Hands? What a Bother Sometimes :)
Every party has that person who is utterly at-ease.
Completely comfortable in any social scenario, that person knows all the best conversation starters, has a welcoming smile and laugh, and strikes natural poses and expressions that suit the party’s tone.
That person, more likely than not, is not you.
Most of us feel some degree of awkwardness in social situations ― especially as technology continues to separate us from face-to-face interaction.
The result is usually fidgeting:
- You stroke your hair,
- pick at your nails,
- crack your knuckles,
- and otherwise twitch to release your nervous energy.
Unfortunately, your squirming hands only make those around you even more uncomfortable.
However, by practicing these simple tricks, you will look just as at-ease as that person to whom it comes naturally.
1. Gesture ‘Em
In a now-famous study, psychologist Dr. Albert Mehrabian concluded that body language accounts for more than half (roughly 55 percent) of face-to-face communication.
This means gesturing with your hands is a totally acceptable way to engage people at a party.
Alas, you might not notice your flying hands when you are deep in exciting conversation.
It is incredibly difficult to consciously gesticulate when you are feeling awkward.
Luckily, experts have compiled a list of rules (and some helpful go-to gestures) to get you started:
- Stay in the box. Your hands should never move outside the area bounded by the top of your chest and the bottom of your waist.
- Be fluid, not jumpy. Smoother hang gestures blend into the background of conversation, while jerky, robotic movements are distracting.
- Restrict your movements. Gestures are best when they reinforce important points, so moving your hands while you talk about the weather may be overkill.
2. Touch ‘Em
As you become proficient in the fine art of gesturing, you should also practice engaging your fellow partygoers directly with physical touch.
Touch is a powerful communicative tool; one study found that merely touching an elbow was enough to convince a stranger to tell the truth.
Another study found that individuals who employ touch in the workplace command authority, thereby gaining promotions faster.
Yet, changing social rules regarding physical contact scares many partygoers away from reaching out during most social exchanges.
Though it is imperative you understand the line between friendly and engaging touches (usually on non-intimate areas of the body, like the arm and upper back) and other forms of physical contact.
You might start using your hands to touch those around you for better social experiences.
3. Hold ‘Em
While you perfect your execution of appropriate hand gestures, you might find it more comfortable to otherwise employ your hands with the task of holding something.
At the very least, the average party will have drinks on offer, and you can use one hand to keep a firm grip on your cup.
If you are lucky, there might also be snacks to pick at with your other hand.
Even when the refreshments are lacking, you can always pull out your e-cigarette, which will calm your fidgeting fingers in more ways than one.
Usually, there are plenty of props around a party that you can use to excursive your hand muscles.
You should try to select objects that look normal to hold.
4. Rest ‘Em
If the idea of moving your hands for any purpose is too stressful to bear, you can take the opposite approach and find someplace to let them rest.
While standing, you can lean against walls or tables, keeping your hands flat and stationary.
People generally tend to feel more comfortable when they can see your hands, so keeping them out of view (as I’ll discuss next) can be risky.
Until you feel comfortable gesturing, you should at least try to plaster your palms to some surface.
5. Hide ‘Em
You might be the exact opposite of that person who feels comfortable at parties; the very thought of talking to anyone other than close friends might send your blood pressure sky-high.
If that’s the case, it is certainly find for you to tuck your hands away behind your back or into your pockets.
However, you might be interested to learn that hiding your hands is a clear sign of stiffness, and it tends to make you feel more nervous, as well.
The more you practice moving your hands, the more confident you will feel in social situations ― and the closer you will come to being that person at the party.
What’s Your Opinion?
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