With today being New Year’s Eve, I thought this would be a good opportunity to share some tips if you are going out tonight or to think about going out in the upcoming new year. This has gotten much easier and more fun for me but I can still remember back to when it felt just like I was still that little girl attending a school dance.
Not knowing what to say, what to do, who to talk to, and just feeling like everyone can see how vulnerable and out of place you are.
I’m here to tell you that you can go from shy, timid, and wanting to blend in, or to not even want to go, to getting excited and looking forward to these types of events.
You know the feeling when you first get out of a night out on the town? It is so comforting and the night starts out fun with food and television or a book (or computer), but then as the night goes on, you think about all the fun others are having.
You can see your future self liking all that stuff but not today. Today is another normal, lonely day.
It’s time to put your foot down. This is your time!
This article will help you go to your next social event with more confidence than your last. This is a skill that you can craft and improve the more you try and that is when you can really start to enjoy yourself and have more fun!
Now, I know what you’re thinking.
No, that is not what we are aiming to become. We are aiming to be ourselves, not someone we are not.
Somewhere in the distant middle is where we are headed together, with shy, timid mouse and one far end, and loud-and-acting-a-fool on the far, far other end. You will be cutting the edges off of the extremes and working your way towards the middle.
What’s in the middle?
A you that is calm, confident, funny, warm, and spontaneous with your own unique charisma and charm.
Be bold, not obnoxious.
Nothing beats anxiety or cuts through the thoughts like action. Get all fluff out of the way. Like what to wear, who is going, how you are going to do your hair, how you are going to get there, etc. These are not all necessarily important but by procrastinating and not planning these things, you may cause yourself some unneeded anxiety right before the event.
If you are going somewhere fancy, maybe consider Rent the Runway to rent a top notch dress to look your best. (Sorry guys, I don’t know the male counterpart to this). Shift around your hair appointment to the afternoon before an event if you can and that’s one less thing you have to do. I did this on accident one day and it gave me that little extra boost of confidence and time.
Go with a friend who understands you if you can. If not, then figure out who is already going and ask someone you trust if they will meet you there. Make it a goal to go up and talk to someone new or bring someone new to the conversation and don’t rely on your new friend to do all the work.
If you still end up going completely alone, don’t panic. You are alone in many situations in life and you can make it in this social event too. Yes, errands are a bit different but make it a goal to find something interesting once you get there.
Don’t hesitate, get out of your comfort zone and walk up to someone you know so they can introduce you to their friends.
Walk up to a group you do not know as well and find the right moment to introduce yourself. Don’t stand there alone. Immediately walk up to this group. Ask them how they know one another and let them take the reigns and bring you into their world. Just remember, all these people are just trying to fit in too. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to physically do, but the more you focus on others, the less you will think about these things.
Be bold and initiate new topics yourself. Lead the direction in some way by simply asking a question. People love talking about themselves and sharing their experiences when there is a prime opportunity.
Just try this one time and see it as something you can repeat again and again. Head on out to Google Alerts and find a few topics that capture your interest. For example, if you click on Entertainment you can see what’s going on in the world of entertainment. Sadly, a bunch of awesome people died this week so be aware of what’s going on and keep scrolling until you find something that catches your interest. Bring uplifting or interesting topics.
You could ask if they were excited about seeing an upcoming movie coming out and how great of an actor so and so is and see where it takes you. Gear the topic somewhat to the event or keep it broad and universal. You may want to avoid talking about science at a fashion party. You get the idea. Just having a snippet of information in your head is all you need. Jump around for 5 or 10 minutes. It’s fun.
Make polite small talk (ie what is going on in the world), compliment and become very interested in the other person. Show appreciation for their good qualities. Pay attention to their responses and keep the line of dialogue going until you can get beneath the surface. Make it a game to find something you have in common before you share much about yourself. Always put the focus back on the other person and give them the fuel to keep the conversation going.
Develop and practice an elevator pitch about yourself. I know it sounds hokey but the more you practice, the more natural you can be. Who are you to these people? What value can you bring? Be your best, confident, and sharp self because first impressions are important, whether it’s fair or not. This is not a sob story or an autobiography. Don’t ramble, just keep it short at 30 seconds or less. Get a piece of paper and consider what you do for work and what you do for fun. After you talk about yourself, remember again to put it back to the other person and ask more about them.
Focus on everyone else while realizing you are all on the same level. Don’t underestimate yourself and put other people on pedestals and expect that they are not waiting for you to fail. If they are, then that’s something more about them than you anyways and you don’t need them in your life. Get positive conversations going and as soon as the conversation starts to die down, tie it up politely and end on a positive note. Show appreciation for the conversation and tell them you’d like to talk again soon. Move on to another great conversation. Don’t look for approval from others, remember you are on the same level.
Get out of your head and focus on everything outside yourself. Make it a point to learn one personal thing about one stranger you meet, notice details about what another person is wearing, and spend a minute focusing on wanting someone you see, a complete stranger, to be happy and in your mind wish them happiness, and notice someone who smiles at you. Have a mental checklist in your head and make it a goal to complete these things. Soak all this in as opposed to avoiding it and allow it to make you feel better about the whole event. You got out of your head and your world here, and here, and there.
Skip or limit alcohol and other substances that will make you not yourself or do something you would not normally do. Say positive things to yourself and separate fact from fiction. Is it a fact that everyone is looking and judging you? How do you know this? Be positive in your mind and around others. Assume the best in others and project positive energy always.
Go into this not aiming to be perfect. If you say something that falls flat, how you handle it makes all the difference. You can’t be friends with everyone. Don’t worry about how successful you were at being likable. People don’t care. Don’t set crazy expectations on yourself or worry that you might mess up when meeting a potential soul mate or new best friend. Who needs that kind of pressure? Get your head out of the clouds and consider just having an enriching experience in the moment and walk away from the night with those feelings and how interested you became in others outside of yourself. You don’t need to measure up to anything or anyone. Life is too short and you will gain more confidence in yourself and gain respect when you no longer need it from others. Don’t seek approval outside yourself.
Acknowledge worry, that’s ok. Don’t try to not worry in the days and hours leading up to the event. Pretending your feelings away transforms them into something even less helpful. This event will come and go quickly and another will take it’s place. Recognize this. When you are at the event, if you get nervous, just let it happen and you will become more comfortable as you adjust and focus on being positive, uplifting, and genuine.
Decide before the event to get into a more optimistic point of mind. Let your true self shine through. To increase your level of calm confidence before the event, you can also exercise, write about a core value or a moment in your past that brings you confidence or gratitude, and do a wonder woman pose. Run to the restroom and do a wonder woman pose when you need a little confidence boost, just don’t let anyone see you, that would be weird. In the beginning, just remember to fake it until you make it. Smile, keep open and confident body language, use pauses for impact when you convey important points to bring them back in, make eye contact, breathe, and really listen to people. Keep your head up and believe in yourself.
When you get home, journal what worked and who you want to be ideally in the future. Create a vision for yourself that you can work towards.
Have fun and Happy New Year my new friend 🙂
I would love to hear whether or not you get nervous before a party and what you do to be your best self.
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