Club PA 2.0 has arrived! If you'd like to access some extra PA content and help support the forums, check it out at patreon.com/ClubPA
The image size limit has been raised to 1mb! Anything larger than that should be linked to. This is a HARD limit, please do not abuse it.
Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

How to be social?

sone3264sone3264 Registered User new member
edited December 2013 in Help / Advice Forum
I would like some ideas on how to develop the ability to talk to and get along with people. How do you develop the gift of the gab?

So far I have come up with a to-do list of things to try:
- Reading books with good character development
- Learn drawing to improve creativity
- Learning a mnemonic system (because it helps form creative associations)
- Join a sport

I am super reserved and although I am not actually shy, my personality type is perceived to be "shy".
The problem for me is not anxiety. I simply just can't think of anything to say in a conversation, especially when it comes to being witty or funny.
I still choose to go to as many social events as possible with work/friends, but I dread the fact that after about an hour I go quiet because I can't keep up - EVERY TIME.

Other info:
Some people are social because of their jobs, while I am a programmer and don't get this opportunity.
Was not very social in higschool because I had a super tight social circle.


I'm sure there is someone out there who has figured this out and can guide me in the right direction.

Thank you!!

sone3264 on

Posts

  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    sone3264 wrote: »
    So far I have come up with a to-do list of things to try:
    - Reading books with good character development
    - Learn drawing to improve creativity
    - Learning a mnemonic system (because it helps form creative associations)
    - Join a sport
    All of these, except for joining a sport, have limited value because they don't actually put you in social situations. Even joining a sport may not be beneficial, if it's a small group/solo sport like golf or swimming (but the experience of doing that activity and keeping up with the news surrounding that sport is a great conversation starter).

    I just want to say right off the bat that it's really okay to be "shy" or perceived as "shy". Being an introvert doesn't necessarily mean being doomed to be alone and have no friends or anything like that. Oddly enough, if you accept that part of yourself, you might even find being social much easier.

    It sounds like you really want to improve in that area, though. Being fluent in social situations is just like any other tradeskill. It simply takes a lot of experience and practice. You say that you are going out to social events with work/friends, and that's great! Keep doing that. The more you put yourself in those kinds of situations, the better you'll be able to handle them. It takes no special neural capacity or talent or anything like that. Sure, some folks are a bit more charismatic, but for nearly everyone out there, their social skills are learned throughout their lives by simply being in those situations (whether it is selling cookies door-to-door or growing up with an odd family or being forced to go to funerals or reunions or other rituals, things like that).

    I didn't consider myself to be good in social situations when I was growing up. Then, in undergrad, I joined a performance group that did a lot of shows every year and thus also did a lot of mingling. Because of that experience, I got way better at dealing with groups of people in social events.

    Most conversations are less about what YOU have to say, and more about you saying "So, what's going on in your life?" or "What do you find interesting?" and you listening to them and responding to the other party. For most people, you'll find that they are more than happy to talk about what interests them at length, so most of the work is done, right there. Don't worry too much about coming up with something interesting to say. Instead, try to facilitate a way for them to talk about what they find great or interesting or silly or funny. Taking an interest in other people this way is more likely to keep the conversation going than waxing philosophical about your personal interests.

    Di87pOF.jpg
    PSN: Hahnsoo | MHGU: Hahnsoo, Switch FC: SW-0085-2679-5212
    finralCreaganTychoCelchuuuBelruelZilla360cookiekrushCelestialBadgerk-mapsh3nduEsseeYoSoyTheWalrussone3264Agahnim
  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    In addition to @Hahnsoo1's advice at the end of the post about learning how to get people to talk about themselves, which is excellent advice, you might find it helpful to become a more interesting person - that you don't have anything to talk about and that you can't think of things to say in response to people is perhaps just a sign that your interests and abilities aren't really giving you much to draw on.

    This isn't intrinsically bad - I'm a pretty boring person too - but if you can't crack jokes or bullshit about nothing or tell interesting stories or do any of the other things that people do to keep the conversation rolling, it might be worth picking up some interesting things to talk about yourself. Read literature (then join a book club), watch movies (then watch movies with other people and talk about them), learn how to cook interesting foods (then invite people over for dinner), get a hobby that you find interesting enough and that other people will find interesting enough for you to be able to talk about it, travel the world and see neat things, etc. Basically, become a person who has things to say about stuff.

