Normal is an interesting word. Not only does it evoke strong feelings from people who don’t necessarily fit the social mold of normal, but it’s a word that shifts its definition depending on who you’re talking to.
What’s normal for one person isn’t for another. What’s normal for society today may not be normal tomorrow.
Normal is a constantly evolving word that causes a whole lot of stress, shame, and difficulty.
Is normal something to strive toward?
In many ways, yes. Normal is relatable. And when a person is not normal, they can quickly feel alienated from the world they want to be a part of. Normal can help you fit in, build relationships, and craft the kind of life that you want.
That doesn’t mean you have to give up your quirkiness, totally conform, or give up the parts of you that make you uniquely you.
Being normal is largely about knowing how to act in a socially acceptable or relatable way. And it can significantly improve your life and relationships.
Let’s look at some tips that may help you improve your own unique version of normal.
1. Practice good hygiene.
Good personal hygiene is an essential part of socialization and fitting in.
Basic things like regular showers and brushing your teeth removes strong, offensive odors that will call negative attention to you, whether anyone acknowledges it or not.
Whether or not you believe good cleanliness and hygiene should affect how others react toward you as a person, it most certainly does.
But it’s not just about foul odors either. Don’t go overboard with cologne, perfume, or other heavily scented lotions. Not only can they be strongly offensive and create a negative perception about you, but some people with asthma or allergies may have a reaction to them. A good scent should be discovered, not announced. Use them sparingly.
2. Exercise and eat healthier.
Exercising and eating healthier are foundation blocks to a better mentality, socialization, and lifestyle.
They both contribute heavily to mental and emotional health, making it much easier to keep yourself balanced.
The more balanced you are, the easier it is to socialize, not be overwhelmed by strong emotions, and not make impulsive decisions.
For example, being ‘hangry’ is not a good reason to be short with someone. Yes, it happens, but you want to minimize those unpredictable emotional responses by ensuring you eat well and as often as you need.
3. Practice small talk and socialization.
The best way to get better at small talk and socialization is to do it. Many people struggle with small talk. Some even think that it is unnecessary when, in fact, the opposite is true.
Small talk helps grease the wheels of conversation. It allows you to break the ice and get to know the person you’re talking to.
The best and easiest way to start with small talk is to be curious about people. You can ask the person something simple but not too intrusive.
Try taking a look at the person to see if there is anything that stands out that you can use to break the ice. Do they look nice? Are they wearing a shirt with an image on it? Do they have a unique piece of jewelry? Pick something you can compliment and comment on, and it will open the door.
Pace yourself to the person you’re talking to. Are they talking about their interests? Discuss yours too. Are they talking about local happenings? Then that’s what you want to talk about too.
Don’t worry too much if your small talk doesn’t take off. People are often off in their own worlds, thinking about their own lives and what they need to do. Just keep trying with different people and practicing.
4. Avoid inflammatory conversation topics.
There used to be an old saying that went something along the lines of, “Polite company does not discuss religion, politics, or money.” Why? Because the company can become not polite quickly.
There’s nothing wrong with having an intelligent, civil conversation with someone about sensitive issues. The problem is that many people have a tough time having an intelligent, civil conversation about hot button issues.
Avoid these topics until you get a better read of the person you’re talking to.
5. Consider your body language.
Body language communicates loudly to the people that you’re around. No one’s going to want to talk to you if you’re off standing by yourself in a corner, arms folded, with a sour look on your face. All of that body language communicates that you’re not pleasant, not in a pleasant mood, and not wanting to communicate with other people.
Consider your posture and positioning when you are interacting with other people. You don’t need to be the center of attention, but don’t fade into the background either. Maintain a pleasant, social demeanor if you want to attract pleasant, social interaction.
It may take some practice if you struggle with social interaction. Don’t expect to get everything right immediately.
6. Avoid oversharing about personal issues.
The oversharing of personal issues is a big turn off. There is a balance between being honest and upfront about one’s challenges and unloading on someone showing a casual interest in you as a person.
Unless that person is a friend or you’ve moved past the stage of general pleasantries, it’s a good idea to keep those personal issues to yourself unless it is somehow relevant.
People with mental illnesses or those who have been through some difficult things often wonder when is an appropriate time to share these kinds of things with other people, particularly potential romantic partners.
Wait for a few dates or a couple of weeks into getting to know each other. That will give you some time to set the foundation for a friendship without springing it on the person after they are emotionally invested.
7. Practice courtesies and polite behavior.
Please, thank you, holding a door, being pleasant and friendly are all simple courtesies that people regularly overlook that can help you better mesh with other people.
Politeness is a simple courtesy that doesn’t seem to be all that common nowadays. It doesn’t take much effort, and you can leave a positive impression on the people you’re interacting with by practicing it.
Politeness can smooth out rough social interactions, prevent arguments, and make it easier for you to fit into the group.
But be forewarned, some people will see this as an opportunity to push boundaries or take advantage of you. Many people confuse niceness with weakness. Don’t be anyone’s doormat for the sake of fitting in. If you have to accept bad behavior to be accepted by the group, you’re better off being alone and finding a new group.
8. Explore new activities and interests.
Personal growth through the exploration of life and its many facets is a fantastic way to create normalcy. Not only do you get out and about to experience more, but you’ll also get to meet new people who are doing new and exciting things.
That gives you a greater opportunity to develop friendships and relationships that can be mutually beneficial.
New activities and interests also give you something to talk about that aren’t current events or the weather. Many people love listening to someone talk about something they are passionate about, regardless of what the thing is. It’s wonderful to be reminded of that passion and see someone enjoy something so readily.
Whether you enjoy the new activity or not, consider it an opportunity to practice the art of being and acting normal. You don’t have to continue with an activity if it’s not for you, but every time you get out of your comfort zone and try something a little different, you’ll get better at interacting with people.
9. Dress appropriately.
To be normal, to blend in, it helps to dress similarly to the group you’re trying to be a part of.
That doesn’t mean that you have to lose all sense of personal style or should don some cookie-cutter wardrobe. It’s just that you should be in the same general neighborhood.
People will have some questions and raise some eyebrows if you’re clad in black leather in a group that’s business casual. And on the other hand, the person in business casual will stick out in a room of people clad in black leather.
Dress appropriately for the situation and group.
10. Consider when NOT to be normal.
And finally, work on having confidence by understanding when you aren’t going to be normal and why.
There’s a lot of problems with groups of people and society as a whole. That’s because people are inherently messy creatures filled with emotions, bad decisions, poorly informed opinions, and sometimes alcohol.
There will be times when not being normal is better because it might be something the group needs to see to be reminded that they are accepting something they shouldn’t.
Be the unique you that only you can be. Sometimes it’s better not to be normal or accepted by the group, mainly if the group is doing the wrong things.
You may also like:
- 10 Things Polite People Do And Don’t Do (i.e. How To Be Polite)
- How To Not Be So Socially Awkward Around People: 7 Effective Tips
- 7 Reasons People Might Think You’re Weird
- Knowing How Much Personal Information To Reveal When Getting To Know Someone
- How To Talk About Yourself (+ 12 Good Things To Say)
- 10 Confidence Hacks For The Socially Awkward Person
- 7 Ways To Be A Nicer Person