Why is it that so many of us find social situations to be awkward or challenging? Why isn’t it easier? According to confidence coach, Jimmy Naraine, it’s simply because we lack conditioning. He likens it to jumping into cold water. The first time you do it, it feels pretty horrendous… but by the tenth time, you recognise that the initial shock wears off quickly and it’s no big thing.
But how do we ‘jump in’ socially? How do we condition ourselves to be more at ease in social situations?
Naraine’s advice is to take on ‘the Stranger Challenge’ and speak to 3 strangers each day.
Clearly, this one is just for grown-ups, and even then, use your judgement wisely. We’re talking about small talk with the shop assistant… not banging on random doors to make chit-chat.
If you’re keen to take on this challenge, it’s wise to consider what you’ll say beforehand. Maybe something along the lines of, “How are you?” or, “Terrible weather we’re having lately!” Remember I’m British so 90% of my small talk is based on foul weather – maybe you can be a little more creative!
I’m reminded of the quote, “What you practice, you become”.
If you rarely ‘jump in’ socially, then you’ll always feel that dread/awkwardness in social situations.
But if you make it a daily occurrence, then before long you won’t even think about it. You’ll find that you’re more at ease; quicker-thinking; more practiced. Making conversation with strangers will become second-nature to you.
And that’s a great skill to have, personally and professionally.