Social Confidence: meaning, definition, & the Social Confidence Scale

Social confidence might be the most important trait a person can have for success in life, be it internal or external.

But the definition of social confidence has become a subtle problem. Most people think that being confident means to be popular, good at talking, extroverted, and impressive to others. Unfortunately, a severely damaged person can still possess these qualities.

In this video, we explore what social confidence really is, and develop a fun social confidence scale that you can use to both measure your current level of confidence and guide yourself towards a boost in confidence.


Full transcript (unedited)

Let’s have a look at defining what it means to have social confidence. And what I want to do today is not only define it, but give you a scale so that you can measure how much of it you have or how much of it anyone is. The reason I want to do a whole piece just on the definition of social confidence is because I think defining it incorrectly, is a huge part of the problem when it comes to social issues. See, appearing to be confident, is not confidence. In fact, it’s really quite the opposite. Especially if you’re deliberately trying to appear to be confident you’re trying to manage other people’s impression on me, or that need to appear to be confident is motivated by fear and childhood trauma and shame and so on. Ironically, a person who’s truly confident doesn’t put any effort into trying to convince you that he is, and I think people confuse confidence with competence. People think confidence is about skills to better mastery, because you often feel more confident, the more skilled you are. But they’re actually two separate domains, you can be very confident while being very low skilled in be very highly skilled and still suffer from imposter syndrome and feel like you’re a total fraud. Confidence isn’t necessarily attached to skill. And while skill building does help, and I wouldn’t ever deny that it’s helpful. It’s not necessary, or more specific to the theme of this particular talk. social confidence does not require you to be socially skilled, you will become socially skilled as you’re more socially confident that is a natural byproduct. But you can still be confident without actually having great communication skills, or a lot of friends or even being socially adept in any way. Being good at manipulating people into liking, it doesn’t mean that you’re confident, it usually means the exact opposite of that, they usually means that you’re fragile, or you’re narcissistic, or you’re a nice guy, people pleaser. And these are all signs of sort of trauma based personality defects. I think the best definition, the working definition that you can use a real life is that social confidence is the ability to push yourself, to engage with people socially in a way that will benefit you in the long term without compromising your integrity. It’s essentially a practice of bravery in a social setting. So you don’t necessarily need to do well, by anybody’s standards. When it comes to the external trappings and rewards of socializing. It’s about how much discomfort you’re willing to put yourself through. And how much integrity you’re going to maintain while putting yourself through that discomfort. If you can do that a lot, or to a high intensity, you are very socially confident regardless of your current social status. Right, there are famous people out there who are that have the highest social status you could possibly imagine. And yet they never get out of their comfort zone, and they’re terrified of being rejected and so on. So they’re not actually socially confident, they’re just socially abundant, which is not the same thing. So social confidence is a combination of both mindset and behavior. So how you think and feel and believe and what you do. But really, it’s mostly about what you do. See ultimately, who you really are. What you are being is an action. Being is a you know a verb, you can think you’re confident without actually being it. And you can be confident without feeling sure of yourself. And I’m not talking about fake it till you make it I’m not talking about pretending to be someone you’re not. I’m talking about boldly engaging in behaviors that make you uncomfortable, regardless of thoughts and feelings, that confidence. And I really do believe and I’ve seen this evidence with my coaching clients and in my own life, that if you behave with confidence for a long enough time, you will also get external rewards, you’ll get deeper, meaningful connections, you’ll have people that love you, you’ll find communication gets easier and easier and you become more skilled. But those don’t need to come first they come second, they’re the reward for being confidence. They’re not the prerequisite for confidence. So I’ve recently designed a little model that I call the five eyes, as in the letter i in the alphabet, initiate introduce interest, invitation in intimacy. Okay, think of those as a grading scale that you build up your confidence with them. They’re all behavioral traits, and the more you practice them and the higher levels that you practice, the more confident you are whether you feel it or not. So the courage to initiate that is to initiate interactions with people to make the first move. That’s step one. Introducing yourself. So breaking the barrier from stranger to knowing that step two, showing interest and escalating the connection between the two of you that step three, inviting people into your life going from where you met them to somewhere else. That’s step four. And then increasing intimacy becoming more vulnerable and honest and revealing more truths about each other. That’s ultimately step five. And that is a continuous endless process, you can keep being more intimate with people until the end of your life. So because I’ve gotten into the trend of jujitsu, lately, I’ve given it a scale like belts, okay, just like a martial arts. And this is where you can kind of figure out where you’re at and where you need to go. And some of you might be socially abundant, you have lots of friends and stuff, but you’re still a white belt. And others of you might feel that you don’t have many close connections. But when you look at what you’re able to do socially, you’re actually quite confident. So let’s have a look at where you’re at in the scale, white belt, you don’t yet initiate. All right, you don’t stop things, things have to come to you, if anything. So if you’re a white belt, what you need to focus on doing is getting out into the social world, surrounding yourself with opportunities. And trying your best to just begin interactions can be as small as making eye contact through to saying hi to someone breaking that barrier between interacting and not interacting with somebody. Next is blue belt. Now you’re someone who can initiate but it doesn’t really go much further than that. So your next focus is to start introducing yourself to start making sure that you know each other’s names and you know a little bit about each other. There’s a classic line that you can use that as always true. So you’re never compromising your integrity, even though it’s a script. And that is to say something like, I don’t think I’ve met you yet. Hi, my name is Dave, it’s a really easy line to remember. And it’s always true if this is a new person. So it’s a great way to start introducing yourself, and you can use it anywhere, gas station, dance class, the gym, it always works. The next is purple belt. So you can initiate an introduce. But it’s rare for you to express your feelings to someone about them. So now you’re going to start showing people how you feel about them. Just telling people if you like them, if you’d like something about them, if there’s anything about them that you appreciate or noticed, certainly in them show that you’ve actually been affected by them and that you have feelings about them. Next is brown belt means you’re now quite comfortable letting people know how you feel about them. But you’re kind of stuck with meeting them where you met them say you meet them at a dance class, you only ever see them at the dance class, you both establish that you like each other. So now it’s time to start bringing people into your life, inviting them to things that you’re doing outside of where you met them, and creating a bridge where now they’re not just the person you’re in a dance class with now they’re your friend, you’ve gone to coffee together, you went to the beach together, went on a hike together, they’re now part of your life. Finally, we’ve got black belt, which is a never ending journey. So you regularly bring new connections into your life. Whenever you see fit in you escalate that quickly to them joining you in your life and you know how you feel about each other. And now you’re going to just turn up the intimacy, you’re going to become more polarizing, more honest, more vulnerable, start setting boundaries with each other. And you’re going to create a deep and meaningful connection. So using the scale, you can figure out where you’re at currently in sort of have a look at what you’re most likely to do in a social situation. And rather than looking at how many friends you have, or how many people like you which might not reflect how confident you are. Have a look at where you’re at in terms your boldness and social situations, and work on the step where you’re at with an eye to the next step. And just basically de escalating your fears. As you practice goes. I know this kind of work is pretty scary. I’ve done a lot of it myself. And frankly, it was hard. I helped people with this kind of work. So if you want to be able to make progress quickly and learn lots of sort of tricks and techniques for overcoming your fears and building your communication skills, get in touch And we can talk about coaching

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