|10-14-2009, 04:21 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2009
How do I 'grow' socially? What can I do?
I'm new to the forum and very excited to be a part of it!
I'm quite big on personal development and am continually working to improve myself.
One of my 'nagging' challenges, that I often just push to the back of my mind is my loneliness. However, lately I feel that it would positively impact my life
I am a homebody in some ways. I like to be at home, in a calm surrounding, I love to read books and I'm a person who needs to have a decent amount of "me" time. I only have 'pangs' of loneliness here and there. I spend a lot of my time reading personal development books, or any others of interest, and studying for courses and other areas of interest. I love to learn! I guess one of the biggest wake-up calls is hearing others talk about all of these exciting things they've been doing, seeing their pictures up on facebook... whereas my page has nothing really except for an occasional outing...
I wouldn't say that I am terribly unhappy but it nags at me that I don't have many friends (I would say I have 3 or 4 close friends, 2 of which do not live nearby and I only talk to via the internet a couple of times each week. The other 2 are a married couple with 2 children whom I adore and spend a lot of time with - but I know deep down that I need to find other people in my life).
I love the friends I have - they certainly do not 'disappoint' me in any manner. I guess, a major issue is that, because I'm not a pub or club girl, I don't feel like I have anywhere to go to meet a nice young man OR other friends who are genuine and have similar interests. It's not just about meeting a man, but I'm 26 years old and I want to find my Mr Right one day soon! I want to increase my social circle all around - but I don't want superficial relationships, and I can't pretend to be someone who loves blaring music that hurts my ears, drinking and smoking.... just as an example.
I don't want to be dull & friendless! I wonder what on earth I'd do if for whatever reason I lost the 2 friends I have here... just as a way to point out to myself what I know - that I'm really putting all of my eggs in one basket. I would say that I'm relatively shy, not 100% confident at all times (but working on that)... but there has to be something out there that I can do?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
|10-14-2009, 04:34 AM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Los Angeles
For me, the easiest way to make friends is to start talking to people and introducing myself whenever I'm in a group of people I don't know. I used to have a very small, close group of friends that I'd known for a long time, but now I have started making a lot more friends in new places.
I would recommend putting yourself in group situations, if you don't already find yourself in many, which will give you many more opportunities to meet people and make friends. For instance, I tried rock climbing and am now very interested in it. I climb a lot at the rock wall near me, and have become fast friends with a lot of other climbers there. It is always easy to make friends in groups because you know you have something in common with everyone else.
Since you love learning and reading, maybe you could join a local book club or personal development group. That way you'll meet lots of people with similar interests, and have something to talk about and build a friendship from.
|10-14-2009, 04:54 AM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Madison, WI
You could try meetup.com. If you live in a larger city, it's pretty easy to find a group that you can connect with. Also if you have any other interests besides reading. Think about what you would like to do that you haven't tried. For example outdoor activities. Also sign up for a dating site. Match.com for instance. I am not dating anyone seriously at the moment but I have met some wonderful people through online networking. Ask coworkers if there's anyone they could hook you up with. Even if it doesn't work out, they might know someone who would work better.
I think the main thing is to be friends with yourself. When you love and accept yourself, others will sense this and be drawn to you. Until recently I had one friend. (well I am friends with my daughter but I'm not counting her) But I didn't let it bother me. I used my alone time to really get to know myself and what I want out of life and relationships with other people. Now I am making quite a few friends but I still cherish my alone times. I think you might be someone like me who gains energy through being alone. Being with people for too long can be draining. Right? There is nothing wrong with this. Increasing your circle of friends will take some effort. It took me about a year to make more friends. When I first started out, it was very discouraging but I didn't give up. Good luck!
|10-14-2009, 05:12 AM||#4 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: New York, NY
Amazon.com: Always Talk to Strangers: 3 Simple Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life (9780399530661): David Wygant, Bryan Swerling: Books
It's a dating/"find the love of your life" kind of book. The benefit that I got, however, was that I opened up a lot socially.
I was already definitely presentable to friends' girlfriends/families/etc., and I had many diverse & interesting friendships. Still, I felt like...well, if you dropped me in a city where I didn't know anybody and gave me 50cents, would I be able to survive? I'd heard of such tasks being given to people as a challenge to grow.
I read this book as I stayed in a city for one month, on assignment - and knew nobody. I made it my week-end practice to walk around town and talk to as many people as I could. Naturally most of the people I approached were women but I found myself hanging with couples, dudes, even people at the security desk & opening up a good conversation with them.
Easy practice is to have a 30-second conversation with a supermarket check-out register person.
Moderate practice is to have a 3-minute conversation with a total stranger in a public park on a Saturday.
Challenging practice is to go to a party where you know nobody, and stay there for 3 hours striking up conversations with random people.
Socializing is like a muscle - the more you use it, the stronger (and more fun) it gets.
I've done the know-nobody party-crashing several times btw...I'd feel such a high after I left, because I went in with nothing and came out with at least a bunch of great conversations. It's an accomplishment in a way.
Hope this helps...
|10-14-2009, 10:59 AM||#6 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2009
It is rather comforting to hear that I'm not a freak of nature! Lol
How did you find going onto a dating site? I have thought about this before, but I haven't ever had the guts to do it.
