How to Deal With Sensitive People

People who are highly sensitive emotionally can be hard to handle. You never know what seemingly innocent statement or action will hurt their feelings and shut them in or set them off, and when that happens, it’s usually tough to fix the situation.

I’ve dealt with my fair share of sensitive people in life. Also, in my communication coaching, I frequently work with people who are dealing with a highly sensitive person or more in their own lives, and they wanna do it better. Based on these experiences, I wanna provide you some practical advice on how to deal with sensitive people effectively.

Avoid These 4 Sensitive Kinds of Statements

I’ve found that there are 4 kinds of statements in particular that are likely to trigger a sensitive person:

  • Jokes about them. Because they don’t see them as friendly jokes, they seem them as you mocking them.
  • Criticism, even when it’s pointed at groups they identify with, not at them directly. Because they take it as a rejection of their own person.
  • Disagreeing with them. Again, because they perceive it as a personal rejection rather than a disagreement on a specific idea.
  • Firm commands or blunt orders. Because they commonly feel belittled when receiving such orders.

If you wanna have better relationships with sensitive people, bear in mind these 4 types of statements and cut down on them when dealing with sensitive people.

I do not encourage you to avoid them all the time, at any cost. They still have a role in communication. Sometimes a negative feedback or divergent opinion is important to be expressed, despite the fact it will upset the other person.

I do encourage you though to work on consciously recognizing when you’re about to make a type of statement that may trigger emotionally a sensitive person, and carefully weigh the cost vs. the benefit to see if it’s worth it. Sometimes it will; many times you’ll be much better off if you just shut up.

Learn Sensitive People’s Expectations

Beyond things that upset the majority of sensitive people, each sensitive person has their own little triggers. This is because each has their own map of reality, which includes their own views and expectations on how others should treat them. And you may not share the same views.

For example, you may go out to dinner with a person who expects you pick up the check, and even though you’re fine with doing that, you don’t even think about it, because in their place you would not have the same expectation. Such differences in perspectives create further complications.

SensitiveThe best way to deal with this thorny issue is to try to learn more about people’s expectations, especially the highly sensitive ones.

Ask them questions about the things they value and how they like to be treated. Listen attentively and try not to judge them, encourage them to communicate openly with you.

The better you understand a person’s expectations and perspectives, the better equipped you are to fulfill them. This doesn’t mean that you always have to cater to their expectations. Sometimes they will clash with your own needs, and your needs will come first. But it’s still good to know their expectations and be able to cater to them when you want to do so.

Fixing the Situation with Style

Unavoidably though, as effectively as you manage your words and actions around sensitive people, once in a while you will still do or say something that will upset them.

Most folks are bad at handling such situations. They will often try to apologize and fix things in a way that only makes things worse. I’ve heard many apologies like: “I’m sorry! But it was only a joke. What’s your problem, anyway?”

Such a comment will not work well with a sensitive person, because it further invalidates them, making them feel even worse.

When it comes to apologizing to a sensitive person, I have one golden rule: show them you are not rejecting them as a person. Because that’s really the big problem with sensitive people: they take jokes, criticism, divergent opinions and blunt orders as a personal rejection.

For example, after making a joke that got them offended, a good comment to fix the situations is something like: “I’m sorry, I was just joking. You know I think you’re a cool person and I like spending time with you.”

This comment reassures the person that the joke did not mean anything bad, and will likely make them feel much better. Get used to making such comments with sensitive people at least once in a while, if you wanna stay on their good side.

Sometimes, Dealing with Sensitive People Cautiously Is Not Worth It

The strategies above for improving your communication with sensitive people are based on the premise that it’s worth it. The sensitive person has some noteworthy redeemable qualities that make it worth trying to have a good relationship with them.

Sometimes though, this is not the case. All the effort to be on your toes constantly, adapt yourself and try to fix things in dealing with a sensitive person, is simply not worth it considering what you get in return. The benefits do not justify the cost.

In such cases, you’re better off not trying to cater to a sensitive person, and treating them as you would treat most people (which I imagine is a considerate, but not hyper-considerate way). If it upsets them or drives them away, so be it.

Some folks are not comfortable with hearing such advice. They don’t like the idea of letting people get upset at them, stay upset at them, and sometimes leave them. Usually I find this is because they care too much about having other people’s approval. They want everybody to like them and they wanna get along with everybody.

This is simply not a healthy attitude. You wanna learn to be okay with some people not liking you and not enjoying your company. You wanna learn to stop seeking everybody’s approval.

With this is mind, I recommend you check out this practical presentation, in which I’ll teach you my step-by-step, tried and tested method for gaining social confidence and stopping seeking people’s approval. If you struggle with breaking bad relationships or tolerating disapproval from others, this presentation will help you a lot.

Dealing with sensitive people is tricky. But with a good grasp of their psychology, strong communication strategies and the right attitude, it is something you can do effectively. Such tools are what I’ve offered you in this article.

