My thought is that all the people are born sociable. Every person has an inclination to socialize. Every person is possessing quite a high level of social skills from his/her birth, so we could communicate with other human beings. And you are not exception. Even introverted people have tendency to interact with others from time to time.
However, as we get older, someone’s skill of communication improves while someone’s got stuck or fades. As some people are growing up they somehow lose “the feeling” of sociability gradually. Eventually they come believing that they aren’t social ones.
Of course, there are some prerequisites which define one or another path of events. For example, person’s character traits, upbringing, what kind of people surround you. You might be called timid, quiet, shy or strange by others several times, so you believed in it eventually. You see, though there are a lot of similarities between us, people usually pay the most attention to the differences.
Nevertheless, the fact is that the nature had given you all you need so you could successfully adapt and live in society. Your task is to retrieve your lost part of personality from oblivion.
Who Is a Sociable Person?
Let’s start off from defining the meaning of the word “sociable”. Here are a couple of definitions I have looked up in the Internet.
“a sociable person is friendly and enjoys being with other people” (http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/sociable)
“inclined by nature to companionship with others of the same species” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sociable)
Bearing in mind these definitions, ask yourself the following questions. Aren’t you friendly? Don’t you enjoy being with other people? Wouldn’t you like to have a companion to go through life with?
When giving an answer put all the “buts” away. For example, don’t do like this: “I am friendly, but I have no friend to share my friendship” or “I’d wish to have a devoted companion, but I’m afraid I can’t trust anyone”. Imagine the situation in which you are totally secure and confident, and answer from that position.
Regarding me, I have given an affirmative reply to every question (I bet you too). I am quite friendly. I enjoy being with other people.
However, it’s also true that I need time to regenerate my “social” resources. I am not a misanthrope, I like spending my time with friends, but I really need to be alone for some time in order to perform socially well again.
The problem is that this “recharging” necessity is often perceived as unwillingness to communicate at all. Some people may even see it as a personal insult.
This point can be easily explained to a fellow introvert, but an extroverted person likely will not understand you. S/he will be asking you why you don’t like to spend time around people and that two hours are just more than enough to recharge your social batteries. So you should go back to socializing as fast as you can.
Another problem is that even if you’re around people (e.g. you have showed up at a party or at another kind of social event), that’s not enough to become sociable in the eyes of others. Why? Because the word “sociable” is also often used and meant in another meaning: talkative.
Thus, if you are not talkative to some degree, you may be considered not a social person. That’s not bad, that’s the way it is.
How to Become More Talkative
General erudition can be quite helpful if you think on how to become more talkative. The person, who can contribute to virtually any conversation on any topic, will be in more advanced position at any talk. If you have some interesting facts to tell, whether based on your experience or other source of information, then you have something to say on topic, so you become more talkative, and in the end more sociable person overall.
On the other hand, if you prefer to talk and argue only on the topic at which you have strong master skills, then you are likely going to fall out of other conversations (which not relate to your “master” topic), and thus may be considered quieter than you actually are.
There is a concept of “drivelgenerator” at the Pick-Up Artist community. Its point is talking about everything what’s on your mind, whether it makes a lot of sense or not, just not to keep silence. At first glance, it may appear silly. However, if you give it a try, you may find out that you far more talkative than you think.
Focusing on a Goal
However, while trying to become more communicative, you may encounter some resistance.
For example, if you feel antipathy toward talkative people; if you consider them noisy and annoying ones; if you don’t like fluff talk and don’t do it, then you are likely going to have hard times forcing yourself to become chattier.
If you compel yourself to become the kind of person you dislike, it will eventually create an inner conflict between what you are forced to do and your true personality. Thus, this inner conflict won’t let you succeed, and you may end up deciding that you are unsociable.
It may seem like you have only two options: either you stay who you used to be, or you become a totally different person.
However, you shouldn’t use the black & white style of judgment when approaching this issue. Try not to think of yourself as sociable or unsociable person, as these definitions are too broad. There are a lot of points between these two extremes.
It’s much wiser to set a goal and evaluate you social skills in the frames of that goal. Do your social skills help you to achieve your goal or they don’t?
For example, you’d like to have a job in direct sales. It’s wrong to suppose that if you are bad at dating you will screw up as salesman. It would be more helpful to ask yourself: “Am I talkative enough to get this job and do well at it?”
Considering your sociability in the frames of a goal will resolve the inner conflict, as you will have a clear reason why you need to improve one of your social skills.
With this approach you don’t need to force yourself becoming who you don’t want to be. For example, you may do great as lecturer, but remain reserved with friends. Can anyone say that your social skills are bad, if you practice public speaking in front of quite a huge auditory mostly every day? However, it doesn’t make a chatty person of you. You keep your true personality while reaching your goals at the same time.
In the Right Place at the Right Time
Sometimes the appropriate time and place is all you need to wake up your sleeping communication skills.
It’s great to have a circle of friends who support you in your attempts to reveal your social self. However, if your friends are pulling you back from success, consider looking for other people.
Start and keep on pushing yourself to fresh environments. Get a new job, take a trip to another country, get involved in something that you’re passionate about. You may find an unexpected sociable potential in yourself by changing your surroundings and routine. For example, I never thought that I could sustain a conversation with unknown people until I began going to parties.
Of course, it’s easier said than done. On the other hand, changing nothing won’t bring you closer to your destination, that’s for sure.
Probably you felt nervous and performed worse than you expected? Don’t blame yourself too much if you’ve failed to act socially well.
Keep in mind that you have a right to act differently in different circumstances. I can be very friendly and talkative when around some of my friends and even unknown people; but if I am in bad mood or tired I can remain silent up to the end of the party.
That said, silence is golden.
However, there is another part of this proverb, which usually is left behind, – speech is silver.
Despite gold is more valued in the market, silver has its own advantages too (like higher conductivity). There are areas where the use of silver is more suitable and provide superior results.
So whenever you decide to stay silent, think for a moment – probably a pound of silver will make things better? 😉
May 26th, 2012