10 lifehacks for socially awkward people

Some of us are cool. The rest of us, uh, are reading this article while eating lunch alone at our desks for the second week in a row. 

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Some of us are cool. The rest of us, uh, are reading this article while eating lunch alone at our desks for the second week in a row.

Social finesse doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and it’s impossible to learn it overnight. But there are lots of little things you can do to build up your people skills so that you feel more confident at the end of the day. And when you let that confidence build up, we can guarantee you that you won’t feel socially awkward at all.

Continue reading to see our easy “lifehacks” to bypass your awkwardness:

1. When making small talk, practice FORD
If there’s one thing awkward people absolutely dread, it’s small talk. How do you connect with a total stranger? How do you move from one topic to another?

It’s simple. Use FORD: Family/Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams. Think of a couple generic questions for each category and then get started. Once you get past talk of the weather, you can ask the person about any of these things and the conversation will eventually take off.

“But wait! Aren’t these topics kind of…personal?” you ask. Not necessarily. Keep in mind that most people LOVE talking about themselves. You want to come off as interested, not nosy, so keep your questions as inoffensive as possible. For starters:

- “How long have you worked at this company?”
- “How did you get into this line of work?”
- “Have you been watching the World Cup?”
- “Do you have any children?” (In the day and age of smartphones, it’s so easy for the person to whip out his phone and start showing off his kids. Problem solved).

2. Practice Cognitive Reframing
Cognitive Reframing is a psychological technique that helps change the way you perceive bad situations.  Making conversation is stressful. And we all know the physical symptoms of stress: an increased heart rate, sweaty palms, and a sour stomach. But did you ever notice how similar these are to symptoms of extreme excitement? This is exactly how you would physically feel before getting on a roller coaster or going on a date with someone you really like. So the next time you have to make friends in a room full of strangers, think of the experience as a challenge, not a threat. Our brains are programmed to go into “fight or flight” mode, so start thinking of awkward small talk as something you can tackle, not something you should avoid.

3. Don’t do dinner dates
Dates are nerve-wrecking enough when you’re socially adept, let alone when you’re a little bit shy. So instead of meeting at a restaurant, where you’ve bee invariably forced to make awkward small talk in a closed space for two hours, go somewhere with a lot of activity so that you can draw experience from your surroundings. Bowling, skating, the zoo, the park, and the museum all work wonders when you need to break the ice. And if you do take a woman out to dinner, make sure it’s a restaurant you have been to before. Nothing’s weirder than when she asks you what’s good, only for you to reply that you don’t know

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