Sunday, July 01, 2007

social skills 101

The Do's and Don'ts of socializing - (more details at It shouldn't take a lot of effort for you to "Christianize" these for yourself.

I especially like the "do stuff" point. Now there's a simple Biblical principle. I find when I am reading Scripture, when I am serving others, when I've prayed for (and seen) healing, when I am praying and worshipping, etc., it is then that I have something of the Kingdom to share. When I'm not, I have to talk about the past, the experiences of others, or theory. When I'm doing stuff, the conversation is real and alive - and better, the conversation is effective. I like "doin' the stuff".

The Do's

  • Initiate conversation - A lot of people, while out, wait for other people to talk to them. Becoming the person that initiates conversation and breaks the ice is, as they say, half the battle.
  • Smile - If you look like you’re unhappy you’ll be less approachable.
  • Enjoy your company - When you look like you’re having fun you are instantly more likable. People want to know fun people, someone who enjoys company.
  • Acknowledge randoms - This can be as simple as a smile and a nod. When you make eye contact with a stranger, acknowledge it. If your smile is reciprocated, this will be an easy introduction.
  • Dress the part - I don’t find this the most important step, but it does make life a lot easier when you look like you belong somewhere.
  • Listen - People enjoy talking about themselves.
  • Converse, don’t rant - The best way to get good responses out of people is to ask good questions.
  • Keep eye contact - Don’t scan the room while talking to someone. It is a clear indication you’re not interested in the conversation.
  • Keep open body language - Whether alone or not, avoid closing yourself off by crossing your arms etc.
  • Do stuff - It’s hard to talk about your day when you haven’t done anything.
The Don'ts

  • Sit on your phone - If in conversation, or in good company, I generally ignore my phone.
  • Ignore randoms - As previously stated, meeting random people is excellent fun.
  • Dwell on smalltalk - You really don’t need to ask the standard ‘interview’ questions. “What do you do?” etc. A lot of people have fairly uninteresting jobs and know that. People are out to forget their work lives, so why bring it up?
  • Get blind - If you’re out to be social, becoming a drunken zombie will do you no good.
  • Criticize - It’s OK to give your critique of the music or selection of beers, but don’t let it get you down.
  • Judge people - You’re making it very hard for yourself when you are continually judging people before talking to them.

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