I’m tired of being a timid wimp when it comes to meeting new people.
To rid myself and others of this pitiful habit, I’ve put together a step-by-step guide on overcoming social anxiety taking from other articles, books and my own experimentation. So what is a ‘social badass,’ you ask?
Before we get to any intimate social interactions, we need to master the basics with some 2-second strangers. Those are the people you meet for just 2 seconds when walking past each other. This is the most informal interaction possible, so even you shy people can start here. Baby steps!
1) Make Eye Contact
If someone asks you what you’re staring at, just smile and respond, “Sorry, I thought you were an old friend.” Focus on one eye and be sure to blink occasionally so you don’t look like a psycho.
2) Say Hi
When you’re comfortable making eye contact, throw in a quick ‘Hello’ with a smile. The smile is important.
3) Add a Greeting
‘Good morning/afternoon/evening’ usually does the trick. More adventurous individuals can use something more original like “What a great day to be alive, eh?”
Warning: Some people will completely ignore you and not respond, but don’t be discouraged. There are some very shy and/or angry people in this world and you have just given them one more reason to have faith in mankind.
Social Badass Challenges
The point of these challenges is to become comfortable with the most extreme social behavior so normal interaction becomes a piece of cake. If you’re fine driving at 120 mph, 60 is going to be easy to the point of boredom.
Make Yourself a Spectacle
Do something that will inevitably making people stare. Social anxiety is rooted in the fear of being looked at as weird, so face that fear head-on by acting strange.
» lie down/turn in circles/do jumping jacks/dance in a public place» meditate in a busy, public place (ear plugs help if the noise keeps you from concentrating)» gel your hair up into a monstrosity for an entire day
You get the idea.
Ask a Question to a Group of Strangers
One example is asking ‘who’s hungry?’ in a huge line for food. Talking to one stranger is one thing, a group is another.
Take on a Persona
Best used with a waiter or cashier. Choose an accent, political ideology, tone and pitch of voice, mannerisms, etc. It’s an extra challenge to be someone other than what (or rather who) comes naturally to you.
Get Phone Numbers
This goes for the ladies too! The true goal is not to get the numbers but get over the fear of asking, so outcomes are unimportant. Mall, theme parks, fairs and book stores are all great places to try this. According to pick-up-artists, the best method is to walk over and ask immediately when you see someone of interest to avoid over-thinking. Don’t give yourself any time to talk yourself out of it! Here’s an example script from author Tim Ferris:
“Excuse me, I know this is going to sound strange, but if I don’t ask you know, I’ll be kicking myself for the rest of the day. I’m running to meet a friend [i.e., I have friends and am not a stalker], but I think you’re really [extremely, drop dead] cute [gorgeous, beautiful, hot]. Could I have your phone number? You can give me a fake one if you’re not interested.”
In short, anchoring is the attachment of a feeling/sensation/emotion to a specific physical movement. They are used to cause an immediate change in your attitude via a physical stimulus.
Confused? The best way tor explain anchoring is to give an example. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to attach a badass persona to one of your ears. Bear with me :)
This may sound stupid at first, but for some reason attaching the persona to a specific stimulus works much better than just telling yourself ‘I AM JAMES BOND.” After a few tries, it becomes as if the ear pulling really does turn you into a secret agent ;)
GO FORTH AND BE BADASS!!!
(like this guy)