David Morin

This Is What Changed Everything For Me

Say hello to old David.

– I worried what others thought of me and that they wouldn’t like me.
– It took me forever to connect and make new friends.
– I felt weirdly incapable of making normal conversation and coming up with things to say.
– I felt like I bored people because I wasn’t interesting enough (and was often ignored in group conversations.).
– Often, just thinking about talking to strangers made my hands sweat.
– And man… don’t get me started about talking to girls. Here’s where I went full weirdo.

And what’s more, I was certain that’s just the way I was.

This didn’t just make my conversations awkward…

It slowly eroded the limited social life I had.

No one wants to experience the pain of talking to an awkward person. I eventually realized that it wasn’t their responsibility to figure out that I was a nice and interesting person.

Friends didn’t want to deal with awkwardness and forced small talk. So they made up excuses. They were often “busy.”

Of course, I didn’t realize that it was only excuses until years later.

I only realized it when I saw how eager people can be to hang out with you when you know how to connect.

How I freed myself from the prison in my head

Think about that awkward conversation you had with someone. Or the date where you didn’t know what to say. Or the job interview where you didn’t come off as “the right candidate” even if you were a perfect fit.

I want to tell you about how I got to where I am today. How I freed myself from thoughts spinning in my head, a racing heart around strangers, and lonely weekends worse than prison.

I was determined to be successful in life because I was sure that once I got successful, things would change.

Maybe you’ve had similar thoughts?

  • “Just wait until I get a new job.”
  • “Just wait until I make more money.”
  • “Just wait until I find the right guy/girl.”
  • “Just wait until I look better.”
  • “Just wait until I succeed with my dream.”

So I worked hard for years.

I started a company that did really well. I moved to a nice house in a great area and could buy myself whatever I wanted. So in the eyes of others, I did become successful.

But I didn’t feel successful, because nothing in my social life had really changed. I was still awkward. My school buddies had all moved to different cities. I still spent most weekends alone.

Nothing that really mattered had changed.

I understood that to be confident and natural around others I needed a new strategy.

It turned out that I’d made a huge mistake:

I thought it was wrong to read books on confidence; that it would make me fake. But I slowly realized that I couldn’t figure it all out on my own.

You know… those who went to school discos when they were kids built their social confidence “the natural way”. But still, they needed a decade or more of practice…

If I did the same thing, it would have taken just as long for me.

And I was already a decade behind in social experience. I needed something quicker – I needed to learn instead of just blindly doing.

So, I read everything I could on confidence and social interaction. I was busy running my company, but I practiced whenever I had a chance. Just a few minutes of practice on some days still made a difference.

I had been so stupid. I threw away 1000$ on a new TV because that’s “normal”. But I started to sweat when a course about social skills capable of changing my life cost a fraction of that.

Finally, I understood how much faster I learned by tapping into other’s knowledge.

And the opportunities my social confidence have given me have returned at least 100X of what I invested in books and courses:

  • All the friends I’ve made since I started my journey
  • The amazing people I’ve met
  • The life I now enjoy in NYC
  • And my company, SocialPro…

I took small steps.

  • Instead of just ignoring the passerby on the street, I nodded (even though it felt super uncomfortable at first).
  • Instead of just nodding to the cashier, I asked how she was.
  • Instead of just exchanging the basic greetings with my coworkers, I asked them how their vacation went and how their kids were doing.

I got all of that thanks to investing in myself.

I took small steps, practicing what I’d learned. I didn’t have to do anything scary.

Here’s an example:

When I met people, I just couldn’t relax and felt insanely awkward.

It came to the point where I would stay in my apartment anxiously watching Netflix instead of meeting people.

In one of the many books or courses I went through, I learned a method called “making friends with your nervosity”. Instead of trying to push nervosity away or avoid it, you can pay attention to it and let it be in your body without trying to fight it. You can even name it. (I named the pressure in my chest Bob.)

Something strange happens: When you stop “fearing the fear”, it loses its grip on you.

Anyway, when I first tried it, it didn’t go well.

There were so many other things to think about when I actually talked to someone.

It was like when I learned to drive. At first, it was impossible to steer, accelerate, and look for pedestrians at the same time.

But I practiced whenever I was around strangers.

