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Humans are social creatures. We were designed to survive in large numbers, and when we are alone, we suffer. As a species, we need to have friends around us in order to feel healthy, well, and centered.
People don't actually realize how bad being alone is. Social isolation and ostracism are so toxic to us, they actually light up the centers of our brains linked with pain.
The worst part about being a loner is how it can harm your social skills and confidence. It seems like socializing is a "use it or lose it" thing. If you have been feeling the pangs of loneliness, there's some good news. You can become more social fairly quickly. These lifehacks show you how to do it.
Pretend you're already friends with strangers.
People have a tendency of copying the energies that others send out to them, unless they're picking up on desperation. The easiest way to get a connection with someone is to just act like you've known them for years and that you're so excited to see them.
When you give people the vibe that you're always happy to see them, they will mirror it and like hanging out around you more.
Don't wait to be asked to hang out.
A lot of people out there feel uncomfortable asking others to chill for the first time, simply because they don't know how the other person will react. They may not have the confidence to ask others, or just may not be aware that others would want to befriend them.
One of the easiest ways to become more social is to simply reach out to people you've already been chatting with. Just asking them to hang out can be a huge change in how often you go out with friends.
Legitimately be interested in the people you talk to.
People aren't stupid. They know when a person wants to be their friend just to avoid loneliness. It's not attractive, nor does that make people feel particularly good about hanging out with you.
The most common way they pick up on this behavior is when they notice you're not really listening to what they're saying. If you want to be more social, stop caring about what comes out of your mouth and start listening.
This shows people that you're engaged. People love the spotlight, and if you give them attention and interest, you'll be in great shape.
Pessmists will have a much harder time making friends, simply because of their grouchy nature. Those who look on the darker side of life tend to inadvertently push people away.
People who have a negative outlook tend to be viewed as mean, non-sociable, or just plain not-fun to be around. Studies have shown that imparting good news on strangers tends to make strangers think highly of them.
If you feel like complaining, just keep your mouth shut—even if you feel like the thing you're upset about is pretty pressing. If you can, be optimistic. Or, fake it till you make it.
Learn to fake confidence, or better, actually gain it.
The easiest way to become more social is to move with confidence, but clearly, that's easier said than done. Most people will only get good self-esteem after having an awesome social life or achieving major life goals.
I know how hard it is to be insecure and social. If you're trying to get through the best self-help books for low-self esteem, you can't exactly expect to see that confidence oozing out of every pore.
Conveying confidence, on the other hand, is a lot easier than getting it. Heck, even avoiding the most common things that people who are happy with themselves never do can do wonders.
Take time to train yourself to display body language that suggests confidence. Things like standing tall, maintaining eye contact, or even having a smile can help you win people over.
However, there's a thin line with this. Too much confidence can attract fake friends and users. So, make sure to be humbly confident.
If you want to get someone to like you more, ask for a favor.
This is known as the "Benjamin Franklin Effect," and it's actually been proven by science. Simply put, people like doing nice things for people because they tend to subconsciously believe that person would do the same for them.
Something as simple as asking to borrow a pen, then thanking a person for it, can help build a rapport. Ben Franklin himself used this in diplomacy.
Acknowledge random people.
Did you ever wonder how some people just seem to have friends everywhere they go? It's probably because they used this trick to make friends.
When you're walking around or going out to a venue, make eye contact with others and acknowledge them with a smile and nod. If they return your smile, make an introduction or ask them a question to start talking to them.
This is super easy to do at music venues. Something as simple as, "What band did you come for?" will do wonders.
Memorize a joke, a card trick, and a cool way to open up a bottle.
One of the easiest ways to talk to people is to have skills that come in handy at a party. Things like telling a great joke, doing a cool card trick, or even just being handy at opening up those pesky beer bottles are great icebreakers.
Next time you're at a party or a bar, give this a try. You'll be surprised at how well this will work for you.
Practice being social once a week.
You're not going to make friends if you don't actually keep in touch with anyone you meet. Take time, once a week, to touch base with your contacts. You'll be surprised at how quickly you will end up getting close to people this way.
Oh, and make sure to take this practice outside, too. By actually being around people you will end up naturally honing your social skills.
Actually do things outside of talk to people.
There's a reason why people tell you that having cool hobbies will help you become more social. They are a great way to find new social events, improve social skills, and talk to people, maybe even make friends along the way.
They also act as a great topic to talk to people about. You really won't have much to talk about if you don't do anything, right?
If you want to make new friends or come up with a new way to bond with people, give other hobbies a try. Anything from kickboxing to raving can be a good hobby to have—and a great way to meet people!