We’re going to go over nine skills that every one of us can develop to be more socially confident.
Say “No” to others
So the first one is saying no, I think it’s one of the hardest ones. But one of the most powerful ones. Last week, I was giving a talk in a seminar about self esteem and self worth and there were like 400 people and the more people that are watching, you have to give people a more basic and more straightforward message in order for it to go through.
So I decided that the main exercises, the number one exercise I’m going to give them is to let them go home and just for a few days, practice saying no and there are various levels of saying no that I teach because for some people just simply saying no is just too hard. But saying no will necessarily create conflicts in your life and facing those conflicts and realizing that these conflicts won’t make the world explode is what creating [or] is building this social confidence. Just like any other fear, one of the most effective ways of dealing with it, one of the most effective ways of overcoming it is simply facing it.
I recently started rock climbing and in rock climbing you climb up and you have this little rope that you carry on with you and if you fall, you can actually fall a few meters down, four or five, six meters down. For someone who isn’t used to it, it’s very scary and for me because I just started doing it, maybe six months ago, it’s still very scary.
So the number one thing people told me to do in order to overcome this fear is that when you finish the route, when you get like 20, 30, 50 meters up, you don’t tie the rope to the last point and you simply jump down and you jump down and the next point below you is like one and a half or two meters below you. So you have two meters of rope and two meter below so you fall like four or five meters and nothing happens. And next time, will it get harder? Harder because now you know it’s scary, it’s true. But after several times it becomes easier.
So saying no in the beginning, it’s hard. Then when you face the actual conflict, when you’re saying no, it’s even harder. But then when you understand that actually nothing happens from these conflicts and actually, those conflicts sometimes make people respect you more, like to more, make better and more honest relationships with people, make them trust you more, then it slowly becomes easier. So saying no.
The second skill is accepting the no’s. When other people telling you no is to accept other people’s boundaries, to accept other people’s like is to actually ask people and not be devastated if they say no, don’t try to make them wrong for saying no. Because as long as you’re making other people wrong for telling you. No. You will forever feel bad about saying no yourself. The more accepting you become about other people’s no’s, the easier for you it will become for you to say no.
And the better relationships you’ll be able to create with other people you see. Many people are trapped in relationships in which both sides are afraid to say no. And so both sides are creating false expectations from one another. And so the relationship actually exists on lines and on behaviors and on activities. That doesn’t fit both parties. Instead, if we’ll be able to be more honest, more straightforward, more accepting and more brave actually, then we’ll be able to have more authentic relationships. When yeses are yeses and no’s are no’s and so that more of the times we spend with those people are with our yes’es, not our no’s.
Many times, I sit with married people all the time. Because when we’re getting married and when we’re in love, we really want to make the other person happy, truthfully and then we actually tend to be even worse at saying no, even worse than usual and then what starts to happen is that more and more of our time and energy with that person is spent on doing stuff we actually don’t want to do.
And I think it’s a very strong reason, it’s a very strong fertilizer for midlife crises. Because after a person is married for 10 or 20 years doing all the stuff he hates all the time. Then he says, “I had it,” and he goes and buys a red car or starts cycling or [inaudible 06:24] or what for, in order to, for once do what I want and this sometimes often makes tons of trouble in people’s lives. If you had been able to do whatever you want, all along, I’m not talking about the childish version of it of always doing only what I want. I’m talking about a mature version of, “Okay, I don’t want to do it.
Sometimes I understand I’ll do it anyway, because I want to do it for you, I want this for the relationship, I want to do it for the family, I want to do it for the future, whatever. So sometimes I will do it. But I don’t like doing it. So I don’t always do it and those things I actually truly want to do. So I won’t do them every day because I want to do stuff for the family, I want to do stuff for the marriage. But I am not going to let it go, I’m going to actually do those things on as regular basis as possible and maybe we can find a way to do it together.”
Setting expectations: When we’re starting a new relationship or when our relationship is taking a step forward or backwards basically, setting expectations is one of the most important things to do. When you have set and clear expectations with the people around you, you’re becoming more socially confident by default. If you know exactly what you’re expected to do and exactly what you’re not expected to do then you don’t have the fear or the need or distress about over delivering.
Most of you people here and the people watching in the video are people who want to over deliver, they don’t want to be mediocre business owners or workers they don’t want to be mediocre partners. They don’t want to be mediocre parents, they want to over deliver, they want to be excellent. But excellence should never stress you. If you have clear expectations of what’s good enough and you 99% of the time are meeting those expectations of the good enough. You can let your inspiration and positive emotions feel the over delivery.
