Today’s post is a special treat.
Friend of IA and social confidence coach Myke Macapinlac joins us with an article about a topic near and dear to our hearts:
Melting away social anxiety.
Myke’s story is special because he faced severe social anxiety growing up due to numerous challenges:
- He didn’t speak English as a 17-year-old Filipino immigrant to Canada.
- He was overweight.
- He was painfully shy.
And guess what?
He overcame all of his challenges to become a socially confident guy.
In fact, he now has a business called Social Confidence Mastery.
At this point, he gets to share his experiences with others and help them overcome their own challenges as well.
Read on to get Myke’s excellent social confidence-boosting advice.
5 Smart Ways to Overcome Social Anxiety and Gain Confidence
I have a question for you:
How many times have you been in situations where you wanted to talk to someone but you were too afraid of looking bad or being rejected?
Maybe you were at a networking event and you wanted to introduce yourself to people you haven’t met yet.
Or perhaps you wanted to say, “Hello” to that cute girl you’ve been checking out at the coffee shop.
Either way, perhaps your social anxiety held you back from making a move. So you did what you have habitually done:
It’s frustrating, isn’t it?
It can feel like there’s a glass wall separating you from the people you most want to connect with.
Every time you don’t do what you intended to do, it’s tempting to beat yourself up. You might talk down on yourself.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t make your situation any better.
In fact, it makes it worse because now you are not only dealing with the issue at hand; you’re dealing with your own self-judgment of the issue at hand.
Does that sound familiar to you at all?
If so, I know how you feel. I’ve been there before.
In fact, my social anxiety was so intense in high school that I ate my lunch in a bathroom stall because I was too afraid to mingle with the other kids.
Needless to say, I really struggled to make friends, let alone get dates.
But I was persistent.
I knew that I had to find a way to get this part of my life handled, so I kept going until I found a solution.
That’s why today, I want to share with you some helpful advice that will make it easier for you to overcome social anxiety.
Before I do that, let’s talk about why you may have social anxiety in the first place.
Where Does Social Anxiety Come From?
From my experience, people who identify as socially anxious have an unrealistic desire to be liked by everybody.
Their concern over how they’re being perceived causes them to freeze up and keep to themselves.
I don’t know about you, but it was extremely difficult for me to showcase my true personality when I didn’t feel comfortable being myself.
The solution is to contextualize how people interact with you.
Remember, there are billions of people in the world and everyone’s different. Therefore, there is no way you’ll be able to get along with every single person you’ll ever interact with.
If you want to feel more relaxed in any social situation, you must shift your focus.
Here’s the focus shift:
Invest your energy in the things that you can control, not in the things you can’t.
Seems simple, right? Here’s why it’s important:
It’s up to you to approach and talk to people you want to meet. Next, it’s up to them how they respond to you.
Now that you’re aware of where social anxiety comes from (the desire to be liked by every single person ever, when that’s (a) not possible and (b) not in your control), let’s talk about how to move past it.
Tip #1: Meditate Regularly
Meditating regularly allows you to control what goes on in your head.
It helps you live your life more intentionally because you can give whatever meaning you want to what’s happening around you.
That’s empowering and useful.
Still, where to start?
Just pick a quiet spot where you can sit down, relax your body and focus on your breathing for a few minutes. Whenever a thought occurs to your mind, just recognize it and let it go.
If you do it long enough, you’ll be able to distinguish your thoughts from what’s really happening around you.
Meditation is one of the best ways I know to eliminate that negative voice in your head.
In your dating life, it can help you answer the mystical question: “How do I turn women on?”
Introverted Alpha uses the following simple formula as a framework for this “turn on” discussion, and I wholeheartedly agree with it:
Allowing Your Date to Feel Relaxed + Excited = A Turn On
How does meditation play in? It’s safe to say there’s no way your date can feel relaxed if you’re feeling stressed out.
Developing a meditation routine is a great way to combat pre-date stress so you can relay the relaxed vibe necessary to allow her to relax around you as well.
Tip #2: Do Things You Enjoy
If meeting new people feels like a chore to you, you’re missing something.
