How can you be yourself around others?
Looking for ways to be yourself at work or around a guy?
Do you ever feel self-conscious and insecure?
As if who you are isn’t enough, like your family, friends, or even strangers will not accept you?
You’re not alone. We’ve all had experiences that make us uncomfortable and afraid of just being who we are.
It was late one afternoon. My dad had just picked me up from my mother’s house and told me that we were going to my uncle’s, and to change and put on something nice when we got home.
I went upstairs and looked through my closest. I picked out the best outfit I had at the time, a pair of khakis pants with a matching shirt. Looking in the mirror I knew I looked my best. I felt so good about myself, I even skipped down the stairs.
When I was about half-way down, I heard my dad call out from the bottom of the staircase, “You know, why do you always have to embarrass me with the way you look? Don’t you have anything else better to put on!?”
Not Being Able to Be Yourself Around Others
I froze where I stood, unsure if I should answer. I wanted to defend myself, to say, ‘but dad, you buy my clothes,’ but instead I just stood there, silently hanging my head, too afraid and too ashamed to respond.
Exasperated by my silence, and my clothes, my dad snapped, “get in the car,” before storming off.
When we got to my uncle’s house, I couldn’t relax, enjoy the moment, or be myself. When people would ask me questions, I could barely manage an answer and avoided eye-contact at all costs.
I didn’t want anyone to see me. I didn’t want anyone to see in me what my dad saw in me, an embarrassment.
This moment was one of the many from my past that set the tone and quality for my future interactions. For years, I found it impossible to be myself around others or feel confident and comfortable in who I was.
If you find yourself struggling to be yourself in social settings, I’m going to walk you through a few simple tips and strategies you can use to not only learn how to be yourself around others but also be more confident in all areas of your life.
How Can You Be Yourself with Others?
So, how can you be yourself around others?
How to be yourself around others is about accepting who you already are.
You don’t have to be a caricature of yourself to be with the people you want to be with or to achieve the success and happiness you want in life.
You might be thinking to yourself, “I can’t be my real self around others. What will other people think? What will my parents say? My spouse? My coworkers?”
A part of being yourself is embracing those seemingly uncomfortable moments, and remembering that’s all they are, a moment.
The journey to learning how to be yourself around others can sometimes be a long, and awkward one, but it can also be very rewarding. Remember, the payoff for pushing through your fears is confidence. The debt for remaining scared is a life of insecurity.
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Learning how to be yourself around others will help you to create a life you love that is based on your needs, aligns with your goals, and is a continual source of happiness to you and those around you.
You have everything to lose by not being yourself, and everything to gain by being who you really are, so let’s get started.
How to Be Yourself Around Others
One of the first steps in learning how to be yourself around others is to be prepared for a little push back.
Not everyone is going to be okay with what they see as the “new you.” You might hear people close to you say things like, “you don’t seem like yourself anymore,” or “you’ve been acting brand new lately.”
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Don’t let your journey to emotional and personal self-confidence get weighed down by other people’s opinions. Accept the fact early on that some people are going to have to adjust to what they feel is the “new you.”
You have nothing to worry about because you know the truth, it’s not the “new you,” it’s the “old you” finally finding its place.
Tip #1: Avoid the Social Media Fix
Our phones are our distractions. Oftentimes, we will stay on our phones the entire time we are at a social gathering to distract us from the fact that we feel uncomfortable. Don’t let your phone be the excuse that keeps you from meeting new people. Put your phone away and make the commitment to talk to someone face to face, not face to phone.
Tip #2: Don’t Be Afraid of Awkward Silence
Awkward silence, the most dreaded part of social gatherings. For whatever reason, it feels like social suicide in the making. The longer the silence, the longer you feel your social standing goes down with each unfillable minute.
Just because a conversation runs dry, doesn’t mean it’s your fault, or your responsibility to keep it going. Just let it pass, and when a new topic comes up, jump in where you feel comfortable.
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Tip #3: Seek Connections, Not Conversations
Ever strike up a really good conversation with a person that ended up being nothing like you expected? This is a natural result of you being yourself. When you are yourself, you end up attracting more of what you are looking for.
Skip the superficial conversations and seek out meaningful connections and common interests with new people.
Being Yourself at Work
How to be yourself around others can be especially challenging at the office.
One of the most damaging aspects of our current corporate culture is that individuality is heavily frowned upon. And it doesn’t help that toxic office politics make it almost impossible to feel comfortable in our positions, and confident in our abilities.
Some of the most successful careers have been built by individuals who stepped out of the corporate mold to build a brand based on their own unique personality.
You can be a success and be yourself.
Here are a few tips on how to be yourself at work and still build the career you want.
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Tip #1: Prepare for Office Events
Conversation starters can be tough. We may feel comfortable talking to our colleagues in a controlled office environment, but in informal settings, it’s not so easy. Take some time to come up with a few business-related topics you might want to bring up during networking events. A little prep before a social gathering can go a long way to easing on-the-spot anxiety.
Tip #2: Avoid Office Gossip
What people say about others is really a reflection of what they think of themselves. Gossip takes you away from your true goal and intentions, which is to be more like yourself. You can’t focus on how to be yourself around others when you’re over-focused on someone else. Avoid the office gossip altogether and pick neutral topics to bring up like work-related business.
