Some people have it easy – they swan around parties, sprinkling bits of their personality onto people who can’t help but fall for them, whether it’s as a friend or something more. However, if it seems as if the social butterflies learned a lesson in primary school while you were sick at home. If that’s the case then this article is for you.
Human beings are instinctively social animals. It’s natural to feel alone or lonely when isolated from others. In fact, according to neuroscientist John Cacioppo, “The absence of social connection triggers the same primal alarm bells as hunger, thirst, and physical pain.”
Put simply: Humans don’t do well when they are alone for an extended period of time.
With lockdown, we’ve shielded and isolated ourselves from others, spending a lot of time in our own company. Those who suffer from loneliness - whether it’s due to the global pandemic or whether you’re just normally a lonely person - often have a form of “performance anxiety” and when they do have the opportunity to socialize, their ability to interact with others are impaired.
Being vague with co-workers about what you did over the weekend because you have no friends is not so bad, but this pattern can really set you back when you prioritize concealing your loneliness over spending time in company. Turning down an invitation because you think that everyone will figure out that you have no life if you show up alone, will ultimately leave you guarded and closed-off, allowing your lack of social life to leak into your personality.
So, what to do? First of all, having a slow social life is nothing to be ashamed of. It happens to most people in some point of their lives. They move to a new city or maybe they got distracted by work or a serious relationship for a few years, and now realize they have no one to hang out with.
However, it’s emotionally painful to be more socially isolated than you’d like. So, be honest with yourself about what your social needs are and try to actually meet them. Once you’ve made a friend or two, you’ll be able to build the rest of your social life from a more relaxed headspace.
Here’s the thing, you can’t get passed loneliness if you’re not getting out there and doing what you need to do. This means showing up at events where you can meet people and starting conversations. Here’s a little tip: People like to talk about themselves and what they do. We as humans have so much in common, emotionally, and psychologically … we’re pretty much all in the same cosmic boat.
When it comes to overcoming social awkwardness, practise makes perfect. Simply follow the template to make friends. Pay a compliment and ask questions. That’s it. Batman or Superman? could be a great ice breaker.
If you’re confident in your own skin, people will notice and like you, even if you feel you’re not the superstar of the group. Remember, we’re all wired differently and it’s okay to be the quiet one. No one expects you to talk all the time. When you want to say something, do so without a fuss, then feel free to get your hush on again.
So, every once in a while, say yes when you want to say no. You never know when you might meet someone special or make a memory.
Source: bbc.com, oprahdaily.com, womenshealthmag.com, au.reachout.com, dailymail.co.uk, psychalive.org, goodtherapy.org, succeedsocially.com
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.