Like most people on the internet, I am not all that crazy about hanging out with actual humans in the wild. Why would I, when I have a variety of app at hand–you know, Twitter, Tumblr, Netflix–that simulate human interaction without requiring all of the effort of human interaction? I love my friends and family, obviously, but I prefer solitude to spending time with people I don’t particularly care for, hanging out with my laptop rather than going to a party that I haven’t been given an explicit guarantee will actually be fun, or texting my friends from afar while staying holed up in my bedroom. In fact, some of my happiest nights have been ones in which I have been invited to some sort of function or another, thought about going, then decided against it and stayed home, all the while knowing that I could go out if I really wanted to.
But. It is summer. While it is easy and tempting to use this season as an excuse to stay in, watch Netflix, and forget that other humans exist for its entire duration, it does start to get old after a while. Simulated human interaction does not actually replace the real deal, unfortunately, and so, after a while, it becomes necessary–even for the most withdrawn of introverts–to actually hang out with other humans IRL. But how does one actually do that? Check out these easy ways to be better at actually, you know, putting yourself out there:
Don't Be Afraid To Rely On FriendsWe all have that one friend or acquaintance who's a veritable master when it comes to socializing. They know about all the parties, all the gossip, and what to do when. Use them! I mean, don't use them use them--don't make them feel as though you only ever text them when you're bored on a Saturday night or something. But, if you haven't been out in a while, don't feel weird about reaching out and seeing if this friend has something going on. Chances are good that they'll be happy to hear from you and won't mind bringing you along. Image source: iStock
Don't Psych Yourself OutAre you the kind of person who, as the plans you made a few days ago loom closer and closer, find your anxiety about the event growing, creating excuses--you'll be too tired, the party will be too crowded, nobody really wants you to show up--as to why you absolutely cannot attend? Don't. While this is certainly a relatable feeling--many a meme has been made of it--this doesn't mean that you have to adhere to it all the time. Make a no-cancellation rule within, say, twelve hours of an event (within reason) and see where that takes you. Image source: iStock
Be OK Taking A Backseat At Social EventsGoing to a party doesn't mean that you have to be the life of the party. So, if you're going to any sort of event, don't feel like you have to, like, personally shake the hand of every person there. It's okay to stick with one person (or even your phone, for a little bit) at a party--what's important is that you're there. Image source: iStock
Set Goals For YourselfMake a list of things that you have to do--like, say, going to a party if you get invited, or talking to someone new every week--and write it down. The goals you make can be totally dependent on your own personality and what you think you'll be able to achieve, but breaking down overarching concept of being "more social" into smaller chunks will make the whole thing easier and less intimidating to accomplish. Image source: iStock
Don't Immediately Reject InvitationsThis wikiHow article on becoming more social suggests that one must accept all invitations to learn how to be a social person. I wouldn't go that far--no need to go to the party hosted by your ex that you're pretty sure they invited you to just to show off their new girlfriend--but there is something to be said for ~taking risks~ and going out of your comfort zone. So, don't discount an event just because you won't know anyone (you can bring a friend, or make friends with other stragglers there) or because you don't particularly feel into it that day. It's better to go to a party for even just, like, fifteen minutes rather than skipping it altogether--that way, even if you hate it, you'll know for sure that you hated it, rather than wondering if it might have secretly been really fun. Image source: iStock
Make Friends Through Your HobbiesOne of the easiest ways to make friends is through common interests. You can join a book club, swim team, or audition for a summer play--when you're there, you'll find like-minded people to interact with (which will probably be easier than normal, since you share the same interests). Plus, if it's an organized group, that'll ensure that you actually go, rather than making excuses as to why you don't actually need to show up. You can also use apps to find people with similar interests--if you're eighteen or over, you can use apps like Meetup or Groupspaces, which help you find people in groups that are specifically geared towards your interests. Image source: iStock
Remember That It's Up To You To Initiate Hangouts TooInitiating human interaction is a fifty-fifty effort. If no one is texting you to hang out, check your past texts. Have you actually sent the first text recently? Have you even texted anyone today? If not, get on it. It's easy to assume that, if people aren't texting you, they're automatically doing something cool and awesome that doesn't concern you. It's also easy to forget that you actually have to reach out to people if you want to hang out with them. Because of this, an absence of texts certainly doesn't mean that nobody wants to hang out with you--it usually just means that you haven't initiated any hangouts lately. Image source: iStock
Are you bad at being social, too? Did I forget any good tips? Let us know in the comments!