Think about it. Let’s say you want to cook for your family so maybe there’s an expectation that you will cook and maybe there’s an expectation that you will at least cook something that’s healthy enough, good enough for everybody to eat. Usually that’s a very easy task, very easy job. So there’s nothing to be stressed about. But you guys you want to do it both in cooking and both as a metaphor for other areas of our lives. You want to create a three dish meal and you want to have five types of salads and a soup and maybe dessert and stuff like that and let people choose.
Now I would want you to consider something, not as the cook but as the one who was cooked to, if you’re just a guest and someone is cooking for you. Of course, you would prefer to have more choices, more delicious food. It’s always positive. But what would you choose? What would you really prefer? If the person you like cook to some very basic meal and he is incredibly happy doing it and it feels great for doing it and he gives it to you with a smile or to have this amazing meal with a very pissed off person who was extremely stressed for making everything and now doesn’t have the energy to even talk to you as you eat. Each and every one of us would prefer the first one. But many times we would act as the second.
So I’m not saying make only rice and beans. But what I would do is, I would say “Okay, rice and beans would cut it. Let’s smile. Let’s have fun. Let’s cook the rice and the beans with a smile. I have more energy. Do I want to create something else? Am I inspired to give something extra?” Amazing, then I will. But I will come out from a very different psychological standpoint and will create an incredibly different outcome.
Let’s imagine someone you know can give you a ride, you need to get from point A to point B and he can give you a ride. He can either get you to the bus stop which means he partially helps you but does it with a smile. He’s happy to be with you and he’s happy to take you there. Or he can take you exactly where you wanted with a pissed off face and you know what even was a fake smile that you know he didn’t actually want to do it for you and then you know if he holds it for you that you made him do it.
Most people here under most circumstances, not 100%. But most circumstances would take the bus. But we’re doing it to our friends all time. We’re making them make us do stuff. Because “No, no, I’ll take you I’ll take you I’ll take you,” but you’re mad for it. You’re not really happy doing it sometimes.
So setting expectations is very important. When we have set expectations, clear expectations, we have the freedom of over delivering instead of stress for over delivering which makes all the difference. Then is enforcing boundaries. When I’m saying no when I said something is a boundary for me then I’m enforcing it.
Setting boundaries is easy, enforcing boundaries harder. Saying “I’m not going to do this anymore.” Easy. Not doing so the next time he actually asks you is harder. But it’s totally possible. I’m not saying you should be totally anal and have boundaries for everything. But when you are setting some boundaries, when stuff is important for you then enforce them. When you’re saying no, it’s no. When you’re saying you want something done in a certain way then this is the way it’s going to be. Basically as few boundaries as you have, the better. You’ll be happier with few boundaries. But you must have some, the things that are most important for you.
Asking for help
Asking for help is a major. Most people are stressed or a major part of their stress is they’re stressed about looking weak or incompetent or not good enough. When we’re asking for help, we feel like we’re admitting that we’re not good enough, that we can’t do it. Obviously, it’s not true. But this is the way we feel when we do it and this is why so many people who have high ambitions, high goals, high dreams are lacking in this department, asking for help from the department. So practicing asking for help is a major.
I don’t have a problem asking for help. I have a problem when I will have to give back.
You will have to give back? So, this is more of a transaction kind of help. I’m not talking about this kind of help. If you’re like, “I want to have this marker. But it costs $100. So I’m not going to have it”, that’s fine. If you know that this person when you ask him for help, will ask you for help back at something you don’t want to do so this is what setting expectations is for.
So if the person’s expectations is that you’ll do something back for him that you don’t want to do then that’s fine. I’m talking about asking people for help that many times people have no expectations to get anything in return like as a part of a relationship is a part of friendship as a part of colleagueship, whatever. Helping others. And there’s a very big difference between doing what other people asked you to do because helping comes from the place of choice. Maybe someone asked you to but you chose to do it.
Say no because I chose not to help you
I said earlier that I have various levels of exercises about practicing saying no’s. So for me, the highest level of saying no’s of the way to practice it is to say no and when they ask why, say because I chose not to help you. It’s a very high level of exercise.
Not everyone can do it. Everyone can do it, not everyone will do it. It takes time. It might be offensive. This is why it’s not for everyone. It’s for people who can actually deliver on it in a way that’s not aggressive. Because if you ask me, “Hey, can you please do this and this for me?” And I’m saying, “No,” you’re like, “why not?” And say, “I don’t want to,” then it might be offensive. But if I’m like, “Look, I choose not to do this,” just like that, then it’s way less offensive and if you’re confident while you’re saying it, people will accept it.
