Seven Ways To Overcome Social Awkwardness That You Can Practice Anytime

I’ve spent most of my adult life working hard to overcome many levels of social awkwardness, from the very basics of having enough courage to talk and knowing what to say to start a conversation to understanding how to read people. From the vantage point of today, I now see how this social awkwardness has cost me in the past, causing me to lose out on promotions, lose out on at least one amazing opportunity with a startup, and fail to take advantage of at least a few opportunities to really wow a room full of people with a presentation.

Let’s face it – I’m a strong introvert and the nuances of making friends, communicating well with others, and speaking to others is sometimes a challenge for me. Over the last several years, I’ve found a number of ways to overcome this problem. Most of these require significant practice, but the truth is that you can practice almost all of these any time that you want. If you’re socially awkward at all – and you probably know it if you are – just give some of these exercises a try.

Where did I learn these exercises? These came from countless books on public speaking and human relations. Of my more recent readings, I particularly recommend How To Win Friends And Influence People (read my detailed review) and Never Eat Alone (read my detailed review); both were chock full of useful tips for an introverted fellow like me.

So let’s get started.

1. Smile at everyone you meet
To me, this was the trick that really started to break things open. I would often meet people and have no clue how to react, so I would just stand there quietly with a blank face and not say much initially. What I later found out is that most people wrote me off pretty quickly and that I had to actually make up significant ground through other actions in order to give them an overall positive impression of me. The technique that works best for me is thinking about what really makes me happiest, and that’s playing with my son – I imagine doing something completely playful with him and that brings out a smile every time. Practice by smiling at people in public places, particularly if you have a brush with them – you’re going near them in the same aisle at the store, or you happen to make eye contact with them. Here’s an extensive guide to smiling.

2. Practice conversing with people you don’t know
I used to just clam up in an unfamiliar environment, but what I’ve found is that if you make polite conversation with people at every opportunity, it becomes much easier to open up and converse. Any situation you’re in where you’re surrounded by people you don’t know at all or don’t know well – a conference, a trip on the bus, a line at the coffee shop, or your spouse’s extended family reunion, to name a few – can be used to practice conversation. Take advantage of these opportunities and strike up a conversation with someone who appears idle. Even if you completely bungle it, the worst thing that happens is that you sit back, think about how you bungled it, and move on from there. Many of the remaining tips are advice on how to make a conversation like this go well.

3. When you talk to someone, look them directly in the eye
This was another trait that was difficult for me to master – I tend to want to look away from people, mostly because my mother pounded into my head over and over again that it’s impolite to stare, so I kept reducing it to the point where I didn’t even want to look at other people. This conclusion is patently ridiculous – when someone else is speaking or when you’re speaking to one specific person, you should look them directly in the eye. It indicates interest in the other person, while looking away without a clear purpose often indicates boredom and disinterest. Again, this is easy to practice whenever you have a chance to try conversing with others.

4. Memorize names, faces, and information – memorize people
I find it very useful to find online pictures of people that I will potentially have contact with in order to see their face and associate it with their name. It comes up useful time and time again – if you can come up with someone’s name in an initial introduction or in a second meeting, you’ve gone a long way to make them feel good about themselves as well as about you. Before conferences or other meetings where I’m going to actually have to remember a lot of names and faces, I actually have made what amounts to flashcards so that I can recall quickly who’s who based on face alone, recalling their name and a key thing or two about them.

5. When you’re about to have a meal, invite someone to eat with you
Meals are almost always a way to disarm people and make conversation easier. Whenever you’re thinking of dining alone, make it a point to try to dine with someone else, even if it’s just a friend. If I’m at a conference, for example, I never ever allow myself to eat a meal alone – there’s always someone worth talking to, even if it’s just someone I happened to meet during the normal course of the day.

6. Ask questions
If you don’t know what to talk about, think of the first (polite) thing you’d like to know about the person you’re talking with and ask. What are their hobbies? What do they think about a particular article they’re reading? Do they have any kids? This is particularly easy if you’re at a meeting, because you generally have the topic of the meeting in common, as well as the meeting itself.

