neglecting their communication skills.
To prove my point, consider this interesting bit of research: The average cost of college for the 2017–2018 school year was $20,770 for public schools (in-state) and $46,950 for nonprofit private schools.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for education to help you succeed professionally. But if you’re willing to invest in your career, why wouldn’t you do the same to help you succeed in building relationships with others?
Tip 2: Start Small
After working with hundreds of technically skilled guys in the past, I noticed that they shared one key factor that stopped them from making positive changes in their social lives: they were totally overwhelmed.
With so much information available online, it’s easy to get stuck in analysis paralysis. That’s why I recommend that you lower the bar for yourself, set small goals, and develop your social confidence one skill at a time. For example:
- If you’re a total beginner, focus on making eye contact and smiling at strangers when you’re out and about.
- After that, say hello and try to engage them in small talk.
- Once you’re comfortable doing that, see if you can hold a longer conversation.
This approach works because it teaches you systematically. You begin with something easy and keep doing it until you’re a pro. Once you feel comfortable, you can move on to the next step. Keep doing this until you reach your social goals.
Doing this is so important because nothing feels better than making progress. Start small, manage your expectations, and be patient. The results are worth it.
Tip 3: Allow for Errors
You will make mistakes. But not only is that OK, it’s also totally normal.
Have some self-compassion. Don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake. Remember, you’re doing the best you can in your current circumstances.
Watch out for negative self-talk and reframe it into something more encouraging. Be your own cheerleader and give yourself a pat on the back whenever you take positive action to reach your goals.
Your anxiety can get the best of you if you try to control things that you can’t. So focus on what you can do and let go of the rest.
When you adopt this mindset, you’ll find joy in your journey towards becoming more socially confident.
Tip 4: Change Your Environment
Be mindful of the company you keep – these individuals have a significant impact on the kind of person you become. With time, you’ll naturally adopt the mindset and behaviors of the people you’re around frequently.
So if you want to become more outgoing, talkative, and charismatic, keep company with socially confident people. Pay attention to how they think and how they do things. Be around them as much as possible and aspire to emulate them.
Tip 5: Seek Mentorship
The fastest way to get good at something is to find someone who has already achieved what you want and get them to show you how to reach the same goal.
Working with someone competent can get you to your goals much quicker because they’ll keep you accountable and give you specific feedback.
Reading books, listening to podcasts, and watching videos around this topic are all fine. There’s nothing wrong with self-education. But in my experience, my results skyrocketed when I decided to work with an expert.
Remember, time is your most valuable asset. We all have a strict budget of 24 hours a day. You can make the most of that precious resource and fast-track your social success by learning from someone who’s been in your situation and has achieved the results you want.
By working with a social skills coach, you’ll get to your goals much quicker than learning things on your own. You’ll save time, money, and the frustration of learning just through trial and error.
Let’s hear from you: I’m totally curious, which one of these tips are you going to try out? Tweet us here and let us know!