For more communication and relationship advice from me, get right now onboard my free newsletter and I’ll talk to you some more there.

Attracting the Wrong Kind of People? Here’s Why

Often in coaching sessions, and even in casual social conversations, I hear folks state with some exasperation that they have a knack for attracting the wrong kind of people.

By ‘wrong kind of people’ they mean the types that make their life worse, often much worse, instead of better: manipulators, codependent people, severe substance addicts, violent persons, total narcissists, perpetual complainers, constant criticizers, and so on. I usually refer to the whole bunch as toxic people.

It’s important to liberate yourself from toxic relationships with such types of people, but it’s equally important to be able to avoid getting into such relationships in the first place. And for this, you need to understand why you attract the wrong kind of people.

So, based on my confidence and communication coaching experience, as well as my personal experience dealing with toxic people, I’d like to offer what I deem as the two chief causes for this phenomenon, plus some advice for dealing with them.

You Have Strong Emotional Vulnerabilities They Can Detect  

A lot of individuals will stay away or break away from toxic people as soon as they realize how troublesome they are.

So to have relationships, toxic people must target individuals who are visibly emotionally vulnerable. These are individuals who care too much about pleasing others, or they can’t say no, or they have a savior complex, or they have low self-esteem, or some other deep-seated insecurity.

Such persons have a hard time staying away or breaking away from the wrong kind of people, because they’re very afraid of their disapproval, or they would feel very guilty afterwards. And toxic people are implicitly or explicitly aware of that. They sense they can have their way with such a person, so they jump on them like a lion on a gazelle.

Now, you can try to hide your emotional vulnerabilities, but sooner or later, toxic people tend to spot them. They have an acute mental radar for them.

So ultimately, your only real option is to identify your biggest emotional insecurities and work on overcoming them. You wanna close the chinks in your armor. Not only that it will keep away most toxic people, but it will also enhance your life in many other ways.

You may require some help. Emotional insecurities are not easy to overcome. If you can find and work with a good therapist or coach, I definitely recommend you do it. At a bare minimum, educate yourself about the psychology of emotions and the effective techniques to fortify yourself emotionally; then apply that knowledge on your own.

In particular, I suggest you check out this video presentation I created especially to teach others an effective method to overcome any emotional vulnerability and boost their social confidence, based on my years of confidence coaching experience. I’m positive that it will help you a lot.

And also, make sure you join my free social confidence newsletter to get more practical advice from me.

You Let Yourself Get Absorbed By Their Superficial Qualities

Toxic people are not all bad, especially when you first meet them. Lots of them have quite a few superficial qualities, which come out much sooner than their more profound flaws.

Some come off as very interesting and charismatic initially. Some always know what to say to make you feel good (as well as make you feel bad, as you may eventually find out). Some seem very nice and kind at first. And some appear highly confident and exciting.

The problem is that you may be engrossed and reeled in by these qualities, only to discover a boatload of flaws lurking out of sight as you get to know the person better. Only by then, they’re already your boyfriend or girlfriend, spouse, house mate or good friend.

This usually happens when you let somebody’s superficial qualities trick you into thinking that’s all there is to them. You only see them through the lens of those strengths, failing to consider there are parts of them you have not yet discovered, which may not be as virtuous.

Thus, in or order to avoid attracting the wrong kind of people, you wanna adopt the mindset that people are often not what they seem at first. And you must always bear in mind that toxic people in particular often come off as very appealing initially.

Coming from this mindset, have patience when meeting new people and do not rush into any kind of serious relationship until you get to know them better. Take your time, observe people’s communication model, and don’t let the initial exhilaration dictate your actions.

These are the two causes. One pulls the wrong kind of people towards you, and one pulls you towards the wrong kind of people, which in turn pulls them even closer. I think you can see how this dynamic can create a lot of complications for you.

So it’s important to apply the above advice and work on overcoming these two factors. It will completely change the quality of your relationships. When you posses the self-confidence to evade toxic people and you don’t let eagerness lead you to misjudge people, you create the possibility of amazing relationships in your life.

5 Rules for Conversing With Busy People

Sometimes, especially in your professional life, you’ll deal with people who are very busy. People who are flooded with tasks and responsibilities, and they have little time for casual conversation.

Unsurprisingly, these individuals who are very busy also tend to be very successful, capable and knowledgeable, so it’s in your interest to befriend them. But how do you talk to such a person in order to make friends with them?

For the most part, talking to a busy person is the same as talking to any other person. The same principles apply. However, there are a few specific rules that apply for conversing with busy people in particular. I’d like to share these rules with you in the following paragraphs.

1. Remember That Even Busy People Are Social Creatures

Just because a person is busy doesn’t mean they don’t want to chat with others and they don’t enjoy it. They just don’t have that much time for it so they have to prioritize their conversations. But busy people can be very social and friendly. Like anyone else, they have a deep-seated need to socialize and make friends.

