As a man who wishes to improve himself, it is very important to become socially savvy. Being socially savvy is all about having a confident personality but also to not come across as insufferable. A likable man has a huge advantage over men who are boring or hard to interact with. If people want to spend time with you, you will slowly but surely claim victories in other aspects of your life: relationships, career, building wealth, developing your hobbies, and even health. Being likable and having a circle of well-wishers is a big boost to one’s psychological health which translates into less depression and less possibility of addictive compensatory behaviors. Being social also opens the door to playing sports together and traveling together.
Many men make some very basic mistakes when interacting with others. These mistakes have the effect of others wanting to avoid being with you. These mistakes are easy to avoid and we wish more men could follow these basic rules! Here they are:
- Never talk about money: how much something costs, where to get a deal, how much you or someone paid for something, how much you make, your investment choices, etc. Only talk about money if someone else asks you. And then too, don’t be too interested. Subconsciously, money-minded people are seen as selfish and untrustworthy.
- Never ask someone to watch a video that you like, or listen to a song that you like, or to read a long internet post: On the internet, there are billions of interesting things. Chances are: what you find interesting at a certain point in time may be seen as silly or inconsequential by others. Why put yourself in that position? By asking someone to spend their time to appreciate something that YOU like, you come across as selfish and boring. It is ok to talk about non-fiction books though, because most people don’t have the time to read books (though they secretly want to), and by offering what you learnt from a book you are adding value to their life. Don’t brag, but when the situation exists, describe what you learnt from a book in a way that adds to others’ knowledge.
- Never offer advice about diet or exercise or health till asked for. Chances are, the other person has already searched the internet and has plenty of information. When it comes to health, the problem most people have is related to willpower and discipline, not information.
- Never hijack conversations to show off your knowledge about something unrelated.
- Don’t argue over complex issues like politics, religion, art etc! If there is a contentious issue being discussed, participate as if you are not emotionally invested in convincing others. Someone who wants to change others to his point of view is not likable. If you can’t build a common ground, it is better to understand the other person than to try to change his mind. Participate in the discussion, but not in an emotionally insistent way that makes others wary of disagreeing with you.
- Don’t avoid looking at the other person. Look into each others’ eyes when talking. That way, you can continue to gauge their interest. When a person looks away or down and continues to talk, it is a subconscious sign that he is talking to satisfy himself. Nobody likes that. Talk to the other person, not at them. Your words and sentences are meant to build a bridge, not to make yourself look good in your own eyes.
- Don’t speak in long sentences, or beat around the bush. Speak in short, easy to understand sentences and use common words. First get to the point, and then explain further. Don’t use wishy-washy words like “maybe”, “probably” when you are expressing an opinion. When you exercise others’ patience, they become tired. For example: “I agree, let’s do the second hike. The first hike is longer. We should do it another day.” instead of “The first hike is longer and even though I like it maybe we should do it another day. Let’s do the second hike.” You come across as more decisive and easy to relate to if you follow the former approach.
- Don’t talk ill of people that you both know. It may offer instant gratification, but in the long term you will be seen as someone who talks about others behind their back. Sooner or later there will be a disagreement between you and your gossip partner. Then the gossip partner will be imagining that you are talking about him/her to others. Never a good thing. Let others gossip, but you should not be seen as an active gossiper.
- Never be very picky when it comes to food or drink. If someone offers you something that you don’t like much, accept a very small portion instead of saying that you need something else. If someone asks you what you’d like, offer some easy to satisfy choices. For example, when someone asks you “What would you like to drink?”, some good answers are: “Whatever you are having”, or “What are my choices?” or “I can have a cup of tea”, or in a western setting “I can have a beer, or a glass of wine.” You should demand a particular drink or food item at a restaurant. As a guest at somebody’s home, you should be gracious and grateful.
- During every interaction, be the one who adds value, rather than tries to extract it. Tell interesting stories, laugh at someone’s jokes, give them attention, ask for advice. These are all things that make others feel good. On the other hand, telling boring stories, telling jokes and expecting others to laugh, expecting attention, giving advice are all unlikable activities.
Most people are needy and insecure. They don’t need another needy person to interact with. They need someone who gives them attention. They don’t want someone who demands attention from them.