    You're in the sort of enviable position of not having the fairly common desire to just blab on and on about what you think about things, but you're a little too far towards the other end: you don't think enough about things. Think about things more, and come up with things to think about, and you'll find that these thoughts will give you stuff to say.

    finral
  • stevemarks44stevemarks44 Registered User regular
    The simplest advice I can give is to develop the ability to read a room. This is an incredibly base level of social interaction that I think has really helped me. And I think it's largely overlooked.

    A lot of times people approach these situations by saying "hey I'm going to learn to go talk to people!" That's not being social, though. That's talking at people.

    Try going out and hanging out in groups, but don't put pressure on yourself to force being social. Sit back, see what the vibe of the room is like, and do your best to fill gaps where you see them. Someone dominating the conversation? Ask someone else in the room a question about themselves. Do you feel like you're getting pushed out? Think of something even remotely related to the topic at hand and join in. Are there already one or two people cracking wise and making everyone laugh? Don't feel pressured to keep up. Let them do their thing. The room doesn't need any more jokes.

    This is not to say don't be yourself. What I'm saying is a lot of times people feel like when they're trying to be more social, they have to start out by running headfirst into being the life of the party, or the most interesting person in the room.

    The reality is that good social bonds form over time.

    1568lg9.jpg
    steam ID: stevemarks44
    finralKalkinoZilla360h3nduEsseeSiskasone3264AgahnimSCREECH OF THE FARG
  • CreaganCreagan Registered User regular
    edited December 2013
    Hahnsoo1 wrote: »
    Most conversations are less about what YOU have to say, and more about you saying "So, what's going on in your life?" or "What do you find interesting?" and you listening to them and responding to the other party. For most people, you'll find that they are more than happy to talk about what interests them at length, so most of the work is done, right there. Don't worry too much about coming up with something interesting to say. Instead, try to facilitate a way for them to talk about what they find great or interesting or silly or funny. Taking an interest in other people this way is more likely to keep the conversation going than waxing philosophical about your personal interests.

    This cannot be said enough. People love talking about themselves, and will actually find you more interesting if you ask questions. If you don't think you have too many things in common, mention something that relates to a family member and then ask the other person about their family. Pets are also a great way to keep other people talking.

    That being said, sometimes you don't need to be particularly funny or witty or whatever. If your life is interesting, you seem interesting in return. In general, I'm a very boring person. I don't drink. I don't go to clubs. I really enjoy going to museums and reading art history books. But a lot of weird crap tends to happen to me. I wound up with 22 parakeets because one of my females turned out to be a massive slut & kept attacking the males if they didn't mate with her. My family got attacked by bison in Yellowstone. We adopted a one-eyed street dog named "uno" because it seemed manly and therefore was the only Yorkie my dad could tolerate, only to find out it probably had been owned by a little old lady because "Uno" only responded to "Fifi" and commands like "nummy time!" and "walkies!" These are the sorts of things that make me seem like an interesting human being, even though I'm really not.

    Creagan on
    Agahnim
  • BubbyBubby Registered User regular
    edited December 2013
    Along with what's already been said, just remember to relax and be yourself. I have a friend who works in IT, he has the same problems you do but I've noticed that the main source of his extreme social awkwardness is he just has a hard time relaxing.

    In certain cases, I'd recommend just taking a 2 week vacation and traveling alone if at all possible. I've been trying to help the friend I just mentioned for a long time, and what it's come down to is that the weekly grind of work has made him lose his sense of self almost completely. He works in front of computers all day long and never really interacts with people, so I can only imagine how difficult that must be. If travel isn't an option, just try to change things up and force yourself into being with people. Bars, events, whatever.

    Bubby on
  • JeedanJeedan Registered User regular
    Always greet people warmly. Like super warmly. Its easier to get a good impression early on than to try and build it later.

  • cookiekrushcookiekrush Registered User regular
    On top of getting people to talk about themselves, getting yourself to talk about yourself is also an important skill. When people ask you questions, don't stop with one liners, but following up with a story, or another tidbit that can lead into another conversation.