This is important to keep in mind because it’s easy to assume that since a person is very busy, they’re also gonna be very grouchy and distant, and so it’s not worth trying to talk to them. But in reality, this is rarely the case. And the more you make conversation with busy people, the more you’ll experience this yourself.

2. Don’t Try to Prove Yourself

Folks who do a lot of things and their time is in great demand are likely to trigger in us feelings of inferiority or inadequacy. We feel we’re not good enough for them to give us a piece of their time and attention. Consequently, when the give us their time and attention, we decide to use it to showcase our assets and prove ourselves to them.

Let me tell you: there is no bigger turnoff for a busy person than somebody trying to impress them. Yes, they know they’re capable and in demand, but it doesn’t mean they expect others to try and prove themselves to them. In fact, most of them see this as very needy behavior.

The best use of your time interacting with a busy person is in relating to them authentically, not in trying to impress them. Focus on making conversation and creating a connection, not on proving yourself. You have nothing to prove.

3. Spend More Time in Their Reality

busyUsually when making conversation with another person, I recommend you find topics that you both enjoy equally, and talk about those. So if the conversation lands on a topic you fancy, but the other person doesn’t seem to resonate with it, you try to change the topic, just as you try to change it in the reverse situation.

When dealing with a busy person though, since their time is in high demand, your favorite topics take a slight backseat to theirs. It usually makes sense to make an extra effort and unsure they find the subjects you talk about meaningful.

This often entails being curious, asking open-ended questions, and once you’ve found a topic they enjoy talking about, exploring that topic. Spend time in their reality. I’m not saying you should torture yourself with conversation about stuff you have zero interest in, but do try a bit more than usual to accommodate the other person. One way or another, it will pay off.

4. Get to the Point

Busy people have little patience for evasive communicators who beat around the bush. Their time is highly valuable. So they don’t need you to sugar coat your messages that much; they just want you to get to the point and say what you have to say.

Interestingly enough, even though they prefer a direct style of communication, busy individuals are the most likely to deal with an indirect style of communication. This is because they intimidate most people and most people are very fearful of upsetting them, so they beat round the bush.

Make sure you don’t make the same mistake most people make though. Get to the point when talking with a busy person. Be clear and straightforward in your communication. They will take pleasure in talking with you more and they will respect you more.

5. Don’t Hesitate to Reschedule

Even the busiest people have moments during the day when their time is unsolicited and it’s convenient for them to chat. But they’re not frequent. So it’s often possible that you engage such a person, and you quickly realize they’re not in such a moment.

Sensing that it’s not a good moment for them to chat, most of us do one of two things: either we end the conversation abruptly so they can get back to other stuff, or we speed up our speaking rate, often to the point where it becomes downright comical.

I would like to suggest a better alternative: reschedule. If you find the moment isn’t good for the other person to chat, acknowledge this and schedule some other time. For example, say something like: “Listen I notice you’re busy. Maybe we can continue this conversation some other time. Wanna have lunch together today for instance?”

I reschedule conversations like this all the time, and I find it to be an amazingly elegant and effective approach. Give it a try.

Making quality conversation is a skill. And making quality conversation with busy people is even more so. It takes a certain level of understanding of human psychology and social dynamics to be a good conversationalist, as well a certain amount of practice. I’ve provided some of the understanding in this article. Putting it into practice is up to you.

Enjoy yourself!

Image courtesy of herlitz_pbs

 

When People Tell You That You Don’t Talk Much

When I was shy, I didn’t talk very much in conversations, especially with people I didn’t know well. So I often received comments and questions like: “You don’t talk much” or “Why don’t you participate in the conversation?”

I remember that these kinds of remarks and questions made feel very uncomfortable and I didn’t know how to react to them. I didn’t like being shy, and I liked it even less when people realized that I was shy.

Then, coaching shy people for a living, I discovered that almost every shy person deals with such situations and they don’t know how to handle them effectively. So I’d like to share some practical idea with you and clarify what you can do when people say you don’t talk very much.

Do Not Get Defensive or Try To Be Witty

Usually, when a person gets told they don’t talk very much, their first impulse is to justify themselves. They will go into this elaborate and often phony explanation designed to prevent them from appearing shy because they don’t talk much.

Unfortunately, others typically see right through such explanations. And the very fact that you’re trying to defend yourself so hard is the first indication that the comment bothered you, which is a sign of insecurity in itself.

Other times they will try to be witty and deliver some sort of clever comeback. This is typically doomed to fail as well. As you may have experienced yourself, it is seldom that you manage to be witty when you’re put on the spot by somebody and you feel emotional pressure.

Defending yourself and trying to be witty are both anxiety-generated, approval-seeking reactions, and believe me, they do very little for you. Here is a much better alternative.

