How To Be Confident Without Faking

Karol Gajda is the shit. His post today, “How To Be More Confident” had lots of great tips and makes good points, like this one:

4) Don’t Use Alcohol As A Crutch

This is a mistake almost everybody makes when attempting to gain confidence and I’m no exception. I have used it too, but it doesn’t work.

The problem is if you use alcohol as a crutch, you will always need it as a crutch. Hence it being called a crutch. 🙂 It’s a temporary solution and does nothing for you in situations where there may not be alcohol. Break your leg every day and you will always need a crutch to walk, right? Drinking alcohol is like breaking your confidence’s leg.

Does that mean you can never drink alcohol? No, I’m not stating that at all. Drink away! But drink when you don’t actually need it as a crutch anymore.

I wish I had read this article when I was in high school or college. I had a huge problem with social situations then, and felt it was due to a lack of confidence.

But now I’m not worried about having confidence anymore. How did I get over it? Here are some of the ways, in bullet form!

  • First of all, Karol is right that the more you stretch yourself and the more experiences you have, the more confident you will be. Thus, the older people are, the more confident they tend to be. Or at least, they usually behave more confidently.
  • Secondly, take pride in your areas of interest, your pursuits, and your specialized knowledge, even if they’re totally outside the mainstream. If you present them matter-of-factly and not defensively, other people will find them interesting and they’ll like you. I know a lot about celtic music, politics, environmentalism, fantasy books, blogs, Firefly, Lost, and certain webcomics. These are all topics of conversation that I am comfortable excited to delve into, and if a conversation meanders in one of those directions, I know I’ve got it under control.
  • But exclusively talking about your esoteric interests is a sure recipe for boorishness. That’s why I’ve learned how to ask people about themselves. As Karol says, nobody cares about you as much as they care about themselves, or framed in a more positive light, everyone is well-equipped to talk about themselves. Ask people about themselves! They probably do interesting stuff, and some of that interesting stuff might excite you as well!
  • When you’re hearing about your new friends’ lives, make connections between what they’re saying and things you know about. This is similar to the perennial college game of “Oh, you’re from ___? Do you know ___?” but can be about ideas even more than about people. Weave your web of knowledge!
  • The former tip works best in 1-on-1 and small groups sitting around not doing much. If you’re in a bigger group or your group is doing something active, my favorite way to have fun and show confidence is by throwing out wry or witty comments once in a while. Take that commentary that’s funny in your head and say it out loud in as succinct a way as possible. Have you ever seen Mystery Science Theater 3000? Something like that, just don’t be mean to other people.
  • Finally, a big factor in being confident is having a supportive community in which you’re loved and respected. Or even more than one! Families can be great for this, and for me the contradancing community is an indispensable one. It gives you an enormous boost knowing there’s somewhere social you can go where you can just relax and be yourself.

And that’s it! Most importantly, be yourself and don’t be ashamed. Hope this was helpful! Go have fun and be social!

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