    Such as, "How are you doing today?" - Following with, I'm great, and you know the crazy thing happened today - goes into little story. Or something like that.

    But that by no means, you need to be the life of a party. There's nothing wrong with being shy or reserved. It can just mean you use little words to speak, when you speak, you make your each word matter. I barely talk in very social settings, but I make each thing I talk about straight to the point and usually during debates/discussion, this is valued more. Small talk is a great way to slowly get more comfortable and once you find a common subject,

    Pinny Pals - open to trading!
    Looking for Edith Finch Pin!
    Zilla360
  • ThunderSaidThunderSaid Registered User regular
    sone3264 wrote: »
    The problem for me is not anxiety. I simply just can't think of anything to say in a conversation, especially when it comes to being witty or funny.
    I still choose to go to as many social events as possible with work/friends, but I dread the fact that after about an hour I go quiet because I can't keep up - EVERY TIME.

    If you're managing to chat with people for a full hour, you're doing pretty darned good. As far as I'm concerned, an hour is about the maximum for idle chit-chat anyway. Beyond an hour, you either need to be discussing something interesting or I'm looking at my watch and thinking about the best way to politely leave.

    Since you don't have a problem with anxiety, you need more things to say.

    I'm looking at your list of ideas and I'd like to offer some comments:

    - Reading books with good character development - Sure. Read anything. The more ideas you've been exposed to, the better. I'd also throw in some non-fiction and current events. I find that those provide much better conversation topics. Basically, if you're at a bar, it's more useful to be able to talk about the recent theft of some Pappy Van Winkle bourbon (and why anyone might care about the theft of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon) than it is to be able to talk about how much of a drunk the main character in your favorite novel is. This principle holds for a lot of situations, with appropriate topic substitutions.
    - Learn drawing to improve creativity - In my experience, socializing has little to do with creativity, but learning to draw sounds like a good idea anyway, as long as you learn in a class. Find a local community college or art center and see what they offer. Then, when you're taking the class, talk to your classmates about the class. Tell them which parts you find difficult, and listen when they tell you the same. Also, the simple fact that you are taking a drawing class is something you can talk with your other friends about. When the class is over, find another class. Maybe drawing or maybe something different - it's up to you.
    - Learning a mnemonic system (because it helps form creative associations) - Meh. While improving your memory is nice, I don't see how this one is going to help you with this particular problem. However, anything you learn is something you could potentially chat about with someone else.
    - Join a sport - This is a good idea. Joining a sport throws you together with new people, and you have a built-in conversation topic. Everyone on your team will be interested in the sport, so you can talk about that. Also, some of your existing friends are probably interested in hearing about your sport, at least a little. You should expand the idea, though. Clubs of just about any kind will make chatting easier by giving you experiences to talk about. Find something you like and look for a club that does it.

    If you do those, you'll have plenty to talk about. From there, it's a matter of encouraging other people to talk by showing interest in what they have to say, and contributing your own thoughts and experiences when you think they might be interested.

    Zilla360Essee
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    As a shy person it is important that people understand that you are quiet because that is your nature, not because you are bored or don't like the company. Shy people get negative reactions sometimes at social events, not because they are judged for lacking sparkling wit, but because if you sit silently in the corner and keep looking at the clock, your host will assume that something is wrong with them - that you consider them dull or their home unpleasant or whatever.

    Good listeners are always valued. Ask people about themselves and really listen and respond to their lives. Don't just use them talking as a way of formulating what you are going to say. You can often get invitations to interesting things this way, and thereby become a more interesting person with more to talk about.

  • oldmankenoldmanken Registered User regular
    Being genuinely interested in what's going on with other people, such that you ask questions, is a really good way to keep a conversation going and potentially find common interests.

    Having a cache of stories or things you are willing to share with people is always good as well. This is dependent on being able to read the room and know when and what to share... this becomes easier with time though.

    I like the join a sport thing as well. I'm notorious for being quiet when first thrust into social situations, and a sport can be a good place to slowly build into conversations. My wife and I play soccer with a bunch of her former coworkers, and have been doing so for about two months, and it's only recently that I have found my feet and become more vocal (I hate sloppy defending!!).

    sone3264
  • SanderJKSanderJK Crocodylus Pontifex Sinterklasicus Madrid, 3000 ADRegistered User regular
    Things I would advice:
    Keep up with the news. Know what people are talking about. Politics can be a bit of trap if you don't know the leanings of the other person though. And if there's nothing else, there's always the weather. It's the one experience everyone in the room has shared for sure.
    Learn to tell interesting things about your study/work and your hobbies. The things you spend most of your time/day on are what you can tell the most about.
    Know your audience. Don't talk indepth about computers to a 70 year old. Are people interested in what you are telling them? If they aren't, cut the subject short, give them a chance to say something.
    Ask followup questions to stories they tell. If you listen, pay attention, there's almost always something in a story that can lead to further things.

    Steam: SanderJK Origin: SanderJK
    sone3264
  • JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Registered User regular
    sone3264 wrote: »
    I would like some ideas on how to develop the ability to talk to and get along with people. How do you develop the gift of the gab?

    So far I have come up with a to-do list of things to try:
    - Reading books with good character development
    - Learn drawing to improve creativity
    - Learning a mnemonic system (because it helps form creative associations)
    - Join a sport

    I am super reserved and although I am not actually shy, my personality type is perceived to be "shy".
    The problem for me is not anxiety. I simply just can't think of anything to say in a conversation, especially when it comes to being witty or funny.
    I still choose to go to as many social events as possible with work/friends, but I dread the fact that after about an hour I go quiet because I can't keep up - EVERY TIME.

    Other info:
    Some people are social because of their jobs, while I am a programmer and don't get this opportunity.
    Was not very social in higschool because I had a super tight social circle.


    I'm sure there is someone out there who has figured this out and can guide me in the right direction.

    Thank you!!

    Two questions: What do you, specifically, mean by "more social" - better with new people, better with crowds, what specifically?

    Second, where have you picked up the idea that improving creativity is a key pillar of this process?

    Essee
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    The way that I learned to fake being an extrovert was by having several jobs that required me to cold call people despite the soul-eating terror such situations raise in me.

    I was a reporter, a cold-call telemarketer, I did phone IT support, a political call center operator, and I did sales. Sometime between all these things I eventually learned to jump past that moment of sheer terror and horror at speaking to someone who hadn't spoken to me first and just fling myself into the conversation. I still have that moment, but I'm so used to flying by it that it doesn't phase me anymore.

    I would honestly suggest you try something like volunteering at a charity phone bank. There is nothing more awkward than calling people and asking for money, and if you force yourself to do it long enough you'll acclimate.

    What is this I don't even.
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    As others said - read the news, keep up on current things. Learn random stuff whenever you can, but don't force it into conversations. Think of them as puzzle pieces you collect and pop into conversations when a newsbyte sized hole pops up. As others stated though, politics and religion are terrible subjects to broach.
    You don't have to put on a show, and you don't have to fill all spaces in a conversation. Most important thing for real conversations - eye contact and reading body language/facial expressions.
    Also, focus on doing things that you like and you'll naturally have lots to talk about there, while at the same time seek out what some other person is into doing. I find the best conversations/interactions are when you can suss out someones real passion (Note that not all people have one), as they'll gladly talk for hours on it, and it's usually an interesting perspective on something random.

    sone3264
  • k-mapsk-maps I wish I could find the Karnaugh map for love. 2^<3Registered User regular
    Listen to a lot of stand-up comedians. Not that I would try approaching social interactions as an "act," but comedians show you that no matter how boring or depraved you think your life is, making it interesting is all about finding the perspective that other people can relate to. The key to understanding all social situations, both friendships and romantic relationships, is empathy. It's not so much about being concerned about how other people see you, but being aware of what they're feeling and adjusting the conversation accordingly.

    This doesn't mean you have to change who you are, but simply finding a conversational "hook". Even your current situation can be an amusing conversation topic. You can say something like: "I'm trying to take up more hobbies so I can be more of a person. My job is mostly solitary so my social skills have atrophied. I try to make conversation it just comes out as various kinds of grunt-like sounds." Everybody has been there before, and so will immediately relate to a sentiment like that. I'd discourage pursuing a vacuous sense of being "interesting" rather than just being yourself but abstracting the messier parts so that other people can relate to you. It's a far more natural/relaxing way of living than feeling like you have to somehow compensate for a boring/lacking personality.

