Behaving well when socializing or having etiquette makes everyday life more enjoyable. Other people will respond well and feel comfortable interacting with you if you understand how to treat others well. For that, there are some basic things that you need to learn to be able to socialize well, starting with trying to understand the audience, showing proper body language, improving communication skills, and maintaining appearances.
Part 1 of 4: Understanding the Audience
Step 1. Try to understand who you are dealing with
The audience referred to here is not a group of people watching a show (literal meaning), but in many ways, the social interactions we do are a form of performance.
- Pay attention to whether your behavior when you meet a family member or close friend is different if you meet someone you don't know. Observe your behavior when interacting with coworkers in front of your boss and in your absence. The same goes for how you behave in front of children and older people. Think about why you behaved this way.
- Try to understand the feelings of the person you are with. Think carefully about who you are talking to before saying something. Be careful about making ambiguous statements that some people may misinterpret.
Step 2. Pay attention to how other people interact
This is especially useful when you are in a new environment, for example because you have just changed jobs or entered a new community. You can identify patterns of interaction in various situations by limiting yourself and observing from afar.
Step 3. Be open to people you don't know and be open to new experiences
This is especially useful for young people or if you are not used to dealing with diversity. Accept people with unfamiliar cultural backgrounds and different skill levels.
- Show kindness and respect to everyone, even if there are differences between you and them. If you feel uncomfortable at first, it may be because you yourself seem different to them. Take the initiative to initiate interaction with them and be polite. In the end, you will learn many things through the diversity that you find in everyday life.
- Follow the advice given by Dale Carnegie (author of “How to Win Friends and Influence Others”): “Focus on the outside, not on yourself.”
Step 4. Don't make statements that generalize to certain groups of people
For example: statements that generalize based on gender, race, sexual orientation, or age.
Don't make stereotypical statements or comments about race or sexism because they're offensive, even if you're speaking in a group without the people you're commenting on
Step 5. Recognize social cues through everyday interactions
Social cues are things we get from other people that are passed on to us indirectly.
- For example: You are busy at work when someone is talking to you. You just turn to him and get back to work. If he still wants to chat with you, he may not be able to read your social cues that say you're busy and can't chat right now.
- Another example: You are at a party. Someone you don't know comes close and starts flirting with you. You ignore him and continue to chat with your friends, but he won't leave, even trying to get your attention. The person is unable to read social cues that say you are not attracted to them.
- The ability to read social cues is very important. A person will feel frustrated if he has given a signal, but the other person is not able to interpret it. Reading social cues is an ability we learn from childhood.
- Cultural differences sometimes affect the ability to read social cues, as well as certain mental health problems, such as autism, ADHD and depression.
Step 6. Use polite words
Whoever you are with, make it a habit to say “please”, “thank you”, and “excuse me” to show respect for the person you are talking to.
Step 7. Be careful and be polite
If you don't know what to say, speak as little politely as possible. You can make small talk, especially to people you don't know very well.
Part 2 of 4: Using Good Body Language
Step 1. Get used to sitting and standing straight
Lean slightly towards the other person. Bending down and/or crossing your arms indicates that you are bored or may feel irritated talking to him.
Step 2. Make occasional eye contact
When talking to someone or listening to someone else talk, make eye contact to show confidence and a desire to be fully involved in the conversation.
If the other person avoids eye contact with you, don't jump to conclusions. Certain cultures view eye contact as being rude or wanting to intimidate others. Think positive and try to find out why
Step 3. Do not stare at the interlocutor
Making eye contact and staring are two different things. Don't keep watching what other people are doing if you don't have a conversation with them because they will feel intimidated. Such behavior is considered rude and disrespectful.
Step 4. Smile
People will feel comfortable around people who smile. Don't force yourself to smile all the time, but during conversations, smile occasionally, especially if things are fun or funny.