Just Provide a Basic Answer

criticI found that when someone tells you that you don’t talk much, the best answer is a short, simple one. Something like “Yeah, sometimes I’m not in the mood to talk” or “I just don’t have anything to say right now” is enough.

You’re still explaining yourself, but you’re not over-explaining yourself so it doesn’t come off as needy or defensive. Most importantly, by giving just a basic answer, you’re not making a big deal out of this whole thing. You give a basic reply to a basic question, and you move on.

In my experience, this is by far the best approach. The other person will take the answer you provided, be satisfied with it, and continue participating in the social interaction.

It’s even okay to admit that you’re a bit shy. Other people actually have a lot of understanding towards shy people. Not pity, as many shy persons assume; understanding.

And even if they may not seem like it, they are shy to some extend as well. Or they may have been in the past. Understanding that you’re shy typically encourages them to be supportive towards you, which is the best response to help you get out of your shell in social situations.

Focus On Overcoming Your Shyness Not On Hiding It

Overall, I feel that focusing on making others think you are social when you really aren’t is counterproductive. Your priority should be to learn to be more outgoing socially (which you can do), rather than managing how others see you.

Interestingly enough, the moment when you stop caring too much about comments like “you don’t talk much” is when you start to be more talkative and so you get less of these comments. It means you’ve begun to not fear disapproval, a fear that’s at the root of shyness and social anxiety.

So, focus on learning to see yourself in a better light, on overcoming your limiting beliefs and on building social skills. This is what will make you more confident socially and more talkative.

This approach helps you deal with the primary issue, which is the fact you’re shy, not the secondary one, which is the fact people see you as shy.

Shyness is not a disease; it’s not even a defect necessarily. But it is a thorny behavioral and emotional habit that can make it very hard to relate to others and make you miss out on a lot in life. And thus it’s the core issue to deal with.

To learn how to eliminate your limiting beliefs and overcome shyness, I suggest that you watch this instructional presentation, where I discuss this topic in more detail. Access it right now.

Work on dealing with your shyness, using proven psychological tools, and the multiple problems derived from shyness (such as pesky remarks from other people) will naturally disappear.

Image courtesy of jontintinjordan

Fear of People and How to Overcome It

Fear of people is more than an emotion. It’s actually a psychological condition, also known as anthropophobia, similar to shyness and social phobia. A person with this condition is afraid both of interacting with and being around other people.

The fear of people is more intense than shyness. The person with anthropophobia doesn’t just feel a bit of nervousness what chatting with someone. They are considerably afraid, and this intensity of emotions makes their condition more similar to social phobia.

But it is also different from social phobia in the sense that while someone with social phobia feels anxiety in social types of situations (for example, when being in a group, or talking to unfamiliar people, or speaking on stage), someone with anthropophobia feels anxiety when dealing with people in general, including people they’ve know for a long time, individually. So the range of the emotion is broader.

Predictably, the fear of people is a highly debilitating condition. A person who fears others in general finds it hard to interact with anyone and is unable to develop meaningful interpersonal relationships. And considering the crucial role positive social interactions and relationships play in our life, it’s unavoidable that this person frequently feels lonely, depressed and unfulfilled as a result of lacking these elements in their own life.

Symptoms and Causes

If you believe you or someone you know may suffer from anthropophobia but you’re not sure, a better understanding of this condition’s symptoms will probably clarify this for you.

Besides the obvious state of anxiety when dealing with others, there are several common symptoms of suffering from the fear of people. Individuals with this condition:

  • Feel strong anxiety in anticipation of a social interaction or event, often days in advance;
  • They typically have trouble holding eye contact with others, even with familiar people;
  • They often feel nausea or sickness when interacting with others or being around others;
  • Intense sweating, skin pallor or blushing are also common when dealing with other people;
  • They have constant thoughts of self-doubt and self-criticism when in social settings;
  • They avoid social events and interpersonal interactions, and often they even just avoid leaving the house;
  • They find the mere presence of other people highly energy draining, and talking with people even more so.
  • They seriously struggle with making conversation and being friendly with others.

What causes anthropophobia? It is believed that genetic predispositions do play a role, but it is not the dominant one. Early traumatic events from childhood regarding relating to people are often at the root of anthropophobia, but not always.

alonePersonally, having coached multiple individuals with anthropophobia and studied a lot of the psychological research on this subject, I consider that multiple causes comes into play, but the most important one concerns negative experiences relating to others.

Sometimes these could be a few traumatic experiences dealing with others, other times they could be a lot more non-traumatic but still unpleasant experiences, other times it’s a combination of the two.

In any case, these negative social experiences, perhaps on a background of above average emotional sensitivity, make the person develop a very negative perception of people and interpersonal situations.

At a conscious or subconscious level, they have come to believe that other people are a threat to them, that they will judge them and hurt them. They have come to see themselves as unlikeable and inclined to attract the antagonism of others, and social settings as dangerous for them.