    Essee
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited December 2013
    you need a personality. and "reserved" is not a personality. and also you need things to talk about. if you find that you have nothing in common with the people you are around, then you have to decide if that's your problem or their problem.

    most likely it's your problem

    When I was a young programmer in my early 20's I was also very reserved. But I eventually realized that's because the only thing I knew about in life was TV dinners and World of Warcraft, and nobody else around me did. As my life experience yielded diversity, I found it easier to communicate with strangers because it was very easy to find common ground beyond just smalltalk. Sports, business, politics, finance, etc, etc.

    In short, do more shit. Sports teams are a good idea to start. Just watching sports in general is a good thing as well, in moderation.

    Jasconius on
    EsseekaliyamaTychoCelchuuuDarkewolfe
  • garroad_rangarroad_ran Registered User regular
    One thing that helps me tremendously in terms of socializing is keeping my socializing time short. If I go to a party or any sort of event where I'll be around many people who aren't close friends, as much as possible I try to manage it so that I leave after an hour or so.

    Aside from the fact that socializing for long periods of time tires me out (and makes socializing much more difficult as time goes on), knowing ahead of time that I only have to keep up the small talk for a specific period of time makes it much easier to face the challenge and go into it with energy and cheer rather than dread.

    ceres
  • streeverstreever Registered User regular
    OK, so I make fun of Toastmasters as a general thing, BUT, a friend of mine and his wife got really into it, loved it, and said they benefited tremendously. They are both good conversationalists and he has started doing speeches/public speaking since.

    I trust their judgement, and the results are certainly there, so I believe it is effective!

    I found reading a lot of literature actually helped. It exposed me to many, many different viewpoints, which helps me to understand and hear others.

    Essee
  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    Public speaking definately helped me gain confidence and just be a general better conversationalist.

    I actually become extremely social in the past couple of years, to the point where I went from thinking of myself as an introvert into realizing that I'm more of an extrovert.

    What helps out is to realize that in 99% of the times, people actually want to talk. Be it about themselves, about what's happening, even about you, if you engage them, you'll normally find yourself talking about something.

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Jasconius wrote: »
    you need a personality. and "reserved" is not a personality. and also you need things to talk about. if you find that you have nothing in common with the people you are around, then you have to decide if that's your problem or their problem.

    most likely it's your problem

    When I was a young programmer in my early 20's I was also very reserved. But I eventually realized that's because the only thing I knew about in life was TV dinners and World of Warcraft, and nobody else around me did. As my life experience yielded diversity, I found it easier to communicate with strangers because it was very easy to find common ground beyond just smalltalk. Sports, business, politics, finance, etc, etc.

    In short, do more shit. Sports teams are a good idea to start. Just watching sports in general is a good thing as well, in moderation.

    Absolutely you should take up NFL fandom if you want to instantly be able to have something to talk about with 80% of people in the workplace. Pick a team, read the highlights of their game every week. Parrot whatever you read. You'll eventually be able to engage in small talk with all sorts of people!

    What is this I don't even.
    stevemarks44kaliyamasone3264
  • JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Registered User regular
    edited December 2013
    Fantasy football is where nerd meets jock in a peaceable kingdom type scenario, for sure. Well, fantasy football and the sports book, but stay out of the sports book.

    Introversion and extroversion are interesting concepts.

    Neither actually means "well" or "badly" socialized. You can be an extroverted, co-dependent bore or an introverted comedic genius. Extroversion vs Introversion at a core level is the answer to the question: "Does socialization provide or require energy"

    If you find socialization requires energy, you need to approach it slightly different vs if you find it provides energy, but that doesn't mean you have to ascribe to a stereotype of yourself as reserved.

    Good communications concepts to read up on to be less socially awkward, which again is a different thing from antisocial or introverted, are reciprocal disclosure and social calibration - people who have had trouble socializing are often under- or over- disclosers.

    JohnnyCache on
    Essee
  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    The thing that you need is just the basic questions. Literally ask them what's been happening, a lot of people follow up with, not much. But that can often be countered with if you haven't seen them for a while with really.

    If you are meeting someone new, ask them what their job is. Then ask them what it entails day to day. You could ask them if they like it.

