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Re: add and social skills

Re: add and social skills2011-05-22T20:58:17+00:00

The Forums Forums Ask The Community add and social skills Re: add and social skills


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Same story with me, growing up. My mom was really good at small talk and I paid attention in later years to how she would do it. She was going for cancer treatments and she would always see a new person who was shy and withdrawn. She’d go right up to them and ask their name, etc. She told me that she knew what it felt like to be ignored and feel awkward in a new situation, so she tried to make them feel better.

In contrast, growing up, our family was pretty non-communicative.

For me, I started talking to anyone I met when doing errands, like taking parcels to the post office (I see one or two people there every day), or the grocery store, or someone I bump into by accident in a store (I remark on how I don’t have a driver’s license for my shopping cart, or how the stores always manage to make the aisles so narrow). People you engage with, not necessary going up to start a conversation but once you’re there, remarking on something that happens or asking them how they like working there, or something to get a brief conversation going. Then wish them a good day when you leave! It will leave both of you feeling good.

And it’s always good to ask people a question that is about them, not you and then shut up and listen. People love to talk about themselves. They’ll reveal something and then you can ask another question to keep the conversation going. If it’s relevant, you can relate something about yourself, but don’t make the interchange about you, make it about them.

Another technique with someone you might feel awkward about approaching for a conversation is to learn and practice lovingkindness meditation. Sharon Salzberg has a very good non-denominational book about this and you can also look this up on the internet. You don’t have to practice Buddhism or any other ism to do it! Although you send the lovingkindness out to others, you are really preparing your own heart to open to others at the same time.

Think of things you enjoy doing, join a club or a social outing. If you like photography, for example, there are meetup groups full of photo geeks (I’m one of them) who find social interaction awkward unless it’s behind a camera lens. We have some good times after our photo shoots, and it’s also a great way to meet new people and learn how to use a camera if you don’t know how (someone will help you).

None of this will make you any close friends in a hurry, but it will definitely help develop social skills.

Maybe type “the art of small talk” into google and see what comes up, maybe you can borrow a book or CD from your local library.

Those are some of the things that have worked for me. I’m a lot more comfortable in one-to-one situations now, and I’m always conscious of making an effort to be more sociable with people.