Indirectly Become More Socially Successful By Improving Yourself As A Person
One core way to become more socially successful is to directly practice your people skills. Another big way to improve is to do so indirectly by becoming a more interesting, well-rounded person. When I think of people I'd consider well-liked, they do have good social skills, but beyond that they also have genuine things going for them. Depending on the person they could be strengths like:
- They've had interesting life experiences.
- They have neat hobbies.
- They're artistically talented.
- They're good athletes.
- They're knowledgeable about various topics, in breadth and depth.
- They've learned and seen enough that they've formed their own unique opinions and philosophies.
- They've racked up some accomplishments.
- They have practicalities taken care of, like knowing how to drive, or having their own places.
You can do a lot to get better with people by getting more going for you yourself. It's a slow-burning effect, but it can be powerful in a "wax on, wax off" kind of way. You can sometimes take months off from practicing your social skills, learn a bunch of new things to make yourself more well-rounded, and then when you go back to talking to people, find it's all a little easier.
Another great thing is that while directly working on your social skills can be nerve-racking, the indirect route is a fairly non-stressful process. Of course, if there's potentially uncomfortable work you need to do to address your social issues, you shouldn't use making yourself more well-rounded as a way to procrastinate.
Ways improving yourself affects your social success
There are lots of ways to improve yourself. Below are the general social benefits I think they all lead to.
A word of warning first: I think indirectly investing in yourself can be a powerful way to improve socially, but it does have limits. The biggest is that in the end, your actual social skills still matter. You can be extremely well-rounded and accomplished, but if your awkwardness or personality flaws somehow overpower that fact, people will still judge you negatively. And lots of socially capable live pretty mundane lives "on paper", but they're still fun and likable. This article isn't saying everyone needs to become incredibly talented and colorful. However, if two people have equal social skills, the one who has more going for them will probably do better.
You gain positive traits as a side effect of becoming more well-rounded
Various hobbies and life experiences can instill a variety of good personality traits in you. A small sample of them are: self-assuredness, persistence, courage, maturity, open-mindedness, flexibility, frustration tolerance, and quick thinking. All of these can carry over into social situations and help you in them.
Becoming more well-rounded also develops good traits you already have
Some hobbies and experiences give you more-or-less new positive traits. Others flesh out and fully express facets of yourself that were already there. For example, being creative is great. It's innately attractive to other people. If a creative person learns an instrument and starts writing and performing music, they've done a lot to cultivate their talent and put it out there in front of everyone. Someone else who has just as much raw creative potential, but who does nothing with it, won't get all those advantages.
You'll have more ways to relate to people
When you've gone through the same experiences as someone else it's much easier to click with them. You don't have to try to apply techniques to build rapport. It's already partially there. You just have all these memories and background knowledge in common. It's simpler to come up with subjects to talk about. Doing more with your life means you'll have more experiences, which you can use to relate to a wider range of people.
You'll have more to talk about
Besides from the more abstract idea of relating to others, when you have more going on, you just have more (hopefully interesting) topics to discuss. You don't have to struggle as much to think of things to say. When you have a lot of knowledge and life experience, things to say will often naturally pop into your head. You can tell a story about the new place you visited on the weekend, or what you learned while reading a thought-provoking book. Or you can add a really in-depth insight to a discussion. This isn't to say every last sentence you utter must be a fascinating opinion or anecdote, but having some novel things to bring up now and then never hurts.
You can pick up new ways to be fun
Someone who's led a varied, interesting life probably knows a lot of fun things to do with people, and where to go do them. If they have unique hobbies they can invite their friends to take part. They may have learned little skills that allow them to have a good time with other people, like how to play pool or Gin Rummy, for example.
Some skills and experiences just have social cachet and impress people
There are some things that just impress people and make you come off better. They usually involve you doing something other people wished they could do, but can't, or haven't. What's considered impressive varies depending on what circles you're hanging around, but some examples seem more common than others. Playing in a band and being a good athlete are the first two that spring to mind. Traveling also tends to be admired. What can seem unfair is when society doesn't seem to care much about certain talents or experiences, even though they take just as much, or more, skill and dedication as the more popular ones. You can't really control that though.
Some experiences open up more practical options in your social life
Earlier I mentioned handling practicalities like learning to drive, or having your own place. There are plenty of other reasons to check off these boxes, but they do make being social that much simpler. With a car you can get around more easily. With your own place you have more freedom to invite people over or live as you please. Another example is getting a decent job. The money gives you access to more opportunities.
Some things are socially practical to know
Some things are good to know just because other people care about them. This topic is a little controversial. I discuss it here: