Many people struggle to improve their social skills not because they’re up against impossible challenges, but because they approach the task from the wrong angle and get unnecessarily discouraged. With the right mind-set, expectations, and approach to improving, you’ll make more progress.
Figuring out which skills and traits to work on and which to leave alone; As the Introduction said, you don’t need to change everything about yourself to do better socially. Of course, you’ll want to address clear-cut problems that most people would be happy to be rid of—shyness and anxiety, low self-confidence, unpolished conversation skills, and lack of knowledge about how to make friends.
The traits listed below can also cause social problems. They’re all perfectly valid variations from the norm that you shouldn’t have to change. However, they can lead to practical social inconveniences when either people misunderstand and look down on the traits, or the traits cause you to have competing needs.
Acceptable, though sometimes impractical, social differences;
§ Having an introverted personality
§ Liking to spend a lot of time alone
§ Not needing or wanting a ton of friends
§ Being selective when choosing who you want to be friends with
§ Preferring to socialize for shorter periods of time, and then head home to relax and recharge your batteries; having a tendency to get drained by socializing
§ Being into low-key types of socializing and choosing to avoid rowdy parties or getting drunk
§ Preferring to hang back and listen more in conversations, rather than talking a lot and trying to hold the spotlight
§ Not having a bubbly, expressive, excitable personality
§ Being able to take or leave aspects of socializing, like making chitchat with strangers waiting in a line with you
§ Preferring your conversations to have lots of substance
§ Being into “uncool,” non-mainstream hobbies
§ Not caring about seemingly popular interests like team sports or reality TV
§ Living an alternative lifestyle or being part of a non-mainstream scene or subculture
§ Having beliefs and values that differ from the mainstream
§ Having a more quirky personality
You’ll have to decide for yourself how to approach your acceptable differences in light of your social goals. Wherever possible, you should be true to yourself and try to find your niche, which includes looking for friends who get you and like you for who you are.
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