Thus, they fear people and they try to avoid them as much as they can. This is the only way they can feel safe. But sadly, this also makes them completely isolated socially and ultimately very unhappy with their lives.

How to Overcome the Fear of People

The good news is that the fear of people can be overcome. The fact this fear can be so intense and all-encompassing is not in any way an indicator that’s its permanent. With proper guidance and with some consistent work, you can stop fearing people and learn to enjoy social interactions.

In order to achieve this, what you need is to develop new, more constructive thinking habits regarding people and your relation to them. As these new ways of thinking skink in, your fear of people will dissipate.

In my experience as a confidence coach, there are two types of interventions that work in learning this new type of thinking habits.

1) Progressive Exposure. When you fear people, you are inclined to avoid them. Unfortunately, this only keeps the fear alive. In order to overcome it, it’s crucial to do the very opposite and expose yourself to social settings and interpersonal interactions more.

This process needs to be progressive in order to work well. You start small, with exposure to social situations that generate a relatively small amount of anxiety, and you advance steadily. Progressive exposure essentially acclimatizes you with dealing with people and thus it becomes comfortable.

2) Correcting Your Thoughts. In addition to progressive exposure, it’s also important to directly address those negative thoughts that make you fear people. This implies noticing them when they appear, recognizing what’s faulty about them and replacing them with more rational thoughts.

Essentially, you need to consciously practice thinking in a more constructive way. And with practice, this news way of thinking overpowers the old one and becomes second nature. And so the fear dissipates.

If you wanna learn more about this proven process for overcoming the fear of people and how to use it, I suggest you watch this instructional video where I go into more detail. The information I share in it is gonna be very valuable to you so make sure you watch it.

Qualified assistance in overcoming anthropophobia constantly proves very helpful. If you can work with a competent psychologist or psychotherapist or coach, you’ll make much faster progress and the whole process will be much easier.

At least, I recommend you join my free social confidence newsletter, where I will share with you more practical advice for triumphing over anthropophobia and act as your online guide in this process.

In closing, I encourage you to bear in mind that the fear of people is something you’ve learned. And anything that you can learn, you can unlearn. It’s easier said than done, but with effective action and perseverance, it can be done.

And it’s more than worth it. When you stop fearing people, you are able to get out of the house more, meet people, talk to them, make friends, build fulfilling relationships and have a great time with others. Your life will never be the same.

Image courtesy of David Ingram

“Why Do People Ignore Me?” The 4 Potential Explanations

As a social confidence coach, I work very often with men and women who feel as if they are invisible to others around them, and they ask themselves: Why do people ignore me?

Maybe in conversations others seem to pay no attention to them, maybe nobody talks to them at a social event but they seem to talk to almost everyone else, or maybe when people they know go out they never invite them.

If you’re in such a situation and you’re asking yourself “why do people ignore me?” I’d like to answer this question for you from my perspective. In my experience, there are 4 probable explanations. In some cases only one of them will be valid; in other cases a few or even all of them will be valid.

1. Your Presence Doesn’t Grab or Hold People’s Attention

The truth is that most folks don’t put a lot of deliberate effort in trying to pay attention to someone or something. They simply pay attention to whomever or whatever naturally grabs their focus.

The people who grab their focus are the ones who stand out and project themselves with confidence. These are the ones who speak in a firm, easy to hear voice in conversation, hold good eye contact, use clear, convinced gestures, and move with poise through a social setting. This makes them hard to ignore.

Conversely, people who get ignored most of the time have feeble body language, speak seldom and in a very soft voice, and they pretty much blend into the scenery. This is what makes them nearly invisible.

2. You Are a Stranger to Others

Here’s a scene you can witness often at a party: a guy walks up to a group of 3 other guys and shakes hands with all of them, but when he speaks, he seems to only look at two of them, while mostly ignoring the third.

At times, when he walks up to the group he will only shake hands with the first two guys and skips the third one entirely.

Why is he doing this? Because the third guy is a stranger to him. He knows the first two guys well, he spoke with them before, but he never talked with the third one, even though he may have seen him before.

And when we deal with strangers, we are often inclined to ignore them. It’s not polite, it’s not very social, but most of us only do what feels comfortable to us, which is why we ignore people we don’t know very well. And unless the other person makes an effort to be social with us, we never get to know them, which creates a self-sustaining cycle.

It is possible that in your social environment, you are a stranger to lots of people. And since they don’t know you and they barely know anything about you, their natural inclination will often be to ignore you. It’s your job to break this cycle.

3. You Seem Unfriendly

LonelyAnother likely explanation is that some of the people around you have tried to be social with you in the past, but your response was less than welcoming. Maybe you didn’t say much, you answered their questions mostly with two-word statements, and you didn’t appear to enjoy talking to them.

