How to Be Normal

Four Parts:Being Confident in YourselfAdjusting to Your SurroundingsHaving Good Interpersonal SkillsBeing Clean and Organized

Normality changes over time and based on where you are. There is no one set of principles that make you normal. However, there are ways to work on fitting in with your surroundings if you have trouble with that. Focus first on being confident in yourself, and the rest will follow.

Part 1
Being Confident in Yourself

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    Have a healthy regard for others' opinions. If you can reduce the amount that you worry about what other people think about you, you'll be happier and less stressed. You'll also appear more normal because you'll be more confident about yourself. The less you worry about being normal, the more confident you will appear.
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    Use your body language to convey confidence. Body language can make you appear confident and self-assured even when you're feeling shy and out of place. New evidence shows that striking a "power pose" can actually change your brain chemistry, releasing testosterone, which makes you feel powerful, and reducing cortisol, a hormone related to feeling stressed.[1]
    • Confident body language means you "open" yourself up. Uncross your arms and legs, pull your shoulders back – don't assume the hunched or closed-off posture that increases your stress hormones.[2]
    • Before entering into a situation that makes you feel nervous (a new social setting, a classroom, an interaction with people who have ridiculed you), go somewhere private and strike a power pose for at least two minutes.[3]
    • Try the "Wonder Woman" pose: throw your shoulders back and place your hands on your hips, place your feet shoulder-width apart, and hold your head up high.
    • Even imagining yourself in a confident, powerful pose can make a difference. Picture yourself sitting with your legs propped up on the table, leaning back in your chair with your hands behind your head.
    • Try standing always with your shoulders back and a hand on your hip.[4]
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    Rationalize your choices. If you find yourself wondering, for example, if your cell phone holster is abnormal, step back and evaluate it. If it is a necessary evil for your job or lifestyle, it seems like a logical accessory to have. If you could just as easily keep your cell phone in your pocket, maybe it is not worth putting that out there for people to judge. These rationalizations will make you more deliberate in your habits and actions, and therefore more confident.
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    Be comfortable in the way you communicate. You should be aware of the way you interact with others, but know that others are less aware of your idiosyncratic tendencies. As you are working on this, try to ask questions and let others do the talking. Tend toward conversation topics you are comfortable with, so you feel the spotlight less.[5]
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    Take care of your body. It is true that you don't need to be tall and skinny to fit in. However, diet and exercise can go a long way towards improving the way your body feels and functions. The confidence that comes from feeling better will help you accept yourself and appear outwardly confident to those around you.
    • Eat healthy foods. Try to eat a healthy mix of proteins, carbs, fruits, vegetables, and fats every day. You don't have to be a health freak to be healthy – it's okay to eat a single ice cream cone or a bag of potato chips every once in a while. Just try not to overindulge. Your occasional treats will be more meaningful if you eat them sparingly.
    • Get plenty of exercise. If you spend lots of time watching TV, get off the sofa and get some fresh air! Ride your bike, swim, or take a walk. Physical activity will keep you healthy and in shape.
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    Try new things regularly. Many people are resistant to change. However, trying new things is vital for expanding our horizons. Whether you end up liking it or not, you'll learn something about yourself and the activity. Try out a new hobby with a friend so you are more comfortable.

Part 2
Adjusting to Your Surroundings

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    Find similar people. Especially if you are from another culture, you may have trouble establishing a support network when you are new to an area. Look for those who come from a similar background. While you acclimate to your new environment, you will benefit from being around people who know where you are coming from. This can help you feel normal, supported, and understood.[6]
    • Try searching for meetup groups online, looking for groups at your local community center, collegiate cultural groups, or ask at your place of worship.
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    Mirror the dress of those around you. Trying not to stand out in a negative way seems to have much to do with clothing. Beyond wearing the costume of the culture in which you live, try not to look more or less casual than those around you. This is especially important in the workplace, but advisable in social circles as well.[7]
    • Mirroring can help build your self-esteem – when you see yourself reflected back in the dress or behavior of someone you like and admire, it can increase your confidence and lessen your insecurities.[8]
    • Until you start feeling confident and comfortable taking more risks with your wardrobe, the affirmation provided by mirroring can help you feel less vulnerable and more connected to your peers.[9]
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    Read your environment for context. Adjusting to your surroundings doesn’t only apply to new cultures, but everyday situations as well. When entering a room, observe others in the room. If everyone seems to be experiencing a strong emotion, don't do something typically associated with the opposite emotion. You can further upset and alienate a room of people crying by telling a lewd joke.
    • Notice the body language and expressions of those in the room. Are they open and smiling? Or are they closed off and frowning? Do they appear relaxed and at ease, or rigid and tense?
    • Are people speaking in hushed tones, at normal volume, or shouting or laughing loudly?
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    Engage in similar behaviors and activities as those around you. Part of getting people to feel like you’re "one of them" is simply behaving similarly. Be careful with this, though. Just because an activity is the norm, it doesn’t mean that everyone is not in the wrong. Stay away from unsafe or unhealthy behaviors, like binge drinking, or doing illegal drugs, even if it means you don’t quite fit in.[10]
    • If everyone in your group is obsessed with football, try taking an interest, too. Attend a few games and learn some of the basics. If it truly bores you, then you don't have to stick with it, but make the effort.

