David Morin

When Life Gives You Shitty Cards – Do This

This guy made a life-changing realization, right here:

“I spent years in therapy “because” I was too ugly to get a girlfriend. My therapist insisted I was using that as an excuse. I balked. Why would I make up a painful excuse? Did she think I enjoyed being ugly? But it was an excuse. My looks were relatively out of my control. I let myself off the hook by deciding the Universe dealt me shitty cards, which meant I was free to complain without doing any hard work.“

(From Quora, here’s the full post)

When we did the research for our program “Conversation Control”, we sent out surveys to almost 20 000 Socialpro readers. We had deep email conversations. We even had hour long phone calls with many of you.

One reader intrigued me in particular. She wrote:

– “But how will a course help me, if people around me don’t take the course?”

Others said similar things.

-“People aren’t interested in hanging out nowadays, they sit home instead”

-“People in my country/city are like X.”

-“You need to be a faker to make friends nowadays

10 years ago – I would have agreed:

  • People seemed busy and didn’t have time
  • They were shallow and uninteresting
  • They were bad at keeping in touch
  • They would rather sit at home doing nothing
  • They lost interest in hanging out after a while

Looks like life dealt me shitty cards, right?

If one person’s off and doesn’t want to hang out, it’s reasonable to assume it has nothing to do with you.

If it feels like a pattern in your life, you are the only one who can do something about it.

Here’s what we see over and over: When our readers use the principles we’ve been talking about in previous emails, this problem of how “everyone is” eventually goes away.

  • When they turn the conversation into personal mode, people open up and become less shallow and more personal.
  • When they start looking for commonalities instead of talking about their accomplishments, people wants to hang out more
  • When they use conversational threading, their conversations run smoother.  People feel more at ease around them

And so on…

Your approach is what decides how people react to you.

As an example, one of our readers had the belief that people are always busy nowadays and rather sit at home with their iPad. But when she thought about it, she knew several examples of people similar to her who had great social lives. People said they were busy as an excuse because she tended to be too self-focused in conversations.

It was one of the most painful realizations she’d ever made. But that realization was also the best thing that ever happened to her: She knew it was in her control to improve (And when she started focusing more on others, people had more time).

It’s fair to put our assumptions to the test before we let them form our opinion of how people are. A good way to do that is to look at people around us who shouldn’t succeed if our assumption was entirely true.

Luckily, it’s often subtle adjustments in how we approach people that make a huge change in our lives.

The biggest hurdle is to first realize that if we want something to change in our lives, we need to look at ourselves.

– “But I don’t want to play the shallow social game anyway”

– “I don’t want to make hours of small talk with people I don’t care about

– “I don’t want to fake and compromise myself to get others approval”

– “I don’t want to be some kind of super extrovert and have people around me all the time”

Great! Neither do I.

To me, a good social life is having a small group of close friends who you actually WANT to hang out with. People, you’re comfortable around, who are there when you need them.

A good social life is a life on your own terms, without having to hunt for approval from others.

I found and made friends with thoughtful, smart, genuine people who were very much like me. All those ideas I had about “how people are”, were actually a way to let myself off the hook.

The solution was to make small adjustments in how I approached people.

“But David, people should see me for who I am, I shouldn’t have to learn this”

Everyone has to learn social skills. It’s just that some do it when they’re really young. For example, I was at home building pinball machines when others were at school discos improving their social skills.

img_5956

Obi-Wan David (With a lightsaber built out of water-pipe)

 

Mom, I’m still sorry I made a scorekeeper out of your fancy cooking-timer.

Jokes aside, I would never want to change that period of my life.

While others were socializing, we, who spent a lot of time on our own, developed other skills and qualities.

You probably developed parts of your personality that you wouldn’t want to be without today.

Now that we’re older and more aware we can learn to become really socially skilled on top of all that.

“But what if I lack some kind of ability you have to be born with to be good socially?”

I felt the same way 10 years ago, and I’ve seen a lot of participants in my courses starting off with similar feelings.

