2021 was a weird year. Vaccines and boosters opened up more opportunities for social gathering, but the pandemic is still very much a thing, and it's tough to break out of inertia and start making friends. After a long time of social distancing and forgetting how to make small talk, breaking out of your shell can feel harder than ever.
The good news is that changing your life still follows the same rules it always did. Start small. Do a little bit, but do it consistently. Keep at it. And when you feel stuck, give yourself permission to start over.
So this is your permission. If you feel trapped, if you feel caught in a rut, let January 1st be day one of something new.
Okay, Daniel you might be saying. That sounds great, but how, exactly?
If you want to improve your social skills, meet and make new friends, or just have fun and play D&D, I found an awesome opportunity for you.
Deep Eddy Psychotherapy in Austin, Texas has hired a professional Game Master to run D&D games for kids, teens, and adults. They call them "Personal Enrichment Adventures" to help clarify that these games are not therapy, although they are still designed to help people improve their social abilities and learn to connect with others. While Deep Eddy is located in Austin, you can join from anywhere in the country through the magic of the internet!
These adventures work great as an online social skills training group. Participants are given the opportunity to practice conversation skills, empathy towards other group members or other characters in the game world, collaboration and creative problem solving, plus many more social skills. Group members will be challenged to build their confidence, learn and practice new skills - oh, and make some friends along the way. Best of all, the social skills development will happen in the context of a fun and immersive game experience, so instead of dull repetition or stressful classwork, social skills can be gained naturally, as part of an enjoyable experience.
Deep Eddy Psychotherapy’s Personal Enrichment Adventures provide a chance to play, learn, and grow for anyone age 10 and up. Sessions are run by internationally recognized game designer and professional Game Master, Mike Nystul. Each session uses the world’s most popular roleplay game, Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition), to provide an interactive social experience for groups of 5-7 people (also known as an adventuring party). Games are held on Zoom, so you’ll need decent internet, a device with a microphone and camera, and a desire for fun.
If you have a group to play with, great! If not, the Game Master will put together a group of peers (they have separate groups for kids, teens, and adults) for you to play with. If you don't click with your new group, that's okay - they'll put you with a new one.
Don't leave your social skills development (or the development of a friend, loved one, or client) up to chance. Try out online social skills training - the adventurous way!
Hi everyone! Today's Reader Reply email is from "C." He asks about a tricky situation - how do you handle being in a group where people use satire and humor that feels hurtful to you?
I am writing to enquire about a conflict that I recently have.
In the coming October, I will start my third year in a math degree in [A particular city]. This summer, I have participated in an undergraduate research project with 3 students. (For convenience, I will name them A, B, C.) We have a Messenger group for all sorts of communication. In the 4th week, I neglected A's will to discuss one math problem, and responded with a bad math idea. Subsequently, all of the 3 groupmates displayed satire in front of one, such as expressing wrong ideas deliberately in a discussion. In the supervisor's meeting last week, they together with the supervisor displayed satire.
In the next few days, I apologized to each person individually (including the supervisor) and listed some possible errors I had made. All of them said that nothing had gone wrong. Today, when I went back to school, A and B continued their verbal satire. Then I became too angry and imitated their way of speaking to retaliate. Now, their verbal abuse in the Messenger group became more serious.
I admit that I had done something wrong, but I think that their actions were much worse. Am I being manipulated? Besides leaving the project, are there any other solutions? Thank you for listening to me.
Hi everyone! Today's reader reply is from "K." She asks a question that many people with Asperger's have - how do you make friends when you have Asperger's?
Reading through your story was incredible for me. I have just now realized that I probably have aspergers, and I want to make friends and meet new people. Where did you start? How did you overcome it slowly?
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!
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?
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!
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