Tag Archives: social circle

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.

Become Your Own Psychologist: Learn How to Overcome Social Anxiety!

social anxiety
Image by Adam Przewoski

Social Anxiety is a disorder characterized by a persistent fear of social situations, resulting in distress or interference with daily life functioning. The person affected with social anxiety would’ve realized that their fear is irrational, but cannot avoid it. Some common fears that people with social anxiety experience are: eating/drinking in the presence of strangers, public speaking, using public toilets and writing in public. Sometimes you might experience these things even if you don’t have social anxiety: what determines whether you have social anxiety is severity, duration, whether it causes interference/distress and how you respond to it.

Why does social anxiety occur and why is it so difficult to get rid off? People with social anxiety suffer from a repeated cycle where: Continue reading Become Your Own Psychologist: Learn How to Overcome Social Anxiety!

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.

How You Can Recreate Your Social Circle: Why People Lose Touch and Why They Find It Difficult To Reconnect

Other articles from “Get a Social Life From Scratch” series.

Okay, so you don’t have any friends. Don’t fret! You can still get a social life from scratch. There’s help for you in recreating your social circle – the steps you should take and your view of the situation – so that you can get back in touch with those folks you once knew but haven’t seen in some time.

You know the ones – friends from school/university/college or a previous job – people you haven’t seen in some time. If you’ve had a social life before but just lost touch with friends, then don’t look any further to learn how you can create your social circle from the ground up.

Why Did The Break-Up Occur

There are various reasons in life why friends no longer speak to one another. Even best friends, who swear to be friends for life, will break up. What are some of the common reasons for friendships ending?

1 – Separate Interests

One of the more common reasons that friendships end is the sharing of separate interests with each other. If there’s nothing to unite the two of you, then sooner or later each of you will follow his/her own path. Just because a friendship ends a long time ago doesn’t mean it cannot be revived once more today.

Things tend to change with time. What does that mean? It means that you have a chance to rekindle the friendship if you meet up with your friend after a long period of time. You might even have similar interests, new and old.

2 – Moving

Another common reason for friendships ending is that one of you moved either to another city or country to take a job or school. This tends to occur after high school or college when students go off to college or a job in various regions of the country.

Just because you move, it doesn’t mean the friendship is over. Keep in mind that young people are exposed to a new environment – things they haven’t known or seen before. School life appears dull compared to the adult life, which is why many friendships fall to the waste side.

3 – Fighting

Many times a friendship will end over a disagreement or fight. But, believe it or not, there is a possibility to renew a friendship even when fights have occurred and not speaking to each other for a significant period of time has happened.

Fearful Of A Reunion

Do you have fears of reuniting with your old friends? This is the point in time where you need to alleviate those fears. Of course, there are four common doubts and anxieties people have about rekindling friendships with old friends:

1 – Fearful Of The Past

If you and your friend have had some issues in your relationship, you may worry that those rough edges will rear their ugly head again.

Assume for argument’s sake that you’d like to get in touch with an old classmate. It does sound like a good idea; but, then you remember they used to act foolish from time to time. You allow those negative issues to enter your mind. Thus, the enthusiasm fades and the idea of reuniting with them is all but gone!

There’s nothing unusual or wrong about being emotionally attached to those memories. You still have old images of what your friend was like and you’re projecting that image from the past onto the present.

Remember though… times change, which means people change. You have changed and it’s likely your friend has changed too. You both have life experiences behind you. Your classmate that you regard as being goofy and aloof may actually be considerate and serious today! Time has made you learn to accept other’s shortcomings and forgive them for mistakes made.

While the new version of your friendship is going to be similar to the previous one, it’s not going to be the same.

2 – Fearful Of Rejection

One of the biggest fears people have is being rejected. If you’re going to reunite with an old friend, you may have a lot of negative thoughts going through your mind. You might think your friend doesn’t need to hear from you or that he/she doesn’t need you anymore. You might think they see you as a loser.

Believe it or not, you can dissolve this fear by acting upon what you want to do. Don’t let it stop you from taking action. Once you do it, review the results of the encounter afterward.

3 – Afraid Of What Your Friend Has Achieved Compared To You

This is another common fear people have about reuniting with folks. People fear that they’ll be less successful than their friends – better car, better job, better home, more friends, etc.

