How to become socially successful
Becoming socially successful requires skills that are acquired. They then become second nature. Like tying your shoe laces. So these social skills should be measured against the standard of what we call “adab”, in the Islamic tradition.
Adab can be loosely translated to “mannerisms”. But it’s so much more than that. And yes, adab can start with something as basic as what you choose to wear when you go out – but don’t forget your personality!
And what are you going to wear? It starts with that!
When it comes to your outfit, have you assessed the occasion adequately?
Will your choice be offensive or inappropriate in any way?
When it comes to modest dressing, It may surprise you that one has to ask, but that’s what it has come to in today’s world. There was a time when it was clear what modest dressing entailed. The coverage by Islamic standards is defined, and was always respected. Now the rules are being bent.
Guidelines of dressing modestly for women include:
- Covering the arms and legs
- Not too tight
- Not see through
- No plunging neck or back lines
For men, it’s primarily to cover from navel to knee
Now, the cutting corners and crossing lines is becoming mainstay for some. But thankfully, not for all. Most are committed to the excellence that is possible in the modest lifestyle. It begins with establishing the goal of always being the best version of yourself and not breaking the Divine rules.
Are you prepared to put your best self forward in presentation and in output? In my estimation, following rules is the coolest thing we can do – try it and feel the appreciation around you when you do. Then you’ll realise, you couldn’t have created better rules than that.
The mainstream and the woke culture will have you believe that you’re only cool when you break the rules. There is nothing more off putting than disrupting perfection. And the guidelines in the modest life help us to achieve a level of perfection.
Once you’ve nailed the perfection of dressing well for the occasion, your social journey is looking more sound. There is nothing worse than being inappropriately dressed, which inevitably will make you feel awkward and most definitely will impact your social interactions.
So take that extra time to put on a pastel coloured duster on top of your beige pant suit.
Give yourself the appropriate length earrings. And If you wear a headscarf, choose wisely so it blends in with the colours, not clashes.
Elegance is felt when things are done right.
The sound social journey
Couple the elegant outfit with impeccable social skills, and you are at the top of your game. The top skill is to manage your emotions rather than them managing you. The epitome of sophistication is to be contained by your elegance, under as many circumstances that you can help as possible.
When you are overcome by big emotions, whether it’s disappointment or distaste, the one who controls their emotions rather than being controlled by them, is the one taken most seriously. To be able to respond with eloquence trumps all other behaviour. You are a brand, will it be a classy one or just another run of the mill one?
Understand what is expected of you
Learning to read the room is another key to your social life.
- How do people appear to you?
- Or just bored?
All of this matters, so you can adjust your levels and find an appropriate level of participation to the social setting. Learn to understand things like, are you expected to participate or passively appreciate?
Knowing what’s expected of you in social settings not only keeps you on top of every future host’s guest list, but it also makes you the sensible leader, whether that was your aim or not.
The one that can adequately read a room and contribute to the event accordingly, is the one that has facilitated the host in building a wonderful environment for their guests. That has value written all over it.
Know when to be spontaneous and when to be more structured. By adjusting your energy levels, tone, and expectations to match the setting is like having the mannerisms of a king.
Train yourself to understand what others are expecting of you. And that’s not being a people pleaser. That’s someone who knows how to play the supporting role at an affair in order ensure that everyone feels like they fit or even have a memorable time.
Yes, your contribution matters on that level.
Start that conversation, make someone’s night
Be the first to start a conversation.
Introduce yourself. Or be genuine in appreciating someone for being there. Maybe beginning with a flattering question and a smile, letting the other person feel adequately admired.
Your social skills can make someone’s night, no pressure. This is not an encouragement to be charming, that’s over rated. Rather, be genuine, don’t think you need to be slick, just be your real self no matter how flawed the delivery. It’s the real you, and it’s sincere.
Is sincerity overrated or a super power?
Sincerity, then, can never be over rated. It is when you look at someone when they are speaking to you. You listen because you want to and you care about what they are saying. You ask the right questions so they feel understood, but more importantly, so you can sincerely understand what they want to say.
Because it’s more than just a talk to you, it’s an opportunity to connect with a human on a real level where there is no space for pretences nor false interest. When a person detects sincerity in another, it can be said the sincere one now has power over them. It is a feature that people find highly attractive, one that cannot be faked, and makes a person memorable for life.
