7 Ways to Get Less…um…uh…Socially Awkward

“Hey, what’s up?”

“Good, how are you.”

If you’ve ever had a conversation like this, chances are you know what it’s like to feel socially awkward. While it can sometimes be a simple personality quirk, it also leads to discomfort, insecurity, and an inability to interact with other people.

They kind of sound like the side effects in a drug commercial.

But these “side effects” can be managed. There are ways to work through your social awkwardness, and even use your social awkwardness to make yourself more unique and interesting to other people.

So if you’ve ever felt like you couldn’t interact with people without making a fool of yourself, read some of these ways to become less socially awkward:


1. Pay attention to your presentation

Girl dressed in black dress

Unless you’re a member of a nudist colony, you probably agree that the way you dress plays a huge role in how people view you. But what you wear isn’t all about what other people see: it’s about how you feel as well.

Yes, wearing something that’s stylish, fits well, and draws attention can get you a long way, but if you don’t feel comfortable in it, that discomfort will transfer over to your social interactions. If you’re trying to change how you dress, don’t just go with the hottest trend, because it might not look natural on you. Pay attention to those around you (people on the street, TV stars, Sims characters), getting inspiration from a similar body type to yours. You don’t have to copy anyone, just pick the styles that you notice and be realistic about applying them to yourself. Wearing a tuxedo to a casual party will certainly turn heads, but people will just think you’re lost. Some safe options, like business casual for men, or a simple outfit for women, can make you look good, but also like you fit in.

And while we’re talking about how people see us, let’s not forget what’s right around the corner: the sense of smell. We don’t always think about it because it’s hard to notice on ourselves, but our scent is a major factor in how attractive we are to other people, in addition to being a great conversation starter. “You smell so good!” is a much better way to start a conversation than “I see you had garlic earlier today,” so pay attention to your basic hygiene. Brushing your teeth, using good deodorant, and showering regularly seem simple, but they work.

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2. Pick an interesting hobby

Person cycling

Becoming less socially awkward is something you work towards in your everyday life, and not just in individual moments. Consider it like preparing for a marathon or pie eating contest. While both of these are very different (one with much more lemon meringue than the other), they have one thing in common:

They take dedication.

And while the path to becoming less socially awkward doesn’t entail running hundreds of miles a month, or shoving banana cream pie down your throat, it may take significant lifestyle changes. Being less awkward involves having something interesting to say, and according to the Positivity Blog, “One good way to have something interesting to say is simply to lead an interesting life.”

So start doing fun things! You could start competing in marathons or pie eating contests, but if you want to be more socially competent, pick something that will come up naturally in conversation. Use your hobby to show how interesting you are, just make sure you’re also combining that hobby with being social. Being a computer expert can be interesting, but you can’t hack yourself into a social circle. And being an incredible chemist will pique some people’s interests, but you’ll never develop a formula to concoct new friends. There’s nothing wrong with being nerdy, of course, but it will help to develop a new set of social skills that you may not have paid attention to before.

Sometimes it’s hard to find a new hobby, or friends to do these activities with. This can be especially true when living in a new city. But apps like PlusOne Social can help you find platonic friends to connect with over improv, hiking, or maybe even a pie-eating club. The possibilities are endless!

☞ Try finding new friends on PlusOne Social App.


3. Ask friends for advice

Two girls on phone

Becoming less awkward requires an understanding of yourself, but how do you get that understanding? You could hire a private investigator to follow you around and tell you all the awkward things that you do, but that could end up getting a little expensive (and more than a little creepy). A cheaper and much easier option would be talking to those that know you better than yourself: your friends.

Your friends will give you an insight into your behavior that you never get to see, and they also won’t have trouble being honest with you. If they’re good friends, they’ll have your best interest at heart and will be able to give you advice without offending you. While all your friends will be able to help you out, consider asking friends of the opposite sex, who will be able to give you a unique perspective. This allows you to confront any social awkwardness you have, without having to leave your comfort zone.

Getting advice will help you with social awkwardness, because according to Succeed Socially, “by improving your skills and getting past your fears, you’ll rack up more positive experiences, which will naturally work to increase your confidence.”

