I've been where you are and I know how to help.
I know what it's like to struggle socially and feel alone. Believe me, it sucks.
But there's hope.
Social skills are like any other skill -- with study and practice, you can get better. I should know, since I lived that transformation.
I was the most awkward kid you could ever hope to meet. I was shy, bullied -- you name it.
But everything turned around in high school, when I was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. I learned that Asperger's had prevented me from learning social skills naturally, so I began to study social skills deliberately.
My study paid off big time, and I now think of myself as a success story.
I'm not perfect, of course.I still have my awkward moments and the occasion faux pas. But I'm comfortable in all sorts of social situations, and my life that used to be so lonely is now full of wonderful friendships.
Improve Your Social Skills exists to help you write your own social success story.
It contains the social skills principles that have worked for me -- explained in practical language to help you apply what you've learned.
It's organized in three major sections.
There's also the blog, which explains a lot of how-tos (like how to make eye contact or how to be more social.) The blog also contains news about the site and my own musings about life, so if you want to skip straight to the social skills advice, I've compiled all of my quick how-to guides together on a separate page.
Finally, there's the advanced guide, which covers stuff like meeting people, making friends, and dating.The advanced guide requires a paid membership, but don't worry -- it's pay what you want, which means that you get to choose how much the guide is worth to you (I recommend you read through the free stuff first.)
I also give away memberships to people who just can't afford them (or who don't have a credit card) so if cash is tight, don't worry -- money won't be an obstacle to you improving your social skills.
Where To Start?
Obviously, there's a ton of content here. And if you just want to go exploring, that is totally fine -- read up on whatever interests you.
But if you'd like a guided tour, here's my advice.
- 1) Read about setting social skills goals. Don't just read, though -- take a few minutes to think through the questions and write down some goals.
- 2) Read the conversation guide. Conversation is the lifeblood of social interaction, and it pays to develop your skill in it.
- 3) Practice. Actually strike up a conversation, and try to apply what you've learned. Failing that, watch a TV show or a movie, and see if you can recognize the conversational principles at play in the actors' conversations.
- 4) Read the conversation guide again. Compare what you've read with what you've observed.
- 5) Read the body language guide. Don't worry about memorizing every body language signal off the bat -- instead, just get a general sense of what it means when someone's body language is comfortable or uncomfortable, and how to respond.
- 6) Practice. Talk to someone and observe their body language. Observe your own body language. Watch a movie and observe the actors' body language.
- 7) Read the body language guide again. This time, try to memorize a few signals that you can then look for next time you practice.
- 8) Continue working through the guide (both basic and advanced). Read through each section, practice what you've read, then re-read it with an eye towards what you experienced in your practice. Work on one section at a time when you start, and then as you gain experience begin to apply what you've learned from multiple sections in the same interaction.
- 9) If you get discouraged, read a quick-how to guide. Those are easy to learn and fast to apply, and it's a great place to find a "quick win" to boost your spirits. Also, consider signing up for a coaching session -- it's a great way to kickstart your social skills improvement.
- 10) Once you've started to find some success, pull out the social skills goals you wrote down in step one (you did write them down, right?) Then, read How To Be More Social. Spend some time thinking through your social skills goals and what your next steps should be. Be deliberate to "ponder and yonder" as you continue to find social skills goals that are meaningful to you, and then continue to challenge yourself to achieve them. Social skills growth is a lifelong journey, and there's always something new to learn, so keep learning, and keep improving your social skills!