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How to gain confidence? Any tips?

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#1 Peridot

Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:38 PM

I am loving where I am in life at the moment. I am studying nursing and doing well and have met some lovely people. I am also volunteering with the ambulance service, loving it too and have met people through there also. I go to the local gym when I can which exposes me to even more socialness. And hopefully my next door neighbour  and I will begin taking our kids to the local playgroup session held at the local primary school, so even more socialness.
However, I am not shy as such, but I come across as a snob. I find it hard to engage in small talk, and find it hard talking to new people. I can see this being a hassle with what I currently do and what I want to do in life.
Does anyone have any tips or tricks or anything I can use to gain confidence and become friendlier and more approachable?
Will confidence come with the more weight I lose? I do feel sometimes that my weight does hold me back a bit..
I do have social anxiety and I hate feeling like a recluse! Please help original.gif

#2 Mitis angelam

Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:42 PM

Start small, and celebrate every bit of progress you make.

Some things I find easy ice breakers - find something to compliment the other person on, talk about the weather (it's a cliché, I know, but it often starts the chat flowing).

#3 Kay1

Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:46 PM

Prepare. If you know who you are going to be seeing think of a few questions to ask them beforehand - how are the renovations going? How is your mum after her fall etc....

If you don't know who you'll be seeing then just come up with a few general questions "How was your break?" "Any plans for holidays coming up?" "have you tried the new restaurant down the road?" that sort of thing.

And make sure you show that you are listening to the answer. original.gif

#4 niggles

Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:50 PM

You sound like you're doing a pretty great job of stepping out of your comfort zone more and more. I'm sure that will pay off.

Get other people talking and develop a reputation as a good listener if you aren't a comfortable talker.

Ask questions relating to whatever it is that's brought you together in the first place and go from there.

I think a good rule of thumb is that if you're thinking it, so are most other people in the room and it's just that nobody has said it yet.

Be willing to share your opinions and ask what other people think. The more open and interested you are in other people and their ideas the more comfortable they will feel.

#5 Lagom

Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:00 PM

I have the same problem OP.  I hate small talk and often come across as a snob when really I just feel self conscious and anxious.
You're not the only one. original.gif
It sounds to me like you're doing great!  I guess it's just a matter of taking the leap, which is easier said than done. original.gif

#6 Peppery

Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:00 PM

I suffer from anxiety and can be quite shy. I decided at the beginning of the year to start stepping out of my comfort zone. I feel sick to my stomach when i start talking to new people or the dreaded small talk but the more i do it, it is becoming somewhat easier.

I envy my DD (4 years old), she will walk up to anyone and start chatting to them. I want the ground to swallow me whole when she does this. This is the main reason i want to overcome my anxiety.

Goodluck OP. I agree with the previous posters about asking questions and showing interest in other people and showing you are a great listener.

Edited by Peppery, 13 February 2013 - 01:00 PM.

#7 CallMeFeral

Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:08 PM

You know a weird one for me, that I discovered when I was about 14 and then put into effect when I changed schools, was to smile at people. I realised that I didn't smile at people (as in complete strangers who met my eye) very much.
So when I moved to a new school, I resolved to smile at everyone. And it really helped me, and it became a habit. And I'm STILL socially anxious and hate being around people I don't know, etc - but I don't think it really shows, to strangers, because I smile. In fact I think I come off as quite approachable (which is good, because I don't like to do the approaching myself!) and I suspect it's mostly that. I know I have another friend who is far less socially anxious than me, but who a lot of people have thought snobby or arrogant till they knew her - and I think it's because she doesn't smile at people she doesn't know or isn't currently talking to.

#8 bornagainmum

Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:13 PM

Peridot, I just private messaged you.

You are not the only one. You will find others around you are just the same.

Dont think of yourself, don't think of your anxiety. Put you attention on the other person, wonder about them, their feelings in a non judgmental way.
Let them talk, lots of people just like to talk about themselves, let them, be a sounding board.
Confidence takes practice, it will not just appear when you snap your fingers.
In a way, when you lose weight you wont necessarily gain confidence on a deep level. I have been there, i lost weight, gained some confidence but still not a deep sense of "me". There are others whose mind has not caught up with their weight loss.

Fake it to you make it, now before the weight comes off.
Good luck sweetheart

#9 Bathsheba52

Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:19 PM

I second the making compliments - it often opens up a conversation, and being a good listener. Don't make the compliments complicated - "nice dress" or "your hair looks great today" is sufficient (never ask where they got it, how much etc). Also, remember, everyone pretends. NO ONE is that confident, cool, collected whatever. If you pretend to be confident, you will be!

#10 cme

Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:22 PM

I second the smiling. It puts people at ease and makes you more approachable. My DH never smiles at people and strangers find him stand offish. I'm trying to break him of this habbit.

My other tip is to give people compliments. No need to go over the top (aka Mr Collins) but if someone is wearing a fabulous pair of shoes they will always appreciate being told you noticed and it is an easy way to start a conversation.

#11 ~swan~

Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:33 PM

Hi OP,

I'm pretty much the same as you, in terms of coming across as shy. I actually find it very hard to open up to new people and get a conversation going sometimes.

I would keep doing what you're doing (great effort!) and try not to worry about how others are viewing you. As other have suggested if you show an interested in other people you'll start to learn about them, and they you. Soon you'll be able to ask "so how did blah blah go last week" etc. and you're off to a great start in some possible new friendships.

Small talk can be a real pain, but the more you engage in it the more you can move past to a deeper level of conversation.

It gets easier over time original.gif

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