One day I talked to someone and realized that I didn’t have that anxiety in my body. I actually enjoyed a conversation with a stranger.

WIN! I smiled all the way home.

I started to realize that the voice I had in my head had been wrong the whole time. (You know, that voice telling me, “You don’t have what it takes.”)

I made a realization:

Being able to talk to people in a relaxed way and connect with them is a skill you can learn. It’s not something you have to be born with.

Do you get that? It took me years to really get that.

I could be myself. I didn’t have to pretend to be someone else to fit in.

When I saw how much people liked to be around me, my self-confidence grew.

Here are some recent photos I’ve taken. I included them here because I think that they sum up my social life today. I’ve never been a party person. I always wanted a close circle of friends I can hang out with when I’m up for it.

And it all started with the understanding that being confident, natural, and relaxed around people is a skill you can learn.

Sometimes I think about what my life would be like if this never happened…

According to research, we lose half our friends every seventh year. This means that there would be no way for me to make friends faster than I lost them. For me, that would mean spending more and more nights and weekends in an empty apartment as the years pass by.

Bottom line: Choosing to not do anything is a bad option.

Share your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear what your path has looked like so far and where you would like to go in the future!

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Comments (28)

  1. Sands

    Sometimes I feel like my mind is not with me. It’s like I know what my body is doing but I feel everything from really far away, I’m slow and numb. I call it the cloud because it feels like I’m surrounded by a thick cloud that suffocates the exterior

  2. Sands

    Many years ago when I was in middle school I wrote an anonymous letter to the guy I secretly liked. I forgot to change the handwriting… I had to leave early for the dentist and when I came back everybody knew it was me. This girl, the cause for most of my insecurity had compared every journal to see who matched the handwriting. I was so embarrassed about it that every time somebody asked me about it I would say I didn’t know what I was thinking. I kept quiet because i was terrified of what they might think of me and I never talked about it with him. I wish I had because I still like him and I haven’t seen him in years.
    After a year in high school, I changed schools there wasn’t really a reason I just did. So it was that same girl’s birthday party and she invited me. When I got there she started bombarding me with questions about my new friends. She knew most people of my new school so I felt intimidated because i didn’t get along with those people. She called me a loser in front of all those people. I was so embarrassed I always felt insecure about myself and my friend choice but I’m glad I didn’t involve myself with them because they are really messed up. And she is the reason for most of my insecurities I still haven’t gotten over all of that and I dont know how to do it

  3. Tim

    Never had much in the wayof social skills, especially with the girls. Lost the few Skills, since I have been single again. Really need to regain skills, but confidence is lacking

  4. Jen

    This topic started to haunt me as I got older (40s). In the workplace, social work settings, making friends in an old neighborhood and now a new one. I could say I loathe small talk and prefer a one to one, deeper discussion. Doesn’t need to be too deep, but of some substance. I love my BFs and just being with them, but there’s dinners, and other social things that I’m interested in but loathe the talk. I have friends who are terrific in this area, so I’ve tried to take notes from them but not working.

    My best social experiences are in my hiking group where you walk side by side vs. looking at one another. WHAT? Any insight on this one?! Thanks.

  5. Jim

    Thanks for this advice, David. It’s so easy for me to get trapped in my head and think being socially awkward is just who I am, but I know it’s not true because it’s not how I am around my brothers. Almost like the awkwardness and nervousness is a mask I put on out of fear when I’m around people I don’t know as well. You mentioned reading books about conversation; what are some of the books that helped you on your journey, David?

  6. Unix

    I’m going to meet up with friends. Next Week even in a neighbouring country (South Poland). I haven’t neglected friends I would say but they all need to meet my daughter Sini – of fairly equal age to them and she’s taller than most of them.
    Can’t look by as the social efforts I made last Year and 2016 vain by and they don’t even know anything at all about her existence

  7. Kk

    My significant other passed last year together unsepaeratble for 21 years.
    I didn’t keep in contact with no one
    left that behind In past had my everything with me and that was gone
    So became isolated low self-esteem didn’t care.Now I got myself into becoming the best me time will tell
    Thank you your info is helping me with my decisions about life

