When it comes to conversation skills people with scope for improvement often share the same problem, they simply don’t get enough practice and without more time spent meeting people it is very difficult to get better. Let’s look at what you can do about this.
Rarely meet new people
If you can relate to the points I’ve made already it’s highly likely you avoid meeting new people or at the very least don’t make a point of meeting new people each week. Again, this is the opposite of what people with good social skills do. And, not surprisingly there is a natural consequence to this habit – people who rarely meet new people have less practice maintaining and improving social skills while socially active people maintain a high degree of skill and a high degree of confidence and readiness to socialize with friends and strangers alike. Over many years this results in one person being shy, cautious and unsure of what to say while another is confident, outgoing and liked by a wide range of people because of how easy it is to talk to him.
If you tend to keep to yourself and your small network of friends and family you’ll be safe and comfortable in your own world but you’ll never have sufficient opportunities to practice and develop your social skills and you won’t have enough chance encounters to meet good matches, people you can build lifelong friendships with. So, the solution to great conversation skills is quiet obvious when you look at it like this, you need to regard meeting new people as a positive experience: a way to meet matches and a way to develop your social skills based on a self-confidence that’s unshakeable because it’s based on skills not pretense.
Do you avoid meeting new people? How will you improve your conversation skills without practicing? Could you view meeting people as the way to gradually developing confidence?
Sticking with friends
A related habit is sticking to what you know and who you know. While it’s great to have an established group of close friends and familiar places you enjoy it can become so comfortable that you choose to avoid visiting new places whether that be different social venues, towns and cities, or even countries. Over time you can become overly cautious and set in your ways, this creeping normality then becomes the only way you live – you only go to a narrow range of places, and have the same conversations with the same group of people. While this is very comfortable and familiar it can also mean you are stuck in a rut.
If you want to expand your social life and cultivate social skills and confidence there is no avoiding the reality of what needs to be done – you need to sacrifice some of that established routine with the same friends and open your eyes to new places to go and new people to talk to. At first, this can seem daunting so it’s best to make the changes slowly and gradually. Maybe visit a new cafe or a new restaurant with a good friend just to change your typical routine. Then, another time you might sign up for an adult education course to learn a new skill you are interested in as well as to meet new people.
Start small, maintain your existing social circle, and over time proactively do new things to meet new people and you’ll find you get used to having new experiences to look forward to and eventually you’ll find it exhilarating rather than nerve wracking.
Do you spend most or all of your free time in the security of your established social circle and routine? Do you see how you are limiting the possibilities of meeting new people? Will you make a point of going to new places to meet new people either with or without a friend to tag along?
Avoid new places
While I touched on this issue in the last section I want to cover this in more detail because sticking with the familiar is a typical habit of the shy and socially timid. When you get into an established routine and only go to certain stores, cafes, restaurants and only vacation in certain destinations or types of resort life can seem very comfortable and safe but inadvertently you’re weakening your ability to handle novelty and you’re losing your natural ability to handle new situations and new people. For this reason it’s important for anyone looking to develop great social skills to mix it up a little.
Get in the habit of having new experiences in your life on a weekly basis. You don’t have to go it alone either, take a friend or partner with you but do make a point of getting used to experiencing and adapting to new situations and people. When you do, you’ll become more flexible in how you deal with people and more open to positive new encounters, you’ll lose rigid ideas about how people should behave and it gets easier and easier to adapt to whatever crops up during a conversation.
Again, it should be no surprise that this is exactly what socially confident people do, they get way more practice than a shy person and that’s the main reason why they have such good people skills. There’s nothing magical about it and thankfully you can copy their approach and improve your conversation skills little by little and even have a lot of fun going to new places and doing new things at the same time.
Do you tend to stick to your routine and avoid visiting new places? Could you make a point of introducing more variety into your life? Could you treat practice as essential to building good social skills?