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The Social Skills Guidebook: Manage Shyness, Improve Your Conversations

The Social Skills Guidebook: Manage Shyness, Improve Your Conversations PDF

Author: Chris MacLeod MSW

Publisher: Chris MacLeod


Publish Date: January 19, 2016

ISBN-10: 0994980701

Pages: 362

File Type: EPub

Language: English

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Book Preface

This book is for anyone who feels they need to brush up on their social skills. Maybe you feel shy, anxious, and insecure around people. You struggle to make conversation and leave a good impression on others. You’re lonely and isolated and don’t go out nearly as often as you’d like, or you only have a few casual acquaintances and want some closer relationships. Maybe all of the above. Maybe you feel like you somehow missed out on learning the unwritten social rules that everyone else seemed to have gotten the hang of by the time they were thirteen.

If you have these social difficulties, you’re not alone. You may feel like a uniquely broken outcast, but they’re all common issues. Millions of people feel the same way you do.

The good news is that these social problems can be fixed. The concept of a “late bloomer” exists for a reason. Lots of people were shy or lonely for a period in their lives before they developed their interpersonal skills and put the shyness or loneliness behind them. You can increase your self-confidence. You can learn to manage shyness and anxiety and the counterproductive thinking and behaviors that feed them. You can practice and hone your conversation skills. You can learn a reliable process to meet friends and build a social life. Even if aspects of socializing don’t come that naturally to you and you’ll have to work a little harder at it than most, nothing about your situation makes you a lost cause.

You don’t need to completely change who you are to become more socially successful either; you can leave your interests, values, and personality traits intact. You just need to fill in the skills or confidence gaps that are currently holding you back. Then you’ll be a more socially polished version of yourself. The goal of this book is to give you the tools you need to become socially happy in whatever way works for you, whether that involves partying all the time with a dozen casual acquaintances or mostly keeping to yourself except to occasionally meet with a few really close friends. It doesn’t want to turn you into someone who acts fake so they can appeal to as many people as possible.

This book is a comprehensive guide to catching up socially. There are titles that cover shyness or conversation skills separately, but this one tells you everything you need to know in one place. The author struggled with all of these issues himself when he was younger and wrote this as the guide he wished he’d had at the time.

This book teaches the fundamentals you somehow missed learning as you were growing up. It addresses barriers that only come up for people who have been struggling socially for most of their lives.

If social skills could be rated on a ten-point scale, it’s about helping you get from an unhappy 3 to a content, functional 7 (or higher). It’s not a collection of little-known tricks that will let you move from average to advanced. It won’t reveal five secret tricks that CEOs use to make their handshakes extra memorable and influential. That said, charismatic people are that way not because they have access to a bunch of techniques most of us don’t, but because they execute many of their social fundamentals a little better than normal. In that sense, this book may help you someday have lots of charisma by making you aware of the core skills you could develop beyond a typical level.

This title focuses on day-to-day socializing. It doesn’t cover workplace-specific issues like how to manage difficult colleagues, influence your boss, or nail that product demonstration. It also doesn’t go into dating and flirting. However, if you’re struggling socially, most of the topics covered here should help your career or love life. You can hardly woo someone or get along with your coworkers if you have trouble with conversation or can’t manage your anxiety around people.

What’s ahead

After a few opening chapters about the process of working on social issues, the book covers three core areas of social skills:

  1. Dealing with shyness, anxiety, and insecurities, and feeling more comfortable and confident with yourself and others
  2. Making conversation and interacting with people
  3. Meeting people and making friends

The sections build on each other—you’re going to struggle to make conversation if you’re anxious and insecure, and you’re going to have a hard time making friends if you can’t keep an interaction going—but you don’t have to read them in order. If you feel your confidence and conversation skills are already okay, then using the suggestions in the “Forming and Growing Friendships” section may have the biggest and quickest impact on your social life.

Table of Contents
Title Page
Table of Contents
1. The Overall Process of Improving Your Social Skills
2. Addressing Some Common Challenges and Concerns about Working on Your Social Skills
Section 1: Tackling the Main Mental Barriers to Socializing
3. Seeing the Effects of Shyness, Social Anxiety, Insecurity, and Discouragement
4. Shifting your Mind-Set about Your Social Discomfort
5. Handling Counterproductive Thinking about Socializing
6. Hands-On Strategies for Taking the Edge Off Anxiety
7. Reducing Fears and Insecurities through Real-World Experiences
8. Increasing Your Self-Esteem and Confidence
Section 2: Developing Your Conversations Skills
9. Getting a Basic Feel for Conversations
10. Dealing with Awkward Silences
11. Starting One-on-One Conversations
12. Having Deeper Conversations
13. Ending Conversations
14. Navigating Group Conversations
15. Making Conversation in Particular Situations
16. Becoming Aware of Empathy
17. Core Listening Skills
18. Recognizing and Acting on Other People’s Nonverbal Communication
19. Improving Your Own Nonverbal Communication
20. Conversation Mistakes
21. Being More Likable
22. Being More Fun
23. Assertiveness Skills
Section 3: Forming and Growing Friendships
24. Introduction to the Process of Making Friends
25. Finding Potential Friends
26. Making Plans with Potential Friends
27. Deepening New Friendships
28. Making a Group of Friends
29. Making Friends in Particular Situations
30. Troubleshooting the Process of Making Friends
31. Looking Forward as Your Social Skills Improve
Appendix A: Asperger’s Syndrome / Mild Autism
Further Reading

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