    Thank you

  8. Anonymous

    I was not so social during my college days. Got panic attacks on talking to girls and teachers and strangers. But when I got a job, I decided to change that. I practiced giving a speech which helped me in my biz skill sessions. During the training months, the people were really supportive and encouraged me to be more open. I became too open and hurt some people’s feelings.
    Then I got my posting and the people there were also supportive, but that did no help to my sudden anxiety attacks that would cramp up my stomach. I isolated myself. After few months, there were new additions to our team and I thought it as an opportunity to restart my social interactions. I mixed with people, became open in interactions, this time considering other people’s feelings, did not have hate small talks anymore, and everything was going fine.
    But then again something happened and minimalized my interactions with people. Recently I came across your site and subscribed to it. It is really helping me practically. Clearing most of my questions and doubts that were holding me from being socially active. Also many if the techniques like finding common ground and all, I have applied them and seen great results before I read this site. I always wanted someone
    who would mentor me on this. This site was recommended to me by a colleague a year ago but I ignored it saying I will let things happen naturally. I have improved no doubt by doing natural trial and error, but it sometimes costs friendships. This site is great. I will take things slowly this time, without putting too much effort to change my basic self, without allowing too little change to make myself better. thanks David for putting your experiences out here. I look forward to the journey from being awkward to awesome. Speaking of which, how do I join that program?

  9. Tyra

    For about four years ago I started playing basketball and I dared to talk to anyone there, I never became a part of the group so after half a year I left. After that I realised that I have to change my behaviour in new groups, communicate more and dare to be heard. So I challenged myself, I went on a language trip, I started in athletics, I shifted class and so on. Today I’m still the shy one but at a whole new level. Hence, I think it is important for us to challenge ourselves, even if it’s terrifying sometimes. Because otherwise we will miss out on SO many stuff. If I would be the same person I was when I joined the basketball team I wouldn’t even have half as many friends as I have now.

  10. Aurora

    Honestly, I do think I could end up improving my awkwardness and that it’s not just who I am. But what if everyone else that’s seen you thinks that? Everyone at my school has already made up their mind about me and think of me as the quiet shy and boring person with no social skills and I think they would think it would be too weird if I suddenly start to change.

  11. Jacob

    This is so true! But I would argue that even those so-called “social butterflies” have a lot to learn before they can actually connect with just about anybody. Even with experience, they don’t truly understand the specific, psychological principles that underly having a good conversation. Some of them tend to sound very narcissistic and self-centered when they talk with others, and some might have some underlying prejudice against certain types of people. I feel like anybody could learn from a guidebook on social skills to take their own ability to bond and have conversations to the next level. I personally struggle with deciding who I want to be friends with and how to expand my social network, despite having a good understanding of social skills, and I never invited people out to a fun, enjoyable event.

    • Jen

      Absolutely! Often I find others insistently talk about themselves. The conversation is so one sided and that is where I start to go sideways. I run out of questions. Don’t want to be overly inquisitive. I excuse myself and run. Sometimes I even head to the ladies room just to regroup!

  12. Josh

    Similar to your story I’ve always just assumed that my awkwardness and nervousness meeting people was just the way I am. I never really questioned it. However I do considered myself to be an excellent learner and hearing you say that these are skills to be learned puts some of my anxiety to ease. Looking forward to more!

  13. Matthew

    Hi David
    Thank you for sharing your story in such a humble and honest way, quite inspiring.

    Anyway I struggle with confidence in Social situations whilst also worrying too much about what others think of me. Therefore I find it difficult to make deeper connections with existing friends and other people.

    • David Morin

      <3

      I've noticed recently many of our readers share that problem with you, I'll try to write more about it in the future.

  14. Shyneka

    I never mentioned how much strength It must of taken
    to be where you are today
    today
    being so patient & having the most fantastic belief in your self will not been easy
    Using a strategy propelled you forward
    and helpt you Endure others whilst exercising amazing faith towards your plans.
    You set goals that you desired to achieve and
    you went all out for them and never lost sight of you vision dreams & direction.
    You are amazingly motivated & driven.

