Having good social skills is the difference between people that succeed and people that don’t. No matter what your focus is in life, there are people all around you. The more you know how to get along with them, the more you are going to succeed in life. And if you do this well, you’ll help everyone on your path succeed in life as well. No matter if you’re a person that likes to be alone, or a person trying to build a business, or your an Aspie trying to learn social skills, or a person trying to find their life mate, this applies to everyone. We all need to work on our social skills and keep them refined. Not for just our sakes, but for the sake of living in a better world.
This was taken from a discussion on Facebook. I responded to a woman that was a little exasperated that people called her rude and offensive when she felt she was just presenting facts as we Aspies tend to do. She didn’t go into the nature of the subject but kept asking why. Why did people treat her this way? Many of us responding thought she was referring to some sort of discussion or argument where she was telling someone their faults, as we also tend to innocently do. However, the truth was it was just a simple matter of word usage and the person got mad at her. In spite of that, I still wanted to post this section because I feel it is valuable to anyone that has these struggles in life, Aspie or not, and wants some insight to overcome them. Several other Aspies has also come to these same conclusions. Please leave your thoughts and comments below if you have other suggestions that would help others have better social skills.
I’ve studied many years of personal development and what it comes down to is that we all develop core beliefs about things. When it comes to truth and facts you could possibly be touching on things that people believe very deeply. There is also a lot of information on the internet that can make truth and facts look questionable. Politics and religion are two prime examples that people joke about not talking about because it is such a sensitive issue. If people feel like their core beliefs are being challenged they are going to get defensive no matter if the subject seems personal or not. Some will end relationships to defend those beliefs.
I used to say the same things as you guys. I used to say I’m straight forward, blunt and people just have to accept that. But then I realized, I can either continue fighting my way through life or I can learn to change myself in such a way that people want to hear me. I have found that people aren’t stupid at all. They just have a perspective on life I don’t understand. When I started learning how to be more friendly I have found that people listen to me more, I have learned more about other people, and people trust more that I know what I am talking about because I’m willing to come to their side of the conversation and try to see it from their perspective. People appreciate that a lot.
Not just Aspies are feeling lonely and isolated. A lot of NTs (neurotypicals or people that don’t have AS) are too. Learning this crucial step has taken me from feeling completely alone to realizing that as an Aspie I have more in common with many groups than a lot of other people do. It empowered me.
A great way to present facts to people, which I learned from some famous guy but I can’t remember who now, is you present the information from a third perspective. So if you’re trying to tell a fact about organic food and someone is defensive about that you could say, well in the UK they banned GMOs because it was giving rats cancer. Or whatever. You can also talk about the positives which help people not be defensive. Its inadvertent and helps me to see if the person even wants to talk about it. If they don’t, then it’s easy to drop the subject and avoid a fight. To be a friend first. It’s telling people they (and the friendship with them) is more important than being right. (That was a damn hard pill for me to swallow).
Candy coating is a great way to get to know people. You do all the formalities and stuff that seems stupid in the beginning of a friendship or in one that isn’t progressing to a deeper friendship…. like a co-worker or something. Later, IF and when you get closer to that person THEN you can start saying things more bluntly because now you trust each other. You have trust built up that you’re not going to intentionally hurt or judge one another.
I haven’t actually practiced this long term with a person in particular, but I am using it all the time on FB stuff. Some people it’s taken me over a year to get them to “like” something of mine or respond to me. It’s very slow. But then so am I. Practicing this very slowly has brought a lot of understanding into my life.
Developing friendships is hard, but if you practice being friendly everyday and to everyone, you will learn much faster. There are many rules that do not change from person to person, such as being told what to do, or point out their faults. But other rules do change from person to person. The more you practice just smiling the more comfortable you will get and the more relaxed you will be with people. Eventually you’ll start to see changes in your interactions with people. Your energy changes and they see that.
This also applies if you’re an artist, musician or entrepreneur. Our culture has sped up quite a bit, and convenience has influenced our subconscious that things should be instant. In reality, humans do not work this way. So you can build up networks and clientele based on true friendship which will keep them coming back and spreading the word about you, or you can build them up on your personal gain only, which will eventually fizzle out because people want to feel connected. None of us like to feel like a commodity.