Are you ready to take your first steps onto the path of getting and enjoying a social life? Well, before you try making friends with anyone else, there is one thing that you must do:
Make Friends With Yourself First: 3 Things You Need To Do Before You Venture Out Into The Social World
1 – Ignore The Past: Learn From It and Move On
Now, you might be wondering what it means to be friends with yourself first before you can become friends with anyone else. Well, the first thing you must do is stop blaming yourself for past failures – whether the actions were caused by you or not – when you had a social life.
You think that you should have done better years ago? Take invitations and show up at parties more often? Not to refuse to hang out with your pals from back then? Behave more socially in school and keep in touch with your classmates when the school was over? Be not that picky about people around you? Don’t turn down the offer of that girl to become her boyfriend (Damn, I did it twice!)?
Probably you’ve been dwelling on those mistakes, figuring out what it could be that turned you into a social leper. Here’s what you need to understand: you could have done everything different and still not have had a happy social life. Life is not a guarantee!
Keep in mind that if you did spend more time socializing, your grades would have suffered tremendously. And, when your grades suffer, it’s less likely you’d be accepted into a good college or mastering some kind of skill. Thus, you wouldn’t be in a career, making good money. And, yes, you would spend time regretting that too!
It’s only now that you believe what happened in the past has influenced your present negative situation. And, you’ll never know what it would be like if you had behaved in an entirely different way.
Of course, it’s wise to refer to your past for purpose of learning from the mistakes you have made in order to avoid the same ones in the future. However, don’t dwell on the bygone days too much. Let the past be the past.
2 – Claim Your Right To Be Social
If you feel that your social skills are far behind everybody else’s, then you may consider yourself as the one who doesn’t deserve the joy of socializing at all. Perhaps you think that it’s too late to start. Now hear this: You are not doomed to spend your days alone despite those low self-esteem thoughts circulating your head. It’s time to be a little bit egoistic. It’s time to present yourself as a person who deserves to have a fulfilling social life.
3 – Trust Yourself As You Would Your Friends
Would you trust your best friend? No doubt the answer to that would be yes. Thus, you must trust yourself. Don’t wait for others to come and save you from your loneliness. You have everything you need to become the person you want to. Start taking action today and you will succeed. Because, you can do it!
Don’t expect other people to give you that well-packaged social life. You are the only person who can get it!
Now it’s time to move away from the more philosophical thoughts and onto the practical advice.
Three Things You Can Do To Jumpstart Your Social Life
1 – Get Yourself Out Of The House
If you’re going to have any kind of social life, you need to step away from the house and GET OUT! Now, you might think there’s nothing to get you out of the house for. But, really, you don’t need a reason to get out of the house. Just leave for the sake of leaving! Get out of the house and roam the streets of your town for up to one hour (60 minutes). Really, it’s a good start!
Here are some ideas that you can do while you’re out and about:
– Take a walk with no destination in mind.
– Take a walk down the busiest street of your city to plunge into the atmosphere of movement and action
– Go to a café (check out my article to get some advice on how to start going to cafes)
– Go to the movies
– Ride a bike
– Go bowling
– Go to the mall
– On weekend – Travel by car, train or bus to a nearby city.
– Other (whatever you can think of)
If your workdays are rather busy, be sure to take advantage of it on the weekends. If that’s hard for you, then schedule for just one time a week. Put the schedule in front of you to make sure you don’t forget about your appointments. The point is to turn the getting-out-of-your-house idea into a habit.
2 – Get Curious
When you begin leaving your house on a regular basis, start taking some interest into what’s going on around your town. (I’ve already mentioned this topic in the article Topics to Talk About With People You Don’t Know Quite Well.)
During your walk, pay attention to your surroundings. What’s new in your neighborhood? What’s been taking down? What do you see? When heading home from your work or study, change the route you usually follow in order to pass through the town’s other streets.
If you’re passing by a new mall or store, take a moment to get acquainted with it. Go inside and wander around. The same applies to the places like new café or restaurant. Find time in your schedule to visit those places (the sooner the better).
What do the posters around the mall say? Are they advertising music concerts, art exhibitions, etc.? Be sure to check them out every now and then, even if you’re not really interested in them. After all, showing up at these kinds of events will provide you with a bunch of topics to bring up in a conversation.
If there’s a new movie showing, watch it in the theater. You may want to watch it on DVD later on but, while the movie is brand new, people are likely to be talking about it. They may even ask you if you’ve seen it and if it’s worth the time to check out.
This same theory applies to vehicles. If you have driver’s license, you can sign up for a test drive at the nearby car dealership. Then, if someone you know is in the market for a new vehicle, provide him/her a subjective opinion on your test drive vehicle.
It may not make sense to you right now…doing any one of these things! But, it’s a huge benefit later on. After all, when you meet someone, you have great starter topics to carry on a conversation. With all this “useless” knowledge, you can give people advice and, in time, become even more socialized.
3 – Exercise
Last, but certainly not least, you can begin exercising to help you through those tough times. There are a number of physical activities you can choose:
– Gym workouts
Check out the article “If Everything’s a Mess, Lean on the Physical” to get a better idea of this option.
Begin Small To See Big Changes
It’s quite natural to want everything to happen for you right now! However, life is bit more complex. Very seldom do you get everything you want right away. You must be patient and persistence if you want to build your social up from nothing.
You’re probably dreaming of your social status tomorrow. You have 100 or more friends in your address book, with everyone agreeing to spend time with you. And, this dream will ensure you keep working toward that goal. Be realistic; you’re not going into a super social person overnight.
You might be a little discouraged by what I’m saying but there’s a method to the madness. You might be tempted to skip every piece of advice given. You might want to jump right to the advanced level of socializing right away. You might do really well and everything turns out really good. However, it can also lead to failure. Why? You failed to spend enough time on creating a solid foundation of the basic social skills. You may be overwhelmed by it all and refuse to continue improving your skills. This is what you don’t want to do.
Here’s an analogy to remember: When hitting a gym for the first time, do you start with lifting the heaviest weights? Probably not! After all, you don’t want to break a bone. This is the same approach you need to put into your social life.
I wouldn’t pay so much attention to this if I hadn’t of made the same exact mistake. Let me share with you my story:
When I was just beginning, I made getting a girlfriend my main goal. But, I failed! Why? It’s because I don’t bother getting the basic social experience before I moved onto the next level. I couldn’t hold conversations because I didn’t have enough information on basic topics. I had no idea where to take women out on dates. I was performing, badly!
Then I chose to set aside that “girlfriend goal” and focus my attention on becoming socially savvy. When I broached the topic later on, I did much better!
What does this all mean? It means don’t bite off more than you can chew. Take baby steps and see yourself progress even further.
What does it all mean?
The core idea of the initial step is to turn yourself from a needy reacting person into the active, self-contained social unit; one who can enjoy being on his own. When you meet a person or join a group of people, you’ll be able to act as a peer (with just a little bit less experience behind you). You will be able to contribute to the social group too.
Here’s one more personal story for you: I dreamed of going to a U2 concert. However, I wasn’t looking for someone to join me. I had taken a trip to another country to see the show by myself and I got a lot of enjoyment from it on my own. That journey not only gave me the good story to tell; but, it also provided me with the valuable experience.
Get out of a low self-esteem mindset. Only you can do this… no one else can do it for you!
June 8th, 2012. Revised: August 2nd, 2012