Jo


Jo

member
Location: Sheffield, England

Total posts: 517
Posted:Social skills seem to be natural in most people, but for many I think they are 'forced' to some extent (including me). I'm interested in others' views on this - how it is done, and any negative or positive experiences from 'forcing':

- sense of humour
- body language
- speech amount (talking more than naturally 'desired')
- 'councelling' friends in need of a shoulder to cry on

or any other examples.

I've found that forcing a sense of humour can be a death sentence if you use 'British' humour especially (sarcasm, sharp/shock jokes). It seems easy to give the wrong impression and cause offense. Body language can also give of unintensional signs (too much or little smiling, 'incorrect' eye contact) etc etc. I know I can't be alone in finding the finer points of social interaction difficult and confusing - please discuss confused

Jo.


Educate yourself in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Sir Nuggit


Sir Nuggit

....is a liability
Location: playing with traffic

Total posts: 899
Posted:People = complicated + confusing.

I used to be a real social chameleon and after dramatic changes to my lifestyle, I've found that it's much easier in the long-run to just be myself (whoever that is) than force different personalities on different people.


Pull my pin out, roll me in to a room and see what happens ubbloco

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_Clare_
BRONZE Member since Oct 2002

_Clare_

Still wiggling
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland (UK)

Total posts: 5967
Posted:Jo,



I've found the factors you described can vary greatly between people... and it's those variations which give us our personality and character.

If you don't want to be that shoulder or tell that joke - don't, it will leave you feeling stressed and unhappy if you force yourself.



I much prefer sitting listening to other people and adding my own points if they're relevant rather than talking a complete pile of poo just cos it's socially acceptable and breaks the silence. (this tends to get a bit hazy if I'm stoned biggrin)



I think (but I'm not sure) that it is the need to be confident in yourself in the company of others.



However, I've also met a few people recently who seem to lack even basic social skills - like good manners and consideration for others.



So it's not as bad as you think - if you are asking these questions you are obviously more socially skilled than some - for whom to question themselves wouldn't cross their minds.


Getting to the other side smile

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.:star:.
SILVER Member since Jan 2005

.:star:.

Pooh-Bah
Location: Bristol, United Kingdom

Total posts: 1785
Posted:i find communicating with people very difficult. although i have a brother and sister they left home when i was little and we lived in the middle of nowhere so i spent 90% of my time on my own. Because of this i find my people skills are useless!!
I did think i was ok at being with people after i left home but soon reaslised that alcohol was the only reason that i could talk to people, now i don't drink and am back to not being able to socialise very well.
People often seem to think that i am arguing with them when i am mearly questioning them about something and i have tried so hard to work out what i'm doing that wrong but can't see it!
I find big groups very very difficult. I hardly ever get the courage to speak up and if i do i always get paranoid that people will think wrongly of what i have said.

I think that firepoise is right, its all about being confident around others. If I had more confidence in myself i would be able to communicate much better.

The one thing about confidence is that too much/too little can be bad. Its difficult to find the balance


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Sethis
BRONZE Member since May 2005

Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University, United Kingdo...

Total posts: 1762
Posted:I wasn't very good at socialising through most of my secondary school, mainly cos I was considered to be a geek.

However, in the last two years, people who used to make my life miserable seem to have realised that maturity is a good thing. People who used to hassle me about my long hair are now saying things like "You're hair's pretty cool" and some of them have even started growing their own. I think it's because I was mature in about yr 8, and it took everyone else 4 more years to be at the same level. The downside to this is that most of my Secondary school life was a Bi*ch. The upside is that recently I have become much more confident. I can walk over to complete strangers in a social setting and start a conversation with them (even lasses!) without either blushing or feeling awkward.

I'm sure that there's a moral in there somewhere...

I still think of myself as kind of a loner though, because now I'm about 29 in my maturity (despite being 17...)


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:I have a very dear friend with a negative amount of social graces. To the point where we went to a black tie affair and he actually stuck his thumbs in his ears and his tongue out at a complete stranger who was cut off from behind us from going on the escalator. It was so embarrassing.

And it is completely based on his confidence.
Because of his extreme height he feels gawky and akward (sp?).

He tries to force humor and it comes out as offensive, espcially his attempts at sarcasm. I've seen him get slapped a couple times. He's learning sarcasm is not his forte and has eased up quite a bit (with strangers).

His body language, well he either gestures too largely which makes it evident that he is uncomfortable and trying and like he is trying to bring home a plane, or he holds everything into his body which comes across as extremely aggressive, even when he is not. He does not allow for natural flow, because he does not feel comfortable within his own skin.

