I work in a large office with many coworkers. I am not a very social person. But, would like to change this and build better relationships in life (not limited to workplace). Is there anyone here who was not a very social person but changed that to become more social? If yes, how did you do? what can be tried? I do understand such changes take time and I am willing to put time and effort in this. Please advice.
I was not a very social person when i was in school but changed later in life. As far as i am concerned, i did it through more social exposure. I hate doing to parties, but as i went to more and more parties and spoke with more people that i didnt know before, i got better at just small talk, talking about feelings and general social behaviour. Although i did do many mistakes. But mistakes are good for learning and unless you want to spend much time avoiding every possible mistake you will probably do some as well. So my advice is to just expose yourself to more social interactions and try to do some mistakes with people that arent that important in your life, like a distant coworker.
I get very overwhelmed by crowds and find it much easier to have one-on-one conversations. It's easier to focus on one person then to read the whole room.
If you'd like to have a conversation with a particular person, but don't know how to start - try to observe what they do and listen to the conversations they're having with other people. You might notice some patterns and that might help you. Or a topic they gladly talk about. Come up with a question or two that interest you (if you're not interested, the person will feel it and it will probably be awkward for both of you). It's ok to listen most of the time if a person is happy to talk.
If you're asked a question, try to give a full sentence answer. It's much harder to keep the conversation flowing if another person is answering with "yes" and "no".
-it's really hot today, isn't it?
-yes, but I really like hot weather! You don't?
-yes, I hate when it's so hot. It's so hard to focus on the work, right?
If you're nervous and it's showing you don't necessary need to hide it. Admitting it "sorry, I am not a very social person, I'm a bit nervous" can actually be a great ice breaker :)
In the office settings a water cooler/a coffee machine is usually the place to socialize. It's a good moment to have a small conversation, unrelated to work, about coffee preferences or weather, anything non-controversial.
Just start small, start with talking to one person and try not to worry too much about the "not social" label you gave yourself. You'll eventually find your connection points to other people and one day will realise that you don't think this about yourself any more :)