    Next you can ask why they are here, who do you know? How do you know them and for how long.

    Since it was just Christmas (and for me New Years) ask them how Christmas (or New Years, or any "big event") was and again what did they do and who they did it with.

    You can ask them out about if they've done, or are planning any travel, you can ask them what they like to do in their spare time (this is a funny one as no one seems to ask it, but everyone should!). Any sports they follow. Or have they seen any movies lately and what they thought. Shit you can ask them about videogames if it appears they play. With that I usually ask, what have you been playing lately, rather than, have you played X.

    The thing here is that these are all open ended questions. Try not to ask a question with a yes/no or a good/bad answer, or if you do follow it up with a why? And get them to explain.

    The most important thing to do here is listen though and spot something that you can follow up on. Spot that little nugget that they like or excited about and find their story about it.

    In terms of yourself. Books and sport are good ideas, drawing and remembering lots of things might not be, but if they interest you and you feel you can hold a topic on it for a while fucking go for it and learn it. If you want to specifically become "more interesting" go to events that are on in your city (a lot of these are free) or travel and take opportunities to do crazy things. Shit as someone sad, watch the news and develop opinions on shit that is just happening day to day (I said watch news rather read because personally I find I skip a lot of articles if they don't immediately interest me, this forces you to pay attention.

    sone3264
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    To repeat others, keep up with world news - BBC is a good source - and pick up a little knowledge about a lot if things. For example, I have no interest in sports but know enough about the big teams like the Kings, Yankees, etc. to keep the conversation going.

    Mugsley wrote:
    So now I need to get it trimmed and adjusted, and all in.

    Steam:MichaelLC
  • JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Registered User regular
    It's important to note that "being interesting" isn't a panacea. I know cops, firefighters, doctors, professional poker players, guys that have been in the UFC that are boring to have a conversation with, because they only function well in that narrow world.

    The value that comes from an interesting sport or hobby is cool, stories about the lifestyle around a cool hobby or job are awesome, boring someone to tears about the specifics of brazilian jiu-jitsu or how you size a bet in a poker tournament isn't.

    What makes "interesting" is touching on the things you've done, the people you've met, the actual human experiences of it, and then letting the focus drift back to the other person.

    You have to find the line between passion - which is cool - and obsession, which is not, as well as the line between sharing your experiences and values and dominating or "one-upping" people in conversation. You actually don't want to focus on your interests - mundane OR 'interesting' - to the point that you're bringing them up repeatedly and name- or place- dropping.

    k-maps
  • k-mapsk-maps I wish I could find the Karnaugh map for love. 2^<3Registered User regular
    yeah, I wouldn't worry too much about trying hard to be "interesting", because you just end up sounding pretentious, pedantic, or like the annoying guy, as described above. I'd strongly argue against any approach that has you define yourself by your hobbies. I had a guy like that at work who'd be a business IT guy/bodybuilder and each week he'd come up with some new bullshit to make himself sound interesting...like how he's training to join the navy seals, or how he's rigging up this custom sound system in his car. It was really pathetic to see him try so hard, especially since everyone else was fairly laid back and unpretentious.

  • sone3264sone3264 Registered User new member
    Thanks everyone for the great replies.
    Two questions: What do you, specifically, mean by "more social" - better with new people, better with crowds, what specifically?

    Second, where have you picked up the idea that improving creativity is a key pillar of this process?

    What I mean ny more social is developing better connections with people, expanding my network of friends, being able to small talk with people behind the counter at the grocery store, etc.

    I got the idea that creativity is a key pillar because I've noticed that sometimes people want to talk, and they throw out random bits of conversation, but in order to respond to them you must have the creative ability to come up with a response. And the reason I mentioned reading is because reading forces you to pick up on language patterns so talking is more natural. In the past people have mentioned that I sometimes respond a bit slow, and it's simply because I can always visually think of a response but can't translate it into words.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Hmm.. something, and I can't put my finger on what exactly, is wrong with that reasoning. It's like asking a photographer who went to art school and has years of training and experimentation and practice behind her where she got her camera.

    Tremendously creative and well-read people are often terrible at communicating with others. They have the components of your formula, but it doesn't work.