7. Practice shaking hands
Having a bad handshake is a no-no – you don’t want to have a limp handshake, nor a “death grip” one (the latter used to be my problem). I found that the best way to practice this was to simply ask a few close friends for help and shake their hands several times. It was one of my friends that informed me that I had a death grip shake, which I didn’t even realize but came to know later that others also thought it was extremely aggressive and that it sent awkward signals (think about it – I would shake with a death grip, look away from people, and not talk). Know how to shake with an appropriate firmness and be sure to do it when you meet someone, particularly in a professional situation (though local customs may frown on handshaking, it is universally appropriate in the United States).

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  1. I think the best tips has got to be the smile at everyone and starting conversations with random people around you. In the wild, showing your teeth is an aggressive gesture, but in people it can really disarm people. If someone’s having a bad day or even dislikes you, smiling can totally put them off guard and their feelings might even change.

    Random conversations can be a difficult one. You don’t want to appear creepy to women and you don’t want guys to think you’re trying to pick them up.

    Be brave, be out there. Worse thing that happens is they have a story to tell their friends later on and you never see them again.

  2. Harm says:

    But I LIKE eating alone, if I’m not with family.
    LoL

  3. David says:

    All very good information, the handshake part was a big thing for me in college. During orientation and the first couple of weeks where *everyone* was new to one another and there were lots of introductions going on, I made a conscious effort to concentrate on my handshake. Having a firm & steady handshake (without a death grip) is a good way to show strength and confidence.

    If you open up with a good handshake, people will think that you are this strong, confident person and from the beginning, will treat you as one. Then you won’t have to make up that ground later in the conversation or relationship.

  4. Steve says:

    My story is a little different from yours. When I was younger, I was a problem child and relatively outgoing. I had a ton of friends etc. When I quit causing trouble, I went to the other extreme! No trouble, no talking, no friends, no…
    Along the way I started undoing it because I knew it was unhealthy. My first start was “the power of positive thinking”, followed by “how to win friends and influence people”, “the introvert advantage” and a few other books.
    I think the smile helps a lot. For me I was surprised to learn that I had the cutest smile! HAHAHA! It doesn’t get better than hearing it from girls! Anyway, that gave me the confidence to smile more. I think it is kind of easy for me to make people laugh, so I added that to the smile, I joke around quite a bit. I am trying to tone it down. I try to be nice, like honest and truly nice. People appreciate that with time. I am still struggling with looking at people in the eye.
    Getting more involved in social/group events could be a good addition. For example, I was really good at Chess, and the game is pretty individualistic. You study it alone; you want to win for yourself; you think a lot, but you don’t verbalize the thoughts – you show them on the board. That didn’t help with socialization. I started playing basketball and tennis – and that was more social.
    Nice post!

  5. Som says:

    Meditation makes a person more intellectual. It channels neurochemicals in the right way. Being more wise, you can become a ‘social’ person. I talk about topica touching this aspect in my blog. If you consider every person as your family all the social awkwardness will be history. Give and share love and try to be a better person is the message. (I try, not that I practice everything I say).

  6. I’m a pretty social person but the idea of smiling at every person I meet sounds exhausting and a bit bizarre. Lets face it, not everyone deserves a smile. Also I may not be in a smiling mood. And I for one hate it when strangers say “smile” to me.

    I also know that if total strangers came up to me with ear to ear grins I might think there was something wrong with them. Perhaps this is the NYer in me. I imagine the smiling thing depends on where you live.

    I’m not a misanthrope, I swear.

  7. MS says:

    There’s an excellent series of podcasts out there called Manager Tools. One of them is how to properly shake hands. It sounds like a joke, but I actually learned a lot from listening to it.

    http://www.manager-tools.com/2006/04/secrets-of-a-great-handshake/

  8. Amanda says:

    Yeah… most of these depend on where you’re living. I live in NYC, and if you go around smiling at random people on the subway, you’re probably in for a world of hurt. That’s why they put the ads up near the ceiling – it’s sort of expected for you to make a great show of not looking at people, hence you can look at the ads near the ceiling.

