“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 🙂

Bids for Connection

Dr. John Gottman has been studying couples for four decades. He has dedicated his life to figuring out what separates healthy relationships from unhealthy ones, and he's written more than 40 books on the subject. This guy knows relationships.

Dr. John Gottman

Dr. John Gottman

Most of his research is primarily focused on romantic relationships, but one of his findings can help you in friendships, too. It relates to something Gottman called "bids for connection." If you figure out how to recognize bids for connection and respond to them appropriately, you can supercharge your ability to connect with others.Read More

Finding Your Uniquely Attractive Vibe

Hello readers! Today's post is from Sarah Jones, the author of IntrovertedAlpha.com. Sarah is a dating coach who focuses on helping people find a partner naturally, with no sneaky tricks or manipulation. She's got some good thoughts about uncovering  and expressing your positive qualities, so read on!Read More

How to Be More Outgoing (Guest post by David Morin)

Hi all! A few weeks ago, David was gracious enough to publish an interview with me. Now, I'm returning the favor. He's got some good tips, so enjoy!


David Morin, author of SocialPro.com

8 years ago, David Morin realized that he had to make a change in his social life. He often spent evenings and weekends alone and wanted to become a more outgoing person. Today he shares his discoveries on SocialPro, a site with advice on how to get the friends and the social life you want.Read More