I took everyone's advice and went and signed up on meetup.com, and I'm looking forward to pushing myself to attend some activities from there!
Thanks everyone for your responses so far!
|10-14-2009, 11:09 AM||#7 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2009
The funny thing about your practice is that I do some of these things. I have a bit of a motto of sharing love & acceptance after reading "Love As A Way of Life" by Gary Chapman (great book, I recommend it to everyone!). I make a point of talking to the 'everyday' people that we always forget, like the checkout people, or door guards, etc. I always try to be nice and positive... but I guess it's just never gone past that. I be nice, sometimes they chat a little.. and then I go and that's it... I've talked to people in a park while taking my Godchildren there, and usually quite happily have a short conversation with a person in the line at a checkout. They don't always respond in a nice way, and that puts me off for a little while - but in general, I'm a chatty person and I love to be happy and make people smile and feel special.
I should also mention that I work with children (mostly young girls) and I make it my personal goal to build them up as much as possible - make them happy and strong and understanding... I do as much 'personal development' for them as I can in my role...
Seriously, what do you do when you turn up to a party, or a bar, or ... somewhere by yourself?? I often have thought about it and then I think "Gosh, what would I do?? Just stand there?? What is nobody wanted to talk to me?" LOL
|10-14-2009, 12:58 PM||#8 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jun 2009
I read a lot of books on personal development and communication skills - Feel The Fear and do it Anyway, How to Win Friends and Influence People and a lot of stuff on body language for instance. Just be careful not to overdo the books - nothing beats getting out there and actually interacting and having conversations with people.
Some of the things, that have helped me:
The advantage with singles parties are that people are there specifically to meet other people, so they want to talk to you. Personally I used it more as a way to meet new people, not to find the love of my life
By the way - I'd be careful about labelling yourself as dull. I used to think of myself as introverted and boring, but it turned out those things were created mainly by my circumstances - not going out there and doing fun stuff and talking to everybody.
Progress can come very quickly, once you make a concious effort to improve your social skills! I had a date yesterday which lasted for five hours with non-stop relaxed conversation.. something that would have been unthinkable for me half a year ago without me being very anxious.
The main thing is to keep at it, even though you experience setbacks, which you undoubtedly will. To quote Michael Jordan:
"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
Also - if you lose your two friends, you can find new ones.. trust me!
Last edited by Coffeesmurf; 10-14-2009 at 01:05 PM.
|10-14-2009, 04:23 PM||#9 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2009
Building your social skills is not something you can learn from a book. But if it makes you feel better, I can recommend you the only two books you'll ever need on social interaction:
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes
Those two books have very specific advice on things you can do to be more sociable.
That being said, the only way you are going to make new friends or meet new people is if you increase your social activities. Someone up thread suggested meetup.com, and I agree that that is a great way to meet people.
Another option is to volunteer for things in your community. (VolunteerMatch - Where Volunteering Begins)
You don't have to be a club rat to meet people. But you DO have to get involved.
|10-15-2009, 09:07 AM||#11 (permalink)|
Join Date: Sep 2008
First, there's nothing wrong with being a homebody. Some people actually prefer women like that.
As for your man, here is something I wrote for another member:
In regard to your life, you could do a few things;
1) Sign up for workshops, groups (maybe reading circles), etc.. where you can meet other like minded people
2) Come up with an image of what you would like your life to be and look like. Spend 15-30 minutes writing out how you would like your ideal life to be then come up with a plan to make it happen. After that, take some action on the plan.
3) Do any inner work that involves loving yourself more. The more you love yourself, the more other people want to be around you. You're like a magnet to them. Maybe Louise Hay's "You Can Heal Your Life?" would be good for you?
I hope this helps! BTW, I always think people have way more friends then they realize.
|10-15-2009, 05:34 PM||#14 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: New York, NY
First, people are usually more afraid of you than you are afraid of them. SO...when you are feeling all shy and withdrawn, and people are not talking to you, it's usually not you it's them! (work with me on this one for a moment, ok?)
SO. by you going up to them and talking about ANYTHING (weather, sports...their clothes or jewelry is a great conversation starter)...you'll be helping them get out of their shells.
I usually finish a conversation.. then look around for a person who is standing alone & bored. Easy, low-hanging fruit for me to go over and say hi.
To start a conversation, just approach in a friendly way and say "Hi!". How are you, what are you up to, how has your week been...these questions can get mechanical but they are easy practice & can also be good ice breakers.
Think of it that way. Most people who go to parties have a miserable time, which is why they don't go to parties again. By giving them the gift of a good conversation... you'll have made their night. (I have had people email me thanking me for going over & talking to them, saving them from a complete waste of a night. Kind of feels good)
Again, just start talking to them about anything. Find something they are passionate about, and just invite to them talk about it & listen. You'll have a new best friend in no time.
|10-16-2009, 01:57 AM||#16 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jun 2009
Sunshine82, where were you when I joined this forum? A lot of good advice which will set you on your way in no time. I have read some but not all of the books listed and they really do help if you apply them. Two more that have helped me more than a little are: "Psychocybernetics" by Maxwell Maltz and "The Power of Your Subconscious Mind" by Joseph Murphy (revised by Ian McMahan). Best of luck to you and I hope you'll post as you get results.
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