    Sometimes you’ve just got to put a little mental distance between yourself and the person that’s pressed against you like a sardine when you’re riding the subway at rush hour, because you darn sure can’t put any physical distance between you.

  9. plonkee says:

    Smiling or talking to people doesn’t work on the subway/tube/metro because everyone is having their personal space infringed and is compensating by not looking at anyone else.

    There are lots of times, though when you could be smiling and talking to people. Smile at the person serving you in Starbucks or the supermarket cashier. Even in the South of England where people don’t normally talk to each other, you can strike up conversations. If someone doesn’t want to talk to you you’ll realise straight away – and you never have to see them again.

    Cultural differences are important for asking questions. Over here in the UK, its not really polite to ask people to much detail about themselves compared to in the US. You need to ask questions about whatever it is you have in common – at worst Brits can talk about the weather for hours.

  10. Tyler K says:

    Taking Graphic Design classes really helped me. I had to get up in front of class every week to give a presentation and explain my ideas.

    Another good place to practice it at your local farmers’ markets. From my experience most of these people love to talk about their produce and their gardens. It’s also a great place to trade recipes.

  11. I can talk you silly says:

    The key is to start at a very young age. As children my mom had us in brownies, girl scouts and 4-H. In 4-H we were required to give demonstrations at 4-H fairs in front of judges and after we were done they gave us pointers on how to improve, making eye contact, not mumbling, pronouncing words correctly, how you are dressed. Later in High School I took a speech class, I also emceed several fashion shows. Speaking in public is second nature to me now, even though it was a big pain when I was a kid. Theater/drama, choir, selling at concession stands, selling door to door (girl scout cookies, etc) and volunteering at the hospital all made huge differences in my life. When you mentioned enviting someone to eat with you reminds me when we were on vacation in St. Louis and the herd of us were in a buffet/steak house when mom noticed an older women sitting by herself. Mom pointed at me and told me to ask the woman if she would like to join us, she did and it was one of the most interesting evenings we had the whole vacation. The stories she told made us laugh ourselves silly and when it was over she thanked us because she had been eating by herself for a long time as her family had moved away and husband had passed away. It’s much harder to start as an adult, so Trent start your kids out young, they will never even notice if the number of people they are talking to is 1 or 100, I have spoken to larger groups then that on the fly when someone was late. Smile, no fowl language, no off color remarks, talk about what you know even if it doesn’t apply at the time, people always know when you are faking it, listen, listen, listen. Mostly relax, no one ever died from public speaking.

  12. Road to Harvard says:

    Hey Trent i loved the article. There are some great tips in there. I hope you don’t mind but i did a little parody of it.

    http://www.roadtoharvard.com/sevenwaystopromotesocialawkwardness/

    Keep up the good work!

    J

  13. Some Random Guy says:

    I think its about time i started working on that. I have been “unhealthy” for a long time now. Ever since i moved from the city(Chicago) to the burbs, i have been withdrawn from society. I didnt really have friends all throughout high school. I had those “fake” friends that are only “friends” when you are in school. We just used each other so we wouldnt look like complete losers.

    Even now, i dont have any friends(nor a girlfriend) except for family. A lot has to do with self-esteem, of which i have none.

    Thanks for the post. I will give some of this a try. I already ordered “how to win friends and influence people”, just waiting for it to arrive.

