I’m too socially awkward to get a girlfriend.
I don’t know how to talk to women.
There’s something about me that just puts women off.
If you’re socially awkward, one or more of these statements has probably passed through your head at one point. Maybe you had an awkward interaction with a woman once, you couldn’t find a girlfriend for a long time, or you can’t seem to make interacting with the opposite sex as natural as your friends do. But here’s the thing: there’s nothing wrong with you, and you’re definitely not weird for being socially awkward. In fact, the average person exhibits 32 percent of the characteristics associated with being socially awkward, and there may even be some advantages to not being the best at social skills.
Still, social awkwardness taken to the extreme can sabotage your dating life and stop you from growing emotionally as a person. The good news is that you can overcome the barriers that prevent you from being more confident around women and slowly learn to approach them. However, if you’re looking for a quick hack, this isn’t it.
As easy as it would be to become a master of dating, change does happen overnight. Since many of the factors that cause social awkwardness stem from how you perceive yourself as a person, you will need to take the time to work on yourself and, yes, practice.
Start by removing the labels you’ve put on yourself
How do you describe your social awkwardness? I’m willing to bet it’s not something like “I lack the skill to stay confident in public” or “I have this or that behavior that women don’t like.”
And probably more along the lines of “Women hate how I behave,” “I’m too weird,” or “I can’t act normal in social situations.”
This is something a lot of socially awkward people have in common, actually. They believe that social awkwardness doesn’t come from the lack of a skill they haven’t mastered yet, but because there’s something inherently wrong with them.
This harmful label you put on yourself is bringing you down more than anything. As long as you think you’re damaged, or that there’s nothing you can do to fix that, you’re pulling yourself in a vicious circle of self-sabotage. The way you perceive yourself is reflected in your behaviour; not just in your words and conscious gestures, but also in the small, non-verbal cues that women pick up. As long as you hate yourself and feel unattractive, not only women but people, in general, will sense an “off” vibe about you.
So, if you want to get better at dating, you have to start by working on yourself and growing your confidence. Stay physically active. Apart from being healthy, sports make you feel stronger and release hormones that make you more confident. Try meditation if you haven’t already. It’s a great way to become more in tune with your emotions, control your anxiety, and reduce stress. Take a break from social media and stop comparing yourself to influencers and celebrities – they’re ordinary people, and what they post on social media is nothing more than an image. If you’re struggling to control your nerves in social settings, consider exploring products, which can help you calm down.
Work on the little things that do wonders for boosting your confidence. How do you dress? Do you really feel your best self in the clothes you wear? We’re not here to preach and tell you to change your style completely, but try to invest more in quality clothes that fit because they can make you feel like a million dollars.
Social skills are skills – so you need to practice them
Think of the most confident man you know. Your dad, that friend from high school, Henry Cavill, you name it. You probably imagine that they were born with social skills, and they’re naturally outgoing and confident. But what if they’re not? Mr. Superman himself, Henry Cavill, was actually bullied because of his weight as a kid and opened up in many interviews about how that affected his confidence (we’ll come back to opening up later).
Social skills are just that, skills. They’re not something magically bestowed upon you. So, in the same way that you learn a new language, you can teach yourself to do better in social situations. Sure, some people have a natural knack for it and learn faster than others, but, with practice, you’ll get better at approaching and talking to women.
Starting a conversation with a woman based on the idea that you’ll date her is generally more complicated and requires more confidence, so don’t go there if you’re not ready yet. Instead, approach the girl you like as if you want to be her friend. This gives you the opportunity to engage in casual conversation, break the ice, and get rid of that initial awkwardness. If you tend to freeze when a girl approaches you or run out of ideas on first dates, thinking of a set of topics in advance can work as a good back-up.
Again, don’t expect the change to happen overnight. Many times, social awkwardness comes from the fear of embarrassing yourself in public, so you need to face that fear repeatedly. Go out, meet people, hang out with your friends more, start conversations with girls you don’t usually talk to. Put yourself in situations that take you farther and farther outside your comfort zone, and you’ll get better at socializing without realizing it.
Watch your body language.
Did you ever walk out of a date completely disappointed because even if you said the right things, somehow things were still awkward? That may have been your body language betraying you.
Although scientists disagree on the exact percentage of body language in communication, the consensus is that our interlocutors also pick up other social cues apart from our words. Without realizing it, body language can send the wrong message and make women uncomfortable. Here are some negative examples of body language:
· Avoiding eye contact or holding it for too long
· Fidgeting with your arms or not moving them at all
· Touching your face repeatedly
· Twitching your nose
· Blinking too fast
· Keeping your shoulders turned inwards
· Crossing your arms across your chest
· Biting your nails
· Rubbing your palms together
· Jiggling your feet impatiently
· Looking at the ground
· Picking at your skin or clothes
You can have the best pick-up line ever. If you say it while doing any of the above, you’ll come across as stressed, nervous, uncomfortable, even downright hostile. Even if these gestures are involuntary, by becoming more aware of them, you can learn to control them and then consciously replace them with these positive ones:
· Maintain eye contact, but without staring
· Relax your shoulders and lean inwards to show that you’re actively interested
· Keep your palms facing forward to suggest openness (Charisma on Command have a great video on how Sadhguru does this)
· Show empathy when you listen by smiling or nodding your head
The great thing about having good posture and adopting a positive body language is that your mind will start to respond to what your body is doing. By sitting in a position that suggests you’re comfortable and relaxed, you will begin to feel more comfortable and relaxed.
Most of the time, you can stop yourself from being overly awkward just by slowing down, breathing, and not letting your instincts take over. Instead of freezing and allowing your usual pattern to take over, adjust your body language to exit that fearful pattern.
You can turn awkwardness into charisma.
Once you start accepting yourself, you’ll understand that being socially awkward or shy isn’t a weakness or bad personality trait. This may sound counterproductive, but by accepting awkwardness and allowing yourself to be vulnerable, you can actually project self-confidence. Why? Because you’re honest and genuine, and many women prefer talking to a shy guy than an overly confident one that may come across as arrogant.
Many men avoid talking to women because they fear they’ll embarrass themselves or end up in a cringy social situation. But it’s not the social situation that makes you awkward; it’s how you respond to it. No one is perfect at socializing. Everyone makes mistakes and screws up sometimes. One of the biggest misconceptions you can have a socially awkward person is assuming that all your confident friends find dating women incredibly easy, and they never have a bad day. Everyone was stuck in an awkwardly silent conversation at one point or forgot someone’s name. The trick isn’t to fear embarrassing situations and avoid them; it’s knowing how to deal with them when they happen.
Say you’re in a restaurant on one of your first dates, and you accidentally spilled a glass of wine because you were nervous. That’s what most people perceive as an awkward situation. However, it will only ruin your night if you let it. If your reaction is to raise your voice, get all agitated, and start stammering, then your date will begin to feel uncomfortable too. However, if you treat the situation calmly, apologize, maybe even make a joke, spilling that glass of wine in public can become a funny memory.