The Main Concepts For Improving Your Social Skills On

This site covers a lot of ground. This article will cover what I think are its biggest and most important ideas. It could be a good jumping off point for new readers. Naturally, with any kind of broad overview lots of things are going to get left out. After each point I'll link to one or more of the website's core articles. Other pieces from that core article's section should also be helpful.

It's understandable if you want to get past your social awkwardness, but at the same time being a bit shy or clumsy around people doesn't make you totally worthless

Yeah, being socially awkward creates its share of problems, but it doesn't totally invalidate your value as a human being.

Being Awkward Doesn't Make You A Completely Flawed Person

If you're socially awkward there's totally hope of improving

Lots of people go through an awkward stage, and then come out of it as happy, socially adjusted adults. Your interpersonal skills are something you have the ability to improve. It's not an area where you're stuck with whatever level you got when you were born. That's not to say improving your people skills is always quick or easy, but it's not an unrealistic goal overall. For more details, see:

You're Not Alone If You're Awkward, And There's Hope Of Improving

The main way to improve your social skills is by getting out there and practicing them

There are aspects of socializing that have more to do with your attitude or thought patterns. For these you can improve them to a degree by reading new information or by sitting down and trying to come up with fresh ways of thinking. However, on the whole most social skills need to be practiced in order to get better. The first time you try to chat to someone at a party, it may be clumsy. By the 30th attempt you'll be a lot more comfortable and polished. Your results are mostly going to come from things you do in the real world, not insights you have while reading.

Why You Need To Directly Practice Social Skills And How To Do It

More mental aspects of socializing, like your sense of confidence, also tend to grow from real world experience:

Observations On Becoming More Self-Confident

You don't need to totally change who you are and sell out in order to have a happy social life

This site is not about trying to force everyone into the same social mold. One person's idea of a successful social life may be to go to three parties a week with a dozen drinking buddies. They may currently be dissatisfied because they're not as funny and rowdy as they'd like. Another person may be most content meeting a close friend for coffee once a week, and their goals are more about creating a handful of strong relationships and being able to do their own thing. They can each work on changing the way they socialize in a way that aligns with their values and personality.

Some people are reflexively resistant to the idea of improving their social skills because they see it as being forced to change who they are. Here I won't point to a single article, but the section of the site that provides different perspectives on this issue, and which you can come to your own conclusions about:

Articles On The Idea Of Changing Socially

Similarly, some people are totally happy with how they are socially. They see their main social 'problem' as the fact that other people don't seem to accept them. I write about that here:

Articles On Not Fitting Into The Norm

There are many ways to be socially successful, and you don't have to do many things

It's great if you're funny or a good storyteller, but if you're not that witty or skilled at spinning a yarn there are plenty of other ways to be enjoyable company. You could be a good listener, or have insightful ideas to share. If you want to be energetic and outgoing, all the power to you, but many people also appreciate friends who are more reserved and mellow. Some sources of advice imply this or that trait is the one key to being likable, but they rarely are. The world's a better place because people's personalities come in all varieties.

A key part of making friends is taking initiative

I mean taking the initiative to find places to meet people, to strike up conversations with them, to get their contact information and attempt to hang out later, and to try to keep in touch so the relationship can grow. Obviously there's a lot more to making friends, but I find a lot of people go wrong by being too passive about the process. Rather than taking charge and actively working to put together the kind of social life they want, they wait for other people to try to make friends with them first, then feel bad about themselves when no one is seemingly interested. This article, and the ones it links to within it, cover this idea and a ton more:

How to Make Friends And Get A Social Life

The best way to deal with your social fears in the long run is to face them

Many people have fears around socializing, from subtle little worries that they don't even notice are influencing their behavior, to scenarios that never fail to flood them with anxiety. The most effective way to deal with these fears is to face them until they no longer seem as scary. The ideal way to confront them is to do so in a manageable, gradual, systematic way.

How To Face Your Bigger Social Fears Gradually

There are many effective ways to deal with anxiety on a more short-term basis as well

As I said, facing your fears is the best way to reduce their hold on you overall. However, everyone still gets nervous in social situations from time to time. There are many ways to take its edge off. A few example articles:

Overall Attitudes For Handling Anxiety
Coping With Anxiety In The Moment
Coping With Nervousness Before An Unavoidable Social Situation

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Everyone has insecurities about socializing, and you may never totally get rid of all of them, but there are ways to handle them as well

Some articles that address this topic are:

Common Worries Shy Or Insecure People Have
Challenging Maladaptive Thoughts
Accepting And Rolling With Maladaptive Thoughts
Why You Should Process The Upsetting Memories That Fuel Your Social Anxiety And Insecurities

You can do a lot to improve your social success through indirect means

It's not just about practicing specific skills. How you do socially also depends on who you are as a person. For example, all else being equal, someone with a variety of hobbies will have more options open to them. Or someone who does something that's fun for its own sake, like traveling, may find it has positive social side effects as well.

Indirectly Become More Successful By Improving As A Person

Getting better at conversation is mainly a matter of practice, understanding some principles, and being the kind of person who just has a lot to say

I wish I could give one little tip that encapsulates how to talk to people, like "Just be a good listener", but I don't think it's that simple. Overall, I think learning to make conversation is one of those broad skills where practice is particularly important. Having some rough guidelines in mind always helps. And on a more holistic, indirect level, you'll have an easier time chatting to people if you're just an interesting, knowledgeable, well-adjusted person overall.

Some Popular Overall Approaches For Making Conversation
How To Think Of Things To Say When Making Conversation

A big part of being able to have fun and get along with people is learning to lighten up and appreciate the goofy side of socializing

There's a certain type of socially awkward person that's a bit too uptight and serious. They're not good at just goofing around, making dumb jokes, and enjoying stupid antics. They believe every conversation has to be really intellectual and mature. I think a balance is good, and these tightly wound types can be more successful, and just have a better time, if they can learn to get in touch with their more playful side.

How To Be More Fun
Loosen Up To Be More Socially Successful

This is admittedly general, but aside from learning specific conversational and friend making skills, you also need to reduce your bad habits and add positive traits to yourself

The overall social 'package' you present is important. Nope, we'll never appeal to everyone, and we'll never be totally perfect, but we can obviously benefit from becoming more socially appealing, and working to identify and counteract our negative traits. I can't even begin to link to all the articles I've written on this topic, since it's so broad, but here are a few:

Thoughts On How To Be Funny
Social Mistakes Intellectual People Can Make
Being Too Negative In Social Situations

Some people who struggle socially have baggage and negativity toward aspects of it, which further holds them back

For example, someone may see most other people as shallow, mainstream sheep, or think things like small talk or going to parties are idiotic and annoying. I'm not saying these opinions are totally invalid. If you're more alternative some people may seem too generic and conventional to you. Small talk and parties aren't for everyone. However, I'm talking about when someone's sour attitude toward an aspect of socializing goes too far, and places one more obstacle in the way of their improvement. It can help to soften your attitude about certain things.

Is Thinking You're Better Than Other People Holding You Back?
Bars And Clubs Aren't All Bad

A similar theme is that sometimes you can make socializing more enjoyable for yourself if you just adjust your expectations towards certain parts of it:

How To Do Better In Loud, Hectic Group Conversations
Little Social Annoyances That Will Never Go Away

Some commonly repeated advice on improving socially isn't the greatest

In my own experience some of the suggestions you'll often hear about how to work past your social problems aren't all that helpful. Here are some articles that specifically take apart some typical advice:

Attitudes Towards Socializing That Are Easier Said Than Done
Listening And Being Interested In People Isn't A Cure-All