Social awkwardness is a problem that many people experience in society. From having difficulties talking to other people and going out in public to issues with handling normal and common tasks, living with social awkwardness and anxiety can lead to a lot of stress, frustration and unnecessary worrying.
One subtle way to practice getting out of your shell and eliminating awkwardness is smiling at people. Smile at any person you encounter. Instead of awkwardly standing around and pondering your next action, simply smile in an open and friendly manner. If you have difficulty smiling, try imaging things that genuinely make you happy, whether it's your beloved pet dog or your favorite childhood movie. Practice this on any person you pass, whether it's someone walking in your local park or the neighbor across the street.
Although the concept might seem intimidating, one way to get rid of awkwardness is by practicing talking to people, including total strangers. Be courageous and remember that you have nothing to lose. They will most likely appreciate your gesture of friendliness and not judge you. Consider something simple like asking the checkout person at the supermarket if he enjoyed his weekend. Not only will it help you sharpen your social skills and feel less awkward in public, it will probably make the person you are talking to feel good.
If you do not feel quite ready to talk to people, concentrate on simply listening to them. Being a good, active listener can go a long way in reducing awkwardness. Ask extended questions that are open-ended. Observe the talking habits of people who do not come across as awkward. Also observe how they react to questions and social situations. Signs of people who have confidence and who do not feel awkward include direct eye contact, strong posture and clarity in vocal tone.
A large part of feeling awkward comes from not knowing what to say in social situations. So it can help greatly to be prepared. Arm yourself with knowledge and a variety of topics to discuss around people. You can do this by reading the newspaper, watching television, reading books and seeing movies. All of these things can be used as conversation starters when you are around people. Also, if someone asks you a question, you will be able to provide them with an opinion or answer.
If it is too big a step in the beginning to talk to people directly, try instead to surround yourself with people to get used to their company. Whether you begin a new activity, such as art classes or tennis, or engage in charity work in your area, get out of your shell and get used to being around people.
To reduce awkwardness, it is crucial to monitor and be aware of how you behave non-verbally. Speak with clarity. Stop crossing your arms, which some might perceive as closing people off. Practice good posture. Utilize strong and direct eye contact. Maintain body language that is open, calm and relaxed.