He is slowly coming out of it, but those of us who know him realize it is him and we accept it because he is a tremendous person once you know him. We gently point out when he does stuff that makes us uncomfortable, and explain why (although with the guy on the escalator, I hit him in the stomach to make him stop).
He took a martial art, which has helped him with his body awareness and has gone to social situations and just watched people, not intently, just in passing. In doing so, he has actually learned and toned down alot.

As far as talking too much...I think to some degree people, when they are nervous, get into speech patterns where they either say too much or not enough. Natural defenses. I used to be wickedly shy and wouldn't say much. When I was forced to speak, I would say tonnes that made no sense and say it *really* fast. I took public speaking classes to help with that. I don't think it is a social disfunction thing at all, but a discomfort thing, as pointed out already.

As far as the councelling..hey! What do you mean by that? You said you were happy to hear what I had to say! wink **JUST KIDDING** I think that comes from a place of caring and wanting to "fix" what we are hearing as broken. I am guilty of this one and am learning to ask if they want advice or just to vent.
And I am also learning which of my friends to go to for advice, while others are good for support and a hug when I cry.
I don't view this as an incapability to function at all, and rather differences in personality that are endearing.

Those are just my experiences and thoughts. *shrug*


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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ado-p
GOLD Member since May 2004

ado-p

Pirate Ninja
Location: Galway/Ireland

Total posts: 3882
Posted:Great topic, and something that i've thought about alot for years.

There does seem to be a difference between interacting naturally and interacting in a concious manner.

The first thing that occurs to me is the amount of factors that can affect a persons social ability. Mood, Self confidence, Intelligence type, Level of interaction involved(work, friend, aquaintence, nemises), Number of people involved, Age, Percieved social status, The 'what have you got to lose' factor... The big one here for me is the difference between the way friends interact and the way non friends interact. In that when I am among friends I am myself and thus my social skills come naturally whatever they may be. I dont think or worry about it. However, if I am around people i dont know as well as my close friends i find that i think about the level of interaction i want and act accordingly but am also influenced greatly by my current emotional state, my desire and my interest in whats happening. It is different again at work and there are other factors that can have an effect.

Ideally i would be able to interact socialy without being influenced by random internal and external factors. This is when it becomes a skill. And as a skill its something that can be learned and improved over time and with experience. So it must be influenced by different types of intelligence. I also believe that being smarter doesnt always help. Ignorance is bliss after all wink

It also seems that having good social skills is entirley based on interpretation. i.e. anything that i project is interperted by others and they are also being influenced by all the same factors i am. I find that if i am in a bad mood my interpretation of the situation is very easily swayed towards the negative. So this also works vice versa and having good social skills might not be any help at all to someone to believes i dont have there best interest at heart.

So as a skill then it seems to do it well requires that you can assess yourself and realise when your being influenced by your own personality and also assess the person or people that your interacting with and react accordingly based on what you want and what you believe they want.

thats all i got for now but im really looking forward to reading a bit more

a


Love is the law.

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_Clare_
BRONZE Member since Oct 2002

_Clare_

Still wiggling
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland (UK)

Total posts: 5967
Posted:I know a guy like that too Pele... his awkwardness in public stems from his insecurities.

My heart goes out to him - he is an angel and I love him to bits, but he does silly things to try and cover up the insecurities he has (I can't even see what it is he feels bad about!)

He knows he is being 'embarrassing', and it causes him pain but he doesn't seem to realise that people see through that awkwardness to the good part.

Sigh. shrug

But what can you do?! I tried to point out (in a nice way) some things he did which were maybe not quite so appropriate, but this made him angry - I think he took it as an insult.

Lol, perhaps I try to help too much - and that is my social failing rolleyes biggrin


Getting to the other side smile

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The Tea Fairy
SILVER Member since Jul 2004

The Tea Fairy

old hand
Location: Behind you...

Total posts: 853
Posted:Um... I get kind of nervous around guys a lot of the time, until I get to know them properly. It's a shame, because all my closest friends used to be guys and we got on really well.

I know it's just because of bad past experiences of guys not taking no for an answer and stuff, but I get really paranoid sometimes that I'm inadvertently sending blokes signals that I'm attracted to them when I'm not... Basically, I find it hard to tell whether or not I am being 'pulled' by guys when they talk to me, and I tend to kind of clam up and act aloof just in case they are.

It's just a stupid thing I do sometimes, I'm very sorry about it and I do have to make a conscious effort not to act like too much of a bitch when guys I don't know well talk to me.


Idolized by Aurinoko

Take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind....