Social cues and your unspoken language
Be able to recognise social cues and rules that are never spoken, yet still so apparent. Be aware of your facial expressions and body language whilst you’re aware of others’.
This means that it is important to be alert and aware in social gatherings. Aware of yourself, others, and your surroundings.
This means you actually need to hear what others are saying, what are they talking about, what can you do to contribute and be valuable.
If you are used to tuning out, then you have some work to do on your concentration skills. There’s no sincerity in human interactions if you can’t give them due focus.
Understand one thing. Your behaviour in front of others, can be an example for them. Whether a good reaction to something socially or bad, someone can take cue from that and give themselves permission to be the same. Are you ready for this level of responsibility? We all have it, it’s the cost of living your life.
Socialising is an opportunity, a wonderful one!
A part of having a social life is that we get an opportunity to learn from others. This is a huge treat. But we can sabotage the opportunity if we come from the place that we are always right and others don’t know as much as us. Being cognisant of when to be challenging and when to be a learner is the key to our success in any social role.
Not to mention the huge opportunity it presents to you to be a more awesome person when you know you always have a lot to learn, which in turn gives you a lot to give!
Never be insulting and never disrespect anyone, no matter how much you feel it is well deserved. That includes when talking about celebrities or other well known people. It’s not worth it. It puts a dark energy into your space for no reason.
Be fair minded and put the best of your positive energy out there. You have a good mind, use it to actively avoid gossip and backbiting.
Yes, backbiting someone in the public eye, though you’ve never met them so they don’t feel real to you, is still backbiting. It darkens your energy, which makes life a heavier place to be. Why would you want to do that?
Where do we begin?
Chances are that most people will find challenges in at least some of these areas. The key is to not overwhelm yourself. Just calmly understand what you need to work on and let the better version of you slide in as you make that effort to be the elegant well wisher to all.
Build your social skills with a calm and clear mind. Behavioural science will confirm to you that anyone can change for the better.
Nothing is impossible.
When we struggle socially, whether we feel nerves or insecurity, that experience is telling us something about ourself.
Why do we feel this way?
There’s usually a link that triggers this type of social response. As this reality was triggered by a past experience, it can be just as easy to tap into a positive past experience and transport that feeling to yourself at the given moment when you need it most.
Believing that change can actually happen, can be difficult. Especially if we are stuck in our patterns that persist no matter how much we don’t want them to. Our social skills are a health check for us. It can indicate to us our mental state and how sound we are in the way we think and operate.
Living the good life
This is critical to living a good life. Don’t take your lack of communication or inability to get along with people lightly, it may be telling you something more than what’s superficial.
The more you build your ability to be socially valuable, the more you build a stronger mental disposition, the more socially and emotionally intelligent you become.
This doesn’t mean that everyone has to be the life of the party. There is, sometimes, more value in being the strong, silent, supportive participant with that positive attitude that makes everyone comfortable around them. The key is for you to be comfortable in your skin, that is when everyone around you will be too.
Is it too late to rewire our brain?
Our brains have been wired over time to make us the way we are. The more we continue to think, perceive, and feel a certain way, the more it is embedded in us as reality. What if it’s not reality, at all? What if you rewire your brain to think, feel, and perceive entirely differently?
Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit” says it takes 18 to 254 days to change a habit. An average of 66 days should be taken with instilling your new thought patterns in order for them to become real.
Then where is that which you thought was reality?
Your perceptions are dangerous. They can make you believe something frivolous yet negative can be true, when it is not.
The brain’s circuitry becomes stronger with use and weaker with less use. So what do you want to use more of? And what would you do, think, and be less of to move away from it entirely?
So, we can be sure that negative self perception will only increase more negativity including thoughts, experiences, and even your expressions. These will also have impact on positive ones.
Do you see the dominos here?
So the next time you have that negative self talk like “I can’t”, “I don’t know”, “I am not good enough”, stop it dead in its tracks. Understand how critical it is for you to reverse that immediately and tell yourself the opposite continuously until it becomes your reality.
Socially adapting is one of the key factors to your health and happiness. To get good at it means that skills we discussed must be acquired, practiced, and become your truth. This is a part of character building. Because when we have that perfect outfit on, and elegance becomes us, it would be a shame to turn that story into a tragedy with our lack of good social behaviour.
The benefits to you are immeasurable, because social success matters.