  14. Rachel says:

    I am an introvert by nature. I truly love to be alone. I read a lot, watch movies, I like to browse shops and bookstores by myself. But I am from the south, and this alone thing is really considered bizzare around here. I have female cousins who could not go to the bathroom alone when we were growing up. Everyone talks, it is constant. I once told a friend that going to church was just too exhausting at times, because afterwards everyone wanted to pull me into conversations and stand around for another hour, and I really just wanted to head to the house. At one time I had a neighbor whose teegage daughter was an introvert, and she really could not understand why. She was always trying to get her daughter to hang out with the kids who truly liked Laura. Kids would call wanting Laura to go to the movies or the football game or whatever. Her mom just couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t join in. Finally Laura told her mom,”Friends are just too much trouble” That in a nutshell is exactly how I tend to feel. They are always calling, always wanting to come over, or you go there, etc… I don’t hate people. I just don’t get enough out of it for it to be worth the time. I consider myself normal, I am married, have three children, work, I am on good terms with neighbors. But I have to admit that I sometimes with I could get to a place where nobody knows me and I don’t know them.

  15. Shaine says:

    Mine is the same quest. It does take work. I like beeing a geek, but don’t want to come off as one. :-D

  16. David R. says:

    I prefer this comic on how to fake a smile, instead of that article:
    http://www.basicinstructions.net/2006/08/how-to-fake-smile.html

  17. EdTheRed says:

    Yep, I’m an introvert too, most of the time. But I become a raving extrovert once in awhile, and it’s a real kick in the pants ’cause it takes friends and family completely by surprise!
    The thing is I was in a relatively successful rock band for 10 years and have no problem getting on stage, TV or radio, situations where most of the “socially adept” people I know turn into blocks of wood…complete and utter statues.
    I guess it’s two sides of the same coin; as a child I had to practice by myself for a very long time before becoming good enough to play professionally, but being in public venues from age 16 made me feel completely at ease in public situations.

  18. Janet says:

    Social awkwardness seems to be running rampant. People seem to be too busy to even be polite. A smile is always nice. If a passing stranger gives me a smile it makes me feel good. Smiling is contagious so spread some around! Not everyone has some deep, dark agenda. It is funny to see some people’s reactions when I add a big smiling “Hello!” while I’m passing them by.

  19. Jeremy in AR says:

    Good post! I hate having a fake smile, so I liked the suggestion on thinking of a fun memory.

    Trent, if you ever feel inspired to write more on this topic, I would be interested in hearing your advice on taking compliments. This has always been something I’ve struggled with and have not been able to find very many resources on the subject.

  20. laurel says:

    Jeremy

    I struggled with taking compliments for much of my life, and I have read in various places that the best way to respond is to smile and say “thank you” when someone compliments you. Or say, “How kind of you to notice.”

    If you’re really feeling social, then tell a bit of the story behind whatever it is the other person is complimenting, whether it’s your killer back-hand on the tennis court (“Thanks, my older brother spent every morning one summer training me on this,”), or your newest home stereo set-up (“Thanks for noticing. I got a great deal from such-and-such over at the computer store on Lincoln Ave.”).

    It is also interesting to note that my husband’s friend (who is a pyschiatrist) told him that social skills, even more than GPA’s or even current performance, matter most on the job. I see this with my brother. He works in the computer industry, and around here there were hundreds of people laid off, many of them more educated and with more years with the company than my brother. But my brother kept his job. Know why? People like him! He’s friendly and engaging. He doesn’t walk around with a smile all the time, but his voice is always “smiling” when he talks, even when he says, “Hey, good morning.”

