Our level of confidence defines the quality of our social relationships. When we are insecure  our relationships may seem fearful or dangerous to us. When we are confident, our relationships tend to feel energizing and safe for us.

What to do?

I’ve been thinking about this and something interesting comes to mind.

Think about this if you are want to thrive more socially.

I remember going to a young couple’s party at their house one evening a few years ago.  I hated the whole experience. I felt very insecure there.  Come to think of it; they were very insecure too. An atmosphere of social ineptness reigned.  We sat on couches around a coffee table, but there was no coffee to spike our energy and no comfortable table of conversation to chew over.  The young couple and some other people present controlled the conversation. I couldn’t think of things to add.

Wow! It sucked! It felt unbearably awkward. My wife and I left early. I felt like a social failure, no confidence that evening, no social success that night. But now, years later, with much social water having run under and over my bridge, I better see the truth of the thing.

We are powerless in social relationships, when we think we have no control. This sense of powerlessness adds to any insecurity we might already have, and when other people control the conversation, when the turf is theirs, then this is very confidence-deleting for us.

I see now that much of the insecurity was within me, and then so was the solution. I let it happen. I did nothing. I thought of myself a guest with no responsibility. Not good, now I realize, not good.

I’ve changed. Enough weird parties, enough awkward conversations, enough counseling,  enough personal responsibility to make social events happen —  I’ve begun to have different experiences.

Recently I met a quiet and awkward young couple. I asked them questions. I expressed interest in their personalities. I took time to explore some things we have in common. I invited them to meet me again for coffee. The next time we met, they told me that they had really enjoyed their previous conversation with me and they wanted to talk more, to get to know each other.

What a difference a few years makes.

The real difference? My level of confidence. I’ve gotten more confident, more secure. I know who I am now,  and I am not afraid to let that be the social oil  or the social glue in awkward situations.

I used to think of myself as socially powerless.

Now I have come to generally think of myself  as in charge of any social situation I am in.  Wherever I go, I consider myself a co-host with those present. I see myself as in the position of  a self-affirming impresario, one of the masters of conversational entertainments. I see myself, in the role, if needed,  of group discussion leader.

This isn’t a total panacea. There will be and even lately has been social awkwardnesses. I mistook someone recently for someone else! Awkward! I still sometimes want to leave the party early.

But things have largely changed for me.  I like it. I  refused to be as silent as wall paper. No more. I now  refuse to engage in debilitating social silence. I refuse to be socially helpless. I refuse to act like I have no control. It’s good; it’s better this way. This is working for me, because social confidence is largely a matter of self-perception and self-actualizing behavior.

If you and I see ourselves as  leaders in  social situations then we usually will be.  Act confidently, and we will generally act socially competently.

Social confidence — it’s a way of seeing, and it’s a way of chosing, one thing and not another. It is about chosing to take control. It is about chosing to not be socially helpless.

Parties, better? They can be.

Take charge, my gentle friends and thrive!

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