Tag: social skills

How I’ve Worked Through Difficult Feelings Towards Humanity

There have been times in my life when I’ve been scared of or angry with humanity as a whole. Although I’m a friendly person, there were times when I thought, “Forget people.”

Every time I went through a phase like that, I pulled myself out of it by thinking about how much different aspects of my life are connected to other people. People wrote the books I read. They grew the food I eat. They made the clothes I wear.

I try to look at the big picture. We all rely on each other. My life depends on the work of other people, such as  the bus drivers who transport me and the baristas at the coffee shop I go to. People give to me. I have a lot from them to be grateful for. Sometimes they upset me, but ultimately I want to cooperate them, give back and be part of society.

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Social Anxiety Tip

Social Anxiety Tip

Social skills expert Daniel Wendler says that if a social situation goes wrong, you can always try again with someone else (Wendler 14). This tip encourages an abundance mentality and helps take off the pressure for things going right with a specific person or group.

For example, soon I’m going to join the Evergreen Club, a clubhouse for people with mental illness where they can practice tasks. Before getting to work, club members can mingle at tables. I’ll remind myself that if mingling at one table doesn’t go well, I can follow Wendler’s advice and try another table. Even if things go wrong completely at the Evergreen Club, I’ll still have other options, such as my therapist’s social skills group.

Keep your mind open to the variety of opportunities out there to avoid stressing yourself out with tunnel vision. Happy socializing 🙂

Works Cited

Wendler, Daniel. Improve Your Social Skills. Publisher and publication date unknown.

Image credit: Ross, Sage. “Wikimedians socializing in the Wikimedia Foundation office.” Wikimedia Commons, Wikimedia, 8 Jan. 2011, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?search=socialize&title=Special:Search&go=Go&searchToken=6ifor6ur81nsxxbl0hkcrpq1v.

I Met With the Volunteer Coordinator From the Mental Health Hotline

John told me that he wants me to do a couple of things before starting this volunteer position. He wants me to participate in the Evergreen Club for three months, going as often as I can. The Evergreen Club is a clubhouse for people with mental illness where they can work on tasks, such as serving lunch, running a cash register, or writing a newsletter. The other thing he wants me to do is to do a peer counselor training program through my state’s department of social and health services (this will be in addition to the training from the volunteer site).

While I’m at the Evergreen Club, he wants me to watch out for people who need help and to help those people.

He appreciates the work I’ve done on my blog and Ask Metafilter trying to contribute to the mental health field, but he’s concerned that I don’t have enough experience interacting with people directly or taking care of responsibilities to be a helpline volunteer yet. He’s the expert, so I trust what he says about me not being ready for the position. Fortunately, he’s willing to re-evaluate after I complete these two things.

I’ll occasionally call him briefly with an update so that he knows that I’m taking this seriously and will follow through. I’ll take notes on incidents of helping people, their reactions, etc. so that I’ll have concrete proof of my progress. In addition, I’ll do research on community resources and mental health and add that to my portfolio. I’d like to go beyond the goals that he set for me to show my commitment to the mental health field and get even more ideas for how to help people.

He wants me to learn more about how to read peoples’ boundaries and how to protect my own. He’s concerned that at this point, I won’t be able to deal with abusive callers. I’ve had issues before with either being too passive and letting people trample me or lashing out at people who have been mean to me, so that could be a problem. I’m determined to learn how to deal with mean behavior in a way that respects both myself and the other person in part so that I can be effective at this role.

The feedback was difficult to hear, but I accept it and will do the work to build a skill-set for the job. I’ll ask my therapist to refer me to the Evergreen Club on Friday, when I see her next.

My Thoughts on Improve Your Social Skills, by Daniel Wendler (Kindle edition)

I found this book to be comforting. He believes that the reader deserves a place to belong and wants everyone to feel loved and accepted (Wendler, 1). He describes the reader’s life as a gift to those who love them and those who will love them in the future (Wendler, 1). The book makes me more hopeful that I’m worth connections and will be able to find them. I feel calmer. I’ll return to these sentences again and again. I admire Wendler’s gentle compassion and am inspired to be gentler and more compassionate, myself.

Wendler has studied social skills in his free time and gone to school for clinical psychology. At the time that the book was written, he had given hundreds of hours of social skills coaching (Wendler, 4). As a child, he was diagnosed with autism, and it was difficult for him to understand socializing (Wendler, 4). When he was in high school, he realized that his problems weren’t due to a character flaw, but due to the fact that he needed to work on his social skills (Wendler, 4). People have criticized my character and personality before, so it’s a relief to hear that I can learn how to improve at socializing.

Wendler reassures the reader that if they experience a social failure, worst case scenario, they can always try again with someone else (Wendler, 14). He explains how to look for signs of comfort and discomfort in someone’s body language. There’s a chapter with tips for making conversation, such as that asking questions shows interest. The chapter after that covers group conversations.

He writes about empathy, starting with understanding your own emotions. He says, “Your problems matter, because you matter,” and I appreciate his caring (Wendler, 71). He encourages the reader to act on their empathy (Wendler, 78).

The chapter about meeting people is built upon the idea of participating in groups that are related to your interests. I’m uneasy about his suggestion to make conversation with customer service workers, since they may be too busy to talk, but the chapter is otherwise good (Wendler, 90).

Wendler explains what makes someone a good friend, which is helpful both for figuring out who to be friends with, and for being a friend. He says that a good friend likes the person, cares about them, accepts them, and treats them respectfully (Wendler, 97). I love that he devotes an entire chapter to explaining how to support your friends. One of his suggestions is to ask someone if they want advice before offering it (Wendler ,113).

There’s a chapter about dating. His outlook about relationships is very healthy. He says that both partners need to have other relationships, hobbies, and goals outside of the relationship and support each others’ interests in these things (Wendler, 137).

I recommend this book to anyone who wants suggestions about improving their social skills.

Works Cited

Wendler, Daniel. Improve Your Social Skills. 

Smiling During Social Interactions

My therapist told me that smiling when you encounter someone indicates friendliness. I asked, “How much should I smile throughout the interaction?” and she said, “After that, you can just smile when there’s a reason to smile, like when someone says something funny. I haven’t been smiling throughout our whole appointment.” I learned that she smiles when she’s nervous, so apparently if someone smiles at you, it’s not necessarily a good sign. I think you need to look at other body language signals paired with it to be sure. Maybe someone who’s smiling out of nervousness will look away or cross their arms. Maybe someone who’s smiling cuz they’re happy while talking to you will face you or make more consistent eye contact.

Staying Hopeful About a Goal After Rejection

Earlier this week, I wrote about how I got rejected on a first date and how I dealt with it. Another tip that I have for coping with rejection is to keep looking for other opportunities. I got back on OkCupid and messaged someone else. Now I have a date with him on Monday. If I had given up, I wouldn’t have a date to look forward to now.

Another example of being persistent after rejection is J.K Rowling. She said that she received “loads of rejections” before Harry Potter was published.

If you keep trying, the odds are good that someone will eventually respond favorably.