  21. Aya says:

    I battle Social Akwardness like no one else… (just an expression) … When I’m around even family and close friends I go into this mental trance where everything goes completely weird and awkward; a pin could literially be heard falling on the floor in the midst of it! It’s weird, cause, something happens where I find it hard to communicate, sure it has to do with not knowing what to bring up in a conversation, but even if I go to talk, for some reason my voice doesn’t announce what I want to say the way I would normally say it! I also find it incredibly hard to look people in the eye when I’m in this awkward trance cause I feel like I’m staring into their soul when I’m looking at them, or they’re staring into my soul. In other words, staring at each other at that time makes it wayyyyy to intense! I will ask random questions and all that, but then it feels like I’m just faking the conversation to keep a conversation, cause I’m talking about things I normally wouldn’t care for talking about. It doesn’t seem to be just me that the Social Awkwardness effects, it’s every one in the sphare you’re in. No one seems to want to talk to anyone, and though everyone feels it in the air, no one wants to step up and break it by saying, “What the heck is this feeling in the air?” I’m convinced it’s more spiritual than we think. But whatever it is, man… it ruins a good time. My last girlfriend broke up with me due to it, because she would call me over the phone, and I would feel the akwardness take advantage over the phone, and I would make a complete fool out of myself for not being able to carry on the simplest of conversations. I thought it had to do with being overly shy and nervous, but that wasn’t it cause there would be times our conversations were non-stop. Just yesterday at a friends out I became incredibly Akward around them and if it keeps up, I know they’re gonna find it too unbearable to even hang around with me. I’ve suffered with it for God knows how long. I can be pretty self-conscience as well, so smiling sometimes is hard for me. I always get this feeling like someone hates me, or looks down on my looks, I think I’m paranoid! lol!

  22. Brandon says:

    I’m a little late to this conversation since I found this article through a random Stumble.

    I just want to throw in my two cents by pointing to a site dedicated entirely to battling social awkwardness that really helped me:

    http://www.succeedsocially.com

    Like you, the author has experience with it himself so the advice comes across like he really knows the topic.

  23. Pavle says:

    When shaking hands try the middle finger palm tickle. Works every time.

  24. Allison says:

    i like all the advice, but that only works if the people you are trying to communicate with are nice. If i smile at someone, they will think that i am smug or that i’m mocking them. Lol, maybe that’s all in my head. In my life, i can honestly say that i only have 2 true friends. I believe i developed social awkwardness because i lived in the counrty growing up, and there wasn’t any other kids to play or talk with. In school all of the kids were mean, and they thought i was a boy because i had short hair. i have a problem with shaking people’s hands, because i’m scared my hands would be too sweaty, and that they’d think i’m gross. I hate looking into people’s eyes cuz i have a problem with blushing, i’ll blush because it feels like i’m looking into a person’s soul, and that they are looking into mine, so it feels to personal. I like too hide from people and be alone. Another problem is that people have trouble understanding what i’m trying to say, they usually can’t hear me or i jumble my words up. I’m getting better with these problems, but its hard to overcome them.

  25. Steve says:

    Some of this advice is good, but the talking to random people part did not work for me. How is that supposed to build confidence when, as a socially awkward person, I am constantly failing in those situations and making people feel weird? It’s made my self-esteem even lower than it was before. It doesn’t help that in the few situations where I had mild success I had no idea how to move on with the conversation and clammed up and now people think I’m weird and they avoid me. Yeah, talking to random people, great way to build confidence for someone who has no idea how to talk in the first place.

  26. Kevin says:

    Steve

    I think the author intended for you to do something that would take you out of your comfort zone. These tips are all useless unless you ACTUALLY talk to new people – do you not think?

  27. Johnny says:

    It says here to make eye contact… But, my problem is that I have a mild case of exotropia (my eye looks a different direction) It’s not a VERY noticeable thing but I still have problems and can’t look up at people and have to walk around looking at the ground instead of straight.
    Please any tips would really mean alot. Thanxs :)

  28. Nanci says:

    I hate these canned answers. Seven quick & easy ways to overcome your inadequacies. Might as well be an info-mercial. Anyone who has been plagued by social awkwardness since they were old enough to go outside will confirm that you are telling us what we already know. Anyone suffering from this type of debilitating anxiety will tell you it doesn’t just go away. I’m tired of these authors who state the obvious and expect to be revered as professionals with expertise in this field.

  29. Dave says:

    Nanci, I completely agree! I’m socially awkward as hell. I am good-natured, honest, intelligent, and how many friends do I have? Two. And I’ve only recently made those people my friends after much effort in improving my social skills (which still suck, but are slightly better than before). Acquaintances? Countless.

