So for kids of all ages going #backtoschool... what can they do to be a bit more social?
It's a huge question because IDK what age bracket they fall into or what ethnicity they are... and yes... it matters because some cultures have different ideas of what standard operating procedures are in social situations.
I also don't know what your family is like at home or out in public and I don't know what the default personality is of the person in question. I don't know what your lifestyle is like or if they/you use/abuse drugs and/or alcohol. I don't know if they/you have mental health issues, or have had some major life event happen. IDK if they/you are new to the area, new to the location, are they immigrants and new to the country?
I also don't know what level of trauma the individual has endured... Here's a link to the ACE's quiz... ACE'S stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences and looks at the amount of trauma a person has encountered prior to their 18th birthday.
It really is worth a read and is backed by a lot of research. https://acestoohigh.com/aces-101/
If I could give every school aged kid of all ages who struggles with being social... and this includes university age kids who are also prone to struggle... I would say this:
#1... and I'm only putting numbers on these to make them easier to remember. If they/you are in a row of desks... DO NOT sit at the ends... that is if they/you get a choice in where they sit. Kids who sit at the ends of the rows have fewer opportunities to interact with other kids... so sit in the middle.
#2... Get onto a sports team... or 2... or 3. The most social people I have ever met have all done sports. There is a lot of talking and joking around that goes on in a locker room and it builds bonds between people and it develops a quick wit. Also... the kids who win the scholarships are always multi sport athletes.
I hear you sayin... "My kid/I'm not athletic". Ya... that's going to be a problem. My own daughter is into anime and HATES sports... and she thinks she struggles making friends... which leads us into the next point...
#3... More Experiences. People who think they aren't social or avoid being social at all costs are missing opportunities to interact... obviously. THEY/YOU HAVE TO INTERACT WITH PEOPLE... CONSTANTLY! to get better
It's a situation where you have to push yourself.
Yes... the people around you may be terrible people... or they may be not your type... or perhaps by some stroke of luck they are actually decent people. I guarantee that there is someone out there looking for someone like you to be friends with. If you globalize the situation to mean that there isn't ANYBODY that you want to talk to... you might actually be missing someone that will make your life better. You can't really tell by looking at somebody if you are going to be friends with them. But to find them you have to do the opposite of what you are comfortable doing.
This is the really hard part because it goes against what you feel like doing. Which brings us to point number 4...
#4... Mindset When you are in a good frame of mind... you perform better. Period. Listening to music you like gets you into a better head space because music is emotional. Comedy is also emotional... it makes you feel good. Get yourself into a better frame of mind and you will feel less stressed and more apt to perform better. That's just the structure of learning anything. When you first start dribbling a basketball, you don't feel confident about your abilities. As you get better at it, you think less and less about the actual dribbling and you are able to focus on other things like where the other players are and look for opportunities to pass to them. The skill becomes automatic and not so emotional.
Same with learning to be more social... in the beginning... you are focused on every little detail and self analyzing. That's what's supposed to happen. Don't let how you feel be the gauge of whether or not you are progressing. You are... but it's going to take a while to make the change. Look at how long it took you to go from a small child to where you are now!
And I get it... when you feel so emotionally down because you want to meet people and make friends... and you aren't... it is very defeating. So... you need to look after some very basic things to make sure you are operating at peak efficiency.
#5... the Basics.
Food... You HAVE TO EAT HEALTHY. If you are existing on junk food, and food high in sugars... you will not perform at your best and your moods will fluctuate wildly. Plus... the more sugars you eat, the more fat will accumulate on your body. I'm guessing that if you are feeling depressed and down, you probably aren't getting exercise... or sun. We'll talk about that in a minute.
Quick anatomy lesson... When you eat foods high in sugar, your pancreas has to produce insulin to remove the excess sugar from your bloodstream. The excess sugar get's stored as fat... and it's almost immediate... AND you are hungry again very soon after... so you do it again... and again... and again. Your body can process (digest) these sugary foods (carbs) quickly because they are soft and break down easily.
Protein... (like meat for example) has no real sugar and is much more dense than something like a bag of cookies or ice cream... think of how firm a chicken breast is vs cake. That translates into how fast you feel hungry again.
If you're depressed... you're gonna grab something quick ... like chips or pop because you don't feel like cooking. You just want something in your stomach so you can go back to bed.
Do yourself a favor and make something substantial. In fact... I would consider going on an all meat diet for a while.
I'm a vegetarian/vegan/meat is murder person. Ok... could you do eggs... like hard boiled eggs or scrambled eggs? Just for a while... or fish.
So... all protein... no carbs... and lot's of fats like bacon. You need the fats for hormone production... which helps regulate your moods.
Don't drink your carbs... your body can digest liquid WAAAY faster than solid foods so if you are drinking a lot of pop/soda you are going to still be hungry... AND you just stored the sugar from the pop as fat.
You also need to be getting up at a decent time in the morning. That actually plays a HUGE roll in your mental health.
It doesn't so much matter what time you go to bed... but it really matters what time you get up. Getting up at noon... nope. Getting up at 7 or 8 am... perfect.
You also need to be getting exercise every day... at least 30 minutes. A half hour walk at a bare minimum... bare minimum! When you are exercising, your muscles are getting stronger and your stores of body fat are going down... so physically... you look better. People are more attracted to people who look healthy... which improves your confidence... which is also attractive.
I'm just saying that if you look after the basics, it's like the cartoon snowball rolling down a hill getting bigger and bigger.
So it's a lot easier to keep your mind on task and keep working towards improvement.
Stop doing what doesn't work!