  15. Ingrid

    Thank you David for sharing your story. I recognice myself in most of it. I can still feel the pain and shame when I think back at some occations way back. For me, shame came along with the feeling of beeing a social failure. Then my fright got me to be a bit suspicious to new people and I can now , years after se that I acted in a way that most likely made people avoid me. Also, I avoided and said no to many things because of my social “imparement”.
    I belive I gradually “got better” as years gone by but still I feel at ease only with a few. I really would like to make new friends but I still find it SO SO hard! Well, I`m glad I got my eyes on your letters, gave me some hope!:) In one of your earlier e-mail you said something that made me SO happy and that made me feel that FINALLY! Here is someone who knows what he is actually talking about. It was the word about skipping the self-help ideas about “just throw youreself out there, -talk to 10 new strangers every day! Instead you said something about expanding your comfortzone in small steps..Thank you!! Look forward reading your next e-mail:) // Ingrid

  16. Camilla

    Hi David and team social pro!

    I think that your story is amazing David! 😃 And as I writen before I think that what you’ll doing here at socialPro is amazing. 😃👍

    I think I alreaddy shared my story; I like my ponytail 😄 doing my best to get out in that social life again (not as god at talking as at writing). But more to my story is that I meet a guy who was narcissist. So my shame over what he did to me keeping me from my social life (and my old friends) sometime. So you and your team are my inspiration right now! 🙂👍

    • David Morin

      Thank you so much Camilla! That means a lot to me 😀

      I’m glad we can be a part of your process to heal and be yourself again. Narcissists are the worst… I have friends with narcissistic parents so I know what kind of damage people like that can do and how tough it is to heal 🙁 I can recommend this forum for people who share your experience with a narcissistic partner: https://www.reddit.com/r/NRelationships/

      People like you inspire me to keep doing this!

  17. Onurb

    Hello David,

    thank you very much for sharing your story and giving us helpful advice.

    So here’s my story:

    Before I started working on my social skills, I had a bad case of social anxiety. During that period I was actively avoiding people due to my lack of social skills and fear of getting into conversations. When I had to talk to people, our conversations quickly came to a halt and i felt like a wall or a drain – people talked to me, but my responses were basic at best.

    Several months ago I realized I needed to change so I started working on my confidence to get rid of my social anxiety. I’ve succeeded in getting rid of my fear of entering conversations and I do okay in one-on-one conversations.
    Howewer, my mind still goes blank when I’m in a group setting because I don’t know what to say. I also sometimes get interrupted while speaking and in those situations I just go silent and let that person speak.

    So to wrap this up, I’ve made some progress thanks to some self-help books, videos and websites (including your blog), but i know there’s still a lot to learn when it comes to social skills.

    Best regards, Onurb

    • David Morin

      Thank you so much for sharing Onurb, it’s good to hear you’ve started on your journey already! Stay awesome!

  18. Peter Shelton

    I am so fed up I don’t know what direction to take anymore
    What can i do about cruel jealous people who stop me from advancing to the next level because of my successes working with vulnerable people and being popular with people.
    These are people who I thought weren’t close friends I am withdrawing into myself , I am been overlooked for promotion to full time work from volunteering the last year radio stations invited me to tell my amazing story for mental awareness with what am i to do

  19. Hello David, I really need help, I don’t know what to say to people, after the occasional hello, I go blank, I would think and think and nothing comes to mind, eventually I would just give up and think “why do I have to start the conversation anyway”

    Please help

  20. Debra

    I appreciate you sharing this information with us. I also have difficulty with conversations. I am shy, and usually don’t know what to say to people after hello. I would also like to feel confident when meeting or entertaining people.

    Thanks,

    • David Morin

      Thanks Debra, just knowing where your difficulties lie is the first step towards dealing with them. Many people never even have the courage to admit they’re not perfect. Look out for my next mail, I think it might give you a push in the right direction. Thank you so much for sharing!

  21. Mathis D

    Thank you so much for sharing David! To be honest I feel like my path has just started. I have a couple of friends but I don’t really feel I can share everything with them, I want to get closer with my friends and to be more relaxed meeting new friends. So far I feel like I have taken the “safe” path in life. I have always been so afraid of people not liking me.

    • David Morin

      Glad to have you here Mathias!
      Looking forward to follow your progress

      David

  22. Hey David,

    That’s an awesome honest story.
    My realization is similar,… often there is this thought, that what you think is what you are. But what you DO is what you are. So doing social, makes you social.

    I started off as a geeky college student, but through trial and error. Going to parties of strangers, studying abroad and stepping up to new people, I learned to be social. And see me as socially versed.

    Best, Timon