PlusOne social is a great way to find friends that you can consult with, without the pressure of pursuing anything romantic. The app gives you the opportunity to have more practice in how you interact with other people!

☞ Try finding new friends on PlusOne Social App.


4. Keep conversation flowing

Business people talking

When you do get into those social situations, the best way to avoid awkwardness is to keep the conversation flowing. That means “no awkward pauses, forced segues, or fakey small talk,” according to Improve Your Social Skills. Sometimes that seems impossible, especially when there is nothing to talk about, but it’s often as simple as a few words. For instance, if someone asked you how many siblings you have, a bad response would be to simply say, “Three.”

A better response would be to say, “Three. But they’re all pirates,” because it creates room for a conversation.

The best response would be something like, “Three, and they’re all pirates! What about you, do you have any pirate siblings?” because it invites them to answer a question, making them feel more included in the conversation.

You most likely won’t be having a conversation about your siblings who are all pirates, but you can use that as an example for how to create a conversation that flows. It’s all about what you give the other person: if you don’t help them create a topic of conversation, they’re probably not going to want to talk to you.

☞ Try finding new friends on PlusOne Social App.


5. If something works, stick with it

Guy looking at self reflection mirror

Self-awareness is key when it comes to recognizing when you’re being awkward. When you’re interacting with someone who seems engaged in the conversation, continue doing what you’re doing, whatever that is.

That’s easier said than done, though, because it’s not always clear what works. So you need to pay attention to the one constant in every conversation you have: yourself. Do you illicit laughter? Do you promote intense intellectual conversations? Do people wag their tails whenever you mention treats? Sometimes there’s a subtle indication of what works, but with experience, you’ll be able to notice these cues.

If you pay attention, you’ll spot a pattern. It doesn’t take a lot, just a little self-reflection, and you can figure out what works.

☞ Try finding new friends on PlusOne Social App.


6. Know when something doesn’t work

White arrow on black road

It’s easy to forgive someone for acting strangely in a social situation. What’s hard to forgive is someone who goes too far, while refusing to acknowledge social cues. Being pushy often has the opposite of the intended effect, so if you do something that receives a bad reaction, stop it dead in its tracks.

Messing up socially doesn’t feel great, but the plus side is that it’s easy to tell when something doesn’t work. Maybe someone rolls their eyes. Maybe they walk away to talk to someone else. Maybe they answer a “phone call” and start talking into a banana. Whatever it is, it often feels like a punch in the gut, but it can be a great learning experience.

Just shake it off and try again. There will be plenty of opportunities to change!

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7. Be yourself

Person jumping

While this advice has mostly been about how to change yourself, none of that change will be authentic if you don’t stick to who you truly are.

While it’s good to always be adapting and evolving, people are going to be able to see through any change that is too sudden or unrealistic. So be yourself, but also the best part of yourself.

If you wanted to fit in with a school of fish, you wouldn’t do it by diving into the ocean and hoping that you will suddenly grow gills. That change would be unrealistic. The fish would know you didn’t fit in right away, as you choke and sputter right in front of them. A more realistic adaption would be if you used scuba gear. While you wouldn’t look just like the fish, what’s important is that you were able to breathe.

Being socially awkward can be a pain, but don’t forget that it’s what makes you unique. You can embrace that uniqueness or weirdness, and still engage in competent, productive social situations.

☞ Try finding new friends on PlusOne Social App.



Now turn off your computer, phone, and start working on yourself!

It won’t happen overnight, as changing your social behavior takes time. Focus on the small things, because you’ll overwhelm yourself if you try to change everything all at once. If you want to revamp your wardrobe, start with a new pair of pants, and work your way from there. One friend won’t have all the answers, so ask several people for advice. And you won’t become a professional conversationalist after one interaction, so focus on what you can control in one moment: the questions you ask, your body language, or your eye contact. If you commit to it you can make big strides!

If you liked or hated this article, please let us know. We would love to hear your comments. Also, try our app, PlusOne Social App. It connects you with other like-minded people for the purpose of finding friends and activity partners. Based on your interests, it will connect you to 15-20 new people every day.

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