How to be more open is a huge question mark for some people, but it’s something anyone can answer. Once they do, they will open up their social opportunities and change their world for the better. To help those who have not yet found how to open up and get others around them to do the same, here are 9 tips about how to be more open.
Pay Attention to Body Language
First of all, understand that there is no one answer to how to respect yourself that fits everyone. Some people inherently value family most, and some people value work most, and others value personal well-being most.
You should look at your own values and determine how you can best respect yourself. Then go after that the best way you know-how.
That being said, the remaining items on this list are nearly universal ways to help you respect yourself.
Say What You’re Thinking
Odds are you have a string of coherent thoughts running through your head at almost any given time, especially during an interaction with another person. So just take those thoughts in your head and let them spill out of your mouth as words. It’s that easy.
Of course, use judgment. Don’t air your thoughts that are extremely rude or otherwise sensitive. But don’t be too guarded, and hesitate less to say what you’re thinking.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Author Benjamin Mee once wrote, “Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” Those words are 100% true.
It’s a lot easier said than done to bite the bullet and dive into a conversation you want to have but aren’t really comfortable starting. But just like jumping into a pool of cold water, it starts to feel a lot less difficult almost immediately, and twenty seconds in, you’re no longer uncomfortable.
The truth is, people won’t rebuff you for taking a chance to make a connection. In fact, they’ll usually respect and appreciate you for it, because it’s not easy for anyone.
Become An Encyclopedia
Learn about lots of subjects. Become a walking encyclopedia of knowledge. Having something to say about a wide variety of topics allows you to add to conversations more easily.
Don’t worry that spouting a fact only tangentially related to a conversation makes you seem weird. Everyone loves a useful factoid; it’s an excellent way to spice up small talk and turn it into an interesting diversion of a conversation.
Don’t Hold Back Your Thoughts
Lots of people have an instinct to censor what they say. If someone asks, “how are you?” they’ll respond “good” and move on. Because no one wants actually to hear about the intricacies of your life, right?
You’re allowed to let loose with your feelings and emotions. If the person you’re talking to doesn’t care, then they shouldn’t have asked. But if they did ask, then the spotlight is on you, and you should try to make the most of it.
This principle also applies when you want to say something negative or criticize someone else’s behavior. Most people just clam up and don’t say what they’re thinking in that situation, because they don’t want to come off as a negative person.
But, in order to be a more open person, you need not hold back. Speak your piece. Frame it constructively, though, so you are offering up a critique rather than a complaint.
Use First Person Statements
People who are not open often have a habit of asking second person questions often. If you find yourself about to do that, rephrase the question into a first-person statement.
For example, instead of asking an acquaintance if he liked the movie, you just found out you both saw, you should state your own opinion of the movie. Doing so will kickstart a real conversation, and it will prompt your acquaintance to discuss the film even more effectively than asking him if he liked it would have.
Open Up First
People really respect and appreciate when another person is the one to initiate an open conversation. They also feel much more comfortable opening up themselves if you do it first.
So take the leap and open up even if it feels a bit awkward at first. It will score massive points for you in your relationship with the other person, and it is a good way to make people feel comfortable with you.
Ask “Why Not?”
If you’re trying to get up the nerve to initiate a tough conversation, ask yourself, “why not? What’s the worst that can happen?” Even if you bomb the discussion or just don’t gel with the other person, there is absolutely no downside. So just go for it, and in sixty seconds, you’ll either have made a new friend or be “back to safety.”
Remember That People Don’t Care if You’re Weird
In the same vein, you need to learn to enjoy being yourself, quirks, and all. Don’t adopt trends just because you think they will impress others.