What Motivates a Person to Socialize

  • Time to read: 5 min.

Most of us are naturally social animals, but what motivates a person to socialize? Of course, we love being around others and interacting with them, but sometimes it can be hard to find the motivation to socialize. 

Socialization 101

The primary reason humans socialize is to feel a part of something, that we belong, to have an affiliation, to enhance our self-esteem, or integrate; it is a social behavior. 

Social motivation is the premise that humans desire to interact and engage with others, and this connection is a critical foundation for human survival. Socializing is one of the essential ingredients to a happy and fulfilling life, and people motivated by social factors are more likely to enjoy relationships and be more comfortable overall. 

There is no escaping the fact that social interaction has several benefits, from mood stability to stress relief and even productivity boosts for individuals and businesses. When we understand our motivation to socialize, the key is to find leisure pursuits that match our inspiration, which will help us stay motivated and engaged in life.

Five factors determine the success or failure of social interaction:

  1. Fun and competence in the activity, meaning our participation in the leisure pursuit is enjoyable, and we have a level of competence we are comfortable with.
  2. We all complete an internal social comparison when we participate in an activity. This social comparison is looking at others involved in the same leisure pursuit for similarities and differences between us.
  3. Our comfort, primarily our security in the social environment in which we are participating in the leisure pursuit, is paramount. We need to feel safe and have a sense of belongingness.
  4. We may immediately or over time feel affection or closeness to others who are also participating in the leisure pursuit.
  5. The type of motivation that got us to participate in leisure pursuits and socialize, to begin with, is also crucial. Intrinsic or extrinsic motivation is the basis for participation in all things. Intrinsic motivations come from within ourselves, whereas extrinsic motivations are influenced by outside sources such as recognition or rewards. 

By understanding these five key factors, we can focus on successfully promoting or participating in activities to socialize.

Making Friends & Connections

The human brain is evolved and is very good at processing information through relationships, which is why socializing is so important. Socializing helps us learn how to handle stress, builds self-esteem, forms healthy social networks, and allows us to survive, thrive and reproduce. 

Socializing is so important that it’s considered a form of self-care. Not only does it help us to develop our social skills and connect with others, but it can also improve our cognitive functions. For example, research has shown that socializing can improve memory and attention span. Additionally, people are more likely to engage in healthy behaviours when they have a sense of connection with others.

Socialization Challenges

The prefrontal cortex controls our cognitive functions, like decision-making and planning. At the same time, the limbic system drives our emotions, instincts, and various hormones, neurotransmitters, and emotions. Therefore, socialization can lead to positive outcomes like happiness and well-being as socialization engages and stimulates brain functions.  

Socializing is essential to life, whether catching up with friends, neighbours, family, or co-workers. Many people are social by nature, but for some, it may take some encouragement to get them out there and socialize. They may find it challenging to connect with others or get along, no matter how hard they try. 

Some people do not enjoy the same things, which can make socializing difficult, but it doesn’t mean you have to stop associating with others altogether. First, know that your personality traits and life experiences play a role in your motivation to socialize. There are many ways to get around this, including finding leisure pursuits that interest you. For others not socializing has become a habit or routine. You may find our guide Why Changing A Habit Is Difficult – How To Change Easily helpful.

Remember that socializing isn’t just about interacting with people face-to-face; online social networking can also be a form of socialization to begin your journey. However, face-to-face communication is still the most effective form of communication as there is an energy exchange between people that is not possible online. 

You can motivate yourself to socialize; it just requires patience and a willingness to open up and take the initiative to reach out to others. Socializing is all about making connections and building relationships, so if you are shy or uncomfortable in social situations, start by trying to find people with the same leisure interests. Then, once you’ve connected with a few people, socializing and making new friends will be easier. 

It is also essential to accept invitations and put yourself in social situations where you can meet new people, which could be as simple as joining a club, attending a learn about x session or taking a series of classes.  

The more opportunities you give yourself to socialize, the better chance you have of meeting new people and strengthening your relationships. Here is a step by step to do to help you on the road to socializing.

To Do:

Identify the benefits of socializing for you, for example, making new friends or improving your communication skills. 

Socializing can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it is helpful to remember why you are socializing – your motivation. To start socializing, find a leisure pursuit you are interested in. 

Be courteous to other participating, and don’t overreact if they make a mistake. 

Remember to have fun. If you are not enjoying yourself, it’s unlikely that the person/people you are socializing with will either. 

Get enough sleep, as socializing can be exhausting, mentally and physically. When you are not used to listening or being with others, your energy can become drained quickly.

Be aware of your limits, body, mind, and emotions; if something feels uncomfortable or wrong, examine the feeling, and change the situation so that you feel safe and secure.

Stay connected with family and friends by scheduling regular phone calls, video chats, or in-person meetings. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it ok to take breaks while socializing?

Taking a break while socializing is perfectly fine if you need one. Taking a step back and taking some time for yourself can be beneficial as it allows you to recharge and return to the conversation feeling refreshed

Is it necessary to dress up for socializing?

It is only necessary to dress up for socializing if it is a formal event. Being comfortable in whatever outfit makes you feel confident is critical

Why do I not like social gatherings?

Not everyone enjoys socializing, and that’s ok. For example, some people may experience anxiety in large groups or feel overwhelmed.  

Final Thoughts

Socializing is all about making connections and building relationships. Not only does it help us stay healthy and fit, but it also helps to boost our brain power and make us happier. It can be daunting, but by taking small steps, you can become more comfortable in social situations. The key is to find activities that you genuinely enjoy and start small. Join a few clubs or classes, put yourself in situations where you can meet people with similar interests, take it slow, be patient and remember to have fun.

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