One of the gifts you can give yourself is to improve your social skills. Knowing how to make new friends and how to feel confident around strangers is very important to your self-esteem and emotional well-being. 

The lack of social skills and loneliness go hand in hand, and if you don`t think loneliness is a problem, think again. Loneliness is quickly turning to be an epidemic and has many negative effects on your mental, and physical, health. According to Cigna’s 2018 U.S. Loneliness Index, 46 percent of American adults say they feel alone some or all the time.

I wasn`t always the most-talkative or the most confident kid at school. I was lonely, but luckily I realized early on this had to change. So, I spent the rest of my childhood years trying to crack the code to awesomeness, It wasn`t plain easy since I had to learn through trial and error.

1. Reconnect with your old buddies.

There are so many benefits to connecting with your old friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. First, there`s less resistance to connecting with them. Just shoot them an email and offer to connect. 

According to studies, the average Facebook user now has about 388 friends. If you nudge 70 old friends, 20 will respond, and seven will be glad to catch up with you. If you can go out three times with these seven friends, then you`re soon to be one of their inner circle.

Second, your conversation skills are like your muscles, the more you work them, the stronger they get. The average person speaks 12 minutes a day which isn`t enough to build proper social skills. So, talking to your friends will hone your skills so the next time you talk to a stranger, you have better things to say.

The key is to NOT feel ashamed about contacting your old buddies. Everyone feels lonely from time to time, including them, and it`s bold from you to contact them after those years. If you don`t know what to say, copy this: “Hey, X. I was watching/thinking about (something related to them/their hobbies) when I remembered you. Let`s get together any time this week/month.“

2. Release the Kraken.

“Once you`ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.” – Tyrion Lannister

I`m short —5’6— the same as most of my friends who are great with people. How do I get away with it? I embrace it, exaggerate it and laugh about it. When a friend or a date try to test my coolness with a naughty comment, I pass.

The problem with shy people is that they feel ashamed for the wrong reasons. Society has programmed you to flaw yourself for not looking, talking or behaving in a certain way. They stick a chip on your shoulder that says, “I`ll never be perfect. I`ll never be good enough.” That chip drains you emotionally and makes you believe imperfection is something to run away from —which you can`t, because nobody`s perfect, no matter how hard they try.

So, what do confident people do? They embrace their un-shameful insecurities in a bold, funny way without caring about being rejected —which will rarely happen. Remember what Eminem did with Papa Doc in 8 Mile? He exposed all his weaknesses, made fun of them and left poor Doc on the stage, speechless.

I used to feel slightly insecure about my short history with women which affected how I approached new dates. However, my confidence got a dramatic boost the moment I started embracing that lack of sexual experience. In fact, I flipped it around and used it to tell my dates that a newbie is more likely to work twice as hard to compensate. That`s a win-win deal.

3. Tell no white lies.

The most powerful way to become bolder and more confident is to tell fewer white lies —and I mean drop 80 percent of them.
Unnecessary lies damage self-confidence cause they make you say things you don`t believe in just cause you`re afraid of what people might say of you. You`ll cover things up, but it doesn`t feel good. Not as good as telling the truth. So, I want you to practice telling the truth more often:

  • Say, I forgot to send the email like you told me and I`m sorry for that.
  • Tell your sister, I was late because I felt kind of lazy to leave my bed.
  • And tell your friend you had to break your promise with them because it felt more convincing.
  • Try as hard as you can to tell the truth and be confrontational. It may feel a bit intimidating, but it will do miracles to your confidence.

4. Talk to everyone.

Talk to everyone you meet; male or female, young or old, gay or straight, attractive or unattractive — the more the better. There are two main reasons for talking to as many people as possible:

A. To increase your Emotional Intelligence — You`ll begin to understand better what people fear, love and hate. You`ll listen to different points of view and will see the world through new lenses which will affect the way you think and how you solve a problem. You will also begin to connect with people on a deeper level which, according to studies, will improve your relationships and, as studies claim, your bank account.

B. To prepare for opportunities — Talk to as many people as possible, especially kids and old people. From my experience talking to thousands of people, the more you talk to older people (especially from the opposite sex), the more confident you`ll be around the younger ones. And, the goofier you are around kids and toddlers, the funnier you`ll be around adults.

5. Get yourself together.

You need to work on yourself and get yourself together so you have enough confidence to override any physical or monetary insecurities you think you may have. Things that boost confidence are high self-discipline, a great work ethic and a huge desire to improve. 

Confidence comes from winning, and those small wins you achieve every day by working on yourself, meeting your goals and progressing in life will make you feel good about yourself which, by default, will make you more confident around people.

Originally published at