Explore ways to become more engaging and likable in social gatherings.
Here are experts’ insights on how to become a social butterfly:
Mental Wellbeing Coach | Teacher | Mental Health Advocate, Psykhe
Be curious, stay in that moment with that person, and genuinely listen to them
So, what is a social butterfly anyway? You know those people who light up a room, who connect with others with ease, and are full of charisma? Those people who just make socializing seem so effortless.
I’ve never been one of those people. I’m the sit in the corner, people-watching and worrying what everyone thinks of me kind of person. I can get so wrapped up in doing and saying the right thing that I don’t really do or say anything at all.
And all that thinking about who I am and how I am in that space does not make me a social butterfly. So, what does?
I’m going to share with you some things that I’ve learned about what makes some people have it and others not so much. Yes, perhaps they are completely comfortable, and at ease in their own skin, so they’re showing up fully as themselves. But I don’t think so.
We all have insecurities at times, no matter how we present ourselves. But there are a few things to bear in mind.
Firstly, be curious and be present. If we get wrapped up in thinking about how we want to come across or those times we found socializing difficult, we can become focused on ourselves and stuck in our heads.
Instead, breathe, and be present. Try to be in the moment with whoever you are with. Be curious about them. Listen—not to respond—but really listen to them. We all want to be seen and understood, and being truly listened to is rare these days.
So, if you can stay in that moment with that person and genuinely listen to them, they’re going to walk away feeling positive about the encounter, like you really care.
That leads me to one of the first two truths that it’s helpful to bear in mind:
- It’s not what you say or do; it’s how you make people feel that they’ll remember.
So you didn’t have the wittiest joke or the most insightful comments? You made them feel important, interesting, or like they mattered. They won’t remember the jokes, but they will remember that feeling.
- Everyone is probably feeling the same and worrying more about how they’re perceived than judging and analyzing you.
We often think everyone is watching us, but really we’re all wrapped up in our own stuff. No one is thinking about you as much as you are. Reminding myself of this helps me to relax and gives me some freedom to just be.
My final tip: Learn to embrace your inner weirdo.
We’re all unique individuals, and we’ll gel with some people and not with others. Yes, we can try to adapt to the situation and be who we think we should be in that space. But this can leave us with an icky feeling and questioning whether those people really liked us or just that image we presented.
Going back to that idea of living in the moment, be you and show up as yourself and accept that not everyone is going to get you. But those that do, they’re your people.
If you can let go of the concern over what people think and be your amazingly unique self, you’ll find that while not everyone will get you, they’ll respect and admire you for showing up as yourself.
So be you, be present, be curious, listen and let go of what other people think of you.
Is it easy? Not especially. You’re letting go of some long-held, deep-rooted ways of being. But it’s worth working on this, and over time it will start to feel more comfortable, more familiar.
Fake it until you make it. That’s probably what everyone else is doing anyway.
And as for me? I’m still not sure whether I’m a social butterfly, but I no longer sit in the corner watching everyone. Now, I’m right in the midst of things, chatting to people, asking questions, and you guessed it, listening.
Human Behaviorist | Operations Director, Ringspo
Being a social butterfly for extroverts is a piece of cake because it is already who they are naturally. However, for introverts—and those individuals who do not usually mingle with others because of discomfort—this can be a huge challenge.
So, here are my tips on how you can develop yourself to be a social butterfly.
Be with people who have similar personalities and likes as yours
If you are aware that you don’t belong to a group of people, don’t force it. It doesn’t mean you’re rude since you’re only starting to get to know more about yourself, just be polite with them. And if they still don’t understand, it’s not your problem anymore.
Go to where you are celebrated, because it doesn’t matter if you don’t like to be with people. Soon enough, you will enter that world where you can find those who have similar personalities and likes as yours. That will be your group, where you can bloom and be understood.
Talk to someone one at a time
You don’t have to rush and get a dozen friends in one day. Like a butterfly, your growth takes time.
Introverts, for instance, don’t mean they hate people. They are just uncomfortable with getting along with the majority of them. But once they feel one right person can understand them, it’s something to cherish already.
