Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again. -Og Mandino
When entering new situations, it's normal to feel a little uncomfortable and stressed. Some people are naturally outgoing and adapt with no trouble, but others have a harder time making conversation and feeling comfortable around strangers. Fortunately, if you're a person who struggles in new environments, you can take a few simple steps that'll make a big difference in your social life.
Try these tips to make the most of social situations so you can feel comfortable around strangers:
1. Bring a friend. A good way to be more comfortable around strangers is to have someone with you that you already know. If your friend is more outgoing, he or she can help you easily mix into groups and conversations. If possible, find someone you already know who's in the group and hang with them. Odds are good that they'll talk to others and include you in the conversation.
2. Talk about things you like. A funny thing about conversation is that you never struggle to talk about things you're passionate about. Look to blend yourself into groups that are already talking about things you like, and the event will go much more smoothly.
3. Stay away from alcohol. It can be tempting to take a drink or two to take the edge off of the pressure you feel in social situations. Unfortunately, alcohol impairs your judgment and often leads to bad decisions. You want to stay as alert and in control as possible. So pass up the drinks until you've overcome the nerves and become comfortable with your surroundings.
4. Find someone like you. One of the biggest challenges shy people face in new environments is feeling like they don't belong. It can seem daunting to fit in when your mind is telling you all the reasons you should be embarrassed. But if you look for someone like you, you can rest easy knowing that you're both nervous so you can help each other to adapt to the social pressure you both feel.
5. Find a place to sit. If you're at a house party, the couch is a great place for people to gather. You can sit down and just listen to other people talk. When you have something you want to add, you can jump in. Other times, people will notice and acknowledge you so you can feel like you're a part of the conversation. If there's a counter or bar, find a spot and make yourself comfortable there. You won't look out of place, and someone will likely join you for some interesting conversation.
6. Give it time. Most of the time, the anxiety you feel around new people will go away. The discomfort you feel from the new place and unfamiliar faces will, in time, give way to interesting encounters and fascinating conversations if you give it a chance.
Thankfully, you can make the most of social situations even if you're introverted. All it takes is a willingness to leave your comfort zone in favor of the enriching experience of meeting new and interesting people.
Find someone who's just as nervous and strike up a conversation. Or find a place to sit and let the conversation come to you. The most important thing is that you overcome the fear and stress that's inside you and realize that the effort is worth it. Soon, you'll be more at ease in social situations, gain more friends, and experience deeper relationships than you ever thought possible.
For over 25 years in the health care profession, Lisa Birnesser has studied stress relief techniques and have helped hundreds of people reduce stress in their lives. Lisa specializes in stress management coaching by helping people do what matters most every day.