    Part of the solution is, I think, just talking to people. Just talk to everyone you can. Talk about your hobbies or talk about whatever. If you're good at this, you don't need to be an expert at something. Talk about something you're terrible enough at to be funny.. people love those stories. But the trick is that while you're telling them, you have to relate to the other person like.. well.. a person. That's why asking people about themselves is such a good idea.. it gets the ball rolling, and even if you don't get to say much as long as you're supportive people will come away with the impression that you're warm and interested in them. When someone starts a conversation with you, what is most likely to make you want to talk to them more? Try starting there. As you go on, if you don't get discouraged, you can figure out what works best for you.

    Don't get me wrong, it's always good to be better-read. The more you've read the more likely you are to have read something in common with the person you're talking to, and you can give book or author recommendations, which is really fun to do. And it's always good to expand your imagination because it helps with perspective. And it's good to have hobbies because when you have hobbies you need to do things to feed them that can help you meet or relate to other people with the same hobbies, or just give you some experiences.

    But these things will not make it easier for you to talk to people on their own. As part of the formula, the "talk to people" is missing here. You can talk to people without doing any of these things just by doing it over and over until you figure it out. The most important thing you can gain from all these attempts at self-improvement is not the ability to converse, but the confidence in yourself to believe that you are a person worth conversing with, because if you don't have that all the reading and painting and tea ceremony-learning and current events in the world will not make another human being want to have a conversation with you.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    Esseek-maps
  • k-mapsk-maps I wish I could find the Karnaugh map for love. 2^<3Registered User regular
    edited January 2014
    sone3264 wrote: »
    Thanks everyone for the great replies.
    Two questions: What do you, specifically, mean by "more social" - better with new people, better with crowds, what specifically?

    Second, where have you picked up the idea that improving creativity is a key pillar of this process?

    What I mean ny more social is developing better connections with people, expanding my network of friends, being able to small talk with people behind the counter at the grocery store, etc.

    I got the idea that creativity is a key pillar because I've noticed that sometimes people want to talk, and they throw out random bits of conversation, but in order to respond to them you must have the creative ability to come up with a response. And the reason I mentioned reading is because reading forces you to pick up on language patterns so talking is more natural. In the past people have mentioned that I sometimes respond a bit slow, and it's simply because I can always visually think of a response but can't translate it into words.

    Yeaaah. I actually know exactly what you're talking about! I used to think that people had this innate ability to have spontaneous unformatted small talk on demand. It was really frustrating, because it felt like I was somehow deficient for not having this ability. Maybe we have the same neurological/developmental disorders? More likely, i needed and now you just need more experience.

    Here's a practical tip that got me started: listen to people talk and mentally catalog some of their responses. If you find yourself not having anything to say, pull something out from the catalog (don't make it obvious). Each time you do this, try making that response or prompt more like your own. As time goes by, you'll find that you become more confident and don't need a crutch anymore. I was in your shoes a few years ago, and now I'm better than most of my peers. I have a theory that this might just be a cognitive disability. I've burrowed neural pathways around it that are now formidable in their own right. At any rate, this strategy worked for me.

    Also, make more friends of the opposite sex. They're not socialized to be aloof and will give you plenty of practice. One-on-one conversations are also less threatening.

    k-maps on
  • JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Registered User regular
    sone3264 wrote: »
    Thanks everyone for the great replies.
    Two questions: What do you, specifically, mean by "more social" - better with new people, better with crowds, what specifically?

    Second, where have you picked up the idea that improving creativity is a key pillar of this process?

    What I mean ny more social is developing better connections with people, expanding my network of friends, being able to small talk with people behind the counter at the grocery store, etc.

    I got the idea that creativity is a key pillar because I've noticed that sometimes people want to talk, and they throw out random bits of conversation, but in order to respond to them you must have the creative ability to come up with a response. And the reason I mentioned reading is because reading forces you to pick up on language patterns so talking is more natural. In the past people have mentioned that I sometimes respond a bit slow, and it's simply because I can always visually think of a response but can't translate it into words.

    Could you give a few examples?