This means that the world can’t adjust to what you want, so you have to bravely take one step at a time and have even just one person behind you. That way, you can grow and learn new things you have yet to learn until you feel the comfort of being with the right people.
How to transform from a social larva to a social butterfly
Have you been in a conversation with strangers, and one person totally captivates everyone? I don’t mean captivates as in “is the only person talking and everyone pays attention,” but someone who masters the dance of conversation so well you can’t not like them.
They’re inclusive, funny, warm, engaging, calm, confident, and never skip a beat in the deep waters of social networking. This is a social butterfly, and many would like to be one.
It’s weird to write, but I’ve been a social butterfly for years. Not my whole life, and not in all situations, as I’ve socially facepalmed countless times – but that’s exactly why I’ve become a competent and confident social conversationist.
At parties, people have surged around me to take part in fun conversations, and I find friends wherever I go and whoever I meet. This can take years to get right, but practice makes perfect.
Here are some tips to boost your cocooning and emerge a butterfly:
Include someone quiet at the gathering by asking them questions or opinion on a subject
Include someone quiet at the gathering by asking them questions in the group or their opinion on a subject. Most people like inclusion, and I’ve been thanked countless times for this.
Joke about yourself
Humor is fantastic, and the safest route is joking about yourself. I’m short, and if the mood is tense, people often relax after I joke about my height.
This also shows confidence and tells people you’re okay with who and how you are. If someone else jokes about my height afterward, I have succeeded.
Laugh, smile, and enjoy it
Laugh and smile, and you’ll quickly find yourself the center of attention—and enjoy it.
How to sail steady on the dangerous waters of social gatherings
Social gatherings with strangers or someone you barely know often seem intimidating or tense. We’ve all been there: awkward situations. Maybe you don’t know what to say, or no one says anything, and you don’t know how to break the silence?
I’ll share two tips you can utilize in most situations. If you successfully use any of these, you’ll create a positive feedback loop, where you solved a social hiccup, get a positive response from others, be liked, so you want to do it again—and you get better and better.
Joking about yourself is an immense tool, but use it moderately
Joking about someone you don’t know in a group is dangerous. You don’t know how they’re going to take it, and the setting can turn sour quickly. Luckily, in every gathering, there’s always one person you know—yourself.
Joking about yourself is an immense tool. I’m short, and I’m quick to fire jokes about my height. People often laugh and smile, meaning they like you more and relax around you.
It shows confidence about who and how you are. Don’t use this tool too much, or it will turn self-deprecating.
Call out awkward situations
You often meet familiar people at the store, talk, and say your good-byes—but meet again during the same visit, both giving uncomfortable stares.
This can be avoided by calling it out with a smile, saying, “I knew we’d meet again in here,” or “Well, now you have to talk to me again.” This removes the tension.
Do this with confidence; even if you don’t have it, you’ll see the positive result, do it again another time—and gain actual confidence.
How to be a “digital” social butterfly
With the world changing and moving to digital spaces, it is so important that we all change our social behaviors to digital social behaviors.
As the world continues to strive on digital platforms, it is now more important than ever that people and businesses adapt to being digital social butterflies. Modifying daily social behaviors to fit the digital platforms we socialize on will expose new business and personal opportunities for connections and growth.
Have a clear communication strategy with your audience
Communication of the future is digital. Having a clear communication strategy with your audience is key to creating engagement in digital spaces.
A clear, cohesive story can be told through text, photo, or video content. Using these different forms of communication will reach a large audience and expose you to connections and lead to engagement.
Respond to any written communications you receive
Responding to any written communications you receive is key to building relationships on digital platforms. By engaging, you are showing that you care about the people reaching out to you and feel it is worth your time to respond.
This strengthens relationships and builds your reputation as a business/brand on digital platforms.
Staying connected with others in digital spaces is the future of technology. It is important that we continue to build those connections to stay relevant. Our agency takes pride in mastering communication strategies and implementing them for our clients who do not share the same depth in knowledge of building online communities.
Anupama Singh, B.E.
Social butterfly is a slang term that is more than often used to describe people who exceed in networking, communication, and dynamic in their approach. Such people are often extremely successful because they possess the power of communication and the right contacts.
