Tag Archives: group

The Point of No Return in Group Conversations

Group talks have distinctive unstructured chaotic nature and come across as one of the most challenging social interactions an introvert or a shy and socially anxious person may find her/himself involved into.

In this short article I would like to present you the idea of the point of no return in groups talks, and how it can harm or help you.

I regard myself as a introverted person. Still I’m very eager to participate in social interactions despite the excess of them leaves me completely drained of my energy.

Nevertheless, when you just meet up with your friends, you are fresh and anticipate that you’ll spend some really good time with them.

When the talk starts (or you join active one), it’s OK to spend a number of initial minutes to tune in to a vibe of the conversation. It’s fine to feel kind of tongue-tied in the beginning.

However, once you figured out the kind of discussion: its topic, its mood — you have like about 5 minutes at max to kick your two cents in.

If you miss that point, two unpleasant things start to unfold:

a) You begin getting nervous that you haven’t said anything yet. And that if you say something now it will look awkward after so much silence from your side;

b) Other people may start considering you as quiet, and will begin to ignore you (like making no eye contact with you).

The Point of No Return, though having a dramatic name, is not that fatal, of course. Missing it does not necessarily make you obliged to stay silent through the rest of the group conversation.

It’s more of a warning sign which may make it a bit harder for you to start talking once you’ve passed it.

Where to Meet People

There’s no predetermined set of places where you must meet people. However there are different stereotypes that may make you believe that there’s such a set.

For example, you may think that people ‘should’ or ‘are supposed to’ be met in bars and nightclubs, but that’s nothing more than just a viewpoint, imposed on you by society and culture.

The obvious truth is that people can be (and should be) met at any place at any time.

But! Despite a social interaction is possible anywhere, for beginners and socially insecure people it’s easier to build communication in some context.

No need to argue that making a conversation with a random person in the street is harder than with someone who attends the same gym as you do. In this example the gym creates a context for you and other person, thus making it easier to establish a communication with each other.

The context is easily created with identifying yourself with some social group. In plain words, joining it.

By entering a social group you get access to easier, more natural communication with its members as people around are using the same context, i.e. they share similar or identical opinions and goals which are in alignment with the group goal, when some external factor influences the group, every and each member feels it, and so on. In other words, you have something in common.

When seeking for a group to join make sure it’s in alignment with your goals/passion and outlook on life – it’s easier to interact with like-minded people. Also pay attention to the size of the social group.

For example, if you try talking to some person in the street, it probably will be hard to sustain a long dialog. Although you both belong to the same group – you are citizens of the same country, the social group which context you’re trying to use is too big.

However, if you talk to someone of your age, it’ll be easier to interact, as the social group you both belong to is sized down.

It’s like putting filters on a search in on-line store. If you do not apply any filter, you’ll be given a long list of all the goods the shop may offer to you. It’ll be hard to get what you want. And vice versa: the more filters you put on the goods you want to see, the more productive and satisfying your shopping experience becomes.

So try to narrow it down to some degree. Use your interests, your points of view as filters to identify that social group you may gain from and contribute to the most (i.e., receive and give a high-quality fulfilling social communication).

I don’t need to tell you what kind of places I’m talking about: gyms, educational courses, hobby clubs, various workshops where you can master some skills (like cooking) – they all are at your disposal and are easily available.

Instead I’ll try to identify some reasons, some barriers why you may refuse going there and joining them.

I’ll be telling from my experience, and the chance is you can relate at some point.

When I was younger, like about 18-20 years old I was having that problem – in spite of diverse set of opportunities and places to meet people available to me, I did not use any. I was sitting at home, in front of my computer, trying to figure out how and where I can meet people.

I think the issue was that I felt like a school student, a child in comparison with ‘adult’ people who attended those places. I was less experienced in life overall and thus felt myself inferior to other members of social groups I could be interested in joining. It, in its turn, created a barrier for social communication.

While, in fact, it can be true, that you are less experienced than, for example, your peers, or older people, you are still have a right for social interaction. And the truth is that in most cases it’s not them who violate this right, but you.

Recalling my past, I realize that I was that person who didn’t let social experiences happen to me.

Such places (like gyms, hobby clubs) may gather people of various age. Don’t let it discourage you. My social interaction opportunities also were limited with a prejudice that I can not interact with even slightly older people.