I have also had this issue and overcoming it was difficult. Even when friends caught up with me by phone or Internet, I found it hard to keep the relationships up for this very reason. In fact, I had a classmate call me up for an invite to a party. I decided not to go. I thought to myself, “They’ve got lives and I just spend my time just cruising the Internet with nothing to show for my life.” What I later found it was that their lives were just a bit more interesting than mine. However, in that very moment they asked, I believed my life was far more disastrous than theirs and I wasn’t going to take a chance of being the object of ridicule.

Despite the fact that I wanted a social life, if I saw someone I knew in the city, I just ignored them and kept on walking. Logic was all but gone!

4 – Insecurity

Insecurity can play a big part in getting in touch with someone that you haven’t seen in some time. It’s normal and everybody experiences it. You may feel insecure and it’s very likely that they feel insecure as well. When you understand this, it’s a little less stressful. Of course, you can eliminate the fear by taking action and meeting them face to face.

How To Start The Reunion

If you catch yourself thinking about your friends, recalling the good old days – wondering where they are, what they’re like and what they’re up to now – you need to go ahead and get in touch with them. There are all kinds of ways to communication with them today.

For example, make a short phone call or text SMS. If you don’t have your friend’s phone number, look for him/her in social networks – it’s very likely that you will find your friend there. If you still cannot find them, get in touch with a mutual friend and ask him/her for the phone number.

When calling or messaging, keep the conversation short. If you’re in town, consider asking them to meet up with you. It’s better to appoint the meeting now rather than later, as you might never meet.

What Should You Talk About During Your Conversation

You might be wondering what you talk about once you meet up. After all, you probably think you’ve got nothing to talk about. Wrong! Begin with general conversation. Ask them what’s going on in their life, what kind of job they have, where they went to school, etc. Consider talking about mutual friends or classmates.

Don’t be surprised by the pauses in your conversation: it’ll happen!

One of the best ways to kick start a conversation between you two is to recall the old days. While you might see them as someone completely new, funny stories about the times past can bring back the person you once knew.

If you have a good time during this meeting, consider keeping the connection open. Meet up at least once a month. Bear in mind that reestablishing a friendship isn’t always done in one meeting so you’ll need to keep the lines of communication open to become friends once more.

There’s always the possibility that your friend will not accept the invitation. Don’t take it badly, as it may or may not be about you. They may be tired or extremely busy. The thing to remember is that you did try. Stay connected with them and give it a try again after some time. You never know!

It’s possible that you get a cold response from someone you have lost contact with him. Don’t be discouraged by this attitude because he/she won’t know you’re calling or your number may or may not be in their phone. They may not know who was calling them and why. Just keep talking and allow the conversation to flow.

Be Proactive

There was a time where I would rely on others to build interpersonal relationships. Whether it was friendship or love – I used to take a reacting position in communication. I wouldn’t bother getting in touch with someone. I was that shy person standing in the corner of a party, waiting someone to approach him and doing nothing virtually.

In my late teens, I found myself in a situation when everyone was a part of some social group and I was completely outside of any. Thus, I changed my approach from reacting to acting. And, this can help you too!

Do you find yourself taking the reacting position? You may not have been into having a social life back then; but, you probably are now! You need to take the initiative to have a social life. You need to be the one that pushes ahead with relationships and contribute something to them. Don’t forget though that building relationships takes the two of you but you need to approach the situation consciously.

You must be proactive to build up your social circle. How do you do this?

1 – Should you call him/her? Do it!

2 – If there’s something kind of event going on in your town, invite them to go with you.

3 – If you see them in town, consider making small talk.

4 – If you see a schoolmate, walk up to him/her.

5 – If there’s a friend’s birthday, wish him/her a Happy Birthday. If invited to their party, go!

6 – Go to your high school/college reunions regularly.

7 – If your friend has a hobby that you’d like to take up, consider asking him/her. Be interested in their hobby and you’ll have loads to talk about.

Bear in mind that building relationships is hit and miss; it’s not possible to read a person’s mind. If you don’t succeed right off, don’t become discouraged. You’ll need to try a variety of approaches to find what works for you – it’s all trial and error. You may need to repeat several steps to get the results you want. Just remember to work consistently at building friendships and you’ll have a social circle before you know it!

August 12th, 2012