To become a social butterfly, you can use three easy steps and change your life forever.
Show interest when you meet new people
Show interest is a wide term and applies to everything. When you meet new people, indulge in different conversations, listen to them and their ideas.
When you come across something new, ranging from sports, cars, architecture, books, paintings, and everything on planet earth, show interest and try to learn about it. Having some idea about everything will help you better connect with people.
Be kind and positive
Meeting people is definitely a major part of being a social butterfly, but it’s crucial to be positive and kind. Having an open mindset and being genuinely interested will help you to really connect with people.
Read and gain insights
As mentioned earlier, having a wide knowledge about different things will help you to engage in more impactful conversations. When not going out and meeting people, sit at home and read, gain insights about the working of the world.
Reading a few psychological facts and tricks will help you understand people and their behavior better, giving you an upper edge in a crowd setting.
Love & Relationship Coach, The Love Department
Be confident in your own skin
If you can learn to feel confident in your own skin, you will be one step closer to being a social butterfly. Confidence is wildly attractive to other people; it allows them to feel secure in your presence.
There is a law of attraction where positivity begets positivity.
A positive self-image leads to others viewing you positively. Other people will want to know your secret to feel so confident that they will be drawn to talking to you. Be brave enough to make the first move to start conversations too.
Now, how do you become confident? That leads me to the next point.
Be authentic to who you are
Being authentic to who you are can give you greater confidence. Owning who you are and being vocal about the things you love will attract people who have similar interests.
A favorite quote of mine by Jeff Bowenis, “I’d rather be nine people’s favorite thing rather than 100 peoples’ 9th favorite thing.”
When you talk about something you are passionate about, you light up inside. The conversation becomes infectious between two people who are talking about a similar interest. Never try to force interest to get people to like you because it will fall flat.
Be vulnerable when you find yourself connecting with someone
It’s no longer cool to be cold. When trying to be a social butterfly, it is important to connect and build real attachments to others. Actively listen to what others say and connect to your own experiences.
When you find yourself connecting with someone, you can organically share your vulnerabilities if you feel safe. It also allows someone else to be vulnerable with you. People may not remember what you talked about, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
Relationship Expert | Author, Datingpilot
To some people, being a social butterfly can be something that is very much desired while at the same time it can feel like a very daunting task. Even more so when it isn’t something you strive for regularly or are used to.
To automatically know what to say to someone or how to approach them is not something that comes so easy to everyone. Fortunately, social skills can be honed with practice and consistency.
You have to expose yourself socially
To begin sharpening your social skills, you have to expose yourself socially. It is best to start with the social circles that you are already a part of, like your workplace.
Related: The 25 Best Books on Social Skills
Choose only a few people that you would like to befriend and expand from there once you feel more comfortable. You build relationships and friendships over time, which gives you plenty of time to practice.
Approach people with curiosity
Just as you have gotten to know your now close friends, you will want to approach getting to know new people in a similar way. When conversing, you want to make sure you are present in the moment, giving them your attention and eye contact.
You want to have a smile and be friendly. You want to approach them with curiosity in getting to know them. You’ll want to have a topic or questions in mind ahead of time to begin a conversation.
Take note of things you have learned about them
Once you have exchanged conversations for a few days, take note of things you have learned about them. Then, use that information to follow up on how they are doing or invite them somewhere they like.
The more you practice, the more comfortable you become in approaching people and getting to know them.
Join clubs, events, or visit places of interest
If you wish to expand your social circles further, join clubs, events, or visit places of interest. For example, if you are a dog person, visit your local dog park consistently and meet other folks who share your love of dogs.
Stepping out and intentionally seeking people will help you sharpen your social skills and broaden your social circles.
Owner, Lynn on the Links
With my father being in the Navy, I had the unique opportunity of moving every two years as a child. I had to learn how to become a social butterfly fairly quickly in order to make friends at each new school I attended.
The interesting thing is I am an introvert. So, how does one who likes the quiet solitude and comfort of their home become a gregarious social butterfly?
Here are a few tips that I have used over the years:
Fake it ’til you make it
A social butterfly is someone who is engaged and lively and seems to make friends easily, especially in social settings. My biggest piece of advice is to “fake it till you make it.”
