Other articles from “Get a Social Life From Scratch” series.
It’s been quite some time since I last wrote, and the reality is, I was just very busy. I was busy with developing an application for a local social network site (similar to Facebook). The application is a part of my social experiment. Further details will come in later articles.
Another exciting thing I want to share with you is that I took a trip to Warsaw, where I saw Coldplay in concert. The city was amazing and the show was spectacular. I’ll give more details about the trip later on.
What I Discovered About Myself
If you recall, my last article was about how you can recreate your social circle. Well, this time around, it’s time to learn how to create it… from scratch! Now, there are several pieces of advice I could give you, one of the best comes from my former self – the unsocial me – “You’ve got to tell folks about you!”
I am so emotional about it and apply this advice to my day-to-day life, which has resulted in tremendous progress on my path of getting a social life.
You probably already know that to learn about one another and to become friends, you need to open up and tell people about yourself. If you don’t open up, how are they going to learn anything about you? How will they learn if you have things in common; something that can bring the two of you together?
You probably already do this…without even thinking about it. You tell people who you are, what kind of job you do, what kinds of movies you like and more. You probably give them a description of yourself without even thinking about it.
This is very good, but providing people with this kind of information has very little to no impact on deepening your relationships with them in a way that can lead to a friendship between you. Why? Let me explain.
At one point in my life, I thought I had some kind of social paradox taking place. After all, I had people around me – friends from the university and some other folks. I was really socializing, and from the outside looking in, I had a rich social life. What did I have to complain about?
The reality was that not everything was as it seemed. Sure, things were fine but there was something missing. I had all these acquaintances but no real friends – nobody I felt that deep human connection with. I still felt lonely. It’s not anybody’s fault but my own. I was using the wrong approach to build strong relationships.
Basically, there was no paradox! The explanation of not having friends was logical… it boiled down to not sharing the right kind of information about myself to make friends. Instead of sharing personality information, which is used to make friends, I was sharing factual information about myself.
So, when I say you should “tell more about you”, I don’t mean that you have to fill in all the fields of your Facebook profile and be satisfied with it. After all, your profile contains factual information only. Sure, it’s great if your list of interests matches someone else’s list; but it’s definitely not sufficient for you to become friends. Factual information is just a place to start from.
Another fine example of factual information comes in the form of a cover letter. Cover letters are ideal for getting a company’s attention to hire you for a position. However, you can’t make friends with someone with just their cover letter.
It’s good to have something that unites the both of you but it’s not enough. People become friends with one another because they acquire one another’s personalities, which are manifested in hundreds of inconspicuous ways. It cannot be attained on just sharing dry facts about your life.
What you need to do is focus on showcasing your personality information rather than your factual information.
Don’t Just Tell Dry Facts, Tell Your Personality
How can you be more open with people? The trick is to share what’s inside you – the advantages and drawbacks – and, when you do this, they’ll respond. In fact, they may even share something private with you.
When you talk about yourself, base the words on facts and add your personality in with them. Here are a couple of examples of dry and personality fact:
Dry Fact: I graduated from college last year.
Example of sharing personality: I graduated from college last year. Although I had encountered several obstacles along the way, I am thankful to my friends and teachers for helping me to overcome those roadblocks and finally graduate.
Dry Fact: Yep, I watched that movie yesterday.
Example of sharing personality: I watched that movie yesterday. It brought back some sweet memories of my first love.
Truth is if the person you’re talking to has had or is experiencing the same issues or feelings, they’re liable to sympathize with you. Personality information, it’s:
My biggest problem is conveying my emotions. In certain situations, I stayed calm and indifferent. And, for many folks, this was strange behavior. While everyone else was having a good time – laughing, joking, dancing – I was the guy in the corner, yawning and looking bored.
Why would I do that? It mostly due to the insecure feelings I had. I thought if I showed emotions, people would see me as vulnerable. I was a terminator… no emotions – cold and hard!
Sure, there will be instances where you feel indifferent. For instance, you may feel bored or tired. Why act interested in things you’re really not. But, if you see something going on that makes you feel giddy, don’t stop that feeling!
I’d be lying if I said this was easy for me. If you’re uncomfortable on the idea of opening up, it’s okay! That’s how it should be. The work of opening up should be done gradually. You might feel a little clumsy when you’re expressing your feelings. Just continue with this opening up and everything will be good.
– If you’re surprised about something – show it! Don’t pretend you were not surprised.
– If you are disappointed with something – say something! Don’t pretend you are OK.
– If you’re enjoying an activity, say: “That’s great! I really like it!” Do not pretend that what you’re doing doesn’t invoke any emotions.
Yes, there are instances where you need a poker face. However, this doesn’t involve making friends with somebody.
Your Passions and Dreams
Why are they so important? Talking about your aspirations and hopes helps to attract someone who may share similar ones. It is one of the biggest successes in life when you find a like-minded person. If people know that you have the same goal as they do, they may give you the support you need to achieve it.
Of course, it should be a really deep passion or goal you’re looking to attain – something that lives within your heart and will guide you through life.
– Not A Deep Dream – Purchase a new phone
– Deep Lifetime Goal – Become a good mother/father and to raise happy, healthy children. To begin a business that changes the world for the better.
Don’t be shy about it. Don’t be afraid that other people may laugh at you. Do not avoid your passions and dreams. You may gain so much more from telling them out loud than hiding them from the rest of the world.
For instance, I sometimes think my dreams are silly, naïve. However, those dreams often light my way. I love them and I love sharing them with folks that I love.
Your Failures and Successes
One great way to tell about you is to share your failures and victories with other folks. This will help people to see the “real” you. Tell people what you are proud of and thankful for as well as what you regret in your life.
If it’s an achievement – talk about it. Do not underestimate your accomplishment. If it’s a mistake, talk about what you learned from it.
I used to avoid talking about my successes in the past because I was afraid that people would decide that I was bragging about it. Keep in mind though there’s a big difference between sharing your success and bragging.
Talking about your success becomes bragging when you contrast your success with someone else’s failure (or lack of success). With this approach, you send a message: “I’ve done it – you haven’t.” This will lead to irritation from that person.
However, if you share your success, you tell the person how happy you are and can show others that they do can attain their goals.
There’s a huge difference between sharing your failures and complaining.
When you share your failures or regrets, you tell others what you learned from them. This effort can lead folks to use your experiences to avoid problems. When you complain, you’re looking for other people to take pity on you. This can make folks feel like you’re demanding something from them and giving them nothing in return.
Are You Playing A Spy Game?
Do you have files on the folks around you – files that you keep hidden? For example: Bill tends to exaggerate, Laura may be noisy sometimes and Peter is obsessed with personal development. You can describe your friends’ personalities easily; however, your friends have a hard time coming up with anything about you.
This approach looks like you’re safeguarding your ego but it’s a deceptive approach. In the end, you’re depriving yourself of the happiness that comes with deep interpersonal relationships with its positives and negatives.
Openly talking about yourself to others is the key to filling your life with friends! It also gives the opportunity for people to fill their life with you.