Mutual interest is a foundation of happy relationships. It’s much easier to spend time with someone who likes the same things as you, compared with someone wildly different from you.
To accomplish this mutual foundation, go to places you enjoy.
Reason being, those places will automatically attract the type of people you want to meet who are already into your favorite activities.
- If you want to meet people into fitness; go to yoga classes, sign up for a spin class, or get into CrossFit.
- To meet creative people; do improv classes, learn photography, or take up creative writing.
- Want to meet highly motivated people? Attend personal development retreats and seminars.
For dating purposes, think of these hobby-rich venues as the “excited” part of the “turn on” equation.
Finding venues that make you feel happy, at ease, and excited is key to meeting the right women for you in the right places for you.
If you’re having a good time, women will respond to you accordingly: with more warmth and interest.
As a result, you’ll naturally be more comfortable, more engaged, and less vulnerable to low-confidence moments.
Tip #3: Start Small
Improving your social confidence takes time.
If you’re just starting out, it’s helpful to manage your expectations. Along those lines, you can start with interactions that are easier and more comfortable for you.
For example, if talking with a beautiful girl is intimidating for you, see if you can become comfortable talking with female friends, colleagues, or your friends’ girlfriends.
Once you feel comfortable in that space, you are building positive momentum for your future interactions.
When you become stronger in current contexts, the future becomes brighter too.
This idea of “starting small” to improve your social confidence can filter into other areas of your life as well.
For example, many Introverted Alpha clients have shown that accumulating small wins helps them feel more at ease and connect better with women accordingly.
These opportunities present themselves in everyday life and can have major confidence-raising benefits.
- Buying a house plant.
- Writing a letter (but not sending it) to someone.
- Addressing a small annoyance with a friend/acquaintance/roommate.
The point is that you don’t need to wait for a major, life-changing win to start boosting your social confidence.
In fact, there are plenty of opportunities accessible to you right now.
Tip #4: Focus On What’s Working
We’ve all had unpleasant first dates, presentations that didn’t go well, or attempted conversations that fell flat.
The key is to forgive yourself quickly and keep your eyes on the goal.
Focus on what’s working to create a positive feedback loop. Of course mistakes happen; that’s natural.
Even so, there’s no need to beat yourself up about it.
For example, let’s say you go out on a first date with a woman, and it doesn’t go well.
You could let it affect you negatively if you get pulled into a “woe is me” rut.
You could apply a mantra Sarah has discussed before:
“If I had known better, I’d have done better. So now: what do I want, and what’s my next step?”
This line of thinking is forgiving yourself and refocusing your energy on better days to come. Meanwhile, it still views the unpleasant experience in a constructive way as a learning opportunity.
Tip #5: Don’t Take Rejection Personally
Forbes has pointed out that rejection hurts because it triggers the same part of your brain as when you experience physical pain.
Well here’s the thing: rejection is not about you. Reason being, you have no idea what people are going through when you interact with them.
Maybe their boss yelled at them at work. Maybe they’re having relationship troubles. Or maybe they’re just having a bad day.
It’s not necessarily even about you.
Therefore, overcoming social anxiety comes down to seeking to understand how other people might be feeling and acknowledging that a lot of it supersedes you.
Summary: 5 Tips to More Social Confidence
Here are 5 ways you can become a more confident person in your social interactions right now:
- Meditate regularly.
- Do things you enjoy.
- Start small.
- Focus on what’s working.
- Don’t take rejection personally.
I’m confident that if you apply these tips on a regular basis, you’ll be able to overcome your social anxiety and build a thriving social life filled with like-minded individuals.
Great advice! Thanks, Myke.
We’ve discussed social anxiety in the past on this blog, and these tips mesh nicely with our advice.
Next, check out these related articles at Introverted Alpha:
- Why introverted men are so damn attractive (for a confidence boost about your nature)
- Overcoming fear of rejection in three steps (one of our favorites!)
- Getting out of your comfort zone as an introverted man
- Holding eye contact without being creepy
Also, check out Myke’s site for more information on his social skills and self-confidence coaching. A lot of guys here at Introverted Alpha follow his work, and you may want to too.