I know that this may have been because you were feeling nervous and didn’t know what to talk about, and you really wanted to be more outgoing, but the fact is you weren’t. And others falsely assumed it’s because you don’t like them. So, after a short while they stopped trying to be friendly with you and they started ignoring you.

Another reason why if you often feel nervous around new people, it’s crucial to get this issue handled. And you can do so, because anxiety and shyness can be eradicated by making some tweaks to the way your mind works.

Check out this presentation I created to learn how to do this. In it describe the tried and tested formula for gaining social confidence, so I’m sure you’ll find it very useful.

4. You Haven’t Found the Right People

Maybe some people have interacted with you in the past, you were talkative, they got to know you, and yet they still ignore you. What gives?

The last plausible explanation and answer to “Why do people ignore me?” is that many of the individuals you’ve met simply don’t match well with you in terms of values and interests. You’re not the kind of person they wanna be best friends with.

Don’t get me wrong: this doesn’t mean you’re not likeable, it just means you’re not their type. Which means they’re not really your type either. Maybe you’re the kind who wants to talk about career and world events, while all they care about is fast cars and what’s on TV. We have a clear mismatch.

What this means is simply that you haven’t found the right people for you. You need to meet new people, perhaps in other kinds of environments, get to know them and allow them to know you. In time, this process will bring in your life people you match well with and who simply won’t resist from talking to you and paying attention to you.

Now you know why people ignore you. It’s one or more of these 4 explanations above.

The best news is that all of these are issues you can fix or circumvent. You don’t have to be lonely and have no friends. You don’t have to be ignored by others. You can change all of this.

If you haven’t already, I invite you to join my free social confidence newsletter, where I share weekly advice and techniques to help you achieve this. It’s the top resource you can find for enhancing your social confidence, skills and life.

Good luck and I hope to see you in the newsletter as well!

Image courtesy of Saint Huck

“Why Do People Stare At Me?” A Qualified Answer

I got an interesting question a few days ago from a reader of the social confidence newsletter. He noticed that very frequently, in buses, on the street, in the supermarket, while waiting in line, people look intently at him. So he asked me: “Why do people stare at me?”

It’s not that “Dang! You’re hot!” kind of stare that a very attractive woman may get, it’s more like that “Wow! You’re weird!” kind of stare.

This isn’t by any means the first time someone asks me: “Why do people stare at me?” As a social confidence coach, I get this question a lot. In this article, I’d like to provide a thorough, qualified answer to it, and show you how to amend this situation to boot.

In my experience, there are 3 major reasons why people may gape at you. In more than 95% of cases, one or more of these reasons offer the complete explanation.

1. There Is Something Quite Odd about Your Appearance

First and foremost, your appearance may be markedly bizarre, and this is what gets people’s attention and makes them gawk.

I’m not talking about the way you look physically per se. Being fat, skinny, short, bold, Asian, Indian or whatever rarely gets stares in this multifaceted society. I’m talking about the way you dress and take care of yourself.

It’s common for people who get lots of stares to be utterly careless or clueless regarding clothing, grooming and personal style.

It’s like they never look in the mirror. They go out with unkempt hair and baggy clothes, they choose horrible clothing combinations, and their overall appearance is extremely sloppy. This is what gets noticed and it often makes others gawk.

staringNext time before you go out, take a good look at yourself in the mirror. Note your clothes, their fit, your hair, your posture and your overall look. Try to observe yourself as if you’re observing another person that you’re seeing for the first time.

And notice: is something off about your appearance? Do you look eerie or unappealing in some way? If so, it’s time to start taking better care of the way you dress and present yourself visually.

You may be a very cool person on the inside, but if you dress sloppy, the first impression you create will be the very opposite of that.

2. Anxiety Is Messing Up the Message Your Project

It’s no coincidence that almost every person who perceives that others often stare at them feels nervous in social settings. Some of them have actually being diagnosed with social phobia or even AvPD.

You see, when you’re in a social setting and you feel anxiety, this will screw up your non-verbals, especially your facial expression. You’ll have this frozen, terrified look on your face, your eyes will be very wide open and your face color will likely be very pale.

This gets people’s attention and shocks them. So they’ll have the tendency to stare at you, perhaps even say to others: “Look at this guy/girl! He/she looks like they saw a ghost or something!”

Then you’ll realize others are gawking at you, which will make you self-conscious, which generates even more anxiety, so you look even more terrified, and the whole thing spirals.

In my experience, this is the most common reason why people stare at you. It is fundamentally an anxiety-related issue. And the only real solution is to deal with this root cause: to overcome your anxiety related to social settings.

Fortunately, effective, well-researched methods for overcoming anxiety exist today. Your job is to learn them and apply them.

I don’t want to go into this extensive topic here, but I do encourage you to check out this free presentation I designed, in which I cover this exact topic and I’ll show you the steps to take in order to build rock-solid social confidence. Please make sure you watch it.

