No greater nightmare exists for those with social anxiety than knocking over a plate of appetizers or accidentally sneezing on the person you just were introduced to. For many, it's a tricky obstacle course to run and it can feel like only the most adept can succeed. However, one Reddit user set out to try and help out those who feel their social interactions could use some work. Reddit user, r/idkmanidkman, asked the following:
Socially fluent people of Reddit, What are some mistakes you see socially awkward people making?
I heard a quote once that helps me whenever I talk to strangers: "Confidence is when you walk into a room and assume everyone already likes you."
Obviously, this isn't true for every case, but in my experience, if you start off every interaction by imagining that good feelings exist, good feelings WILL actually exist. Everyone just wants to be liked, so if you pretend they already like you, you'll like them, and then they'll be happy that you already like them. It's a warm, fuzzy cycle.
A mistake I see that socially awkward people make is assuming that everyone DOESN'T like them. And then the cycle becomes awkward, rather than warm and inviting.
I think bullying in school can lead to this mindset, and it can be hard to break. It's important to remember that HIGH SCHOOL IS NOT REAL LIFE. In real life most people are generally not looking for every little reason to dislike someone.
I commented on this before, am repeating it because I feel it's important, especially for people in their early 20s to break from the high school social mindset. It can be difficult; it was for me.
I don't consider myself amazingly socially fluent, but I work with a lot of engineers who make me feel like I am in comparison. The biggest mistake that I see them making is talking about themselves (or their work) nonstop without acknowledging that there's another person in the conversation. It's like . . . dude, you're in a conversation.
Gauge the other person's interest. Ask a question of them occasionally!