We all experience social anxiety to a certain extent. Likewise, we all have areas of improvement in our social skills.
This video published by BuzzFeed shows a person embarking on a successful journey to improve his social skills.
Here are 12 insights on social anxiety and improving social skills that can be extracted from this video.
1. You can do something about your social skills. Having poor social skills is not a life long sentence. Although it might seem scary, improving your social skills is possible and easier than you might think.
2. Your thinking is part of the problem. Some scary and negative thoughts contribute to social anxiety and make social interactions difficult. Approaching a group of people while thinking “they are going to reject me” clearly complicates things. In addition, some beliefs about ourselves – for example “I’m awkward” – are problematic and might need to be addressed.
3. Your behaviour is part of the problem. Avoiding feared situations is the most natural thing to do. However, avoidance only reinforces an image of yourself as socially inadequate and maintains a vicious cycle in which you don’t learn how to be more socially comfortable and skilled.
4. Being professionally supported hugely facilitates things. Embarking on a journey to improve social skills and deal with social anxiety can be difficult and scary. By having a professional on your side you make sure that you do the right things, ease the journey and maximise the chances of success.
5. Adopting an “experiment” mindset is a necessity. In every process of personal development, it’s impossible to get everything right from the beginning. Learning new ways of thinking and behaving means trial and error. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Making mistakes is entirely fine. Awkward moments are pretty normal for everyone and don’t kill anyone.
6. Challenges are what we need. Without challenges, we don’t grow. Having a professional who works with you as a team ensures that your journey is challenging but not overwhelming – therefore doable and sustainable.
7. Responsibility for what happens in social interactions is always shared. Sometimes we have a tendency to think that if a social interaction doesn’t go as we imagined, we are to blame. In reality, how things go socially is always the result of how two or more persons interact. We never hold total responsibility, we just play our parts.
8. Mindfulness can be helpful in difficult moments. Sometimes we feel scared and have a tendency to freeze or go on autopilot. Needless to say, this tendency doesn’t help in social interactions. In these moments, being mindfully in contact with ourselves and our bodies can help to accept uncomfortable feelings and don’t make a big deal out of them. Mindfulness and acceptance, together with being aware of our values, can boost our commitment to actions that allow us to live a happier life. The Confidence Gap by Russ Harris illustrates this very well.
9. In order to do better in social situations, we don’t need to change who we are. We can still be ourselves, learn how to feel more comfortable in social situations and make better use social skills. Social skills are not sneaky tricks to portray a false image of yourself and manipulate people’s minds. Instead, they are skills to facilitate interactions and learn how to better relate to others.
10. Focusing on commonalities helps. It’s way to easy to dwell on how we are different from others and how that makes social interaction pointless. The truth is, we can always find commonalities that make interaction possible and even pleasant. Start conversations with something that other people have in common with you, or something they can relate to.
11. Resources are assets. Yes, social anxiety or a lack of social skills can be obstacles. They can even become a big problem. However, they don’t define who you are. You have strengths and resources too. Find out what these are and use them in your process of growth.
12. People surprise us. While in the mind of a socially anxious person people can be portrayed as unfriendly and difficult to deal with, in reality many people are nice and pleasant. Let yourself be surprised.
In summary, dealing with social anxiety and improving your social skills is possible. Although challenging, the journey can be fun and enriching. Finding the help of a professional can be crucial to succeed. While life coaching can help you to improve your social skills, therapy is the most appropriate option if you are dealing with social anxiety. CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is proven to be the most effective treatment for social anxiety.
Begin your journey towards social confidence now!
Read How To Start A Conversation And Make Friends to improve your social skills.
This book is a very helpful and easy-to-read guide to understanding and learning social skills. It is extremely practical and applicable.
Read Overcoming Social Anxiety & Shyness to deal with social anxiety.
A must-read for everyone experiencing social anxiety and shyness. This book is based on CBT and teaches you effective techniques to deal with your social anxiety.
I am an experienced CBT therapist, life coach and counsellor.
I have been working in private practice for years. I have also worked in private clinics and the NHS.
Although I specialise in the treatment of stess and anxiety, I have worked successfully with a variety of issues, such as low self-esteem, trauma and depression.
I have undertaken extensive professional training in both university settings and private colleges.
I am based in London (Balham SW12). I practice face-to-face and via Skype/FaceTime/telephone.
I am an accredited member of the National Counselling Society and a full member of the Association for Coaching.
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