    I’ve met many people, attempted to strike conversations with them, using these tips such as asking questions, eye contact, empathizing, trying to get to know the person better. But in the end, the next day I’m lucky if they even make eye contact with me, and I’ll be damned if they don’t talk to someone else, and I’m left standing there wondering why they don’t say a word to me but they will talk to a complete stranger before they talk to me.

    And that’s another thing – nobody ever strikes a conversation with me. EVER. When others are talking freely amongst each other in a classroom, I’m quite often the only person who nobody even talks to or even wants to make eye contact with. WHY? It’s not like I’m terribly bad looking…maybe a bit scrawny and on the pale side…but other than that, I think I’m at least approachable.

    I’ve boiled down to the conclusion that it is because I am uneasy and feel unnatural around people, and that is the reason for people to want to avoid me. I’m beginning to wonder if social skills are not really so much a set of abilities and/or intricate knowledge of correct social procedures. Perhaps that is one aspect of being socially skilled, but really, in a big picture perspective, I think it is all about being able to make the other person feel good when they talk to you, or at least somewhat better than if they hadn’t talked to you.

    I think people can sense when you are nervous or uncomfortable after they converse with you. If you are nervous or uncomfortable, and the others can see that, that will create a bad vibe and make others prefer to stay away from you.

    It’s kind of like selling an item. When someone sells a product, he/she outlines all the positive sides of the product, and yes, looking good helps. The goal is to make the product desired so that the person will want to spend money on it to make it a part of their life.

    When you want friends, that is what you pretty much have to do, except the product you are marketing is yourself, and the “money” is their trust in you. Of course, you need social skills to do this. You want to be able to communicate that you will add good things to their life, just like people buy products because they are convinced it will help them out.

    If you are funny, they will want you to be with them, as most people do enjoy a good laugh. If you do and/or see a lot of interesting things, people will want to be a part of that, so they will be inclined to want to be with you. If you know a lot about something they are passionate in, they will want you to be with them, as you are more able to understand and appreciate them than someone who doesn’t know about the subject. All of these things will make a person want to trust you more.

    On another note, when you are selling a product, you have to make the move of putting the product out there, or it will go unnoticed behind all the other products that ARE putting themselves out there. Same with people – if you don’t make yourself noticed, nobody’s gonna buy you.

    These “tips” on this “article” only show you how to be more nice and approachable. It takes more than that to be a friend to someone. Strangers can be nice and approachable. You need to be able to add something worthwhile to their life so they are more willing to trust you. If you give off bad vibes, people will not want to be with you and therefore feel no desire to trust you. If the product you are gonna buy seems cheap and useless, are you going to fork your money (trust) over? I sure as hell wouldn’t.

    You need to be able to communicate good vibes. Knowledge of social rules as well as consideration of others are part of having social skills. Good eye contact and a smile are good ways to start off, but if you can’t produce more than that, people won’t want to invest their time and trust into you. That’s why this article sucks and I’m still a pissed off nerd who has nothing to look forward to except World of Warcraft this weekend. Goodbye.

  30. Joe says:

    Loved the way these posts have developed from ‘seven quick and easy ways’ to something much deeper. I thought I had to repond especially to Dave,s last post!!
    Firstly don,t be so hard on yerself man, this is as much other people,s problem as it is yours. So the kids at school don,t aknowledge you or talk to you? That makes them a sad bunch of social climbing wannabees, and as you said you are a bit “white and nerdy”, I have seen a hundred guys like you start weight training and get a fake tan and suddenly become the popular guy!! But ask yerself would you want these wannabees anywhere near you just because you looked “cool”?

