Succeed Socially
February 16, 2008 10:04 PM   Subscribe

Another weekend sitting alone in your apartment? Thinking of sending that two thousand word cry for help to anonymous Ask Metafilter? Maybe you should take a look at the advice at Succeed Socially first.

The site is a series of articles from a guy in his late twenties who was socially awkward when younger, tried various ways to overcome his difficulties, and eventually found his own way of becoming more comfortable around others. Much of it is good practical discussion, free of both whininess and magic solutions.

Some selections:

How to be More Fun / How to be Less Boring
If you're more restrained yourself that's fine, but it's not the end of the world if not everyone else is. Try to take yourself less seriously too. Don't think you're above letting yourself go and acting 'immature' or whatever. Above all, don't think being smart and mature, and being a fun person are mutually exclusive. Being able to joke around and have a good time doesn't cancel out or diminish your intelligence.

When You Want To Do Better With People... But Not Really
Another reason some people are down on socializing is because they're not comfortable with it. They may have some bitter feelings towards the idea of relating to people because of past experiences. It's easier for them to tell themselves that people and socializing aren't worth their time. That way it's not their fault, some flaw in the outside world is to blame.

Inside The Mind Of Guys Who Are Shy And Inexperienced With Women
The idea that if I wanted a girlfriend I'd have to actively work on getting one, or that I'd have to learn to cope with my nervousness wasn't on the map. Nope, I just had to meet the perfect girl under the perfect circumstances. The kind of circumstances where I would essentially be guided along by rails the whole way with no room to screw up.

Social Skills And Self-Help Advice That Hasn't Worked For Me
This stuff didn't work for me because I found it either too vague or too 'easier said than done'. You can interpret "Be Yourself" in two dozen different ways, some of them more helpful than others. And you can't just hit a switch in a your brain and be confident, it takes time.
posted by TimTypeZed (63 comments total) 89 users marked this as a favorite

 
I learned my lesson last night about how to succeed socially: when attending a work function (in my case, an industry association awards gala) never drink more than one or two glasses of wine. I drank an entire bottle. I have no idea what I was saying, and I was sitting next to cabinet minister.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:11 PM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


i could've written this. You know what? I'm taking three months off to finish my book and get some stuff done. See you all in May! Later, all!
posted by parmanparman at 10:27 PM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Having come to the end of a seven-year all-encompassing relationship, I've realized that I now need to rebuild my social life completely. I've spent a few days wondering how in the heck I'll go about doing that.

Nice timing, TimTypeZed.
posted by MrVisible at 10:37 PM on February 16, 2008


Reading about improving one's social skills on the internet at 2:00 am on a Sunday may be somewhat counterproductive.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 10:42 PM on February 16, 2008 [13 favorites]


His observations, I'd say, are pretty spot on, but the problem is--there isn't any text in the world that will make you change or provide any magic bullets. It's the kind of knowledge you can only acquire by doing it. Which is shitty, but unavoidable.

That said, I've found that booze and drugs are very helpful. Not just in the "social lubricant" sense, but because they often provide a great bonding experience for everyone concerned (provided you're not drinking at a shitty bar playing Matchbox 20 at 135db). It's a lot easier to call people to hang out when you've gotten drunk with them already and thus share an enjoyable/crazy experience in common.
posted by nasreddin at 10:50 PM on February 16, 2008


Starting smoking has done wonders for my social life.

I wish I could run a block without getting winded, though.
posted by griphus at 10:56 PM on February 16, 2008 [9 favorites]


This is good stuff, but I wish he had more advice for the truly and epically loathsome. Uh, for my friend.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:09 PM on February 16, 2008 [7 favorites]


...becoming more comfortable around others...

As per above, alcohol helps ... especially when seated next to Cabinet Ministers. Really. Nothing like stripping away all pretensions.
So, hey...that's a might purty tie you've got. No prob. I like what I like. Hey, bro, wadda' think of tonight? Yeah ... I agree ... that one acceptance speech was way weird. Hey .. ya' wanna do shots? Great. Tequila okay with youse?
posted by ericb at 11:46 PM on February 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Bah. Kids today with your fancy Ask Metafilter and life hacking weblogs. When I was your age, I had to cure my crippling social phobia with copious, expensive talk therapy and desperate craigslist ads. Uphill. Both ways. In the snow. And we liked it.
posted by Skwirl at 12:06 AM on February 17, 2008 [9 favorites]


isn't it a good thing to have drunk an entire bottle of wine when you're sitting next to the cabernet minister?
posted by Hat Maui at 1:57 AM on February 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


"There are more important things in life, son... like being left alone, and going right to sleep."

I'm not antisocial, damnit, i'm just tired.
posted by ELF Radio at 2:18 AM on February 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


From the section on how to dance with a partner:

Freaking it/grinding with girls:

* I don't do this. I have no advice to give.

posted by zippy at 2:41 AM on February 17, 2008


my cats like me.
posted by billybobtoo at 2:44 AM on February 17, 2008


I wish my cats liked me.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 2:56 AM on February 17, 2008


I wish your cats liked me too.
posted by sien at 3:09 AM on February 17, 2008


I wish I wasn't allergic to cats.
posted by Mojojojo at 3:36 AM on February 17, 2008


Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America :This is good stuff, but I wish he had more advice for the truly and epically loathsome. Uh, for my friend.


Tell your friend to just be himself. Unless of he is you of course. In which case he should be someone else.
posted by srboisvert at 3:40 AM on February 17, 2008


My cat doesn't like you.
posted by localhuman at 3:53 AM on February 17, 2008


My cat thinks your cat is pretty hot.
posted by well_balanced at 4:09 AM on February 17, 2008


I've been sniffing your cat's butt when you're at the supermarket.
posted by Dizzy at 4:14 AM on February 17, 2008


My other cat is a dog.
posted by bunnytricks at 4:34 AM on February 17, 2008


What should I do to help my cat succeed socially?
posted by localhuman at 4:38 AM on February 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Bah. Kids today with your fancy Ask Metafilter and life hacking weblogs. When I was your age, I had to cure my crippling social phobia with copious, expensive talk therapy and desperate craigslist ads. Uphill. Both ways. In the snow. And we liked it."

Garrrrrr... you 'ad therapy. LUXURY! We used to 'ave to stand on rooftop 'owlin' at moon while neighbours shouted, "Get over it, you a**hole!".

Made me a better man.
posted by Mike D at 5:01 AM on February 17, 2008


Another weekend sitting alone in your apartment?

You say that like it's a bad thing.

/(bookmarked the thread to read later)

posted by spoobnooble at 5:22 AM on February 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Very sensible, insightful advice. This guy is really going to help a lot of people.
posted by orange swan at 5:26 AM on February 17, 2008


I've tried sitting in bars on my own, and all that happens is that 75-year-old drunks flirt with me. In the chic-er cafe bars I just get resounding silence from the cackling groups of friends who would neeever go in on their own. Also all my nearby friends are gay and I'm not.

I'm off to put on another Smiths record.
posted by grapefruitzzz at 6:03 AM on February 17, 2008


If there's one gripe I have with the site, it's that once you read a few of the articles, most of the contents in the rest essentially repeat what you've already read. So there's some very good advice, but not as much as would look like on the first glance, because much of it is multiply redundant.
posted by Anything at 6:31 AM on February 17, 2008


To add on to Anything, I appreciate the guy's initiative, but not only is it largely redundant, but every article is essentially "I used to be a FUCKING LOSER (like you are now) and do STUPID SHIT (like you do) but now that I learned 'social skills' I'm pretty cool. I'm not saying I'm super awesome but man I used to be really naive and just a stupid fucking loser like you right now."
posted by norabarnacl3 at 6:35 AM on February 17, 2008


it's not [my] fault, some flaw in the outside world is to blame.

Yeah, it's full of people I don't know and that my boss is always wanting me to freaking talk to.
posted by nax at 6:45 AM on February 17, 2008


Also all my nearby friends are gay and I'm not.

Well, now you have something to work on!
posted by papakwanz at 6:45 AM on February 17, 2008


As you probably know the biggest issue with meeting people online is their internet personas not meshing up with what they're like in real life. This cuts both ways. Sometimes you'll be disappointed in the person you meet. At other times it's you that other people are disappointed in. This can be quite the blow to your self-esteem. Be aware of this, especially if you tend to come of as awkward in real life, but are the man when you're behind a keyboard.
posted by danb at 6:47 AM on February 17, 2008


but, but, but what about the fact that this is one guy who may not even exist a la Betty Crocker vs. a 'community' of people whom one has sorta become to know (at least the on-line persona) and trust and whose myriad input may be valued above a random blogger...what about that?
And besides, really, what does anyone in their 'late 20's' have to tell me?

