How to Socialize 101

With the Eid weekend that passed by, this write up is mandatory. I have already ranted about my inadequate socialization proficiency, hence communicating with people is kind of *very* difficult for me. Eid is one such occasion, when all the skills that I acquire throughout the year are put to test.
So here I am, writing a post that you’ll probably ignore on your Facebook feed and if somehow you do end up on this page, you’ll be just scroll down to the end in the hope that it will make sense somewhere. Needless to say, you will be disappointed in your quest. I think it was easier for Frodo to reach Mordor and destroy the ring than it is for you to reach the sensible part of this 900 word article. But here you are, without realizing that I wasted 100 of the 900 words in drawing a metaphor and another 20 in pointing it out.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s begin your guide to socializing with humans. The following are the things I did to survive the most socializing days of the year.
1) Smile:
A lot.
A smiling face helps people to calm down because for all you know, the person you are talking to can be as nervous as you. It also helps you to hide the tears your heart bleeds when you are put in a situation where you have to converse with someone equally awkward. Also, I think, people look pretty when they smile and if you look somewhat similar to me, then you need all the smiles in the world.

(You may choose a style)

2) Overlapping fields of experience:
It is kind of *very* ironic that I am a student of communication. But I shall use that to my advantage to write this blog. So, in communications, there is something called ‘homophily’ which refers to the common grounds of knowledge or interests that communicators possess when communicating which helps them to develop and complete a successful process of communication. So you have to identify those  elements and then bank on it! Easy as that.
The main problem that arises here is establishing that common element. This usually begins with trying to find mutual friends or batch-mates or some relative. Or if you are comfortable enough, it starts with expressing dislike for the same thing or person, usually the latter (I have made good friends like that). This phenomenon also works well when you are head banging to a song in public and  someone joins in or sees you reading a book and they tell you that they also like it (although it’s irritating when people try to strike a conversation when you are engrossed in a book).
Sometimes, homophily does backfire. Like this one time, I told a relative that I have watched 2-3 Pakistani television series with my mother. She ended up discussing the plot, actors, direction and cinematography of a show named “Jhoot” for about 2 hours.
I never watched that particular show.
3) Rules of communication:
I am going to draw heavily from my books in this post. We are taught that Inter personal communication needs to have 2 basic characteristics:
• Be in close proximity: so if you want to socialize with someone, don’t shout at them from a distance. But that does not mean that you go and sit on their lap (unless it’s your crush, then you may).
• Use verbal and non verbal stimuli: try to maintain eye contact or use hand gestures, but is rather VERY important to use appropriate gestures ONLY.
Cousin- How were your exams?
Me- *does a gesture with the middle finger*
Don’t be that person.
4) Listen:
A lot of times, we talk so much that the other person does not get to open their mouth even if they wanted (mainly to tell you to shut up). I have had conversations with people who narrated their entire life story to me because I smiled and listened to what they had to say.  
Not to brag, I met this kid 2 days back who told me the number of clothes she has and also gave a vivid description of each.
And I will admit that on instances, I have spoken a lot to people I hardly knew because they (very patiently) listened to what I was saying.
A 6 year old kid now knows the number of clothes I own and the designs on each.
5) Don’t be too sarcastic:
I think, this year, I have been super sassy to so many people and ended so many friendship (and more) before it started. Kind of explains the number of friends I have (3).
Anyway, don’t show THAT side of yourself the first time you speak to someone. 2nd time, sure, go ahead. If they are in for a long haul, they need to see and accept the weird, twisted and lame parts that you are made up of.
Contrary to what I previously believed, humans are neither so bad nor is their screeching voice THAT annoying. They are neither interfering nor maddeningly crazy. They don’t get on your nerves every time they breathe and surprisingly, they don’t infuriate you by just being there.
With that, I end another guide which I hope will make your life a bit easier, as it has made mine.

10 Comments

  1. Thanks for the read.

    Just a quick question. Being introverted I avoid joining social huddles but try and converse one on one. I have no problem smiling or making eye contact but people talking to me avoid eye contact a lot. It is noticeable.

    Is it because I might be seen as an introvert to bore into their thoughts so I might appear to be staring at them?

    Is it because I am introverted and must so subtly not have a comfortable facial expression?

    I have no idea.

    Like

    1. Hello!

      I will be frank and tell you that I am quite lost by the questions you posed.

      But I have noticed that a lot of people do have trouble maintaining eye contact for long (introvert or not). Not that eye contacts for long duration are suggested.
      I guess that’s just human behavior.
      The former question does sound quite reasonable. Maybe, a lot of time, in our quest to socialize, display our confidence and not let anyone know how uncomfortable it makes us to be surrounded by a large number of people, we over do it and hence end up staring. I recall reading an article about how a person should make eye contacts for about 30-50% of the duration of the conversation.

      I also remember attending a conference once where a guy came up to me to ask if I was fine because I looked scared. For no rhyme or reason. Kind of made me focus on my facial expressions that I subconsciously make (note that neither did he know me, nor knew about me experimenting with my introverted behavior). So maybe, at times we do not realize our own facial expressions when talking which can make us look not-so-inviting for anyone to make eye contact with.

      Like

      1. Thanks for reply. I have just read somewhere that Extroverts display less eye contact when listening (they aren’t so interested in listening) and introverts display less eye contact when talking (we are busy thinking about stuff). So the situation with less eye contact throughout its introvert talking to an extrovert.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “Be in close proximity: so if you want to socialize with someone, don’t shout at them from a distance.”

    SO THAT’S WHAT I KEEP DOING WRONG!!! SUDDENLY I UNDERSTAND WHY EVERYONE I TALK TO KEEPS RUNNING AWAY FROM ME!!! I ALSO DON’T THINK YOU NEED AS MANY SMILES AS YOU THINK YOU DO.

    Also, since you’re a communications major, are there any problems with unintentionally answering people in the wrong language when they talk to you? Not that I’ve been doing that or anything…

    Like

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