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Confession: I’m one of the most introverted people you’ll probably ever meet. Over the course of my career, I’ve learned to successfully network (and even competed in pageants for a hot second), but coming across as engaging and charming has never come naturally to me. I, like so many other women I know, am constantly riddled with anxiety and fear of being judged… or even worse, disliked, in social situations. So, now that we’re all out of practice thanks to quarantine, I wanted to share five of the best tips I’ve ever been given for how to feel more confident around others in today’s post! From making sure your breath is fresh and smile-ready with LISTERINE® Ready! Tabs™ Chewable Tablets in Soft Mint to choosing clothing that helps you look and feel your best, they’re all super simple and have helped me greatly. Keep reading for all five!
1. Smile more.
First impressions matter. When you’re an introvert, it’s easy to be so focused on being likable that you leave every conversation distressed and asking your partner “Was I weird?” or “Do I have crazy bad breath?”. So, next time you get overwhelmed in a social setting– even if you’re wearing a mask, just focus on smiling. Whether you’re laughing at yourself for falling over during yoga (something that happens to me daily) or just smiling because you have no idea what to say, you’ll almost instantly come across as warmer and more interesting. You’ll likely boost your own mood, too.
That being said, though, smiling itself can be a nerve-wracking task, especially if your breath is… um, questionable. This is why I carry LISTERINE® Ready! Tabs™ Chewable Tablets in Soft Mint with me literally everywhere I go. They’re chewable tablets that are designed to be swallowed, turn into liquid in seconds, and leave your mouth feeling as clean as after brushing and rinsing at home. One of the main reasons I love them is because they’re so much more effective than my go-to gums and mints. You just chew to activate, swish to clean, and swallow, and you’ve got four hours of fresh breath whenever you need a little confidence boost. Swish smarter, not harder.
Another thing I love about LISTERINE® Ready! Tabs™ Chewable Tablets Soft Mint is that they’re sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan, contain zero alcohol, and are kosher, so I always feel good about offering them to others, too, especially now that “mask breath” is a thing. I found mine in the oral care aisle at Walmart, but if you’re still a little wary of shopping in-store, click the photo below to purchase them online!
2. Give yourself regular pep talks.
Over the course of my life, specifically when I was recovering from my eating disorder, I’ve learned to embrace affirmations. I say “embrace” because I’m generally a skeptic, and it took me a really long time to believe they work. Honestly, though, learning to use powerful self-talk has been one of the most effective ways of overcoming my social anxiety and fear of being judged. Whenever I’m feeling pessimistic or insecure, I remind myself that I’m worthy and that I’m trying my best, even when it feels like a lie.
To give you a practical example, when I’m overwhelmed in a social situation– whether it be a party or networking event, I go to the bathroom, look myself in the mirror, and repeat five to ten affirmations. I realize that it sounds silly– and it feels a little strange at first, but I promise it works. Here are ten of my favorite affirmations when I’m feeling insecure and need a confidence boost:
- I am worthy of love and respect.
- I allow myself to be who I am without fear of judgment.
- No one can make me feel inferior.
- I am in the process of becoming the best version of myself.
- I am enough.
- Today is full of possibilities.
- I will be fearless today.
- Great things never came from comfort zones.
- Today is today, not every day.
- I’ve got this.
3. Wear clothing that makes you feel confident.
As a fashion blogger, wearing clothing that makes me feel both confident and comfortable is huge. When I first started out, I was really young and really eager to fit the mold. I’d wear trendy clothing that felt too tight or revealing, wasn’t my style, or wasn’t in my price range, and it did absolutely nothing for my confidence (and a lot for my credit card company). Even worse, I can’t see how it couldn’t have come across as disingenuous to others, as well. Then, admittedly when I moved to Columbia and didn’t know a single soul, I caught myself doing the exact opposite. I’d just throw my wet hair in a messy bun and wear sweats everywhere I went– the gym, Walmart, wherever. Shockingly, when someone actually approached me, I was mortified.
Long story short, “dressing the part” goes well beyond the workplace. Research has shown that the clothes you wear change the way you communicate and perform. It also shows that dressing “smart” can dramatically improve your confidence and sense of self-empowerment. So, when you’re meeting someone new for the first time– or even when you’re grabbing groceries or working out at the gym when you fortuitously run into an old high school classmate, wear an outfit that makes you feel like the courageous female warrior you are.
4. Ask questions.
I learned this tip while training for pageants– if you’re too nervous to talk about yourself, ask about others. Showing a genuine interest in other people is one of the quickest ways to get on their good side. Why? Because most people spend the majority of conversations talking about themselves, and genuine responsiveness sets you apart. It also makes conversations more fun for you, too, since you (1) only have to listen, (2) may learn something new, and (3) don’t need to stress about what to say next. This strategy is particularly useful at parties, where you can ask basic questions like “how do you know the host?” or “where are you from?”. Yes, it can take practice (talking more about that below), but I’ve found this to be one of the most effective strategies for making friends and alleviating social anxiety simultaneously.
Practice really does make perfect. When I worked in finance, one of my bosses was the definition of a people-loving extrovert and the other was much more private and subdued, like me. To help improve his approachability, they’d both ride the elevator for a few extra minutes a day to try and spark quick and natural conversations with strangers. The extrovert would politely critique the introvert, and little by little, my introverted boss became super comfortable and confident making small talk with just about anyone. I noticed how well it worked and started doing the same myself. Low and behold, it helped improve my social confidence dramatically, too.
My point here is that you’re never going to become more confident around others if you aren’t around others. Practice talking to strangers, preferably in situations where the “stakes” are low like the gym or grocery store (because, let’s face it– you’ll probably never see them again), and then work your way up to friends and coworkers.
And those are my top five tips for how to be more confident around others! I’ve gotten each of these from different mentors, so I hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me. In the meantime, be on the lookout for LISTERINE® Ready! Tabs™ Chewable Tablets in Soft Mint at Walmart! They come in two flavors (Clean Mint and Soft Mint, which is less intense and my personal favorite) and 8-, 16-, and 24-packs. I found mine in the oral care aisle and snapped a picture just in case you have trouble finding them yourself–
What are some of your favorite ways to feel more confident? I’m a work-in-progress, so I’d love to hear your tips, as well!