If every time you enter an ongoing conversation the group quickly splinters in opposite directions, you may be doing things to make others uncomfortable. In contrast, people who are social magnets are open and friendly, show interest, and are usually good listeners. While you can't learn overnight how to draw people in and have them feel good around you, over time it is possible to improve your skills at making others feel comfortable.
Use Body Language
Help others feel comfortable around you by ensuring that your body language conveys an open and friendly attitude. Keep your arms uncrossed, lean in when you speak, and maintain good eye contact. Send off "friend cues" that indicate you are not a threat to others, such as as an eyebrow flash or head tilt, suggests Jack Shafer, Ph.D., former behavioral analyst for the FBI, in the Psychology Today article "Let Their Words Do the Talking." In addition, the best nonverbal signal of all is a smile. A wide grin sends the message that you like the other person, and is likely to be returned with a smile and feelings of goodwill.
Offer Empathic Statements
It's easy to become consumed with yourself and your own troubles; it's much harder to look beyond your worries and consider the feelings of others. If you want to make people feel comfortable though, that's what you need to do. When someone tells you how they are feeling, reflect those emotions back using empathic statements, advises Shafer. For example, if a friend tells you about having a hard time keeping up with the demands of his job, you could reply, "So you feel like they are asking you to do too much." Try not to repeat what is said word-for-word, or you might sound insincere.
Be a Good Listener
Be sure to practice active listening skills to make others feel more comfortable in your presence. If you've ever been in the company of someone who was fidgeting or fiddling with their phone while you talked, you know how it feels to be ignored. Movements while you listen should convey your attention and interest -- not the opposite. Nod your head, use hand gestures that match what you say, and facial expressions to react and show you are listening, as suggested in the University of Wisconsin article, "Helping Others Help Themselves." Showing that you are attentive will make people feel that you have their best interests at heart.
Remember Little Details
Most importantly, try to keep others' best interest at heart. Doing so will naturally help people feel comfortable around you. Be inclusive when talking with a group of people -- don't use inside jokes that not everyone will understand. Don't be critical or judgmental. Try to remember little details about people to show you care, such as a favorite conversation topic or hobby. Finally, if someone is going through a rough time, offer support but don't try to fix the problem, says licensed marriage and family therapist Lisa Holland, in the article, "Are You Too Uncomfortable to Offer Comfort?" Just be there for others, and they will want to spend more time with you.
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