Imagine you’re at work, thinking of approaching your new coworkers. You wish you had the confidence built up to talk to them. Instead you think, “What’s the point? I’m awkward.”

We’ve all been there, trust me. Whether it’s standing alone at a bar or watching people in class joke around together, it’s easy to feel lonely – and even easier to feel like the issue is with you.

How do we come to assume we’re the problem? And how can we build our confidence to combat loneliness?

Lack of confidence leads to isolation

All it takes is one bad experience to plant a seed of doubt into our minds. When we let this seed prevent us from reaching out to others, it grows into a weed. 

The weed continues to drain our self confidence, making it harder and harder to approach people. Soon we feel like we’re terrible at socializing, we’re just awkward and no one really likes us – so why even try?

And that’s when we get into the pit of loneliness.

We start to avoid or turn down social situations because we already doubt ourselves, leading to even more isolation. In order to halt this slippery slope into loneliness, we must build self confidence!

Building social confidence

How do you piece together worn-down confidence? Remember these 6 tips as you build social confidence to combat loneliness.

1. Accept yourself first

The first step in building your confidence is accepting who you are. Restoring your confidence doesn’t mean you need to change fundamental parts of yourself.

Instead, embrace all the parts of you. Know you’re acceptable and endearing just the way you are, but that it’s also okay to keep improving.

2. Remember everyone makes mistakes

Even the most socially adept people make mistakes. But we’ve all stared at the ceiling at 2 am, thinking of how stupid we were that one time.

Don’t dwell on the negatives — forgive yourself each time. Remember you are not perfect. Being flawless would make you not-human.

3. Know that everyone feels awkward

For some reason this seems to be a big secret, but everyone feels awkward some of the time! Maybe thinking we’re alone in our awkwardness contributes to the “Loneliness Epidemic.”

Very few people are born feeling totally confident and socially adept. Your coworker might actually want to approach you, but feel too shy!

4. Write out the positives

Instead of focusing on the negatives, jot down your positives. You have many strengths that make you a great person to hang out with!

Keep your list, and read it when you feel discouraged about your social skills. It will help build your confidence back up. You’ve got a lot to offer, even if it’s scary to get out there and offer it!

5. Reframe the negatives

When you think you’re not well liked, it’s easy to read into things. A cold look or unanswered text can make you feel hated.

Remember that humans all use certain unhelpful thinking styles at one time or another, and that this is one of them! Try thinking of other possible reasons someone may be irritated that day. Perhaps they got stuck in traffic, or had a sleepless night.

6. Take a break

Constantly trying to improve yourself can be tiring. Prevent burn out by giving yourself breaks. You don’t need to talk to someone new everyday. Sit back once in awhile and relax just as you are.

Remind yourself that resting is healthy and valid – you don’t have to constantly build up your confidence in order to have fulfilling connections. Just enough to reach out a bit 🙂

If you’re feeling shy, you can practice your confidence-building anonymously in a Supportiv chat. You can not only talk jugement-free about your loneliness, but also help others rebuild their confidence too!