My cat's a catnip junkie and she loves you all.
posted by dawson at 6:59 AM on February 17, 2008


She loves us SOOO much?
posted by small_ruminant at 8:33 AM on February 17, 2008


I've tried sitting in bars on my own, and all that happens is that 75-year-old drunks flirt with me.

Same here (ok they're usually around 55, but so what).

In the chic-er cafe bars I just get resounding silence from the cackling groups of friends who would neeever go in on their own.

Chic bars are to be avoided at all costs.

I'm off to put on another Smiths record.


STOP THE INSANITY!!!
posted by jonmc at 8:59 AM on February 17, 2008


I would like to get out more but my cat is a social phobic.
posted by frobozz at 9:04 AM on February 17, 2008


"Spending time with other people is always at the heart of hanging out with them"

Ummm, yes?
posted by fixedgear at 9:24 AM on February 17, 2008


From the section on how to dance with a partner:

Freaking it/grinding with girls:

* I don't do this. I have no advice to give.


Knees bent, keep you pelvis at the same level or below hers .Roll you hips in the direction of your partner, switch as you feel. 1 per beat for hip hop, 2 for wining to reggae. The rest is practice and following your partner.
posted by Rubbstone at 10:12 AM on February 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


My cat peed on all my Smiths records, and most of my Morrissey solo CDs.
posted by Dizzy at 10:31 AM on February 17, 2008


Does anybody else hear Dr. Phil's voice while reading this?
posted by Target Practice at 10:43 AM on February 17, 2008


This website is BULLSHIT.
*puts on Nirvana CD*
posted by proj08 at 10:52 AM on February 17, 2008


*puts on Nirvana CD*

(Watching video of "Teen Spirit")

"Huh huh huh. It's Beavis' dad."
posted by maxwelton at 11:18 AM on February 17, 2008


This advice would be much more useful if other people weren't such bastard scum.
posted by HVAC Guerilla at 11:38 AM on February 17, 2008


What if you're actually happy being asocial? :S
posted by sonic meat machine at 11:42 AM on February 17, 2008


i make myself go out after dark to see friends about once a month now. it usually reminds me of why i like to stay home so much.
posted by RedEmma at 12:15 PM on February 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


That said, I've found that booze and drugs are very helpful.

Combined with the trend to discover/invent more and more mental illnesses and drugs to treat them:

"Find yourself having a hard time making friends? Do you feel inhibited in social settings? Do you feel that it is difficult to have bonding experiences with a group of new acquaintances?

You may be suffering from Social Obstruction By Extra Regulation disease, or SOBER. It's not your fault. A chemical imbalance in your brain means that you have low levels of a substance known as GABA. Sowasted Pharmaceuticals, the makers of GANJABUD, the first treatment for Music And Food Unappreciation Disorder , is proud to announce our new treatment for SOBER.

FROSTIBRU, active ingredient alcohol, activates the GABA receptors in your brain, compensating for the chemical imbalance. Social inhibitions fall away and you bond with those around you. For best results, everyone in a group of SOBER people should take FROSTIBRU.

With proper dosing, the most commonly seen side effects of FROSTIBRU included minor temporary mental and motor impairment, increased urination, slurred speech, and delayed headache. Most patients continued to use FROSTIBRU despite these side effects. You shouldn't take FROSTIBRU before driving or operating heavy machinery.

Don't let a chemical imbalance impede your life. Ask your doctor about trying a free FROSTIBRU on us."
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:28 PM on February 17, 2008 [12 favorites]


The guy is a loser. I imagine there are a lot of equally lame losers out there who will flock to him and celebrate his "success." This is the particular solidarity that one finds among geeks and the generally socially disabled might be called 'Judd Apatow Syndrome'. It's the solidarity of those who are truly desperate, where each is desperate to save himself. His How to Dance article-thingy is especially hilarious though.
posted by nixerman at 12:29 PM on February 17, 2008


This guy misses the point entirely. The key to social success is believing that other people are supremely important - that even "dull" people have something to contribute.

The other secret key is careful attention to body language, theirs and yours. Always make sure that your body language says what you really mean; always watch other people's body language to make sure you aren't getting tiresome.

