This is a guest post by my friend Paul Sanders who write about overcoming shyness and making friends, at Get The Friends You Want .com
Today, I want to talk about socially awkward mistakes we make without even realizing. These mistakes ruin some chances for us to make new friends. If we stop making them, we might make a lot more interesting and cool friends.
Did this ever happen to you: You meet new people, socialize a little with them. Everyone seem to have fun and is interested in the conversation. After it ends, you think that you just made some new friends and that makes you happy.
A few days go by, and you realize that these people (or this one person) isn’t really motivated to hang out with you. He or she doesn’t call, email or text and when you reach out to them, they seem to be busy more often than not.
This is weird, because they seemed to have fun with you, last time, right?
Do they have too many friends already and can’t have more? Are they too superficial to hang out? Did you do something wrong?
Did you make a wrong first impression?
Well, there must have been SOMETHING wrong.
My guess is that you made a socially awkward mistake (a.k.a socially non-savvy mistake). Most socially awkward mistakes we make are subtle enough that we never realize we make them. We sure notice them in other people, but not in us, for some reason.
But if you know what mistakes NOT to make, that’s half the way to making great first impressions.
Where do these mistakes come from? Most of the time, we pick them up from other people. If we spent time with people that have some bad habits, we may develop some defense-like social habits that become socially unsavvy and make interesting people go away from our lives.
Also, smart people who spend too much time alone can also develop these mistakes unconsciously.
In order to get rid of these mistakes, we need to KNOW about them and NOTICE when we do them, so we can STOP them.
Just by being aware of these mistakes and avoiding them, you will prevent people from losing interest in you, or rejecting you. And that means you can be making a lot more interesting and cool friends that you need in your life.
Here are 5 socially awkward mistakes to always avoid :
1. Not Finishing Your Sentences.
This usually happens when you feel a little shy or intimidated. You feel a small pressure to not finish phrases.
This is something to stop doing immediately because it confuses other people and even makes them feel that you’re not putting any effort in the conversation.
And because your communication isn’t clear, they can’t relate to you. You seem different from them and a little hard to figure out. Not a good recipe for making new friends.
2. Talking Too Fast.
This usually happens in group conversations. If you’re a little nervous and don’t want to get cut by other people while you talk, it might happen to you.
It’s as if you’re trying to jam all the words in so you don’t lose people’s attention. Of course, this happens without you realizing it. And the irony is that, the faster you talk, the more inclined other people are to cut you off to make their point.
Instead, you can stay relaxed and express your opinions at your own pace. Add a smile and you’re fine! And if someone cuts you off, that’s okay, just come back to what you were saying when they finish.
3. Being Bold and Arrogant Instead of Confident.
This happens if you confuse confidence with arrogance. It happens when you want to make a good impression, but go too far with it.
It backfires, of course, because people just figure out that you’re overcompensating for your lack of confidence. It might not be true, but our instincts sometimes make us do what we don’t want to.
All you need to do is show calm and cool confidence, trying to impress too much sends all the bad signals.
4. Talking About Subjects That Only Interest You.
This usually happens to people who want to show their uniqueness. It’s a great thing to do, but you must never overdo it. Talking about what you enjoy doing is a good way to express who you are to new people, but you need to do it in a balanced way. Let other people talk about what they enjoy, too.
That way, they’ll know that you are capable of listening. And for you, it’s a great way to know quickly if the person is a good potential friend for you, or not. You can have an early idea, by just paying attention to what people talk about, once they get comfortable.
5. Acting Too Negative
If you’re annoyed or frustrated too much, try as hard as you can to get out of that mood, if you can’t (after a lot of trying), then leave. But don’t spoil things for others.
Sometimes, we think that because we are angry, somehow, we’re entitled to show it and share it with other people. That’s actually okay to do with your close friends. It’s when you do it with people you just meet that it becomes awkward. They just assume that you’re that way all the time.
And as we all know, interesting and cool people don’t like to hang out with complainers. Avoid making yourself look that way.