Tip #3: Stop Trying So Hard to Be Liked
This is a little counterintuitive, but the more you try to be liked, the more you’ll end up not being liked. “If you’re concerned only with being liked, you will most likely miss the opportunity to be respected.” If you feel yourself trying too hard, then that’s a sign you’re not being yourself. Let go of your need to be liked, and trust that the most likable version of yourself is your true self.
How to Be Yourself Around Family
One of the hardest reasons it’s so hard to learn how to be yourself around others is because who we are is molded in our earliest life experiences.
If you grew up in a family where you weren’t allowed to express your feelings or needs as a child, you may find it even more difficult to express yourself as an adult. If you find you have a hard time being yourself around family, check out my post How to Escape the Family Narrative and Tell Your Own Story.
Family is a huge part of life, and it’s essential to our emotional and mental-wellbeing that we feel we can operate fluidly and comfortably when around other members. Here are a few ways to maintain your sense of self around family.
Tip #1: Step Outside of Established Family Roles
Sometimes, family can make us feel like we are less than who we are, or something that we’re not altogether. Maybe you were described as the black sheep, the quiet one, or the sensitive one. These were characteristics given to you, and none you have to keep if you don’t want to.
“We are born to be ourselves. This can only be done by separating our family systems designations and from our parents’ beliefs and opinions about us.” Who you are is who you choose to be, and a part of that may mean stepping outside of pre-established family roles.
Tip #2: Reflect Before Responding
When we let our emotions get the better of us, we end up saying all the things we didn’t mean to say, and none of the things that really meant the most to us.
If you find yourself caught in an emotionally charged conversation with a family member, don’t react immediately. You have a better chance of saying how you really feel when you reflect, breath and take a moment before responding.
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Tip #3: Set Boundaries
A big part of who you are is rooted in the boundaries you set. You become more of yourself by honoring what you truly want. It’s okay to say no to family gatherings or requests without feeling a sense of guilt while you work on growing and building your self-confidence. Healthy relationships can survive a few missed events.
How to Be Yourself Around a Guy
One of the most important parts of how to be yourself around others is learning how to be yourself around a guy or a girl you like.
Dating is a scary thing for a lot of people, because we’re afraid if we show a guy who we really are, then maybe he won’t like us. But that’s the point!
Being who you are does the compatibility work for you. Which is all the more reason to show up and be yourself, not someone else.
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Tip #1: Be Who You Are, Not Who You’re Not
When you try to be something you’re not, you end up attracting all the wrong people. The only way to figure out if a person is right for you, and if a relationship is worth pursuing, is by giving a person a chance to experience your true personality.
Don’t get the right guy to like the wrong you. Give the real you a chance. You may discover he likes the person you already are better than the person you’re trying to be.
Tip #2: Say Yes to What You Want and No to What You Don’t
When you go along to get along, you end up just getting dragged along. It’s okay to be open to trying new things, but this doesn’t mean you have to go against how you really feel.
Having equal amounts of yes and no in your vocabulary is a part of healthy relationship building.
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Tip #3: Get Out of Your Head and Get in the Moment
Every moment you spend in your head is a moment you miss to give someone a chance to get to know the real you. Stop worrying about whether you’re saying the right things, making the right amount of eye contact, or showing enough interest.
Those things don’t really matter. Real chemistry is created with a person through your words and actions, not your thoughts, so get out of your head and into the moment.
How to Be Yourself Again Tools & Resources
Now that you have a few tips and strategies on how to be yourself around others, you may be wondering what are some things you can do to discover who you truly are, so you can start building the life you want?
To be yourself, you have to find yourself. Chances are, you already have an idea of who you are and who you want to be, you just may be feeling too afraid to be that person.
Here are a few extra tips you can use to start your journey to discover how to be yourself again.
Follow Your Interests
Hobbies are the creative clues to your personality. Explore your long-held interests and hobbies. What you naturally like to do holds the greatest insight about who you really are.
Let Go of Past Mistakes
You can’t be the person you want to be, if you are still holding onto the person you use to be. Consider journaling to help you write through the regret and disappointment that may be holding you back from taking another chance and becoming who you truly want to be.
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Celebrate the Little Wins
You’ll never notice who you are, and more importantly, who you’re becoming if you don’t take the time to notice your small accomplishments. Remember to celebrate your little wins and appreciate how far you’ve come, not how long you have left to go.
Revisit Your Past
Who you are is deeply rooted in your past experiences. While your past does determine your future, it may be a good place to start looking to see if there is a connection between your present fears and past pain.
Seek Out Deeper Connections with People
There’s never enough room in a place where you don’t fit in. Avoid superficial relationships and look for people who share similar interests as a way of establishing and building deeper connections with others.
Talk Back to Negative Self Talk
To be yourself you have to like yourself. If you were put down in the past, you’re probably used to putting yourself down now without even realizing it. Use positive daily affirmations and quotes to silence your inner critic and to start having a more positive subconscious dialogue with yourself.
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Get Your Confidence Quotes
Looking for positive daily quotes to build your confidence? Get your 10 FREE printable confidence quotes that are perfect for your home, office, bedroom, or wherever you need to find inspirational daily.
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Please remember to be kind to yourself. Being confident and comfortable with who you are, so you can be yourself around others takes time.
Use the strategies and tools in this guide to help you show up as yourself more and more each day.
Perhaps you’ll start with a first date or with your coworkers.
Never forget you are incredible, just the way you are.
What helps you be yourself around others?
More About Guest Contributor
Paige Loren is the creator of Passion Writes Life. A writer’s blog dedicated to helping others create positive change through writing and sharing their story.