Even though you may be feeling shy and awkward, the more you act like you are the confident person you know you can be, the more you will feel it. Take a deep breath, put a smile on your face with your chin up, shoulders back, and walk confidently into a room.
The more others see this, the more they will respond to you. The more they respond to you in a positive way, the more you will actually start to feel confident.
Listen, be engaged and ask questions
As an introvert and someone who doesn’t have the natural gift of gab, what I have found works remarkably well is to listen. I truly enjoy hearing about people, their lives, and their personal stories.
If you listen and ask engaging questions, the conversations can be amazingly fresh and interesting. You will have learned something unique about the person.
They will think highly of you because you listened and heard them, and you will have the start of a new budding relationship with that person.
Be the organizer or planner
Maybe you find that you are sitting home alone and want to be out with friends or colleagues doing fun activities. Don’t keep sitting there waiting for an invite.
Be the organizer and plan that next outing or get-together. How many times have you heard friends say, “let’s get together sometime,” and then it doesn’t happen? That is because many people don’t like to be the planner.
However, people are social, and if invited to an event, many would jump at the idea and most likely attend. As the individual coordinating the event, you now have the power of where to go, what to do, and who is invited.
After a while, your friends may start looking to you for the next event. Many times, I’ve heard, “This was so much fun. What are we doing next time?”
Always a good sign. It’s a surefire way to fill up your social calendar and be that social butterfly.
Co-Founder & CTO, Fig Loans
As the co-founder of a leading business in our industry, I understand the importance of networking and presenting yourself in front of others and how that opens up opportunities and doors for you as a professional.
Here are three actionable tips on how to be a social butterfly:
Strike up a conversation with at least one stranger for two minutes a day
You can’t go wrong with talking to strangers. Training that social muscle will help you get more comfortable with speaking to people and build your confidence to talk about anything at any given time.
Join a speaking club
Putting your speaking skills to the test and developing your speaking in a controlled environment will enable you to practice getting in control of public speaking anxiety.
If you can speak in front of 5 or more people, you’ll be able to speak to one person.
Attend networking events
Part of being a social butterfly is putting yourself out there and meeting with other professionals. This will allow you to meet new friends, potential business partners, and connections that may be of help later on as you build your network.
Founder, BU Coaching
Be curious about people
Those who take a genuine vested interest in learning more about the lives of those around them tend to be more social. Asking questions in conversations is a great way to practice this.
Be mindful of your social boundaries
There is no sense in forcing yourself to socialize for the sake of socializing, especially if you’re already burning out. Be mindful of your social boundaries, and make sure you’re taking the time to fill up your cup so that you have the energy to socialize.
Focus on how you make people feel
As the great saying goes, “people will forget what you said, but they’ll remember how you made them feel.”
If you want to be more of a social butterfly, be mindful of the impact that your presence, your words, and your actions have on those around you.
Community Manager, West Houston INFINITI
Open up and put yourself out there
I’ve been working as a community manager for over five years now— a big portion of my job is connecting with people digitally on social media or live in-person or over the phone with other local businesses and local charities.
As I’ve grown my skills as a networker, I’ve learned you need to be open to sharing and talking about details of your life and your journey.
If you want people to open up and connect with you in a social setting, it really helps if you put yourself out there and do the same, as often that is reciprocated by others. It also allows conversations and introductions to flow effortlessly.
Have a genuine interest in other people
People can sense when a genuine connection is forming or when someone is only interested in relationships that could benefit them.
If you want to build more personal connections, professional connections, or work on your approachability and demeanor— take a genuine interest in people when you talk to them.
Ask them questions about what they are sharing, share your own related stories or incidents relevant to the conversation, and be thoughtful in your reactions and follow-ups.
If you go into social introductions with the mindset “I’m excited to meet and learn more about this person,” that will be reflected in your tone, facial expressions, and body language.
Community Manager, LiveCareer
Boost your confidence
Many of us think that social butterflies are just great at public speaking, effortlessly nail any social situations, and always enjoy interacting with others. While it might be true for some, this is often far from the truth.
