Loneliness breeds an immense number of thoughts. Few negative, fewer positive. That is why, being the 'social animals' that we are meant to be, we seek the company of others to eliminate the void in our lives. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, building the right relationship with anybody seems like a challenge. Every time we meet someone new, which is rare with people who have poor social skills, we hope to connect in a meaningful way with that person but something is always amiss. Maybe we are lacking the knowledge of some basic social behavior. Maybe that's where we need to make the change. Maybe this guide will help you along.
Start off by Being Positive
No, you can't just wake up one morning and gush about how the sky is so beautifully blue, and how listening to the chirping of birds has made your day. Learning how to be positive takes a long time, but you have to start somewhere. Focusing on the negative, nagging and complaining about all the wrong that life has put you through, is going to drive away all your listeners. Agreed, that some of the best friendships have emerged from a common ground of complaints, but you just cannot complain all the time. After a point, even you wouldn't like to listen to yourself complain. So, incorporate a positive thinking approach in your life slowly and steadily. Your mind will then tune itself to only one train of thought, a positive one. Maintaining a positive attitude will definitely attract more people into your life, and is one of the best ways to start improving your social skills.
Build Your Self-esteem
A poor self-image or self-esteem may have often led you to being hurt easily. This probably triggered the thought that people take you for granted. You need to think positively even about yourself so that people perceive you in that light. Thinking you are not good enough to engage in a good conversation with someone, or not good enough to befriend someone, is going to leave you alone in this world. Build on your positives, downplay the negatives, and see where this renewed self-image takes you.
Listen More than You Talk
One of the biggest reasons it may be difficult to develop a good social bond is because of poor listening skills. In a conversation, you have to listen when the other person is talking. He/she is talking to you with the hope that you will understand his/her problems or dilemmas and probably give some advice. Sometimes, people aren't even looking for advice. All they want is for someone to listen. You could be that someone. Don't ignore yourself but don't be self-centered. It is bound to help.
Show Interest in Other People and Their Lives
To learn how to improve social skills, show genuine interest in the lives of others. This does not mean you should be inquisitive. It just means that once you learn how to be a good listener, you will instantly absorb all that the person is talking about. Remembering little details about the opposite person's life will actually show that you have been listening, and further strengthen the bond with that person. Keep yourself up-to-date about the happenings in his/her life, but ensure that he/she has updates about yours too. It is a mutual bond after all.
Actions do Speak Louder than Words
Body language matters a lot while communicating with others. Often called a means of silent communication, your body language can actually tell if you mean what you say. Having the right body language, and giving out the right vibes (vibes do exist- both positive and negative) make a lot of difference in your interaction with others. You don't always have to verbally claim that you are genuinely interested. Let your body language speak for you.
Keep the Criticism at Bay
Everyone is in the habit of criticizing someone. Even you could be the victim of criticism. Don't allow it to affect you. Once you are self-assured and have built on your self-esteem, criticism will not affect you so much. Always see whether it is constructive, or whether it is stemming out of jealousy. If it is legitimate, do something to change that fact about you. If it is stemming out of jealousy, relish the fact that someone doesn't like you because of the genuine person you are.
Do Unto Others, As You Would Have Others Do Unto You
Love begets love. Similar is the case with any other feeling. Treating others with the same respect that you would like to receive from them, is an important method of developing strong social skills. This is the law of reciprocity. Human beings will only reciprocate the feelings they have been treated with. Thus, your attitude towards them matters the most. It does not matter what you say because it is the feeling behind the words that make up this important attribute about you.
Be Diplomatic or Be Silent
If you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all. It is definitely going to save you the regret of saying something you shouldn't have. Sometimes, genuine criticism is required; however, in most cases a sticky situation can be avoided if you just keep mum. So, if you are unaware of the art of diplomacy, you might as well not say anything at all.
With these valuable tips, you are bound to get the much-needed push in your social life, and develop a good circle based on a strong bond. Just learn to be happy with yourself and with your surroundings. All your social skills will be more functional when you think well of yourself.