  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Sometimes small talk is not you, it is the people you know. When I was a teen, I thought I was terrible at small talk because I hated all the topics (soap operas, pop music, weather, relatives, makeup.) I tried to fake it but I couldn't fake the interest. Then I went to Uni and suddenly became the life and soul of the party because I met people who liked to bullshit about the same things as me. Basically, if you can't engage with your current friends, meeting new people with something in common with you can help.

    k-mapsEssee
  • k-mapsk-maps I wish I could find the Karnaugh map for love. 2^<3Registered User regular
    Sometimes small talk is not you, it is the people you know. When I was a teen, I thought I was terrible at small talk because I hated all the topics (soap operas, pop music, weather, relatives, makeup.) I tried to fake it but I couldn't fake the interest. Then I went to Uni and suddenly became the life and soul of the party because I met people who liked to bullshit about the same things as me. Basically, if you can't engage with your current friends, meeting new people with something in common with you can help.

    Oh yes, also this. Big time. The nerdier the population the easier it is for me to have a conversation. Socialization has become ironically easier in grad school. However, it's still a good skill to be able to discuss things outside your scope of interests.

    Essee
  • PinfeldorfPinfeldorf Realtor Santa ClaritaRegistered User regular
    You will never learn a skill without at least attempting said skill in one environment or another. I'm of the opinion that everyone, everyone, should be forced to work a year of retail or food services in the late teen years to develop important conversational skills, learn that these people are actual people and to not be dicks to them, and be able to talk about nothing important or something of consequence for as long as is allowed by tact.

    DarkewolfeEssee
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Pinfeldorf wrote: »
    You will never learn a skill without at least attempting said skill in one environment or another. I'm of the opinion that everyone, everyone, should be forced to work a year of retail or food services in the late teen years to develop important conversational skills, learn that these people are actual people and to not be dicks to them, and be able to talk about nothing important or something of consequence for as long as is allowed by tact.

    Seriously. Get a job that forces you to talk to people.

    What is this I don't even.
  • sone3264sone3264 Registered User new member
    sone3264 wrote: »
    Thanks everyone for the great replies.
    Two questions: What do you, specifically, mean by "more social" - better with new people, better with crowds, what specifically?

    Second, where have you picked up the idea that improving creativity is a key pillar of this process?

    What I mean ny more social is developing better connections with people, expanding my network of friends, being able to small talk with people behind the counter at the grocery store, etc.

    I got the idea that creativity is a key pillar because I've noticed that sometimes people want to talk, and they throw out random bits of conversation, but in order to respond to them you must have the creative ability to come up with a response. And the reason I mentioned reading is because reading forces you to pick up on language patterns so talking is more natural. In the past people have mentioned that I sometimes respond a bit slow, and it's simply because I can always visually think of a response but can't translate it into words.

    Could you give a few examples?

    There's no specific example, and people didn't say it in a condescending way, but it came up one time and I felt that it was generally accurate. I would say it's more like when someone asks you a question, certain abstract ideas come up but translating them into words takes time. Even now, after carefully considering all the advice in this thread and going out to socialize every day, I still feel the mental block, though it is getting better. I think it may be a matter of practice.

    Part of it seems to be from not being relaxed as well. By Sunday I am relaxed and friendly, for example I've noticed that I smile and greet cashiers without even thinking about it, but a few days into the work day I will be buying groceries, then the cashier will ask me something, which will catch me off guard and I have to think of a response and I probably come across as sounding awkward and weird.

  • sone3264sone3264 Registered User new member
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    Pinfeldorf wrote: »
    You will never learn a skill without at least attempting said skill in one environment or another. I'm of the opinion that everyone, everyone, should be forced to work a year of retail or food services in the late teen years to develop important conversational skills, learn that these people are actual people and to not be dicks to them, and be able to talk about nothing important or something of consequence for as long as is allowed by tact.

    Seriously. Get a job that forces you to talk to people.

    I actually tried this during the 2012 summer and it worked. I took up a part-time job on Saturdays that forced me to be physical and to work with people as a team. For 6 weeks I was very relaxed and friendly during the weekends. Unfortunately it was just a 6 week job and it took up a siginificant chunk of my weekends. I don't have the option of changing my career. Although it's a bit menacing to my social life, it's more or less set in stone at this point.

  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    Read Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People - Its excellent for both personal and professional life.

    3DS Friendcode 5413-1311-3767
Sign In or Register to comment.