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Daniel Wendler is an authority in the field of how to achieve social success. He’s a TEDx speaker and the author of Improveyoursocialskills.com. He moderates the subreddit /socialskills with more than 76 000 subscribers. Daniel has written about social skills for several years and I was lucky enough to get an interview with him where he share his best advice on how to live a great social life.
Daniel, what was the most important lesson you learned during your journey towards a more social life?
You can be accepted just as you are.
Don’t get me wrong — self-improvement is a great thing. But it’s really tempting for people to hold themselves back from real intimacy until they feel they have their act together. Unfortunately, nobody really ever has their act together — every person is imperfect. So don’t wait until you’re perfectly social to try to connect — find the people who will accept you even with your messiness and connect with them.
If you pin down three practical things people can do right now to change their social life, what would that be?
First, you need consistency. You’re not going to get better at anything (social skills included) unless you’re consistent about trying to improve. So make a commitment — find something you can do each day and something else you can do each week to improve your social skills. For instance, you might say “I will read social skills advice for 10 minutes each day, and I will invite one person to have lunch with me each week.”
Second, you need to give yourself the freedom to fail. I find a lot of people give themselves unrealistic expectations about what “social success” looks like. They feel like they’re supposed to always have the right thing to say, never make a social mistake — and whenever they mess up they lose hope of ever getting better. Mistakes are the way that we learn, and everyone makes them. If you make a social mistake, don’t beat yourself up — just figure out what you can learn from it, and try again.
Third, you need to take care of your whole person. Get enough sleep, exercise, etc — if you’re feeling good, you’ll perform better socially. Also, consider seeing a therapist. It’s hard to connect with others when you have mental or emotional problems that are not getting treatment, and a therapist can really help you understand yourself better and live a better life.
For people who haven’t yet visited your site, Improve Your Social Skills, what can they expect to find there?
Improve Your Social Skills is a comprehensive online guide to social skills. That means that it explains the fundamentals of social interaction — stuff like conversation, making friends, and empathy — in a way that is easy to understand and apply.
My hope is that when you come to Improve Your Social Skills, you’ll find everything you need to start seeing some serious improvement in your social life — and that improvement will encourage you to start a lifelong journey of social improvement.
What is something that the readers probably don’t know about you?
If you want to know more about Daniel, check out his great TEDx-talk here.