Obviously it will still create conflict with some people because saying no creates conflict with some people, some people are not so good at accepting no’s. But most of the time, if you’re not going to flip yourself, if you’re going to stay calm, if you’re going to stay nice and focus then this conflict will resolve itself.
So basically, helping others is from a point of choice. So someone asked me to do something and I’m saying yes. But if I will be asked why did you help this person? Then my own answer to myself won’t be because he asked me, is because I chose to help. And if I chose to help, then I can’t hold it against him, for your question before. I’m not going to say but I helped you then you have to help me, no I chose to help you. This was something I chose to do. This was my decision. You don’t owe me anything for it because I chose to do it, it was my decision. Okay. You had a question?
I want to say something about it probably will be easier to say no to someone and if they asked why. I would like to explain them.
Of course this is a major exercise.
Not giving them an excuse is just the say in a softer way I chose not to because I am busy.
Because I am busy. That’s an excuse.
I just do not do it because I am busy, maybe because I don’t want to but to explain to them why.
Say no and make an excuse
A very high level of social confidence is understanding that you can do anything, or almost anything. One friend of yours can call you and ask you, “Hey, would you come grab a coffee with me?” And you’ll say “no.” And you’ll lie and say that because I’m extremely busy. I’m not saying you’re lying because your calendar is empty, your calendar is full, you’re not lying, but you are lying. Because if another friend would call you, and say, “Hey, would you grab a cup of coffee with me,” and you say, “I’m really busy but let me see what kind of activity I can move to make place for it.”
So basically, having the agenda of I’m choosing my life, I’m creating my life then it’s a very high level of authenticity. I’m not saying that anyone should start with this exercise. This is a high level exercise. The lowest level of exercise just to make an easy way for people is to say, “Give me a minute to think about it.” Someone asks you something, you say, “Give me a minute to think about it.” And then you hang up the call if it’s on the phone, or you take a few steps back and maybe turn your back to him and think about it. And then you can either say yes or no but just the concept of asking for time to consider is more than most people do.
Most people say yes and then they call and say no because it’s hard to say no. So this is the easiest exercise, it’s still not so easy for some people and you can slowly build up on this.
I thought about it and again, yes, it sounded like [inaudible 21:51] an excuse.
An excuse, because it’s socially acceptable to have excuses. When I’m late for a meeting. It doesn’t happen a lot. But when it does happen and I’m late for a meeting, I give up excuses not because I believe that myself, I know that I could get out earlier, that I could arrange my schedule in a different manner, I knew that I can do a million things. So I don’t actually believe it. But it’s polite. Just like saying please, thank you is polite. When you’re doing something wrong. Giving up excuses is polite. So I’m not saying never give excuses for anything I’m talking about is a sort of an exercise.
I did a podcast where interviewed many people in an organization so when I interview, some of them say they’re busy and then call like three times in a few months and they would rather tell me it’s less appropriate, this good for me to do because I won’t be… I don’t know who’s really busy [inaudible 23:07] because they don’t want to say no.
That’s true. But you can also understand them and accept that because it’s very acceptable to say I’m busy more than I don’t want to be in your podcast.
Less appropriate than [inaudible 23:27].
Of course, I’m really trying to do it with people the best I can. But some level of excuses are sometimes as appropriate. I’m just saying.
I think a part of accepting no is to open the no’s to the other person. Like sometimes, when I am asking something, I tell them, you can say no, it’s okay with me.
Because some people are not used to saying no, with people that are used to saying no, you don’t have to say, with people that are not used to saying no, you can, as we said, it’s…
That way it is easier for them, they don’t have to make excuses.
But there’s always a fine line between being persuasive and actually trying to get what you want and open up the space. That’s for an entirely different lesson. The most authentic type of influence is when you make something incredibly appealing but still open up the ability for the other person to say no but it’s not for today for speaking.
For me, I see your skills and I see they’re like me doing something for the other person and accepting what the person will do for me and obviously, as I know you and I know your audience, I know I’m not the only one knowing that it is much easier for me to accept no than to say no, it’s much easier to help than for asking for help. And I keep thinking about it as we speak and I’m like, there’s a totally different level. I mean, I, all the time telling other people, that’s okay to say no, it’s okay to refuse to what I asked you to do but it for me, it will be like 100 times harder to say no to someone even if I don’t want to do it and then I tell myself, yes, I did it because I chose to do it. But it is still…
Because they’re taking responsibility over your choices.
