This summer has been crazy to say the least. After being extremely introverted my whole life (often only getting out of the house 1-2 times per month excluding school and soccer), I decided it was time for me to learn to socialize and I’ve just completed the most social period of my life.
In addition to having a lot of fun, and building a social circle, I’ve also enjoyed many new experiences and learned several lessons in the process as well. Some of which I’ll share below…
1. There’s a difference between self-amusement and being everyone’s dancing monkey. The first comes from a place of being at ease with yourself while the latter is derived from insecurity and feeling the need to please others.
2. Micro social momentum is important. If you feel awkward or aren’t in the mode to socialize you can often alleviate those issues by “warming up” and involving yourself in some conversations.
3. Macro social momentum is important. Going out frequently doesn’t just improve your social skills more quickly, it also makes you feel more social, and allows you to enter “the zone” more quickly.
4. On the flip-side, going out too frequently can lead to social exhaustion. Your results may vary, but I had less fun and my relationships felt less genuine and somewhat robotic when I went through a stretch of going out eight or nine days in a row. Taking a couple days off at that point seemed to refuel the fun in socializing.
5. Despite the importance of social momentum, avoid hanging out with others simply for that purpose. It’s wrong to use people like that, and attempting to do so will produce poor results.
6. It’s important to hold eye-contact when you talk. It shows you’re confident with what you’re saying. It also makes you seem more trustworthy.
7. It’s especially important to hold eye-contact with girls. When they look in your eyes they can see your true intentions, and if you sincerely care for her she’ll just melt in your arms.
8. Don’t over rely on callback humor. If something funny happens you can mention it later on once, or twice for a good laugh, but the more times you “callback” the less funny it is. Typically 3 or so times is when it makes the shift from funny to annoying. (My theory behind this is that if people see you constantly mentioning the same funny thing over and over they assume you’re not used to having fun, thus your social value drops.)
9. Speaking of social value, focus on what you can give, not what you can get. Don’t be a leech. This is the secret to building relationships.
(Me giving value to my English class in the form of excitement on a boring day.)
10. If you want to hang out with someone ask them in person or call rather than text. The medium of communication would seem unimportant, but I’ve found the more committed you show you are, the less likely you end up with flaky plans that never end up happening.
11. How you start a conversation with someone is irrelevant. You can walk up and say hi, you can scare them, or you can start randomly dancing for them. Your opener doesn’t matter as long as it’s not over-the-top and you’re able to be interesting afterwards.
12. The energy of your interactions should be slightly higher than that of your surroundings (this allows you to maintain others’ interest). If you’re at a party feel free to be wild, but if you’re just enjoying a relaxing walk down the beach don’t be too crazy. By not calibrating the expression of your energy to the environment it can make others uncomfortable and indicate you’re socially clueless.
13. Crazy party mode isn’t the only way to have a good time either. It may feel strange if you’re like how I used to be and that was your only mood, but just letting go relaxing, and building sand castles with people you care about can be even more fulfilling, (though obviously in a different way).
14. I love girls, and I don’t mean to disrespect them, but they can be a lot like chickens. The faster you chase them, the quicker they run away from you. You’ll often get better results if you just focus on enjoying yourself and letting them come to you.
15. While most strangers won’t initiate conversations, they’ll be glad to talk to you if you start talking to them first.
16. You don’t need to try to impress others. You have an inherent value simply by being a fellow human being.
(That last statement was pretty deep, so take some time to meditate on it.)
17. You can’t make friends when you’re home-alone in the basement. Completely obvious, but also something that many people don’t seem to have internalized.
18. Everybody’s heard that you’re typically the sum of the five people you spend the most time with, but even if you’re not it’s still important to place yourself around desirable people because that’s who others will associate you with.
19. Building a social circle is a lot like internet marketing. Slow and steady wins the race. People are going to get weirded out if you immediately go from never having hung out before to calling them everyday.
20. Closing yourself off from pain also prevents you from experiencing positive emotions. If you try to check out from the roller coaster of life you’ll only experience numbness.
21. If you constantly have your guard up and refuse to allow yourself to be vulnerable in the presence of others you’ll never experience love.
22. There’s more to life than work. Without socializing you’ll miss out on the most fulfilling thing this world has to offer. Relationships.
23. Sometimes you’ll have relationships where you truly love someone, but you’ll both know that you just aren’t meant for each other. It’ll be difficult to let go, but ultimately doing so is in your best interest.
24. Regardless of what you do with your life you’re going to have haters. You might as well do what’s true to you.
25. Often the greatest people have the most haters, however, just because you have haters doesn’t mean your a great. Most likely you’re one of the nine other types of hated people.
Overall I’d call this summer a huge success. I wrote 70 or so articles for this blog, learned a TON, and had a lot of fun in the process. I’ve matured and grown up a lot this summer, so as a former house hermit I can’t recommend trying to get out a couple times a week enough.
Try it! I bet you won’t regret being a little more social. I’d also like to hear from you as well.
What lessons have your learned from socializing?
Pictures are from the 2011 school year. I’ll attempt to upload some newer 2012-2013 pictures to my computer today, and include them in the coming weeks.
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