3. It’s Largely Just In Your Head

It is also very possible that people in general don’t stare at you that much. No more than they stare at anybody else (yes everybody gets occasional stares), or at least not much more

However, your mind makes it seem that people stare at you all the time, when this actually occurs infrequently. What happens is that, since staring makes you feel uncomfortable, you notice it a lot and you remember it vividly.

You’re very aware of the situations when others gape at you, but completely unaware of the many situations when they don’t. This makes your mind overgeneralize and create the erroneous impression that people stare at you all the time.

Nevertheless, the reality is far from that.

This is something you can overcome by paying more attention to the situations where others do not gawk at you or they don’t even notice you, bearing them in mind, and then trying to objectively asses how frequently do others truly gawk at you.

You’ll likely find out it’s only in a small number of cases.

That’s it: my answer to the puzzling question: “why do people stare at me?” Take this info, put it into practice and see what happens. I think you’re gonna love the results you’ll achieve. And above all, work on building your social confidence. I will make the biggest difference.

Image courtesy of Chibcha

How to Not Care What People Think

Are you very sensitive to other people’s opinions? When someone says something negative about you, does it usually hurt a lot? When someone thinks badly of you, do you tend to mull over it incessantly? Then it’s crucial for you to learn how to not care what people think.

It’s smart to take other people’s opinions into consideration and use whatever you find valuable in them. However, if you care too much what others think of you, it’s very easy to get hurt, very hard to do what you want in life and very likely to end up unhappy.

The good news is that you can learn how to not care what people think of you, and you can desensitize yourself to other people’s opinions.

As a confidence coach, I’ve helped many individuals achieve this. I’d like to share with you and prescribe several of the practical actions that helped them the most.

1. Understand Your Reasons Clearly

Most negative opinions directed at you that you’ll hear from others concern things you chose to do, or to believe: “The career you picked is stupid”, “That sweater you’re wearing looks awful”, “Your ideas about marriage are wrong”, and so on.

People who are hypersensitive to such statements or views typically have a weak sense of why they do certain things or why they believe certain things. So when others evaluate these things negatively, it matters a lot to them.

In contrast, if you know exactly why you do something or why you believe something, if you understand your motivations clearly and you know you’re not just acting on impulse or following the heard, it’s much harder to care what other people think.

This is why one of the top advices I offer in teaching others how to not care what people think is to develop a good understanding of their own reasons. It’s like putting armor on you and making your choices impenetrable to naive criticism from the outside.

2. Make Opinions Relative

William Shakespeare once said (in Hamlet, to be more precise): “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so“.

I completely agree with this. Opinions are all relative. They don’t reflect reality; they merely reflect people’s subjective perception of reality.

So the fact a person thinks your hair looks good and another that your hair looks bad has little to do with reality and a lot to do with personal taste. And you might as well follow your own tastes when it comes to your own life.

This is a key idea that you can use to desensitize yourself to people’s perceptions.

When others say bad things about you, remind yourself of the relativity of human evaluations, about the fact they are subjective, not objective. I can vouch from personal experience that this will help you noticeably to calm down and stop feeling bad.

3. Expose Yourself to Adverse Opinions

It’s difficult to care what others think of you if you are used to a wide range of opinions being thrown at you on a regular basis.

For instance, I regularly publish articles on various websites, and in many of them I express some hard-to-swallow ideas. So in the articles’ comments section I get a lot of comments like “This is awesome”, “Brilliant article” but I also get many comments like “This is retarded” or “You’re an idiot”.

And after a period of time, I got used to it. I got used to the praise and I also got used to the ruthless criticism. I still enjoy the praise, but I don’t care about the unconstructive criticism anymore. Now, it actually amuses me.

The lesson here is to stop avoiding hearing adverse opinions and expose yourself to them instead. The more of them you hear, the easier you will take them.

Meet a variety of people, make conversation with them, be genuine and talk openly about your life, beliefs and preferences, even if they may not agree with them. It’s a great way to learn to enjoy appreciation and ignore condemnation.

4. Increase Self-Esteem, Decrease Approval-Seeking

Something I noticed early on is that almost without exception, caring too much what people think is only a symptom of a deeper problem.

This problem is that these oversensitive individuals don’t hold themselves in high regard and they’re perpetually concerned with the approval of others. And in order to get good results, they eventually need to work on this deeper issue and fix it.

Since there is a lot to say on this topic, I have a special presentation for you, in which I discuss how to build self-esteem, stop approval-seeking and gain social confidence. Click here to check it out right now.

Whether it’s learning how to not care what others think or any other positive attitude, it’s always by working from the inside out that you get the best results; from the deeper issues to the surface ones.

Caring too much how others see you is a problem created in your thinking. And ultimately, in adjusting your long-term thinking patterns lies the solution.

This is not hard, but it’s not easy either. It’s just a psychological process, which as long as it’s aided by the right advice, will happen effectively and it will not only transform your emotional reactions, but your entire life.

