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Tired of my lack of social skills


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I have come to the realization that my social skills are severely lacking, and that I need to take action to address the problem. In the past, I would shrug it off, and think that I would address my situation in the future. It's been years now, and I'm realizing that I'm not living the life I want to live. By that, I don't mean that I want to party 24/7 or be the center of attention. I'm actually very introverted by nature and enjoy spending time alone, but even I know the difference between an introvert and someone who completely lacks social skills.


I think of myself as a nice guy; I don't think I lack the ability to sense how others are feeling, and I'm not oblivious to social etiquette, it's just that I have no idea how to talk to others. I don't talk to people unless they talk to me first, and even then the conversation turns into a monosyllabic exchange in which the conversation starter and I both quickly lose interest. I have hobbies and interests, but I find that I can't think of anything to say to people. It's so bad that whenever I go out in groups (I only have the chance to go out sometimes because my college arranges trips), I might only say one or two sentences in several hours' time. And it's painfully awkward feeling like the 5th wheel in a group of people.


I think one of the reasons I'm like this is because I have extremely low self-esteem, and no confidence at all. When I have something to say, I'll ruminate over what I'm about to say, and try to guess how others will react. By the time I'm ready to say it, either the topic has changed, or I'll feel that no one will care to listen anyways. Whenever I meet new people, I'm extremely uncomfortable, and will completely shut myself off from them if I feel any bit of negativity directed towards me at all. I'm definitely over thinking, but I can't help but fall into this trap. On the other hand, I could say that I have "normal" social interactions with people I'm extremely comfortable with (and these are few and far between), or with new people within a group if the group consists of someone I'm comfortable with. It's mainly people I don't know or people I don't know well that I have difficulty interacting with.


I just don't know what to do. I've read books about developing social skills, and granted, the information would be useful if I actually could put it to use, but I haven't actively tried to change anything for fear of rejection. I don't want to change who I am, I just want to be able to have a more normal life, and not let social inhibitions stop me from enjoying my the moments I spend with people.


Any advice? Anybody out there who made a transformation in the social skills department that would like to share their story?


All the best. Thanks.

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While I've never had worries about a lack of social skills, I did go from being a very quiet, withdrawn, introverted child living in a world of my own - to being someone who's quite extrovert and doesn't have any problem getting talking to people.


I was discussing this recently with a close friend whose pattern of relating to people was similar to mine; we came to the conclusion that when we meet someone new, we both want to know if this is someone we're going to be friends with, what have we got in common, what makes them tick, what are they interested in that we don't know anything about (yet) ... we're both too focused on the other person to have any room for self consciousness.


I think the focus on the other person is the key, really. You've read the books about how to develop your skills, but it seems that it's that initial stage you're struggling with right now.


If you're naturally quiet, there's nothing wrong with being a good listener, asking people questions about themselves. Years ago, a boyfriend of mine had a friend who I used to LOVE talking with; after a while I asked myself what made it feel as though I was wrapped in a soft fluffy blanket ... he would ask questions, listen actively, nod, sum up what I'd just been saying in a way which showed he was really interested, then he'd share what he was doing. It was impossible not to sit there smiling. This was a guy who was not loud and extrovert in groups, and would often be very quiet, but the engagement was still clearly there in the way he'd look at whoever was speaking, smile, laugh, all that.


The problem with being self-conscious is that it locks you into yourself. Shifting that focus to the other person, without worrying about yourself and their possible reaction or rejection, ironically will make you a more accessible person to others and minimise the chance of rejection in the first place. Also, if you are very self-conscious, it's easy to interpret shyness in others as rejection when it actually isn't - it's just that they're going through something similar to you.


Hope this helps!

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I found some similarities in your post pertaining to myself. I have some problems fitting in because I think of myself as very different from the crowd. I've gotten to the point of not being able to stand most people. (though its probably just the people I've recently been hanging out with) These people are very sociable but morph into something their not in order to always please the crowd their with. (One of them told me that its what they do) It seems to go well for them considering how many friends they have, but is this how you should act?...I dont think so. Sounds very unhealthy somehow. If the person I'm talking to wants to talk then I have no problem keeping a conversation going, but you have to remember that its a 2 way street. They need to contribute too, so that you can work off of what their saying.


But I'll admit that I do have some social problems like yours. I find it hard to become someone that gets thought of to call when something is going on. Like being a person that people especially want around?? I blame myself though, because I honestly haven't put myself out there at all. I don't mind being alone, I keep myself quite busy. Being with friends 24/7 wares me out anyways lol. I've turned into someone who has to have a common "goal" when I'm with people in order to have fun, like playing a game or something. Cause sitting around just hanging out and talking is so * * * * ing boring to me. Like if we started talking about a philosophy topic..! I AM THERE. But there's a lot of other topics where I don't fit in at all. And most of the topics I'm interested in are not what people want to talk about because its deep/intellectual stuff and usually people are drinking and just want to relax? I would relax on my alone time not at a party.

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Hmm... for me , it has been partially due to the extraverted friends I associate with , part practice , and part symptoms of situations or life events that demanded socializing as an excellent coping mechanism. You can't develop your social skills by staying at home , even if it's an essential element of your spiritual being. I like being alone at home , too , but within reason. My life passion requires a presence in the physical community , in public , around others. And advancing oneself requires the ability to socialize.


That's it in a very brief sense. I'd say , though , that traveling by myself , and months later , dealing with the break up of my first love , was the primary catalyst in what radical transformation has occurred in the past year.

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