Part 3 of 4: Improving Communication Skills
Step 1. Think before you speak
This has been explained in the first section. Think about what you are going to say before speaking.
- Don't make judgmental statements.
- For example, if you haven't been promoted, instead of saying, "You're not a good boss!" you better ask, “What do I need to do to improve my job performance?”
Step 2. Adjust the tone of voice when speaking
Other people will be annoyed if you speak at a very loud volume or the pitch of your voice is too high. In addition, your emotions can be misinterpreted.
Step 3. Wait for your turn to speak
Listen carefully to the person who is talking and do not interrupt the conversation. This may not be easy, especially if you are very excited to say something or if someone dominates the group discussion by continuing to talk. Try to control the urge to interrupt the conversation and don't interrupt other people's sentences.
Step 4. Don't yell or swear when you're angry
Everyone can get angry. If you're angry with someone, calmly explain why you're angry or distance yourself from the situation and then have a discussion with them once you've calmed down.
Keep in mind that a person, whether a close friend, family member, acquaintance, will usually respond badly to being yelled at. This way of communicating is very intimidating and will only exacerbate the conflict
Step 5. Ask questions and show interest
Ask further if someone says something to you. For example, your friend tells you that he was out of town last week. Ask him where he went and if the trip was fun. Questions and compliments are both helpful. After giving compliments, ask questions, for example:
- Your shoes are cool! New, huh? Where to buy?
- Cute cat! What's his name? What kind?
- Conversations will flow more if you are willing to contribute, ask questions, want to know the answers, and provide feedback.
Step 6. Don't overdo it
Many people who are humorous or talented in many ways tend to want to dominate the conversation with their jokes or success stories. This behavior annoys other people, so don't be like that!
- Remember that the more you show interest in the other person, the more likely he or she will want to chat with you. Even if you don't want to continue the conversation with him, don't let him think you're selfish or arrogant.
- There are humors and jokes that are inappropriate when told in certain situations. Don't insult or make fun of the other person because you want to make fun of him because he will feel uncomfortable, especially if you don't know him well.
Step 7. Be positive
Positive people will be attracted to people who have a positive mindset and a pleasant personality. Instead of constantly complaining and criticizing, think on the positive side of the current situation or find a constructive solution to the problem. Do you see the glass is half full of water instead of half empty?
Part 4 of 4: Maintaining Appearance
Step 1. Determine your destination
Do you want to go to a restaurant? Watching a football game? Picnic? Wedding party? New Year's Eve event?
- The clothes you wear when you go outside show others that you care about your appearance and this makes you feel more confident.
- If you want to go to a restaurant, search the internet for information so you know what the atmosphere is like.
- For casual events, picnics, or watching a football game, wear jeans and a T-shirt.
- If you're going to a fancy restaurant, a wedding, or a New Year's Eve event, wear something a little more fancy. Choose clothes that match the atmosphere at the location of the event to determine how cool you look. For example, wear an elegant dress or skirt and blouse (for women), a suit or shirt and trousers (for men).
Step 2. Take good care of your body
Wear clean and tidy clothes wherever you go. Get in the habit of showering every day, shampooing, brushing your teeth, and applying deodorant if needed.
Keeping your body clean is common, but a unkempt body can seriously hinder social interactions and make you more likely to get sick
Step 3. Ask other people for their opinion
If you're not sure about the outfit you've chosen, ask a good friend or family member for advice.
If you want to go to a new place, seek advice from a friend who already knows the situation there. Or, if you don't know how formal a particular event is (example: a wedding can be very formal or informal), it's a good idea to ask the person hosting the event
- Be yourself! Sometimes, worrying too much about how to behave the best makes you feel more awkward when socializing than you would if you were just the way you are.
- Show confidence, even if it's just pretending. Many of us have experienced situations that were uncomfortable and made us feel anxious. Try to show confidence, even if you feel the opposite, because this way people will respond to you in a good way and can work around your discomfort so you can really feel confident.