Bob Dylan

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Katch
GOLD Member since Jun 2004

Katch

Beach bum
Location: , Singapore

Total posts: 162
Posted:I must admit that I'm a social moron, although ironically, a very extroverted one. I can't seem to understand the normal process of making friends, or how a group gels (since most of the time I feel a bit left out). Part of it may be a tinge of paranoia. I'm always afraid that people will befriend me only because they need something. And the other parts may be my lack of social skills (frankness/ lack of tact), horrible temper, and maybe feelings of insecurity (masked by overconfidence).

People say I try too hard to make people like me and so they don't. I thought that if you did something nice for someone, then there's a greater chance they'd be nice in return. Oh well.

Tried correcting this through an EQ workshop last week. Since then I've managed to aggravate members of my family and a small handful of friends. Practice makes perfect though and so we all live in hope... biggrin

Learning a lot from this forum though... Thanks!


Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.
-Franklin P. Jones

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ado-p
GOLD Member since May 2004

ado-p

Pirate Ninja
Location: Galway/Ireland

Total posts: 3882
Posted:Written by: Katch

I must admit that I'm a social moron, although ironically, a very extroverted one. I can't seem to understand the normal process of making friends, or how a group gels (since most of the time I feel a bit left out).



I've also spent a nice chunk of my life feeling left out. Im starting to think the bit of me that doesnt feel like its participating is actually myself. So im trying to fill myself up a bit. It helped when i reaslised that alot of the time i felt like i wasnt really part of the group is when they were talking about stuff that i wasnt interested in. Which now that i think about it was most of the time.

I think this is related to what i said above about realising what you want and what other people want. people in a group usually want to behave as a group so they find common ground. these days if im not interested in something i usually let my mind wander off. Whether its thinking about whats happening with the people around me or further afield. I think because i am happy to do this, no one really notices (maybe they do ubbloco). I dont feel the need to be a part of the conversation but this doesnt mean im not part of the group.

It isnt something that came naturally to me and i learned it slowly over time as i developed in other things that i was learning. Such as fire spinning which is something i rarley if ever stop thinking about and almost everybody i meet outside the spinning community has no idea about. It gave me something that was mine and something that i could give and thats very gratyfing. Giving is also a social skill i think. Knowing when to give. Sharing is even better smile

Lets face it Katch, your here, and we're all weird here smile


Love is the law.

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Hi Jo, my suggestion is for people not to force things. There are better ways. I learnt much at a flirting workshop, I once did at confest. I've forgotten it all, but it was a really great workshop to do. They are more about social interactions, with ideas on how to meet people in a fun way, get out of awkward situations, let people down gently, eye contact and such.

I found the following links when I waz examining my social skills. Think, Im up to do landmark. Anyhow, here are a few tips that some people may find useful. Please no one be offended by this link on umm, social anxiety, shyness, insecurity and quietness. check it out, its better than it seems.

Counselling friends in honourable, but dont become a victim.

cheers smile


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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georgia k


georgia k

newbie
Location: carmarthenshire, wales

Total posts: 19
Posted:i've spent a lot of my life being very awkward socially, mainly i think because i was trying to be part of a group that i really didn't have much in common with. i thought there was something wrong with me, but actually i was just trying to force myself to be part a group of 'straight' people, when i'm only really comfortable with hippies.

i'm a lot better now but i still find it hard to relax when i think everyone else is so much cooler than me. that doesn't happen very often any more. something i've found has helped me enormously in being social and feeling comfortable in my own skin (and i'm not encouraging anyone to do anything irresponsible, i think peple shuld make their own minds up) is going to raves and taking pills. i don't know if it's ok to talk about this kind of thing on here, and if it's not sorry.
cheers smile



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Fathom
SILVER Member since Jan 2005

Fathom

member
Location: Online!, USA

Total posts: 103
Posted:Written by: georgia k

something i've found has helped me enormously in being social and feeling comfortable in my own skin (and i'm not encouraging anyone to do anything irresponsible, i think peple shuld make their own minds up) is going to raves and taking pills. i don't know if it's ok to talk about this kind of thing on here, and if it's not sorry.
cheers smile



I did that for a couple years, but in the end it just isnt worth it (the pills i mean, rave are and always will be excellent!). it starts to hurt and cost more than just money. now i have to go clean (no problems with me) because my job does random drug tests. still havent found some cure for my lack or social skill and having a really weak voice never helps, espically at raves, but im getting better.

and thanks for the linxs Stone.


Kangaroo Island eh? I hear that place is really hopping!

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Cassandra


Cassandra

Froggie ... Ribbit !!!
Location: Back in Paris... for now !

Total posts: 4224
Posted:THis is such an interesting subject !!!