Part 3
Having Good Interpersonal Skills

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    Participate in social activities. Paradoxically, you can stand out by avoiding social activities. Try not to lose friends or alienate coworkers by rejecting their invitations over and over again. Social outings can be intimidating, especially if they're with people you don't know well. You may not always be invited to participate in your idea of a perfect evening. However, the ability to take part in a wide range of social activities will make you seem more normal and approachable.
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    Cultivate an active social life. The easiest way to do this is to be open to making friends wherever you go. Try not to worry too much about cliques, or whether someone is your type. If you get along with them, your friendship will be perfectly natural and normal. Having friends will make you appear more approachable.
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    Be polite and have good manners. Society thinks highly of people who are pleasant to be around. It is natural to be crass with your close friends with whom you feel comfortable. When aiming to make a good impression, however, try to be more polite.
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    Don't share too much too soon. Meeting someone new is exciting, but there is a natural period of "ice breaker" discussions before you are comfortable with each other. Don't bring up intimate, personal topics (like health issues, sexual preferences, traumatic events, etc.) in conversation until you really know someone. While you are getting the feel for a new friend, filter your language to avoid alienating them.
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    Control your emotions. Strong emotions are normal, even desirable. However, big, outsize displays of emotion (especially anger and sadness) can make people feel uncomfortable. Strive to regulate your emotional responses to small problems and express your feelings in a constructive way. Don't shout, throw things, curse, or become violent. Whenever possible, express your displeasure calmly, quietly, and politely.
    • If you get angry easily or have reason to think you're depressed, don't be afraid to contact a therapist or counselor. You aren’t a "crazy" person for talking to a professional therapist. They can be simply a helpful voice as you go through a difficult time, or something much more important.
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    Moderate your opinions. It's normal to have intense opinions about certain things - political issues, for instance. It's even OK to engage in well-reasoned, sensible debates with other people about these things. However, if you frequently ridicule or attack people because their opinions are different than yours, you might quickly find yourself a bit of a social pariah. Instead, try to at least listen to others' opinions and be open-minded.

Part 4
Being Clean and Organized

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    Keep your house or apartment clean and neat. Houses littered with dirt or candy wrappers will make a bad impression on your guests. Most people take pride in presenting a reasonably clean, polished exterior to the world. Show your guests that you are capable of basic household chores.
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    Strive for general neatness. Being a slob is evident outside the home. Still, this is a balancing act, because it is easy to come off as uptight. Try to find a compromise between obsessing over neatness and completely ignoring it.[11]
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    Dedicate time to your personal grooming and hygiene. It’s no mystery why human beings developed hygienic daily routines. Practicing regular hygiene and grooming is important to your appearance as well as your mental and physical health. Hygienic routines are an effortless way to keep you looking clean – and those around you will appreciate your efforts.
    • Brush and floss your teeth. Adding flossing to your dental care routine will go a long way in keeping your teeth in tiptop shape.
    • Put on deodorant before you leave the house. Bad body odor is a quick way to make a bad impression on the people around you. If you have extreme body odor, see a doctor for prescription deodorant.[12]
    • Even if you wear your hair long, get regular haircuts. It doesn’t have to be often, but well-maintained hair will impress those around you.


  • Don't let anyone else change who you are! Avoid making changes to your lifestyle unless, upon reflection, you decide they are totally okay with you.
  • Participating in social activities doesn't mean giving into peer pressure. Avoid social groups or outings that try to force you to conform or engage in unsafe behavior. True friends won't force you to do things that make you feel uncomfortable.
  • See a therapist or trusted friend to discuss your normality with them. They will be able to advise you what to do in certain situations.

Article Info

Categories: Assertiveness & Self Esteem