As I was becoming older, it appeared to be that that was only my inner barrier, which did not correlate with reality. The truth is that when I go to some club these days and meet a young person there, a teenager, I do not relate to him as a young inexperienced, inferior person. Well, I can relate to him as a person from another age group/generation, but it doesn’t decrease my interest in social interaction with that person.

If you really feel like a beginner at such places, start with asking for some advice. Many people would be more than happy to help you.

Perhaps, you may be kind of dismissive toward such clubs, thinking it’s a waste of time, it’s boring, and that people who go there are nerds, etc. But try to be a little bit less preconceived and judging and more open toward all these hobby classes and people who attend them. Give it a try, and perhaps next time you meet a peer you’ll be the one who is more experienced socially.

Not inviting someone to a party

From one of my top articles, called How To Get Invited To A Party, you may grasp which social tactics to use in order to deal with an issue of not being invited to parties.

This time let’s consider the opposite situation. You are a host, and you do not want to invite someone to your party.

Obviously, you have only two ways out of this condition: either invite that person or not to invite that person.

Here are pros and cons of each option.

Not to invite:

The advantage of this choice is clear: that person will not come to your party. However, there are some unpleasant disadvantages you should pay attention to.

First one is that the person, essentially, may get offended by your rejection. Depending on the person’s character, s/he may not reveal it. However, be ready to explain why you are not inviting that person to your party. The best explanation I can think of right now, is to tell that person, that s/he will be bored by people you’re going to invite, and by party overall. Not sure if it’s the best option under your circumstances, but it may work out. If the person continues to insist, well, as a tactful man you will have no choice but to let that person come.

By the way, there’s a workaround in this case. You may suggest the person to come to another party you are throwing. If the party you’re arranging is birthday party, you may consider breaking it in several… “episodes”. Arrange one party for each group you are in. For example, for some time I was well in two separate groups of friends. However, it would be a disaster to arrange one birthday party for both groups as they were quite different in a lot of ways. So I simply split my birthday into two parties: one for each group.

Another “trick” is not to tell that person about the party. There is a smell of cheating in the air, but most people do it. The problem is that if you and that person have mutual friends, those friends may tell him/her that you’re throwing a party, which will result in embarrassing situation. Again, depending on the person you don’t want to invite, s/he either will nurse a grievance against you, or will ask you about the party and invitation openly.

Invite:

OK, now let’s talk about what actually happens if you invite that person. I do not know true reasons why you don’t want that friend of yours to be at your party, so I’ll just try to guess.

Will that person look immature comparatively to other guests? Does s/he act in a way that does not match your other friends’ regular style of interacting? Perhaps, making a fool of him/herself? Like that guy, who climbed up the tree, from the Transformers movie? Maybe s/he tells lame jokes you do not want other persons to listen to?

You’re afraid that it will make harm to the party, your friends will be irritated. But do you actually worry about your friends being dissatisfied? No. You worry about yourself: you don’t want your social status in this group to be harmed.

How do you think it will affect you personally? Do you feel in charge of that friend’s behavior? You do not want to invite that person, not actually because of that person, but because you do not want your other friends, whose opinions are important to you, to think about you in a negative way. Maybe you are thinking that they will project your friend’s silly behavior onto you?

That’s all completely understandable. But let me tell you from my experience that a high chance is that the unwelcome guest, who plays the fool when you are one on one, will correct his/her behavior.

If s/he is really no match for the people who gathered for the party (no common interest to discuss, different sense of humor), that guy or girl will likely be silent all evening long, get bored in the first hour, figure out that s/he doesn’t fit in (as you warned him/her) and make a decision to leave. However, s/he may stay a little later in order not to offend the host (i.e., you).

Of course, every case is unique. Despite all the statistics there’s still a chance something unexpected will occur. For example, that person you were avoiding to invite may start confronting the other guest. Once I invited a guy, who was not among my closest friends, but still interesting person to talk to. So I thought that he would add “something new and fresh” to the party. And he started arguing with my other (close) friend, insulting him. Well, that was kind of uncomfortable situation. He left in an hour or so. I just said something like “Sorry, I didn’t expect that from him”, but I do not think my friends needed any excuses from me anyway. The incident was immediately forgotten.

 “Blah-blah-blah… I’m fed up with your theoretical reasoning, now what should I do?”

Keep calm and…

If the person is just an acquaintance, feel free to choose and use any described above method.

However, if that person is your true friend, then I would recommend you invite him/her to the party, despite any doubts and fears you may keep inside. I did the opposite several times. Now I regret about it. So learn from my mistakes, not yours 😉