So, you want to be social. You are SICK of always being alone either in the game or real life and you want to get some social interaction to spice things up. BUT, you are just NO good at it. Lost cause? Not at all, it just takes that little combination of Desire + Effort.
So to do it:
A. Have the Desire to WANT to socialize.
B. Make the Effort to do it.
C. Pray that SOMETHING good ACTUALLY happens and you are successful. Yay?
Ok, that last one sounds a bit silly, but actually isn't. It is one of the reasons many find socializing hard, the fear of failure, getting nowhere, or just getting outright ignored.
There is a cruel truth to socializing in that it requires effort from MORE than just yourself. It also requires effort from the OTHER person to be successful, and if they don't put forth the effort, well......failure is maybe inevitable.
Does this mean socializing is just a crap shoot, it's TOTALLY random who may or may not want to talk with you? In a way, yes. One never knows the mood of the other person and if they are welcoming to social activity. It's even harder chatting since you can't even SEE the other person to gauge their mood. But there ARE ways to better ones chances and I will go over a few here later.
First though, socializing......the act of conversing or doing some action or activity with a person other than yourself. Being social is generally a GOOD thing! It gets you out, gets you in contact with others, gets you friends, companions, activity partners, gets PEOPLE in your life to experience the wonders the world has to offer together!
But here we go......"Annabel, you useless ditzy wannabe advice columnist," my non fans who always end up reading my stuff anyway are saying. "That is all a bunch of CRAP! Socializing is TROUBLE! ALL it leads to are people that end up making your life WORSE! It's BETTER to avoid that and be alone!"
Sigh, yes, in a way they ARE right. Socializing DOES have risks. Not everyone you are going to meet is going to be stellar. There is the possibility to end up with bad friendships, bad relationships, or meet people that are just toxic for you. I'm not going to lie, it is one of the pitfalls of attempting to be social, but like anything, one has to take the bad along with the good to experience it.
Ok, with that out of the way and you are still open to the idea of socializing, how to do it? How DOES one TALK to people, strike up conversations, GET people to TALK to you?
Well, first you gotta have the DESIRE to do it, to WANT to make the attempt at socializing. Because if the Desire ain't there, the seeds of failure are already in place.
How to get Desire? Easy, you just have to WANT to be social, you WANT to stop being alone and get people or conversation in your life or current situation you are in. As for situation, it could be a party, group, gathering, pretty much anything where there are others around you, real life or virtual.
So now you have the Desire, now to make the Effort. But wait, CAN you make the effort? Do you have the motivation to try? THIS is what tends to trip up people trying to be social, making the first move. Maybe you will get lucky though and someone else will start talking to YOU, then you just have to react and answer them, preferably in a way to keep the conversation going. Reacting is a bit easier than initializing the conversation, but it's still valuable practice.
Another thing that will trip you up is shyness. If you are having trouble socializing, this probably affects you in some way and of course there are various degrees of it. Some are just mildly shy and some are extremely shy. It all though makes you hesitate in making the Effort of bring social and it can be a real Bitch to overcome. Believe me, I know this. I was terribly shy when I was young and it was absolute HELL talking to anyone, especially the opposite sex. I had very few friends and was mostly alone. Overcoming that shyness was one of the BEST things I did in my life to improve it and I highly encourage anyone in it's grasp to try and overcome it. It's a hard road, but oh, life is so much better without it messing up your social life.
If one does get the courage to go out and make the effort to be social, eventually success will occur. It might take a while and possibly many attempts, but it WILL happen if you stick with it and try. And it cascades, one success turns to two, then three, and so on. The more practice and success one has, the more confidence that builds up inside of you. This combination of experience and confidence leads to more successes, more social contacts such as friends, dates, work contacts, and so on. You end up building a network of people from many different avenues and you end up finding you are no longer alone, you have people in your life now. Of course there will be different levels of how much each person means to you, but that is something for you to eventually work out. Start with a few social contacts, then work your way up.
Ok, to better ones chances. Well, one of the easiest ways is to try and engage in conversations already going on in chat. Say you are in the MSQ roulette and people are chatting away. Try adding to the conversation, say something interesting to contribute, maybe something relevant, witty or funny. See if it gets a good reaction or hell, any reaction at all. If so, keep going, talk about stuff. If others bite and react to what you are saying you are being social, yay!
Another thing you might try is wear something interesting. Silly, right? Not at all. One might be surprised at how one is dressed might spark conversation from another person. They may compliment you on your outfit or ask where a part of it came from. If you take the bait and try to engage them, you may find that they are quite willing to talk to you and it may lead to something good, it may not. The point is, you are getting PRACTICE, and that is a GOOD thing, for this and any other opportunity that may arise.
Hell, the scenario above is how I met Aria. I asked her about her dress and that led down a path of meeting someone who has been my best friend in the game for over 3 years now.
So there you have it. I hope this little guide might help some who read it. Like I said, it is NOT an easy road if one has little to no experience, but I DO promise you, it DOES get easier the more you try to do it and the more successes you accomplish.
So get out there, meet people, talk to people, get them to hopefully talk back to you, and let the social magic happen. It can REALLY open up the game and make it a LOT more fun to play.
I like our little band of misfits, that is how I think everyone should be, knowing you don’t have to change to fit in
LOL, I had to edit this. I forgot to put the 'better ones chances' thing. ;p
Yes Esper, it's nice when one accepts you for yourself, though it also does not hurt to change if needed. If you find that certain traits of yourself are messing up your chances constantly, it might be a good idea to alter them. Some social traits are just BAD.
I used to be really shy... mostly cause I used to think I was a horrible little weirdo.
Then I went through some really rough shit and I suddenly didn't have the bandwidth to care what others thought about me anymore. Turns out when I'm not torturing myself, I'm actually a lovable little weirdo.
You're totally right about courage and effort - I think the only missing piece is self-esteem. It is soooo much easier to be social when you don't hate yourself.
I'm horrible with people, but I don't care :). I'm social, love me, hate me I'm going to just be me :)
I always feel awkward when a stranger sends me an unsolicited tell or emote. It's one thing if I Rez someone or help then with content, but if I'm partially AFK in town, it feels weird.
I'm pretty much the same when it comes to streaming, unpopular though it is. It's also poker advice: If you don't give any action, you won't get any action. I do talk stuff out loud, but it can become frustrating if I'm playing to chirping crickets. The "social" aspect of streaming can be so much better if one would chat it up. It's one of the biggest reasons my streams last 5+ hours (rare though it is), the flowing convo.
That being said, I'm always cool with lurkers (I lurk on other channels myself at times), just as long as they don't complain that I'm too quiet (see above).
Ronove, i think it's ok if they ask a question of some kind I can answer or a compliment. But when they just say hi it can be hard to work with that other than hi back.
Joe, that's interesting. that it works better when other will talk and ask questions. Though if you are as you cay, chatting all long, it gives them an opening for conversation and you hope they take advantage of it.
Ari, Oh yeah, I remember what you said you are like in RL. LOL ;p