Social anxiety basically stems from a lack of experience in social situations, and social skills are just that – skills. They can be trained, improved, and mastered.
The last couple of generations are actually facing a somewhat unique problem, because with the advancement of technological progress that we’ve seen, it becomes easier and easier to keep yourself entertained and informed with a computer or a mobile phone. Even when we interact with other people, we still often do it through technological gadgets that avoid face-to-face contact.
Now, I’m not bashing on technology, far from it. All I’m saying is that today’s new generations are bound to have more people suffering from social anxiety than ever before. Luckily, social skills are entirely trainable, and the best way to learn how to be more social is to look at those of us that already are.
I’m sure you can recall someone from high school, college, or just someone you saw at a party, who was more at home talking to total strangers than he would have been reading a book. You need to start paying attention to these people, and better yet – start befriending them. They will help you improve and you will help you succeed socially.
Look at your current social circle – I mean the guys you really hang out with on a regular basis. Are they reinforcing your status as a social hermit because they’re just as geeky as you are, or are they challenging you to stretch out your comfort zone? One of the best tips on social skills I can give to anyone is to start following around a more sociable person, and learning from them. Observe their behavior, the same way you would observe someone sewing a garment or cooking a meal. It’s all just a skill, and it’s definitely learnable.
One of the first qualities you’ll immediately notice is that sociable people seem to, or genuinely care about other people. They seem to be curious, even fascinated by them.
Ask yourself this:
Would you be more receptive talking to someone who was really interested in you, or someone who only seemed to care about themselves, or their new clothes?
Being curious about other people, even asocial people, almost magically opens them up more to social interactions too. Sociable people want to know what it is that makes people tick; and when you have that quality, you become inherently likeable.
I think that another problem many people have is that they tend to only scratch the surface. They don’t want to delve too deep, because quite frankly they don’t really care. Maybe they don’t think they’ll ever meet you again, or maybe they’ve got too many things going on in their own lives to worry about you, and so they are happy to be buzzing around in their little world, scratching the surface with banal conversations, and that makes them feel comfortable enough.
But you need to adopt an attitude that is the exact opposite. It is exactly because you might never see this person again, that you owe it to yourself to find out who they really are – because you might never have that opportunity again.
People who are great at socializing go out of their way to find out what your story is. This is a really important skill to develop, especially with women, because it really pays to be able to find out what it is that’s special about her, and that separates her from other people.
Another thing you’ll notice about sociable people is that they’ve always got exciting things going on in their lives. People that are really sociable are great at telling stories, but there’s a reason for that, and it’s not their social skills; it’s not because there’s something special about them. It’s because they’ve always got new things happening in their life. Their stories sound authentic because they are.
When guys ask me for conversation ideas and I try to improve their conversation skills, I try to get them to answer two main questions:
- What are the three things you are most passionate about in life?
Usually these are things you’ve been passionate about over a longer period of time, like a particular sport, or maybe some other activity or hobby. Maybe you like collecting something? Just think of the three activities or hobbies you couldn’t live without. The second question is
- What are the things you are most passionate about over the last two weeks?
These could be specific events, like holidays that you’ve just had, or one that is coming up. It could be a seminar you’ve just signed up for, or an awesome gadget you just bought.
The key is to actually know what these are. A socially confident guy ought to have six things that they could spit out at any point in time, and that they are super passionate about. If you can do that, your story telling and conversational skills are going to become a lot more compelling.
And of course, if you can’t think of anything awfully interesting that you’ve done recently, then you know exactly what you need to be doing – start doing more interesting things!
Over at vindicarlo.com, we have a guide that was designed specifically to help you resolve your problems of social anxiety. Whether it’s being nervous and not expressing yourself properly, or because you have no idea where to begin when it comes to flirting, our Conversation Cure has the solution for you.