It is said that the right amount confidence is one of the most attractive things about a person. A severe lack of confidence, or overconfidence can be a put off for many.
Confidence comes naturally to a lot of people. To others, it could be quite a struggle. Having grown up as a socially awkward introvert, confidence levels for me were way below the poverty line. If you’re like me, you are probably told to ‘be confident’ often or generally find social situations daunting.
The thing about meeting people is, we tend to form our own opinions of them within the first few minutes of interaction. These opinions may or may not change later, depending on the frequency of interactions post the initial one. So usually, we don’t end up meeting people again, or don’t meet them often enough, thus not having the opportunity to get comfortable around them. In these situations, the first impression constitutes a major part of their opinion of us.
Irrespective of your career, or the path you choose in life, it’s always a plus to set a good first impression. You see, people with a healthy self confidence generally come across as more reliable, approachable, warm, and positive.
Now, how do you appear confident to someone even when you’re not feeling it inside? I’ve spent years of my life struggling to increase my self confidence. The trouble was, I couldn’t be consistent with it. I was trying too hard and wearing myself out too soon and thus exhausting my social battery.
Over the years I began to realize, that if I can’t hold that level of confidence for an entire day at a time, the best I can do is fake it. So, from personal experience it turns out that there actually are a few things you can do to come across as friendly, confident and reliable.
The most important and most difficult one for me to overcome was maintaining eye contact. When you meet a person, it is extremely important to hold eye contact. It really doesn’t matter if you don’t do most of the talking. But being a good listener and holding eye contact while interacting with the person builds a level of trust and makes it look like you’re interested in the conversation. But you must be careful not to look like you’re staring into their soul or come across as a creep. It’s okay to shift your gaze every now and then, and YES it’s okay to blink! Maintain a soft, kind gaze, and depending on the conversation and the occasion, throw in a smile every now and then.
Another thing that I would rank the same as the point above is your posture. Slouching, shoulders drooping and looking like you’re about to fold inwards like a folding chair is a complete no-no if you’re trying to look confident and approachable. It gives off an unapproachable and uninviting vibe and makes it look like you’re tired of being there already. Stand up straight, shoulders back, chin up, core tight. Posture itself makes you feel so much more confident and better about yourself. Maintaining a good posture doesn’t necessarily have to be done only when you’re out in public. It’s something you should do all the time, even when you’re alone. That way it becomes a part of your personality and you eventually won’t have to make any conscious effort towards it.
So, once you’ve got your eye contact and posture sorted, the next thing you work on, is a good, firm handshake. I had no idea about this until I was actually told that my handshake is very weak and it shows a real lack of self confidence. A weak, half-hearted handshake isn’t impactful or impressive in any way. A firm handshake is a sign of strength and respect. But please be sure not to crush the person’s fingers or dislocate any joint. That’s NOT what I meant by strength. One shake should be more than enough. Firm but warm at the same time.
So let’s go over this once. Eye contact – Posture – A firm handshake. These three things make the best and the easiest fake confidence recipe ever. You maybe yawning away to glory or screaming your lungs out of boredom in your mind, but on the surface, these 3 pointers got you covered.
Now, moving on to some other points that might interest you once you have the first three all sorted. If you’re not much of a talker, and generally are a quiet person, remember – that’s okay. A lot of people have the habit of pointing out that someone is on the quieter side and that generally pressures them into talking more than they actually do. From my experience, it only made me more uncomfortable and mentally exhausted. So remember, it’s okay to be quieter if that’s what you’re comfortable with. Keep your conversations limited to relevant things and answer questions to the point, but kindly.
Also, an important thing to remember – you’re not going to be liked and appreciated by everyone. That’s something you need to learn to fully accept and be comfortable with. Once you’re comfortable with that, all the above points will seem to come to you much more easily. For those of us who are and always have been socially awkward, we tend to appear like we see the devil in social situations. We feel like we’ve been thrown into a pit of darkness and all our senses have been taken away – not to mention the feeling when anxiety hits in the middle of all of that.
Maybe these points can be like a wall that you know you can lean on, and won’t feel as lost and bothered when you’re out of your comfort zone. The thing with appearing confident is that it helps those interacting with you to get comfortable around you, which in turn can help you to ease into situations that previously made you feel distressed. Eventually, you’ll forget you even had points to remember during any sort of social interaction and you’ll realize that you’re doing these things even without realizing.
We’re all different and have very different personalities from each other, even if we may seem similar. Being more accepting of ourselves, and being confident in our abilities are two of the most important lessons that we must teach ourselves.
Remember – you don’t have to change, you just have to believe in yourself more.
Blog by Priya D’Silva.
M.A. in Sociology
B.A. in Sociology
© 2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
This blog is in no way a substitute for medical advice. All opinions here are based on personal experience and may not apply to or resonate with everyone. You alone and no one else are the best judge of your condition and the severity of it. Do not hesitate get medical advice and treatment from a certified medical professional if needed to lead a happier and healthier life.