07/27/2014 09:22 pm ET Updated Sep 26, 2014

5 Tips to Be a Social Badass

Want to be a social badass? It's easier than you think. Here are five tips to get you started:

1. Compliment someone's behavior. People have a tendency to be so wrapped up in themselves. This kind of egocentricity is natural, but it won't help you stand out. Make someone feel good about themselves today and give them a thoughtful compliment. Remember though, it's easy to comment on physical features. It takes extra effort to notice someone's behavior. Check out the differences in these two examples:

Physical compliment: You look great today, Ashley!

Behavioral compliment: Hey Ashley, you've been killing it lately at the gym! You motivate me to keep pushing.

Both compliments are great, but notice the detail in the second one. People love when you notice the effort they put into something.

Deliver the compliment with a smile and good eye contact for extra feel-goodness. (Pro tip: if you want to avoid any lingering awkwardness, shift the conversation to something else right after giving the compliment. Check out tip number five of this post on making small talk.)

2. Stop being so serious. People walk around with the most serious look on their faces. You'd think some of these people had just come back from a funeral! Be the comic relief and people will love you for it. You don't have to act like a clown or a dancing monkey -- all it takes are a few light-hearted words to get a laugh or smile out of someone. Humor puts people at ease and helps them forget about the things stressing them out -- even if it's just for a few minutes.

3. Help someone with something. If you saw someone you knew that was injured on the side of the road, would you stop to help them? Most people would say yes, and yet they pass up on a similar opportunity every single day.

We don't have to help in only the most dire of situations. If you look around, you'll probably find someone that could use assistance, even with just a small task. The key is recognizing these opportunities and taking action. Take the time to offer your help and people will appreciate you so much more for it.

4. Skip the complaining. One night not too long ago, my best friend Landon called me on the phone with an undeniable excitement in his voice. "You'll never guess what happened to me," he laughed.

It turns out his car broke down in the middle of nowhere -- and then it started pouring. A nightmare scenario for anyone, except Landon. He somehow made friends with the people that lived in the closest house. When he called me, he was having beers with them on their front porch while waiting for the tow truck. "I love life!" he shouted over the other end of the phone.

It's no coincidence that most magnetic personalities rarely complain. Complaining or ranting about something does little to change anything and only serves to repel people away. Rather than complaining, reframe the situation and discover the joy of the challenge. If no such challenge exists, throw your hands up in the air, smile, and recognize that it is what it is.

5. Give feedback without offending. Taking criticism is hard, but so is giving it. Maybe that's why people are so bad at it. Luckily, you're about to learn how to give feedback like a pro.

The best way to make a suggestion or redirect someone's thinking is to first acknowledge their effort. Always start with something positive. Something like, "I like where you're going with this," or "Interesting, I hadn't thought of it that way."

Here's the advanced tip: Avoid using the word "but" in your criticism.

"But" tends to neutralize the positive feedback you started off with. Think about it, if someone told you "I like where you're going with this but..." your brain would immediately discard the positive and brace itself for the inevitable onslaught. So what's the solution?

Turn your suggestions into questions instead.

I like where you're going with this. Have you also considered this approach?

By asking for their input, you've invited them to consider your suggestion rather than making a demand. Boom! Feedback successful.


Being a social badass is actually pretty simple. Take the time to incorporate these tips in your everyday life and you'll be well on your way.

This post is featured on Kevin's blog: