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6 Most Important Social Skills You Can Have To Make A Great Social Life

6 Most Important Social Skills You Can Have To Make A Great Social Life

As a lifehacker, you probably know that some of your actions are responsible for most of your success. When it comes to making friends and having a great social life, some social skills make the most difference. Here are six of them.

1. Find Great Places To Meet New People

Friendship always happens in a certain environment. This environment can be a school, a workplace, or just a friends’ house. It always starts with a circumstance that brings people together. This happens mostly by chance, and that is far from ideal.

If you want a great social life, it’s better to take control of this aspect and find great places to meet new people. I recommend you find private settings like local communities or meet-up clubs around your interests. As a rule of thumb, you need to find places where it’s natural to walk up to a stranger and introduce yourself.

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2. Select The Right People

When you meet someone new and like them, you need to know if they are ready for a new friendship. Some people just have too many friends already, and some are going through a stressful event and can’t find the time to be social.

You’re better off not taking this as rejection; they just don’t have the time to be friends.

If you want to find out if they’re ready for friendship, then try and find out if they’re active socially. You can do that in two ways: first, you can ask where they go out, and second, pay attention to what they’re going through in their life. If someone is about to move, change jobs, get married or have a baby, you can be sure they won’t have time to hang out.

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3. Spot Commonalities With Others

A common mistake people make when meeting new friends is that they focus on how the other person is different from them. They start to point out differences in opinion as a way to show how unique they are. It’s a good thing to be unique, but that should not prevent you from connecting with potential friends.

Instead, you should look for similarities in opinions, habits, goals, and interests. That will give you a little common ground, so you can build a friendship if you want to. You can always argue with them and even tease them once they become your friends.

4 – Show Little Vulnerabilities Early On

This sounds more risky than it really is. If you’re going to be friends with someone, there is a level of trust to establish; both of you have to disclose some things to each other.

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To kick-start a friendship, there is a level of trust that has to be built. Even as you’re just getting to know someone, there is a need for the sense of “we can trust each other.”

You don’t have to reveal big secrets from your life. All you have to do is be a little more open. A rule of thumb is to be 5% more open than usual. When you do that, you can see that the other person will be more inclined to do the same; they too will reveal some vulnerability. These can be weird or funny habits, or quirks each of you have. It plays a great part in the friendship process, but most people aren’t even aware of it.

5 – Show Others That You Like Them

When you first meet someone, you both have to like each other to become friends. This entirely subjective aspect about first encounters shouldn’t scare you. What you can do here is always assume that you’re going to be liked, and that you generally like to meet new people.

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When you hold these two mindsets, you automatically start to behave in a way that signals to other people that you like them, which makes them like you. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy: if they think you like them, they’ll start to like you.

6 – Treat Making Friends As A Skill

The irony here is that the socially successful people never stop learning about friendship and making friends. Socially unsuccessful people, on the other hand, think that it’s something you‘re either born with or not.

It’s true that some of us have learned it very well at a young age. And others, like me, had to figure it all out a little later. Like any other skill, it has principles and techniques that anyone can learn. The good news is that once you start learning, you can only get better.

More by this author

Paul Sanders

A communication expert who tries to help people improve their social skills and make friends anywhere.

How To Be More Social If You Are an Introvert How to Keep a Conversation Going and Never Run Out of Things to Say What to Do When You Have No Friends and Feel Lonely 7 Tips How to Make Friends During College 5 Reasons Why Your Social Life Isn’t Improving, And What To Do About It

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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