Projecting proper social cues, alone, rules how well you deal with brand-new social connections.

The following aims to make you understand the importance of social versatility and get good habits to fetch the most out of your future social interactions.

Friend: “You know, the first time I saw you, I thought you were…”

We all had this awkward conversation. Believe it or not, it’s a godsend. Here you have sincere feedback on what you look like from the outside, which is a rare thing in a society that discourages any attempt at brutal honesty.

The first impression is what you think of someone you don’t know yet. It’s the judgment toward someone crossing your road. Or the one to the cashier at the supermarket after exchanging a few words.

Social Versatility

How people perceive you can be the starting point of a friendship or a love story. But it is also one of rejection and disdain. Getting your hand on this perception is the ground for your ability to adapt.

Throw a human in a new city, and you’ll see it become vulnerable all at once. He’ll be isolated and, more than ever, in the grip of depression.

Thousands of years of evolution have shown that a prolonged period of insecurity is bad for us. We are social creatures, so the urge to get a tribe and a place outweighs lingering to the risk of sinking into depression.

In this kind of situation, we don't have time to analyze, so our instinct takes over. We process what little we know about people to find those we can get along with. All this happens in two stages.

First, we will judge them based on innate characteristics.

Then we will look for flags displaying values, interests, and behaviors. If these resonate with your past experiences and future aspirations, you're on your way to making a friend.

In the end, we avoid the defeatists, the violent, and the unstable. And for the ones who are not, we want those with the same vision of life.

While the last stage relies only on your personality, the first one gathers traits common to all. You can have the best qualities, no one will want to see them if you seem trash. Social versatility is just that. It’s your ability to display proper social cues and sweep from the first to the second stage.

I’m sure you are not violent, defeatist, or unstable, and I’m sure you have many qualities. But. You may struggle to build relationships because you do not master social versatility.

Get Proper Social Signals

Animals can’t speak as humans do. They communicate via visual, chemical, or tactile signals. For instance, central bearded dragon swings their anterior doughs to show they want to preserve peace. Lobsters spray a chemical element on their congeners to convey their health condition. Chimpanzees raise their arms to point out a threat and signal their submission with a fearful grin.

We have invented language, but we are no exception. When struck by the loneliness of a new place, our first reflex is to find members able to sustain the prosperity of an upcoming community. And we rarely sit around a table to do this.

The good news is that we can influence what we project onto others. We can consciously signal how valuable we are, which the rest of the animal world can’t do.

The goal here is to shrug off repulsive signals. After that, you’ll see people you never heard of before more agreeable. They will come to you, talk to you, and invite you to dinners or parties. You may not find real friends among them, but you will increase your chances too.

So here is what you should look for (by order of importance):

1- Style

Clothes cover the majority of our bodies. How you dress is more than a way to warm up or cool down. It is the extension of your body, an expression of your tastes.

You don’t have to take expensive, branded or sophisticated clothes. Follow these three rules :

  1. Choose clothes you feel comfortable in,
  2. Choose clothes you look good in,
  3. Wear clothes according to the circumstances.

2- Physics

Your body is the chassis of this vehicle called life. It alone conditions your health and tells the importance and the care you give it. As unfair as it seems, we’ve evolved to surround ourselves with healthy people. Your physics is a significant and easy-to-notice hint to this.

3- Posture

Posture is the first thing we noteworthy from others, before style and physical appearance. We are used to watching actors and public figures, and yes, the difference between them and you in this 20th-birthday video is shocking. But they are trained to have good posture consistent with the message they want to convey. It’s not natural. It requires work.

Poor postures include; Stooped torso, hunched shoulders, bowing head, and closed arms.

How you occupy the space says a lot about how you feel. By standing up straight, you’ll ease breathing and give a sense of confidence. It signals you’re not afraid of glimpsing around, and that you are open to everything that comes your way. On the contrary, a curved posture makes it hard to breathe and is the synonym for stress and anxiety.

4- Eye contact

So much is going on in people’s eyes. Eye contact can be terrifying because you plunge into someone’s mind. You can see if the person is happy, sad, angry, or bored. It creates tension. It makes you feel like an intruder in prey to the person’s judgments about what you say, and that alone can be painful for your confidence.

Handle eye contact for 3 to 5 seconds before releasing the tension. First, it engages both of you in the discussion as if you were entering in connection. Then, it’s a brave act that will win the approval of your interlocutors.