Overcoming social anxiety and becoming more confident in yourself around other folks can be a rather long and tedious process. However, if you don’t put forth this extra effort in improving your social skills, you won’t be super sociable overnight. It’s just not going to happen!
If you are to be more sociable, you must throw yourself into social situations of all kinds. You will have to deal with a number of social cases. It’ll be difficult but it can be done! Don’t run from it. Rather, face it head on! Practice your social skills as often as possible. Yes, you’ll screw up every now and then. But, remember, it’s not your successes but your failures that makes your communication skills grow.
If you want to start improving your social skills – but have no idea where to go – you need the right job to help you get going. Job? Yes, job! What kind of job should you have to improve your social skills? It’s the kind of job that allows you to overcome your social anxiety and become a much more sociable person.
Perhaps you are a student – living with your parents or alone (no roommates). After classes, you go home. The students in your class are likely heading back to their dormitories where they socialize. Maybe it’s your environment and lifestyle that doesn’t allow for you to enjoy social situations as much as you’d like.
You may already have a job; but, is it the right job for you? Does your job help you to reach your goals of becoming more sociable, overcoming shyness and develop your social skills?
Do you spend a good chunk of your working hour talking to various folks – face to face? Are you just sitting in front of a computer monitor with no one to talk to? Do you need to talk with clients or do you get a task from your manager that must be done by yourself?
Maybe you don’t work in a traditional job. Maybe you are a freelancer who works at home. How many hours a day do you spend around folks? Unless you have to go somewhere, you’re probably homebound.
If you don’t have a job, you should get one. Why is that? When you have a job, you’re around people more often. Of course, if you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone right away, it’s fine. The goal is to get yourself out of the non-sociable environment and into a social one.
At work, you have the chance to speak with colleagues. Rather you actually talk to them or not, you’re in the environment where a random chat is likely. If someone is talking about a topic and you have something to say about it, speak up. If somebody asks for your opinion, go ahead and give it.
As you learn more about your co-workers, you can go onto the next step, which is to start communicating with them on a regular basis. Take a stance and start making your own conversations.
For instance, every so often ask professional advice or state an interesting fact about the profession – something you’ve heard or read – to your colleagues. If a colleague has shared his/her plans with you, consider asking them how they are going.
This is a soft approach to boosting your self-confidence and overcoming social anxiety.
A second approach to overcome social anxiety is to get a job where you must talk to strangers or clients face-to-face. You may feel more fear with this approach but it’s far more effective. Thus, you’ll get the results you want quicker.
Until you must communicate with folks, you have the option to talk or not. If it must be done, you’re likely to overcome any type of social anxiety and fear. If you don’t, you’ll lose your job!
Here’s an example for you:
My first job was to connect the end-users to the Internet. I would come to a client’s house, make some adjustments and explain the basics of using a web browser. I had to make about five to 10 connections per day on average. Although I was dealing with computers, I was also talking as part of my obligation, which included explaining some key points regarding the work of the Internet to the user.
With a job that forces you to communicate, you can become more confident in yourself and feel less anxious. Plus, the money you make from your job will allow you to participate in social events and activities – night clubs, cafes, etc.
What kind of job should you have to develop your social skills?
1 - You need to have a traditional job – one that cannot be done solely from home and demands you to go to work at a mall, factory, office, etc. You need a job that gets you out of the home on a regular basis.
2 – You need several colleagues at your place of employment. It’s best if they are close to your age and are of both genders.
3 – You need a job that enables you to interact with clients that needs work done. This gives you an inexhaustible stream of people you can communicate with. It’s great if you can communicate with them face-to-face although Facebook, instant messengers and Skype are still other forms of worthwhile communication.
Keep in mind that these criteria are based on the assumption that becoming more sociable is your top priority goal. You should not consider money or career ambitions. Later on, you can make adjustments to your career – switching if you feel the need to. Your primary focus should be overcoming your anxiety and shyness and develop your communication skills.
You may not do well on that job; but, remember, you’re not working for money or bonuses. Rather, you are working it to gain experience in socialization and overcome your social anxiety.
The best job you find is one that allows you to interact with both the co-workers and clients. For instance, you could find a position in the sales or service industry. You may not like it but it’s only temporary – if you want it to be. The idea is to boost your social skills, and these kinds of jobs can help you with that goal. Work them for a couple of months and quit but you’ll leave there with better social skills.
Here’s an example from my background:
As a programmer, I had no choice but to sit behind a computer screen all day long. I literally had no communication with other people. The last time I went looking for a job, I wanted something that allowed me to use my programming skills and speak to people too.
My solution was working as a local accounting system software support. The application I support is installed in the majority of my town’s companies and enterprises. Thus, I had a wide list of clients.
My obligation is to move from one company to another, helping users to solve their problems regarding the application’s functioning. As you see, I get to meet and talk with various folks all day long, every day. And, I don’t stay in one place all day, which means I’m in fresh environment.
It’s true that you might be overwhelmed with the constant communication but don’t let that stop you from getting the socializing experience.
As I stated already, try to avoid the jobs that allow you to stay at home or doesn’t allow you to communicate with folks on a regular basis. If you don’t see yourself as a sociable person, you may feel more comfortable with this type of job. Don’t fall into this trap!
Working from home may be a very tempting idea. However, think of the lifestyle you’d have – freelance writer, freelance programmer, freelance web designer, etc.
It’s not the discipline. I believe if you really like what you do, you’ll make yourself do what needs to be done. Bear in mind that online communication is a substitute to the real thing. You must interact more with humans on a face-to-face issue if you are to overcome your shyness and anxiety.
There was a time when I went into freelancing, working from home through the Internet. And, because of that, my socializing dropped… significantly.
I had been warned by folks – had a quit my day job and work from home – that I would not be socializing as much. I thought to myself, “Well, I don’t have to stay at home all day long. I may meet my friends any time I wish.” The problem was that my friends were working their traditional jobs during the day and I liked to work during the second part of the day into the night. We never saw one another.
On top of that, working from home caused me to not find a good reason to get out except purchasing food at a nearby store. I literally spent most of my time in front of my monitor. Finally, I made the decision to find a traditional job where I had co-workers and dealt with clients.
If the only people you talk to during your day is the seller at the nearby grocery store or your relatives, then getting a job is a great way to start improving your situation. If you have a job; but, spend most of the day NOT socializing, consider quitting for a period of time. Find a job that involves intense communication with various people. Your social skills will make little to no progress unless you put yourself into circumstances that require you to socialize.
If you have some personal projects to work on, you might think that working from home is a good idea. The best thing you can do is work on those projects in your spare time – weekends – early mornings or evenings – while you spend a good chunk of your time at your daytime job.
Be sure you have a job that allows you to deal with people so that you don’t feel desperate in your desire for a social life. After all, it’ll give the communication amount you need every day. When you get home from work, you’ll be happy to have your own time.
And, the best thing of all is: you will make some great friends and may even meet your true love.
May 20th, 2012. Revised: January 10th, 2013