Times You Feel Unusually "On" In Social Situations

This article describes a phenomenon that happens to some people as they're trying to develop their people skills, and which can derail their progress ever so slightly.

What happens is that they're trying to improve their skills in a particular, tricky area and have an exceptionally good session. For some reason they're just "on". They're hyper-confident and energetic and accomplish more than they ever have before. They may have finally been able to do some scary, intimidating things for the first time.

For example, they might have gone to a party and spent the evening effortlessly working the room and talking to people, when normally all they'd have the courage to do is chat to the two friends they came with. Or they could have gone to a nightclub and spent hours fearlessly dancing when before they were always too inhibited to step foot on the dance floor.

The first time this happens to you you leave the party/club/get together buzzing with energy. You can't believe what a good night you had. You can't fall asleep when you get home. It feels like you've finally turned a corner. The worst is over. You're going to be fine from now on.

So how can this mess you up? Well first, that one good night never ends up being the turning point it appeared to be at the time. It was just a deceptive anomaly. You were in an unusually self-assured headpsace, and had an abnormally good outcome, but you'll regress back to your more typical behavior. You'll have plenty more so-so or lacklustre outings before you finally develop your people skills to a reasonable standard.

It's usually discouraging the next time you go out after that first exceptionally good night. You think you're going to be "on" again, but you instead find you're your usual self. You can fall into the trap of thinking you can only accomplish anything when you're in that intoxicating ultra-confident state. You may pass on social events or leave them early because you're not in that ideal mood. You may try to invent a magic way to recreate it at will; You think, maybe you have to listen to the right energetic music before you go out, or have a few drinks. It's all a red herring because you can't consistently create an emotion on demand, especially such a heightened one. If that was possible every athlete would put themselves into the Zone before each game.

The reality is that while you work on your social skills you're going to have your good days and your bad. You'll never have as much control as you'd like over when you have which. The key is to slowly increase your competency when you're in your "average" emotional state. It's also important to get to the point where you can perform socially in spite of your mood. When people have weaker interpersonal skills they often feel like they can only function in social situations if they're feeling sufficiently confident and energized. But if your social abilities are decent then you can use them even if you're not in the most happy or self-assured mood. You won't be at your best, but you can do what you need to do.

Finally, during these times you're feeling so "on" and confident you can think you're doing better than you actually are. That's part of the allure of the state. At the time it may have felt like you were setting the room on fire and charming everyone you talked to. In some ways you were having more success than normal. However, in your pumped up mood you may have been acting a bit over-energetic or flighty as well. You can wince down the road when you realize you weren't being as smooth as you thought. These things happen though. It's part of the learning process. Plus, it's another reason not to feel your future happiness depends on being able to get back into that mindset.