The Secret Of Small Talk – New Video Course!

Hi everyone!

I've thrilled to announce that my very first video course, "The Secret Of Small Talk" is now live. If you've ever felt like small talk is a waste of time, this course is for you. You'll learn how to use small talk as a way to form genuine connections, and I think you'll have a lot of fun along the way (I included my friends in making it, and we included a lot of fun scenes!) Watch the trailer below, and click the button below to check out the course!


Enroll Today!

How to Make Friends In A Small Town

Hi everyone! Today's Reader Reply email is from "C." She asks a great question - how do you make friends in a small rural town, especially when you're a teenager?

C writes...

I am 15 years old, and live in a small town.

I took your advice, and attempted joining subreddits and meetup.com groups, but in my town those and virtually nonexistent, especially ones pertaining to things I am interested in. And then of course my age is a problem as well. I can't drive or go many places without a driver's license, so I'm usually grounded to my home, have to ride my bike, or have to ask my parents for a ride.

The truth is, I do have many friends, just none that I can touch. Yes, I am in circles and reddits online where I have made many good, nice people who share my interests. And before this makes you skeptical, I am very careful and always take extreme caution when making friends online, following all of the usual rules like not giving away your address, making them show their face and voice first, not posting pictures with my location tied into the data of the photo, etcetera. However my mother, having watched tons of crime dramas and such for years is wired to believe that everyone online is a predator. This is where my extreme cautions come from. They're there for me when I need to talk and such, which is why I'm still here. I don't know what I would've done without them to keep me grounded. Still, I would really love some friends that I can touch and go places with. Especially since it would make my mom happy.

I've been searching for about an hour for teen programs or meet ups, but have yielded little to nothing. My school district is small as well, so everyone already knows me. Over the 10 years I've gone to this school, I've tried and tried and tried to reach out a hand, but it seems like no one ever grabs back, you know? My mom always says it's because I'm more mature, which I do partially agree with. After all, my young life was hectic. I didn't interact with other kids a lot, and mostly either kept to myself or ended up hanging out with adults. So I suppose you could say I was left behind because I'm too far ahead if that makes sense? Gosh, I hoped that didn't sound too narcissistic. And I've also tried to reach out to older students too, like seniors and juniors, but of course there's some strange freshman plague where they want nothing to do with you no matter what.

I'm sorry this has gotten into a lengthy essay about my feelings and life and I'm sorry to subject you to my ramblings, but I would greatly appreciate it if you maybe had some advice of where I could try and find friends? Thank you very much!

-C

My response....

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Improving Your Child’s Social Skills

Hi everyone! This is a guest post from pediatric psychologist Dr. Aaron Montgomery. He explains the evidence-based plan that he uses to help his young clients improve socially, which can be adapted by parents, teachers, or anyone else who wants to help kiddos succeed socially.

His ideas can be easily adapted to adults as well, so whether you want to guide someone else or improve yourself, I think you'll find some helpful tips. Read on!

How do you help children with social skills?

Social difficulties are incredibly common in kids. For parents whose children struggle socially, finding resources can be challenging. This can be frustrating, as the hopes for our little one to be socially fluent and connected feel out of our grasp.

As a pediatric psychologist, I see this all too often. By writing this blog post for Improve Your Social Skills, I hope to provide some insight for parents about how to guide your children through social difficulty. I use an evidence-based process for helping children and families improve their social skills.

I break it down into four basic steps: 1) identify where social deficits might cause problems, 2) evaluate resources, 3) set and track goals, and 4) begin the work.

Let me walk you through how a pediatric psychologist approaches these steps.Read More

“Take a deep breath” doesn’t calm anxiety. Try this instead.

"Take a deep breath."

If you struggle with anxiety, you've heard that advice. But when you actually took that deep breath, you probably felt just as anxious as you did before. That's because it's terrible advice.

I'll explain the two main reasons why taking a deep breath doesn't work -- and then I'll explain a simple breathing technique that does work. Here we go!Read More

How to Make Friends in College (Reader Replies)

It's been almost a year since my last blog post -- yikes! While the blog has fallen silent, I've been working hard in a lot of other areas. I've finished my second year of graduate school (whew!). And I published my new book Level Up Your Social Life which is a great accomplishment.

I've also been spending a lot of time answering reader mail. See, when I first started Improve Your Social Skills, I made a commitment that I would response to everyone who wrote me for help. Over the years I've replied to thousands of readers all over the world, giving advice on a variety of topics. And I've found that many people have similar questions, and struggle with similar problems.

With that in mind, I'm starting a new series on the blog called "Reader replies" where I publish an email that someone has written to me, along with my response. (I get the writer's permission first, and change details to protect privacy.) Over time, I'm hoping this series will become a great resource, and it will also help me keep the blog updated!

The inagural email is about a very common problem -- making friends in college. I hope you enjoy G's story, and my response.Read More

How To Motivate Yourself To Be More Social

There’s a simple trick from psychology for motivating yourself to be more social.

It’s usually used in the world of sales. Instead of asking “Do you want to buy a car?” a salesmen will ask “Would you rather buy the red car of the blue car?” No matter which you choose, you still end up buying a car.

It’s also used by parents, who ask their kids “Do you want carrots or broccoli with dinner?” instead of “Do you want to eat vegetables with dinner?” Rather than giving their kids the chance to say no, they only give their kids options that lead to healthy veggies.

You can use this trick with yourself, too. If you have a choice to be social or non-social, instead make it a choice between two social options. In other words, instead of asking “Should I go to that party on Friday night?” find another social opportunity for Friday night, and choose between those two.

For instance, you might think “Oh, there’s a new cool movie out – I could ask a friend to see that on Friday.” So now your choice is between watching the movie and going to the party, which are both good social options, instead of the party or doing nothing social.

This also works when you are already at a social setting. For instance, let’s say you’re at a party but you aren’t talking to anyone. Instead of thinking “Should I start a conversation or not?”, try asking yourself “Should I start a conversation with this person or with that person?” or “Should I join that group by the snack bar, or that group that’s playing Guitar Hero?” No matter what you choose, you’ll move towards more social opportunities.

There are two important caveats for this trick, though.Read More

August 2015 Update

Hi everyone!

I just finished my first year of graduate school (whew!) so I thought I'd take this opportunity to update everyone on what's been going on with the site. I realize that there have been no new blog posts for several months, but there has been a lot of other great things happening at Improve Your Social Skills.

So without further ado, here are five major updates!
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New Video On “How To Avoid Talking Too Much”

Hi everyone! I've decided to start up a YouTube channel, where I'll share social skills videos. I'm still a beginner at the world of YouTube, but I'm hopeful I can provide some helpful videos. My first video is up now -- it's a 60 second explanation of how you can avoid talking too much. Enjoy, and let me know what you think 🙂