3 steps to developing better social skills
Welcome to another weekly newsletter, lovingly named the “Beyond The Breakup Newsletter.”
It’s the newsletter that provides you with big ideas on how to grow and improve as a person and build better relationships so you can avoid a future breakup.
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Along with the fancy weekly newsletter, I’m also going to give you access to 4 exercises that will help you stop obsessing over your ex as soon as you sign up.
At some point after a breakup, most people begin dating again. Therefore, reliable social skills become a must-have.
If you see a person you fancy, you would probably want to head over to them, invite them out, or at least signify to them to come to you and then invite them out. And when you’re on your date, you need social skills to avoid turning the whole thing into a hodgepodge of awkward silences.
These are just some of the reasons why practicing social skills is a must, and while there are many ways you can go about it, but in this newsletter, I’ll share three steps on how I teach clients to do it and how I’ve done it myself.
I recommend you repeat the below three steps until you get them ingrained in your mind. Repetition is the mother of all skill, after all.
Note: I know you might be tempted to talk to people you’re attracted to, but if you’re just starting out, talking to people to who you aren’t attracted to will help you improve social skills way faster since you won’t be so nervous around them.
Step 1: Glances, smiles, and greetings
Look, smile, greet: this is your starting point. Some of you are naturally going to be more confident or extroverted, so you may already be above this step. If so, feel free to skip it. But, for others who are just starting on this self transformational journey, I recommend reading this through and implementing what you’re about to find out.
Begin developing your social skills by exchanging glances with the strangers that you pass daily. You can do this on the street, park, mall, or just about in any place that’s bursting with people.
When you feel comfortable, try to incorporate a smile into the routine and maybe even a slight nod, which communicates “good day/hello.” Then observe if any of the passerby’s smile back at you.
The last part of this step is incorporating a greeting into your practice. So when you feel ready, try it out: when someone passes you by, look them in the eyes, smile, and greet them with whatever phrase you favor. I usually stick to the vanilla: “Hello” or “Good evening/good afternoon.”
Now all that’s left is to repeat this step until you become somewhat comfortable with it. When that happens, feel free to step 2.
And the reason I say “until you become somewhat comfortable with it” is because some people, usually more introverted ones, will never be fully comfortable talking to others, and that’s ok. It was never the goal anyway. The real goal is improvement and not perfection.
Step 2: asking for Advice and opinions
The next step is all about asking random people for advice and opinions on everyday things. For instance, start asking older adults on park benches about their life, their day, or even the weather if you’re still reluctant or shy.
Sometimes all that you’re going to hear are quick and useless answers, but other times, the comments of all the strangers you talk you, might surprise you. Hopefully, in a good way.
The bottom line is that the more conversations you initiate, the more social experiences you’re gaining. So every rejection is just practice. I mean, you’re preparing yourself for dating, and dating is filled with rejection.
If you’re not comfortable initiating conversations with total strangers yet, there is a middle way to this step – initiate conversations with clerks at your local stores. It’s their job to answer your questions, so you might be more comfortable.
For example, go to a clothing store and ask the people there for advice or opinions related to what they sell.
- “Does this shirt look good on me?”
- “What do you think would go well with this henley?”
- “I’m looking for a first date outfit, any recommendations?”, “What’s your style? What would you want to wear when going out?”
When you’re comfortable with executing everything that goes into step 2 repeatedly, move on to the last step – step 3.
STEP 3: small talk
Our last step is essentially a mix of everything we’ve learned in the previous two. Here’s what to do:
- Visit a mall, a park, a town show, or any crowded place.
- Go and meet new people around you, and ask them for opinions and advice, greet them, and exchange glances – do everything you’ve learned till now.
- Start asking the people who seem enthusiastic about talking to you simple questions about their daily life. You can also sprinkle in clever remarks or witty responses into your discussion. Be creative.
Now all that’s left is to repeat all that you’ve learned. If you’re already confident enough with your social skills, you can already start inviting the people you fancy on a date, asking for phone numbers, etc.
Fun fact, when I started out giving breakup advice, the whole thing was catered to men. This is an old interview I made with a friend on the topic of dating after a breakup – how to do it, what to avoid, those kinds of things.
Feel free to watch it. I can guarantee you will find some of the information inside incredibly valuable, even if you’re a woman 🙂