Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Friday, September 11, 2009

Challenge Yourself to Be More Social

If you're a regular reader (although "regular" would be a bit of a stretch considering how terrible I've been about posting recently) of the most awesome blog on the planet (this one, OBVIOUSLY) then you know that I'm a big advocate of trying to be a social as possible. I detail the benefits in my post The Power of Being Social, and go into extensive detail in my book The Social Charmer. One of the things I advocate in my book is taking initiative in putting yourself in situations that are only fun if your willing to break out of your social shell!

There's never an excuse to be standing off to the side on your own. People will open up to you if you give them the chance!

Most people shy away from situations in which they know hardly anyone. I personally LOVE these situations, and many times look at being in a room with a bunch of people I don't know, as a challenge of my social skills and charm. FOUR, such occassions happened recently which I'm obviously going to tell you about :)

It all started with an Art Show: A few weeks ago I got an invitation to an Art / Music show from a friend. Now she's not exactly a close friend so the option of going and clinging to her all night wasn't really in play (although the "clinger" option should realistically NEVER be in play!). Even though I knew no one else who was going, I decided to suit up and go!

Of course when I arrived, I didn't just blast in and start yapping away. I got some wine, checked out the art, got some more wine, checked out the music etc. But in the midst of my bouncing around, I decided that the "modern art" was either obsurdly simplistic or I am just an undiscovered art prodigy that finds the complexities of modern art entirely juvenile. Of course I began telling everyone that I will be submitting my finest modern work for the next display including "Dot on Canvas" and "Left-handed Signature on Notebook Paper."

Among the many people I met was a girl named Jenny. How did I meet her? Well, as the event photographer was taking pictures of people checking out the art, he happened to be taking shots of her looking at some picture, and trying to look "natural." Of COURSE I had to make fun of her.

In my best photographer voice:
"Yes! Yes! Give me natural! Give me passion! Where's the passion!?! Where's the bloody passion!!?! FIRED! FIRED! We can't work with you!"

We talked for awhile and she invited me and my friend to her birthday shin-dig that weekend. Yes! Another event where I know NO ONE!

Most people would have made up an excuse and not gone. I had just met this girl, and she had invited me to hang out with her and 30 friends, none of which I know.

You can imagine her pleasant surprise when I showed up! Again, the night was a lot of fun and I ended up going away with 30 new friends.

The next day, I was invited to an Engagement Party Pub Crawl of Awesomeness (what a way to get engaged!). Again, there were a ton of people I had never met, but I had a great time and met some great people (Including Syrus from the Real World).

Fast forward to a couple of days ago while I was in New York, and I decided to meet up with a friend from grade school whom I hadn't seen for like 9 years. So I had to take the subway to queens, transfer, and then the subway to Brooklyn. We go have dinner then she invites me to go to a "Going away get together" for one of her dear friends, at which all of her other best friends who I have of course never met, will be. New place, new people, and the one person I know I haven't seen in nearly a decade.

Here we go!

Again, I had an awesome night and met some incredible people. It's not that I've been somehow lucky enough to fall into situations where people are particularly endearing towards the new guy. Each and every time I've definitely had to work my way into "part of the gang," especially in NYC where the group I was hanging out with was very tight knit.

So what's the big secret? Well, it's not just one thing, but the biggest thing I've noticed that makes people warm up to you right away, is when you ASSUME familiarity. What I mean is, treat everyone like they're an old friend. I love teasing people I've just met, expecially because most people only do this with old friends.

Common protocol when two people don't know each other is to ask a lot of surface questions, don't risk offense, keep the tone relatively unemotional.

I do the exact opposite. I make up silly nick names for people, I give them a hard time, I certainly ask questions, but I dig deeper than the surface, because THAT's where people reveal their passion.

When you ACT like you've known someone for a long time, somehow, the feeling of familiarity between the two of you seems to accelerate far beyond normal pleasantries.

I also enjoy telling funny, embarassing stories about me. Again, most people wouldn't reveal something embarassing about themselves in front of people they've just met. But who are usually the only people to know embarassing stories about you? Your close friends. All of a sudden, everyone is laughing and know they know ME from not only the content of my story, but from the way I tell the story which reveals a lot about my personality.

Don't be afraid to jump into a group of new people. Once you do behave as you would amongst your good friends. You'll be surprised at how much fun you have, and you just might walk away with a new friend or fifty!

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