Happiness research over the years has made it very clear: human connection is paramount for our wellbeing.
Having a robust social life, full of positive experiences, with the people we feel close to, is crucial to feel content in our life. Not to mention, a thriving social life can lead to greater opportunities in business, romance, and levels of overall life satisfaction.
The presence of social media, online gaming, and of course, the COVID pandemic, has really shook peoples’ abilities to feel confident in social settings. In today’s world, how does one go about building a more robust social life?
Here are five basic skills you should learn in order to feel more confident in your social life and ensure you’re prepared to contribute to a great experience.
1. Learn one good cocktail recipe that will knock your socks off.
You don’t have to be a certified mixologist, but if you ever find yourself entertaining at home or at a friends house then you’ll want one good cocktail recipe up your sleeve.
My suggestion is to find a recipe that you personally enjoy. That way, not only can you make someone a delicious cocktail but you can also share some of your personality in the process.
Even better if you find a recipe that uses simple ingredients that you’ll find in most home bars. By all means get as fancy as you want, but chances are slim your average home bar will have elderflower bitters, for example.
If you aren’t a drinker, then I suggest learning something simple that 90% of people would probably enjoy. A simple lemon drop martini gets the job done most of the time.
Bonus Tip: If you’re ever left without a sweetener, you can easily whip up a batch of simple syrup in just a few minutes. All you need is equal parts sugar and water in a pot over medium heat. Heat and stir until all the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is completely translucent. Then let it cool a few minutes and you’re ready to go.
2. Learn how to prepare one good meal that feels restaurant-quality.
You don’t have to win Masterchef and be awarded by Gordon Ramsay himself, but if you’re planning to cook for a date or your friends then you should have one good recipe to impress your guests.
It doesn’t have to be a complicated recipe either. Play to your strengths. If there is a style of cooking that feels more natural to you (grilling, roasting, etc.), stick with something along those lines.
Focus on fresh, simple ingredients to ensure a high-quality experience. And practice. Make that recipe for yourself enough that it becomes second nature when you’re preparing it for others.
My go-to is a chicken souvlaki wrap with homemade Tzatziki sauce.
3. Learn how to dance just enough to keep a good rhythm.
You don’t have to compete on Dancing With The Stars, but you should know how to keep a good rhythm.
While everyone else is huddled in the corner cowering or putting on the facade of disinterest, you can get out on the dance floor and actually enjoy yourself. People like to hang around other fun people, so don’t be the boring guy/gal who refuses to step out on the dance floor. (Trust me, I’ve been that guy too.)
To be clear, you don’t need to be a good dancer to have fun dancing. But if learning how to have rhythm will boost your confidence enough to shed those nerves, it’s worth taking a few classes or private lessons.
4. Learn how to tell a good story.
You don’t have to live up to history’s greatest orators like of Pericles, MLK, Winston Churchill, or others, but you should be able to capture and keep the attention of your audience when telling a story.
Stories are an integral part of socializing. It’s how people learn about you. It’s the foundation of connection.
We create a sense of shared experience by telling stories that might connect with others, even if they weren’t there with us in the moment when the experience happened.
Telling good stories can make you more interesting and fun to be around. Telling bad stories will cause people to tune you out or ignore you altogether. Learn how to tell a good, captivating story. Learn this skill and you’ll find that people are generally more drawn to be around you.
Keep in mind, knowing how to tell a good story does not mean always stealing the spotlight. Don’t be the conceited prick that always has to be the center of attention. Instead, be the person that, when it’s your time to share, captivates your audience.
5. Learn how to read a room of people.
You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes, but you should be able to walk into a room and understand how to read the dynamics of the situation.
From what you observe of others, can you figure out what type of humor is appropriate for this group of people? Can you identify whether there is any tension in the room?
Understanding these dynamics allows you to avoid any awkwardness if you do or say something you didn’t know was inappropriate. Reading a room will make you appear smarter, more confident, and like you’re a person that just, “gets it.”
If you learn these five skills your social life will improve. You’ll be more fun to be around, you’ll seem more interesting, and you’ll be able to meet and mingle with more people.
~ Coach Alex
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