    If you are muscular,tanned with some fake white teeth and some dyed blond hair, you can be as socially inept and stupid and know body cares. They will still love you and talk to you. So a fake look gets you fake friends!! Great!! Who wants them.If you have 2 close friends you are okay, cause that is about all you need in life.
    I can remember a real nerdy kid at school was real popular, everybody used to creep round him saying nice things, I couldn;t work it out!! Then I found out he lived in a huge house with a swimming pool, and everybody used to hang out there playing on his Dads pool table and stuff!! And this was one akward shy kid!! Funny that aint it!!
    Heres my seven ways to overcome social awkwardness.
    1. Buy a speed boat.
    2. Buy a Harley Davidson, bigger than a Sportster preferably.
    3. Get slim and tanned if you are a girl, or muscley and tanned if you are a guy. Oh and fake blond hair works with both of these.
    4.Become a nasty bully – notice how the bully has people round him creeping !!!
    5. Join a rock band – even if you aint much good people will still want to know you – IN CASE you make the big time!
    6.Join a gang.
    7. Get a famous Dad.
    8. Get a famous Mum
    9. Drive a convertible BMW
    10. Get on the X factor.

    Soon you will be surrounded by fake freinds and hangers on !! Now when you stutter and cant find the words, it will now be ‘cute’
    When you are standing in a crowd not talking to anybody it will be because you are the ‘strong silent type’

    Better to have 2 real friends and play World of Warcraft than be a phoney, be yerself and find the love within. Peace

  31. Kim says:

    Joe, you hit that nail on the head perfectly. I used to be slender and tan (because I did a lot of cardio and went to the tanning bed). I also had long blond hair, because I put highlights in it. I liked looking good. It was very important to me back then. Fake people flocked to me. I had so many “friends” it was ridiculous.

    After a couple of years of that, I realized all the people I was hanging around were a bunch of insecure idiots. I found them boring, and a waste of time. I started hanging out by myself a lot more because I am not too good at putting on shows. Once I realize I don’t like someone, I don’t waste my energy.

    Maybe it was the whole growing up, maturing thing. But I always knew these people were a waste of my time, but I was simply too insecure to not have “friends.”

    I then picked up weights, and got some meat on my bones. I learned that people are a lot more comfortable with women who are skinny than women that have muscle. I do get lots of compliments, and I can tell people respect it, but I still sense that they are slightly disturbed sometimes. I cut off my hair, I stopped going to the tanning bed. I stopped being so concerned with my mannerisms towards others. It was too much work, and then on top of that it was attracting idiots.

    And this sucks, because if you are skinny, blond and tan, idiots flock to you. Sometimes I go on the skinny, blond, tan route because I do figure competitions, and I kind of dread it because I know more idiots are coming my way.

    Yes, much better to have a couple of genuine friends than people that zap your energy and waste your time.

  32. Jesse says:

    1. Watch Fight Club once a day for six days

    1 1/2. Watch Pulp Fiction once a day, for six days.

    2. Read Satires and Prose Fiction pretty much non-stop.

    3. Visit with at least two people for an hour or two everyday. Maybe during dinner?

    4. Learn to appreciate the humour of the American “The Office.”

    5. Try to stay on topic in a conversation.(Watch stand-up comedy often, as it can help with ur sense of humor and ur convo abilities).

    6. You are not special, so don’t try to be the centre of attention.

    7. Relax. You are just the same as everyone else, they aren’t any better than you.

    Don’t “think in pictures” because you can’t communicate in pictures, right? Think in words.

    In order to “think in words,” you have to read all the time. Before you go to bed, as well as whenever you’re not busy.

    Chuck Palahniuk, James Patterson, Mario Puzo, and Stephen King are some amazing authors.

    Jane Austen (chick novels, but guys can appreciate it, too.), Charles Dickens, and Lewis Carroll are a few classic authors that are highly educational and good for you to read.

  33. Ryan says:

    Great tips!

    I’m an introvert since the day that I got married. It was a personal choice being with my family at home. But that really takes away a big part of me.

    I’m a natural shy person. And talking to random people is my weakness. When I meet someone I can’t keep the conversation going. Most of the time my answer is just yes and no. I never ask questions and that breaks the conversation. It’s like i don’t know what to say. To tell you i’m talkative to my close friends but never to just a friend or to a newly meet person.

    For years I’m trying to overcome this, but never did I improve. Thanks for the tips. I’ll try to do them. I’ll probably start with my friends. Not the close one but to just a friend.

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