Tag Archives: express yourself

5 False Beliefs About Dancing In A Club Which May Keep You From Having Fun On The Dance Floor

Have you ever found yourself in a club watching other people dancing, but at the same time hesitating to join them?

Here are some common false beliefs that may keep you from having fun on the dance floor. Consciously acknowledging them as ones may help you to finally get on the floor next time you’re in a nightclub.

I MUST dance if I’m at a club

Probably, the most typical one. One of the reasons why socially awkward people may avoid going to a club is because they are sure they have to dance once they’re inside. Continue reading 5 False Beliefs About Dancing In A Club Which May Keep You From Having Fun On The Dance Floor

How to Stop Caring About What Strangers Think About You

Have you ever kept yourself from doing something because you worried what other people around would think about you?

Perhaps, that was something as innocent as blowing your nose loudly in a cafe. Or you wanted to start a conversation with a girl in a bus, but got scared that other passengers would not approve your initiative. What if someone would consider you too annoying or impudent, right?!

To some degree, everybody is afraid to “lose face”. Unfortunately, sometimes we let this fear go way too far. Continue reading How to Stop Caring About What Strangers Think About You

I’m not good enough

Morpheus: What If I Told You You Are Good Enough.

I am not good enough – a common excuse for inaction, isn’t it? It doesn’t matter what area of life we’re talking about. This excuse is universal.

It may take different shapes like “I’m not ready” or “I am not prepared”, but it’s still the same.

I am not good enough to start a business. I am not good enough to apply for that job. I am not good enough to make friends with that cool person. I am not good enough to ask that girl out. Continue reading I’m not good enough

Do You Communicate Clearly and Assertively?

Have you ever noticed how open and straightforward confident people are? They rarely resort to any subtle implications when trying to convey their thoughts and viewpoint to other people.

On the other hand, socially reserved person would be beating about the bush, sometimes infinitely, with no result.

There are cases when gentle approach and manipulative speech constructions may be quite useful. But is it really that effective?

Manuel J. Smith, in his book “When I Say No, I Feel Guilty”, insists that the more assertive you are, the easier it becomes for you to resolve social conflicts and attain what you actually desire.

However, this article does not describe any of techniques from that book (I’m only halfway through it, so I’ll review it later – when I’m done reading it. However, even by now it’s a safe bet to say that this book is the most helpful and insightful book I’ve read in the last couple years so far.)

The tips I want to share with you in this article are based on the points I’ve grasped from the book “Outliers” (please, check my book review here).

Mitigated speech

Linguists use a special term to describe such a soft way of communication – “mitigated speech”.

We use mitigated speech when we want to be polite, less assertive, gentle to other people.

For example, when you’re talking to a teacher, you are likely to use mitigated speech in order to be respectful to his/her authority and experience. You don’t say: “I want you to check my homework right now!” It’s impolite, irreverent and even unacceptable for some cultures. Instead, you go with something like: “I’m sorry for disturbing you, but I would like to ask you to check my homework as soon as you have some free time”.

When we want to avoid any sharp edges in a conversation, express our complaisance toward an interlocutor we use mitigated speech to, quoting the book, “downplay or sugarcoat the meaning of what is being said”.

Of course, there are situations when the mitigated speech is very effective and even a necessary condition to get what you want, but I think you agree, that socially insecure people use it way too often. In many life situations it is not only of no help, but makes you lose actually.

The linguists Ute Fischer and Judith Orasanu offer at least 6 ways to express your thoughts, using different level of mitigation. In the book I reference to, the following mitigated speech gradation is given in application to the safety of air flights, however, we can make good use of it by applying it to social interactions we are involved in on everyday basis.

So here’s an adapted to some social situation version of the mitigation spectrum.

  1. Command: This level is the most straightforward one. You don’t say, you literally give a command to the other person. No mitigation is involved here. Let’s consider an example. You and your friends are deciding which place to visit this evening. Someone asks: “Where do we go tonight?” You want to go to the X bar. The sentence “We go to the X bar.” – is the most direct way to make your intention clear to your friends yet be assertive.
  2. Obligation Statement: “I think we need to go to the X bar.” The use of “I think” and “we need” makes the whole phrase gentler.
  3. Suggestion: “Let’s go to the X bar.” The use of the pronoun “we” is less explicit here.
  4. Query: “Would you like to go to the X bar?” This sentence is more mitigated as you let your friends decide.
  5. Preference: “I think it would be great to go the X bar.” “Would” makes the phrase sound wishy-washy. Your friends may simply (and rightfully) ignore it, as it doesn’t even state any question.
  6. Hint: “The X bar seems to be a good place to visit.” The most mitigated level of expressing what you want.

Do you communicate clearly and assertively, or are you used to express your thoughts, opinions and desires ambiguously instead? Are you being too humble when it’s not necessary and even harms the conversation? Are you easily manipulated into doing something you don’t want to do?

Try to be more direct and assertive when expressing your ideas and intentions. Assertiveness is not aggression. It’s a powerful way to resolve social conflicts and raise your self-esteem with no fighting.

As with every social skill, adopting those pieces of advice may take some time and practice (and courage), but as a result, it will inevitably improve your social life on a bigger scale.