OMG UPDATE: Question? Answer.

Updated on Tuesday, April 1

#6232

QUESTION: I didn't really have any friends for the first 20 years of my life due to shyness/awkwardness/general eccentricity. I've been improving over the past four years and I've gone from "weird" to "quiet" or maybe "serious", but I've still got a long way to go. Like, two decades worth. There's a lot of social protocol I don't get and I struggle with small talk (seriously, if the conversation deviates from the normal script... I blue-screen) . A couple questions!

First: is there some kind of social manual I can read/where are good places to practice small talk?

Second: I was with a few co-workers at a pub the other day. One was like "Hey, that girl just smiled at you when you looked at her" followed by another saying "I saw that too, make your move!" with the last one just nodding at me. Or they'll try to suggest the server is being extra friendly to me. My friends/co-workers do this fairly often but I don't think what they're saying is true. Why are they doing this to *me* in particular? What are they trying to accomplish? I don't think I give off the vibe that girls make me nervous (disclosure: THEY DO), so why would they be pushing me to talk to girls?

I guess now would be a good time to mention I'm male.

THANKS!

11 comments

  1. 1 - literally anywhere, strike up a conversation at the bus stop, in line at a place to eat, anywhere. just get that mouth moving for practice, you'll probably never see that person again, what have you got to lose?

    2 - they think you are lonely

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  2. 1. Its hard man, I know. All I can say is you need to realize and believe in your heart of hearts that EVERYONE loves talking about nothing. No one will ever feel imposed upon if you invite them to flap their mouths for a while as long as its clear its just gabbing. I don't mean to talk down to small talk (ha!) but I want to make it clear just how little substance something can have and still be fun to talk about at a bus stop :)

    2: This sucks, especially if what they're saying is actually not true. Not sure what to do here since I never got this even before I started dating at 19. If they're close friends then confront them and tell them to stop. Otherwise...not sure

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  3. 1. Play the sims. That sounds like awful social advice but if you're as horribly awkward as I am then it'll help because it takes a lot of interactions to build up the friendship meter between two sims, but if you do the same interaction more than a couple times your sims will get bored of the conversation and start losing friend points instead. So you have to constantly vary the conversation. Also they have interactions specific to certain personality types, or if you've discovered a star you can talk to other sims about it, or you can announce good news or ask about their day and stuff like that. To practice small-talk just go to your nearest retirement home and hang around with some seniors in the lobby. They love company and they're not judgmental. And you get some pretty interesting stories.

    2. How long has it been since you've had a girlfriend? They might think you're lonely or they could be just having a bit of fun trying to play wingman.

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  4. regarding 2: they probably realize you are shy or unsure of yourself and want to encourage you to do things that will improve your social skills / get you to talk to women and possibly get a date

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  5. I hate pleasantries with a passion. I used to try, and the conversation gets so insincere and inorganic that I just learned not to give a shit anymore. If I'm stuck in an elevator with an acquaintance who I don't have natural chemistry with I'd just stand in silence.

    The most annoying question is: "How was your weekend?" NOBODY CARES ABOUT MY/YOUR WEEKEND.

    Co-op turned me into a misanthrope :D

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    1. Oh, sorry. I got so wrapped up in my hatred of human beings that I forgot to give you advice.

      My takeaway is... learn to be comfortable with your quirks. Don't get so wrapped up in changing yourself to adapt to how society *expects* you to act (unless how you currently act is detrimental to your/someone else's wellbeing). Focus on building your confidence naturally and becoming the best possible version of yourself.

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  6. Stick to your calculator brah

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  7. Live as a hermit. I have the exact same problem and this is what I'm going to do.

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  8. 1. - I'd stay away from online sources of information, like forums which revolve around picking up girls, etc. I don't go on them myself but they've popped up on many a Google search and tbh, I find a lot of information on there warped and not in touch with reality.
    - The best thing to do is make a friend or hang around someone (e.g., co-worker) with very good social skills! Make several of these friends and watch for patterns in how they interact with people. How do they get people to like them?? Try some of the things they do, that you are comfortable with.
    - Join a team sport/learn to dance. You'll be able to both meet people and learn to communicate better through your body language (e.g., when you're signalling to someone in a sport).

    2. To be honest, I think you're good-looking and you don't notice the attention of girls, and they're pointing it out to you. This is just the vibe I get, but I may be wrong.

    Hope this helps!!

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    1. By the way, you sound very charming/endearing in your post.

      Keep being who you are, and work on the social skills along the way. :)

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  9. This sounds a lot like me.

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