There are some men and women who naturally seem to belong to the center of a group. They are usually the life and soul of parties, beloved of friends and families and even sought out in the workplace. And yet you find that they are rarely extraordinary in terms of looks or intelligence. More often they have an uncanny ability to make people feel at ease around them and attract others with their positive vibes and energy. This is usually the secret of highly sociable people and with a little effort you can be one too.
Start with the basics
While being social is more a matter of pleasing behavior, following the basics of personal grooming will help people to feel comfortable around you and thus increase your social attraction. Ensure that you practice oral hygiene and before going out use a light perfume or deodorant, depending on the season and occasion. Nails and hair are two areas where many people unknowingly go wrong – if you have a tendency to flyaway or frizzy hair, make sure that it is properly styled or conditioned and if you have facial hair, keep it neatly trimmed. You can use makeup according to your discretion but always try and dress appropriate to the venue.
Use the right body language
Favorites of a social circuit are usually so on account of their friendly and outgoing nature. So adopt a relaxed and positive attitude when meeting people. Use a natural smile to reach out to the other person and you are most likely to get one in return. Making eye contact is another crucial aspect of a positive body language; upon meeting someone for the first time, look directly into his/her eyes before beginning to speak. This will indicate your interest in the person before you and hold his or her attention. On the other hand if you keep shifting your gaze or darting glances at others, the person will construe it as a sign of embarrassment or even distraction.
Practice pleasing conversation
The ability to conduct light, pleasing conversation which makes a listener comfortable is one of the basic qualities of social people. When meeting someone for the first time, you can begin with a social salutation like saying “hi” or “hello” and also accompany it by holding out your hand for a handshake and mentioning your name. And the law of reciprocity means that most likely your friendly gesture will be returned. In a social setting, you could also explore more creative ways of salutation like an “Aloha” or a “Bon jour”. But remember not to use a particular expression solely on the basis of a person’s appearance. Yet another important tip is to talk about neutral topics. When conversing with people you have just met or who you know only a little, it is better to stick to safe and neutral topics like the weather and sports. Comment on how hot/cold/rainy/comfortable it has been and how much longer it is likely to last. Or if you have met the person at your office building, talk about something related to the workplace or people you work with. As far as possible steer away from discussions which are likely to arouse partisan views or strong opinions. one important characteristic of social people is that they tend to get along with people from a wide spectrum of views and lifestyles. and you can best do this not only by avoiding controversial topics but also by cultivating a genuinely liberal and egalitarian outlook.
Social people are not only able to converse effortlessly but also have a gift for drawing people into the conversation. And one of the best ways to do this is to ask open-ended questions. One reason why a listener may appear to be quiet is perhaps he/she is genuinely shy and wary of social situations. In order to make this person feel more comfortable, you can continue with a friendly demeanor but refrain from pressing him/her too hard for a response. Also asking open-ended questions rather than those that can be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ may be more successful in getting a person to open up. For instance instead of enquiring if your companion has been on a vacation this year, try asking about the most enjoyable thing he/she did on their last vacation. Also let the person take his/her own time while talking to you. Rushing him/her for an answer, filling in the gaps of his/her conversation with your own words or hurrying from one topic to another can make your companion more nervous and leave you for a more relaxed space.
Don’t pass up invitations
However it is not enough to practice verbal and non-verbal means of communication if you want to be thought of as a social person – you also need to see in company more often. It is only natural for individuals to have preferences among the kind of people they want to hang out with. But before passing up an invitation to a co-worker’s housewarming party or a neighbor’s poolside bash on the excuse that they are not your ‘type’ of crowd, think again. It is equally possible that they may have guests or even friends of friends with whom you would easily hit off. Thus go to as many parties and gatherings as you can for you never know who you might meet where.
Get out more often
Even when you are not attending a party, try to get out of doors as much as you can. It is highly unlikely that you will make friends and find acquaintances within the four walls of your home. So you may like reading books or listening to music, but instead of doing this indoors, why not settle down with your favorite novel at the nice café down the street? Likewise at your workplace, try to eat lunch at the cafeteria instead of gulping down your sandwiches at your desk or in your cubicle; that way you will be more visible and consequently people will notice you more and perhaps even ask you out. When someone asks you to join them for a coffee during an office break or at the ‘happy hour’ after work, by all means do so; even if you have known them for long and cannot picture yourself out with them, perhaps they may have friends you would be interested in getting to know better and thus make for an active social life.