Once you learn these tricks you can never be bored and you'll never be rejected by members of the opposite sex, either (because you won't even try with people who really aren't interested in you, or vice versa...)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:49 PM on February 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


The problem, lupus_yonderboy, is that other people aren't supremely important. :D
posted by sonic meat machine at 2:18 PM on February 17, 2008


I went out today at about four and decided to stop in a bar after the shops shut. I sat there and read the paper while an emormous group took all the chairs near me, oozed me into a corner, hogged all the remaining sunlight and *still* didn't speak to me. If I hadn't been for all the texts I was sending, I'd have been really miffed.

Maybe I should get a cat who can listen to my Smiths records with me...
posted by grapefruitzzz at 2:27 PM on February 17, 2008


I don't know. Self-loathing and misanthropy make me what I am. If I follow a guide like this, won't I just become the kind of vacuous person I hate? Maybe I like being a potential serial killer, thank you very much.
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:03 PM on February 17, 2008


I will listen to The Smiths with you, grapefruitfuzz. It isn't wrong not to always be glad.

See, that's what I'm talking about. If I were to follow this guide, would I still love The Smiths? I have too many of their records, including a large collection of bootlegs, to turn back now.
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:05 PM on February 17, 2008


Thanks Decemberboy! Call me morbid or call me plae, but if I get a social life all of a sudden, will I have to get new stuff to go alongside it? And a dog or something? I mean, dogs dribble on themselves. I'm probably better off in this cupboard.
posted by grapefruitzzz at 3:48 PM on February 17, 2008


You guys are so, like, English and stuff.
posted by Dizzy at 5:44 PM on February 17, 2008


The key to social success is believing that other people are supremely important

That is why I will never have it.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:03 PM on February 17, 2008


He doesn't touch much on finding people you'd actually want to be friends with. My social skills are just fine, but I'm naturally pretty solitary, and I have to really like someone to want to spend much time around them. Most of the time I'd rather just be lost in my own thoughts, or with a book. Thus, I hardly have any "casual" friends, just a handful of really close friends, most of whom are now spread out across the country, unfortunately.

Anyone else in the same boat? It bothers me occasionally -- not so much because I get lonely, but because I miss the great times and the conversations I've had with my close friends, and wish I had just one or two of them nearby.
posted by decoherence at 7:36 PM on February 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


Meh. I'm happy being a misanthropic hermit.
posted by wastelands at 10:40 PM on February 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes decoherence, I'm in the same boat. I could have more "friends" than I do. I don't have a problem appearing likeable and whatnot. I have opportunities to be around people. I just don't want to do the things they want to do, and don't want to be close friends with any of the people I know. I really would rather spend Saturday night reading than with most of them. I like being by myself. I'm not lonely, I like being alone, but like you I miss the great times, when you're really sympatico. Those times are just as good as reading...maybe better, because you might actually get to talk about or use what you've read.

That said, I am not as bad at socializing as I used to be. I rarely go out with people, but when I do, I can usually find something enjoyable in the experience, and I'm happy I went. But I need more that I am not feeling. And I don't think those people are the people I'm going to feel it with. So if I have a choice between surfing the web or going out with them, I'll usually choose the web or some other solitary activity.
posted by Danila at 2:39 AM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mrs. Everichon: Why don't you call [friend of many years in Bay Area]?
Me: ... I just spoke to him, like, last year.

I am a deeply crappy friend. OTOH, cats dig me.
posted by everichon at 8:50 AM on February 18, 2008


What do I need with social success. I've got you guys!
posted by nax at 9:58 AM on February 18, 2008


And don't forget the most ironic statements of all:

"I'm bored."


I disagree. Sometimes situations are just boring. You can have interesting people, talking about curious things, and you still feel like more could be going on. In these instances I usually resort to nudity.

And drunkenness.

But I've learned to leave the firearms at home. There are some activities that are just too much fun for the average group of people.

Otherwise, there is some pretty entertaining advice contained in these links.
posted by quin at 10:50 AM on February 18, 2008


The guy is a loser. I imagine there are a lot of equally lame losers out there who will flock to him and celebrate his "success." This is the particular solidarity that one finds among geeks and the generally socially disabled might be called 'Judd Apatow Syndrome'. It's the solidarity of those who are truly desperate, where each is desperate to save himself. His How to Dance article-thingy is especially hilarious though.

That's an awfully harsh condemnation. So is your attitude that such people are beyond help and will always be losers?
posted by Caduceus at 1:48 PM on February 18, 2008


Is anyone else feel extremely socially skilled right now? Because I know I am.
posted by whitewall at 3:09 PM on February 18, 2008


*feeling
posted by whitewall at 3:10 PM on February 18, 2008


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