Image courtesy of bejealousofme

How to Talk to People

Make no mistake about it: in today’s world, knowing how to talk to people is one of the most important virtues you can possess.

If you don’t know how to talk to people it’s hard to make friends, build a social life, grab the interest of the opposite sex or get ahead in your career. But if you do, a whole lot of prospects open up in your life.

The best news I can offer you, based on 5+ years of experience as a social confidence coach, is that you can learn how to talk to people. Good conversation has principles. Know them, apply them repeatedly in social situations, and you’ll drastically boost your conversation skills.

In this article I’d like to share with you these principles and reveal the workings of good conversation. The rest is up to you.

Part1: The Conversation Formula

Basically, there are 3 major components of conversation: 1) asking questions, 2) disclosing information, and 3) changing topics. Do these 3 things right, and you’ll be able to talk to people in all sorts of social settings.

Let’s take a better look at each one of these 3 components and see how you can apply them effectively in conversation.

Step 1: Asking Questions

Questions are the best conversational tool you have to get the other person to share information and engage in the conversation. Thus, you get to know them and their subjective world.

Many books and articles on making small talk will give you lists of questions to use in conversation and encourage you to memorize them. I disagree with this approach entirely.

I believe questions work best when they are genuine, when they reflect an authentic curiosity you have. If you just ask about something because you think you should, but you don’t really care about it, that will usually show.

When you’re having a chat with someone, my advice is to always think about what you honestly want to know about the other person. Then ask questions based on this.

I, for instance, am very interested in people’s careers. So I often ask people I just met “What do you do?” But if you don’t really care about this stuff, by all means, don’t ask about it. Employ your own questions.

Step 2: Sharing Information

A common mistake  that individuals who don’t comprehend how to talk to people make is they ask lots of questions to get the other person to share information, but they don’t share information themselves.

Thus, they end up bombarding their conversation partner with question after question, and the entire discussion feels more like an interrogatory.

A quality conversation combines receiving information with giving information. Even if the other person doesn’t ask you a lot of questions, don’t be afraid to disclose yourself and to share information.

For instance, if I’m on a train and the person next to me is reading a book, and I want to start a conversation with them, I might ask them “What are you reading?” After they tell me the name of the book, I might ask them “What’s it about?”

But after they answer, I usually won’t ask yet another question. Instead, I’ll make a comment apropos what they said about the book, something simple and genuine, and then I’ll tell them a bit about a book I’ve read recently and I enjoyed.

So I’ll combine asking questions with sharing information. This is what makes a conversation work.

Step 3: Changing Topics

A 5-minute conversation can be on a single topic. But long conversations typically need to go through several topics. If you want to have long conversations, which tend to build the deepest connections with people, it’s important to move it from one topic to another.

When you feel the topic you’re discussing is drying out, don’t let the conversation die. Move it to another topic.

My rule of thumb is to try and keep the topics related. For example, after I talked with a person about books for a few minutes, it makes sense to move the conversation to movies, because it’s a related topic. And from one connect topic to another, I can take the conversation anywhere.

However, it is absolutely fine if you sometimes make big shifts in the conversation subject. For example, you move from books to “So, what do you do for a living?” That’s also a normal part of conversation. Just don’t do it every 30 seconds.

By asking questions, sharing information and changing topics, you effectively make a conversation happen. You get to know the other person, they get to know you, you cover a range of topics, and you connect with each other.

The truth is basic conversation isn’t exactly rocket science.

However, I can tell you there are plenty of people who, even after they understand these principles thoroughly, still have a hard time talking to others. Add it’s not a problem related to lack of knowledge, it’s a problem related to conversation confidence.

Part 2: Building Conversation Confidence

You can have questions to ask, yet not ask them because you fret you’ll come across as rude or impertinent. You can have things to say but not say them because you fear they’re not interesting. And you can have topics you want to talk about but not do so because you worry you’ll make a fool of yourself somehow.

You see, knowing how to talk to people and being able to talk to people are two very different things.

You can understand the rules and principles, but if you have fears like the ones I mentioned (which are usually unfounded), you’ll hesitate, you won’t say very much, you’ll stumble over your words when you do, and your conversations will still be sloppy.

The only solution to this problem is to overcome your limiting beliefs and build conversation confidence. This transformation is what you should focus on above all.

Since this is a huge subject, I have created a special presentation in which I’m gonna teach you how to do this. Check it out here and learn the secrets of conversation confidence.

Then take the know-how gained from it and make use of it in your own life.

When you have positive beliefs about yourself and you’re confident, you don’t second-guess yourself, you instinctively know what to say, you are natural and you are willing to take risks in social interactions.

At the end of the day, this is what gives you the ability to talk to people effortlessly and build the relationships you want with others.

Image courtesy of Brandon Christopher Warren