By Faust Jonson
Posted on January 13, 2017

How to Improve Your Social Skills: Student’s Guide

Going to college is both exciting and scary. You don’t know what to expect but want to experience something new and meet new people. The environment you will create around yourself depends on the social connections you will make. Will you find faithful friends who will support you? Will you meet someone who can become your business partner or help you with internships after the graduation? College is the right place to connect with those who can have a significant influence on your personal and professional life in the future. If you do not want to spend these years in vain sitting alone in your room or in a library, you might want to work on your social skills. Here are some of the tips you can use to do so.

Learn how to approach people. Firs of all, you should know that if you feel really awkward initiating a conversation, you will get used to it within some time. It is just the matter of practice. You can at least try for several times and if the feeling of fear and extreme anxiety does not go away, it may be not the right way for you to make social connections. You can wait for someone to introduce you or until you get approached by someone. Check some of the options that help you start a conversation:

Make a compliment. It sounds unoriginal and boring but surprisingly always works. People have egos, some have enormous ones and it’s a good idea to make someone feel good about themselves.

Say hello and introduce yourself. Act normal and stay cool even if your heart rate is about to set a world’s new record. It is one of the most common ways to initiate a conversation with a stranger.

Make a joke. Be sure it’s appropriate and at least a little bit funny. Analyze the situation and try to come up with something relevant to it. It is also great if you have several jokes in your pocket that can work in any situation.

Join in the ongoing conversation. For instance, if your peers are discussing a recent movie or concert and you’ve been to it as well, jump in and share your thoughts with them. This is one more reason for you to visit different events, read books, etc.

Learn to read people’s emotions. Let’s say you had enough courage to talk to someone and asked them a reasonable question. The way they respond is the perfect indicator if they are interested in developing this conversation. If you got a one-word answer and nothing more, it probably was the wrong time to approach that person. Just remember that you did not do anything wrong and don’t get angry with yourself for approaching a stranger. People are complicated but it is not a reason for you to get upset.

Be proactive. Don’t wait for the right person to knock on your door someday as it probably will not happen. If you want to get acquainted with people, arrange a social event. The point here is to find students with similar interests and hobbies. If you enjoy watching a particular TV show, make it a tradition to meet in one place with others who watch it too. If you are fond of some outdoor activities, find those who share your passion. There is a good chance you will meet people you’ll be glad to talk to as you already have a common ground with them.

Attend social events. That is the most obvious way to meet new people. If you don’t feel comfortable throwing a party or organizing an event yourself, don’t miss the opportunity to go to various meetings, parties, etc. These are the perfect places to practice your skills and get out of the shell.

Make your contact list comprehensive. When you are on the stage of exchanging phone numbers, remember to save more information than just a person’s name. Indicate the place where you’ve met or some specific feature that will help you understand who that phone number belongs to later.

Don’t hide. There are multiple ways of avoiding a conversation, like wearing earphones, playing with your phone, and pretending to be very busy drawing doodles in your notebook. Stop doing that all the time and try to be more open to people. Getting rid of those habits will demonstrate that you don’t mind starting a dialog.

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