But you don’t feel like you have this freedom in real time.
Practice saying, “Let me think about it,”
Practice it, practice as the first step, practice saying, “Let me think about it,” taking a few minutes, and then saying yes or no, even if you only say yes, all the time, it still gives you this extra space. Then try to have a few days where you say no’s, appropriate no, obviously. But you say no’s even when you would say yes, just for playing with it. This is the second level, the third level is finding the right places to say no because I chose to. This is like the third level of exercising.
Learning to apologize
Next is apologizing. Learning to apologize. Take responsibility over your actions, say “I am sorry.” Saying I’m sorry might be the number one easiest yet most effective conflict solving tool there is and if you want to be less afraid from the ocean, you might have a flotation device. If you want to jump off a cliff, you should probably have a rope or it depends on [inaudible 27:08]. So when you know that you have the power of diffusing conflicts relatively easily then you’re less afraid of getting into those conflicts and apologizing when appropriate is exactly this tool and when appropriate, the faster you use it, the easier it becomes.
Don’t over apologize
The next point is not apologizing when not appropriate. Some people over apologize. Because they want to avoid conflict. There is no easy way to run a marathon. You have to run a mile or something and feel the pain in your legs and do it again and again and again again and again and then running a marathon will still hurt your legs.
Being in conflict with other people is emotionally painful. This is the way we’re biologically wired. Being in conflict makes us feel bad. Just like being in rapport, being like together with people, being in harmony with people makes us feel so good. So we’re biologically wired to feel bad when we’re in conflict.
So the idea is being strong enough psychologically and emotionally to be able to withstand this discomfort and this is how you should treat it as discomfort, it’s not comfortable to say no, it’s not comfortable, set expectations, to enforce boundaries. It’s not comfortable when someone says no to you, it’s not comfortable to ask for help. It’s not comfortable to do more for others. It’s not comfortable to apologize sometimes and it’s not comfortable to not apologize and continue the conflict when that’s the appropriate thing to do. When you need to set a boundary. When the expectations you set were not met.
Practice saying, “Thank you!”
Saying thank you and meaning it, practicing honesty, saying what you truly think, feel. One of the key things here is being honest without the conviction of believing that what I think or feel is actually the truth. When honesty becomes problematic in relationships or over problematic when people are incredibly certain that their beliefs, thoughts and emotions are real. If I say, “Look, I don’t think that your outfit is incredible,” then first of all, it might be dumb, because it’s not needed. But if it feels like it is needed then this is one thing saying my opinion, saying what I think, saying what I believe and if that person says, “Thank you, I’ll go change,” then amazing.
The relationship developed. We’re having more honesty here. We’re having more authenticity here. It’s amazing. But if that person says, “What!? I’m on fire, baby, I look amazing.” Then starting an argument about thinking that my opinion, my view is the truth and what the other person that thinks is not a truth. This is where honesty becomes problematic. So, if, “Okay. I like, it’s amazing that you like it. This is what I thought, I wanted to say it. If you think you’re on fire, you’re on fire, let’s go.”
Sometimes in relationships we feel like people are doing it, like doing stuff on purpose to hurt us. Sometimes, we have all sorts of feelings and all sorts of thoughts that we are afraid to communicate because we know that are not necessarily the truth. The idea is to practice expressing those thoughts, those emotions to the other person without the conviction of this is the truth. Simply expressing it as a way to let the other person see what’s going on in our internal world. Many people live in relationships, all sorts of relationships, work relationships, intimate relationships, parents and kids, families, friends, whatever, where both people are living in separate universes.
Everyone has his own separate world and they’re trying to do some practical physical stuff together. The deeper the relationship goes, the more people will want to experience the subjective reality of each other and in order to let the other person see your subjective reality, you have to express your subjective reality. Expressing your subjective reality as if it was the truth is sometimes offensive. But if you’re expressing it as it is, as your subjective reality, and with openness that you can change your mind. Then it’s simply like taking someone for a walk inside your head.
The last one is actually everything else combined, being yourself, What’s being yourself? Being yourself is accepting your own weirdness, accepting your own difference and accepting the places where you are not like everybody and giving those parts of yourself, giving them space, letting them be. You don’t have to be like everyone else. You don’t have to be like you think you have to be, you can find the ways to express those parts of you as well.
Hey, it’s Gal Tzhayek. Thank you for watching this video. If you liked it, please press the thumbs up button. And you can also subscribe to the channel. Make sure you get notified each and every time a new video is uploaded. I’d like to hear your questions and review in the comment section below. And I’ll see you in one of those new videos.