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 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

Several 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 SocialSelf, a site with advice on how to get the friends and the social life you want.Read More

Give It 100

Social skills are like any other skill -- if you practice, you get better.

But in order to practice, you have to start, and you have to keep going. And both of those things are very hard. It's really easy to wait to start until you're totally "ready" (which will be never), or burn yourself out by pursuing a new goal in an unsustainable way.

So instead, I want to show you a better way.

There's a website called Give it 100. The basic idea is that you practice something for 100 days in a row, and you film a 10 second clip of you doing it every day so you can see how you improve. You can also see what other users are doing, which is sometimes incredible and sometimes adorable.

Unfortunately, social skills don't really lend themselves well to 10 second clips (in fact, a great social skills tip: don't randomly start filming the people you're talking to.) So instead I want to give you a different "Give it 100" challenge. Are you ready? Here it is: Read More

Fight Back

Life is really hard sometimes.

There are times when all of the encouragement in the world doesn’t seem to help, times when it feels like the only emotions available are rage or grief or numbness, times when starting another day feels like getting in the ring with Mohammed Ali.

Maybe that's your story today.

Maybe that's been your story for a long time.

If that's you, I want you to know that it will get better. You will not always suffer. You will find healing and you will find people who will love you very much and you will have moments when life will be so good that your heart will feel like dancing right out of your chest. You are not a mistake. You are not a lost cause. It is good that you are alive and one day you will believe that.

But I also want to recognize that things might not get better right away. And I know that when people tell me, “This will be better someday, but you just need to wait,” I don't find their words very helpful.

So I want to give you more than just waiting.

I want to give you the chance to fight back.Read More

How To Teach Kids Social Skills – Guest Post

Hey guys! This week I have a guest post from Rusty May. Rusty is a veteran school counselor who runs SchoolToolsTV, a site with videos that teachers can use to teach social skills and positive values to their students. He's an expert on helping kids succeed, and I'm excited to share his thoughts on teaching kids social skills. Although his advice is aimed at teachers, with a bit of creative thinking anyone -- parents, coaches, friends -- can apply his tips as well. Enjoy!Read More