You are standing in the room with people all around you. But you still look into your phone.
You don’t know people around you and you are barely making an effort to get to know them.
You feel like no one is paying attention to you.
You think they don’t like you.
You feel like you don’t belong here.
You feel nervous.
You don’t know what to say or do.
While they think you are shy.
They think you are too proud to mix with them.
They think you don’t like them.
Have you ever been in this situation?
I have. Many a times.
I didn’t really knew how to make connections or how to just go there and talk to people. (strangers)
Even if there are many aspects of this situation and many self help books will tell you “exactly” what you need to do in this case.
But here I want to talk about something very basic. Something without which nothing you do will truly matter. No tricks. Just mindset.
Now imagine the same scenario.
You are in a room of people you don’t know.
But suddenly you get a call from a friend you haven’t seen a long time. You both chat happily for a while. And plan to catch up this weekend.
As you keep the phone down, there is a wide smile on your face. You’re so excited to meet her and just can’t stop imagining happy moments you two might create.
Now look at the people in front of you.
Do you still feel the same?
No! Chances are you will strike up a conversation with the bartender. Or maybe ask someone for directions without feeling awkward. Or maybe you’ll notice someone at work you do know in this crowd and go talk to that person.
The point is – when you experience any positive emotion, you are more likely to be social.
I was reading this interesting research by Barbara Fredrickson and I found which said –
Studies suggest a boost of oxytocin under difficult situations, helps you lower cortisol the “so called” stress hormone and you’d behave more positively, both verbally by disclosing your feelings and non verbally by making more eye contact and friendly gestures.
– Barbara Fredrickson
This Oxytocin is called the Calm and Connect hormone.
Just as Cortisol is said to initiate the Fight or Flight response.
Oxytocin calms down your fears and helps you connect with others.
They also conducted a study where the participants were told to give a speech within few minutes to a big audience. The situation was stressful. They divided the participants into two groups. They showed a short clip inducing happy feelings to one group and a short clip inducing negative or neutral feelings to another group. The group who saw the happy clip were far more relaxed and calm by the time they gave the speech.
There was no such calming effect on the other group.
I could relate to this research because I have been in that situation many times. And I know what I lack most at that time is cheerfulness, enthusiasm that I see around me. I am in a panic state and can’t get anything right. Maybe I’ll drop the glass, or I’ll leave my phone on the chair…. basically I’ll loose my mind in that case.
But when I am happy or at a party I really want to be I try to find ways to interact with others even if it is simply “asking for directions” I try to strike up a conversation.
So in that situation what you need the most is –
Just one happy memory or one moment of connection with someone you like to put you in a good mood. And then you can “be brave” and look at people in the eye and try talking to them.