Confidence, also in social relations, is something that we build with experience and time. It doesn’t just magically knock on our door on a Monday morning right before our Zoom presentation. It’s a long-term process with many ups and downs along the way.
Building self-confidence requires a trial-and-error approach.
You need to continuously go beyond your comfort zone and do the things that are challenging for you. It might start with keeping eye contact when talking to your friend or expressing your opinion in front of your colleagues.
The key lies in trying new things and accepting that it will take time to feel at ease during social situations. Be kind to yourself, and don’t let your inner critic stand in your way to build meaningful relationships.
Related: How To Stop Beating Yourself Up
Travel Writer, Brit on the Move
I am an ESFJ (Myers Briggs) and an iD (DiSC). Or, in laments terms, I am an extrovert, so for me being social comes easy. With that said, I have many in my circle that are not as confident or outgoing.
Here are the tips I give them and the tricks I use.
Make the first move
Don’t wait to be introduced; introduce yourself. It’s an easy way to break the ice and start a conversation.
For example: “Hi, I am Nikki, I work at XYZ, and I am from XYZ. How about you?”
Lead with open-ended questions
If you ask a closed-ended question, you’ll get a closed response. For example, don’t ask, “Are you with company X?” The answer will be yes or no.
Rather, ask: “So how did you end up working for company X?”
Address awkward silences
If you find yourself in a conversation that turns to crickets, call it out. Make a joke of it. For example, say something like, “Well, here we are with that awkward silence,” laugh and then immediately offer up a new topic.
Most people will feel more relaxed just to have the silence and awkwardness out in the open. This alone will create a great conversation.
Make a joke; an easy one we can all do
People often ask, “where are you from?” I am from the UK, and it’s obvious because of my accent. However, when people ask, I often say, “I’m from Kansas.”
Of course, there’s a weird silence because no one knows what to say. If they push, I insist for a minute just to get it going but eventually tell them. If they don’t push, I tell them, “Just joking.”
Either way, if you make up a ridiculous answer to “where you are from,” it will intrigue everyone, and then it turns into a very good laugh. This works all the time.
I can’t tell you how many groups of people my friends and I have connected with through this quirky play on “where are you from.” It sets the stage for humor right off the bat.
Owner, Oz Window Cleaning
I was never good with crowds. The thought of speaking to large crowds always made me unimaginably sweaty and anxious. I was used to being alone, as an only child with both parents living separately and working full time.
Growing up, I never put myself out there. I was not good socially. I felt that all the time.
When I was 15, I started getting more active in a local church group. It was there I developed friends and started to share my thoughts and feelings more openly. I was still very shy, and the thought of doing anything “out of my comfort zone” still scared me for most of my teenage years.
But, there was something I really wanted to do. I wanted to share my beliefs with more people. I wanted to travel the world and do that. So, I did.
It was my passion that pushed me. I learned how to speak in front of people more confidently, hold eye contact, be comfortable with silence, and have other interpersonal skills.
Then after years of practice, it came to the time when I was able to confidently speak as a keynote speaker to a group of more than a thousand as part of a conference in Canada, Toronto, to discuss religion in the modern world to an audience of hundreds of various ethnicities.
I was also very comfortable with myself when it came to speaking with anyone about anything, especially the things I enjoyed. I couldn’t believe how far I had come. But how?
What I learned from the years I spent developing myself interpersonally:
Listen, learn, and repeat what they said
I learned that people care mostly about themselves. When I would share my beliefs, it was common for the other person to also share theirs. I noticed how easy it was to just listen, learn, and repeat what they said. They really appreciated it.
I learned from these conversations that if the people around you can have you to talk to about themselves, they will think you are a “social butterfly” just because you make them feel special by listening, more than the usual person might do.
Speak about what you want—when you want
When you really like talking, it’s usually because you enjoy the topic. When you feel the most energized and have “flow,” it’s usually because you love what you are talking about.
It’s your passion, and it’s hard to stop once you get started. Maybe you don’t have a “passion” just yet, and that’s OK! What I would recommend is getting involved with various new skills and learning new things.
When you finally find something you like, you’ll find it much easier to be a “social butterfly” because you’ll want to connect with more people who share your values and beliefs. This is important.
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