(Hey Jo, i do not mean to make you feel awkward wink but i mut give you a big hug cause i have not seen you in ages hug ubblove )

I find myself generally comfortable in a social environement and can equally enjoy being quiet or being extrovert running around giving crepes and hugs to random strangers wink generally I can adapt quite well without losing my true self which took me years to achieve but I am happy as it is smile

IMO one aspect is that There is "who we are" and there is also "what some people do to us".
With some people I will automatically feel "at home" no uneasy feeling, just peace and fun and warmth.
With a majority, it takes a while to "tame eachother" like the fox and the little prince... and this is surely the majority of situations and although it wcan be weird it also has its charm...
and then there are people who just make us uncomfortable no matter what and it is important to realize that, admit it and possibly establsih strategies ... mine is often to stay away from them or in extreme cases let them know if they seem to still wnt to interact with me, that i am not comfortable with them, but often, the gap is there and we simply ignore eachother.
And very rarely there are people who just push your buttons from the first second you meet them... and for those rare ones I always go back to myself and try to see what is going on with me, because i know if my reaction is so strong, there has to be an amazing lesson to be learnt which has very little to do with this stranger if anything at all...

Humour is such an interesting thing... a survival kit, a way to bond, a way to hurt, a way to protect...
I used humour a lot to bring myself down so that noone is left with anything mean to tell me cause i had said it all... I am over that for i have learnt to love myself enough now ... most of the times wink
I often find irony to be of the most comic effect and laughed greatly at socalled british humour. yet I have also found that sarcasm cuts other people s wings sooooo much and I make a point in trying to not use it. it often resembles similar mechanism of humiliation and i have no desire to be humiliated or to be a caus for someone else s discomfort or humiliation jsut for the sake of a joke to make me feel a bit less uneasy.
yet humour is a good icebreaker too... i suppose it is all about not doing to others I am very tired of people who need to turn other s lights off so they can shine brighter... boring and uninteresting as wella s sterile and mean...

Body language ... we are animals and therefore i beleive we are often more sensitive to it than we are words... it constitues a deeper non verbal bond or... on certain occasions threat...
travelling around the world, you realize the importance of body language over words... for you may not speak a language and yet communicate with your body perfectly still...
alternatively you are very likely at one point or another to face misunderstandings or friction because others speak differently with their bodies... patience and kindness work wonder to solve these misunderstandings.

same with men and women, or people from same country but different social worlds...
again to all these differences i find the key to be a certain politeness of the heart... something universal in the lines of : let us not take this too personnaly , let me follow my heart and remain kind... it should take care of most awckward situations.

as for body language giving off unintensional signs, in most cases it says more about the receiver than it does about you...

if Bob enters a room, I may think he is a kind funny man, pele may find him shy adn intelligent, ado-p may think he is a styingy [censored], you may think he looks cowardly and stone may think he reminds him of a cousin he likes and though he may not have spoken to him, he will tell me that Bob is reliable and faithful... (just using people s name here as an example wink )
and in the end, this says very little about Bob and a lot about us, our own history, personality etc...

it is all relative...

and as long as thre is cheese and nutella, all is well wink

shine on
cass


"I want brown bread... no, that is diesel oil..."
"So I was raised in Europe, where History comes from ..."
"NON !!! La Plume de mon oncle n est pas Bingibangibungi !!!"

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Cassandra


Cassandra

Froggie ... Ribbit !!!
Location: Back in Paris... for now !

Total posts: 4224
Posted:oh and one more thing
what we may feel is us being awckward may appear incredibly cute or sexy to others...
some of my friends are total bears and I find it quite all right because they have a good heart , they just have no taste for socializing with huge amount of people. they do not reject or disrespect others, just do not care, and that is fine,..

anyone ever done the Myers Bruggs personnality type test ???
welll it sure as hell taught me that there is no right or wrong personality type (introvert/extrovert, feeler/thinker...) just a variety f people who must accept eachother with their differences...

shine on
cassandra


"I want brown bread... no, that is diesel oil..."
"So I was raised in Europe, where History comes from ..."
"NON !!! La Plume de mon oncle n est pas Bingibangibungi !!!"

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_Clare_
BRONZE Member since Oct 2002

_Clare_

Still wiggling
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland (UK)

Total posts: 5967
Posted:Totally agree Cass,

We can interpret that awkwardness as endearing... or cute... But it's often not so for the person who is living with it.

I've met a couple of guys now who would consider themselves to be 'awkward' in company - and while I have accepted that, and even loved that about their character - they have felt a great deal of discomfort and pain in not being considered 'the norm'.

I think your last point is spot on, though. We all need to accept difference as 'the norm'.


Getting to the other side smile

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