Most people doubt themselves or assume there’s something wrong with them. That they were just born without that “inner charisma”. But I’ve seen time and time again how that’s just not true. Social skills are something you learn. Everyone can get better at it if they, with the right support, take the steps they need. You will probably be surprised at how quickly you’ll improve once you know what to do.

Don’t let yourself off the hook.

Have you had any thoughts that kept you from improving, and how did you deal with them? I can’t wait to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments right below!

Comments (17)

  1. Gareth

    Hi David,
    I am having trouble with talking to people who I want to be close friends with. When I talk, I have a mind freeze and forget what to say and I say random stuff that makes the conversation awkward. Do you have any tips on how I can make to initiate or slide into a conversation while making it interesting?
    Thanks,

  2. Caz

    Hey David,
    I’m currently in high school and I’d say struggle pretty badly with social anxiety at times. I’d say its bcoz I have a sub-conscious cycle of negative thoughts in my head when socialising and bcoz I get so so nervous around people. I don’t know why but I’ve become so scared of people and talking to people that a lot of the time I feel I give up or my mind is just not trying hard enough to simply just socialise. It’s really difficult bcoz I’ve almost finished high school and by now people in school have had enough of a scope of me through conversations to learn that I’m pretty shy or awkward or very socially anxious. This means they’re not really interested in talking to me again and when I sense this, it really discourages and disappoints me. It’s a struggle bcoz some days I can socialise pretty well and get along with people normally but most times I don’t and people get confused bcoz I build a good basis one day, and then the next I’m nervous again and I sorta destroy that basis and I go back to square one, if that makes sense? I don’t know how to keep my nerves down and how to drill into myself that they are just people like me. My brain just doesn’t seem to get it. But ever since receiving your emails, I’m really willing to try out these methods and see how I go. A little thing that’s concerning me though is, do these methods apply to people of all ages? As a teen, it feels like no one really sits down with one another to have conversations like this over tea or whatever, ‘socialising’ with teens around me feels more like a competition bcoz to me, I always worry about the ‘right’ thing to say in order to fit in better. Of course when I’m under this constant pressure I can never socialise properly. Sorry for rambling but I just don’t know how to start fresh and how to forget all these worries to put it simply.

  3. Sagarika

    Hi David!
    Your videos and advises have been helping me a lot to deal with my social awkwardness.

    For me, I had a lot problem while trying to be comfortable around people. Even though I would meet some same people often, I had blank mind and couldn’t really converse with them.
    Maybe it was what they talked about that got me uncomfortable and confused. Cause I will admit, I am not a person who knows a lot.
    I tried to avoid such situation an tried to change topics and enter into those conversations, but I failed many times not knowing how to go about it.
    But then I slowly started listening to what others had to say an tried to connect my questions and built my curiosity and jumped into those conversations.
    I think somewhere that helped me to not be the weird girl around the corner.
    I am still trying to improve.

  4. Anonymous

    Hi David,

    First off, I can’t thank you enough for this program. It is so much more than I expected and I love it!

    This article reminded me of one of my biggest struggles with socializing, and I can’t tell if I’m just making up excuses or if I’m actually right about it. You see, I’m in high school right now. I chose to not go to my home/default high school–and I don’t regret that–but it made socializing very hard. This is because for everyone else, this WAS their home school, meaning they just carried their middle school cliques and nothing changed. Anyone I met that seemed like a potential friend eventually got separated from me due to schedule changes, some age gap that made it hard to share classes, or just finding other people. When I joined clubs and other things of the like, they too split off into cliques. I feel like I was never even given the chance to make friends, because no one was open to adding a new member to their (probably) long-lasting friend group. Am I justified in thinking this way?

    Another thing I want to add is that I feel like I ruined my reputation when I first started. I made a lot of mistakes in socializing in my freshman year, and I feel like that really hurt me. Now my reputation is pretty much “resident weirdo” at the moment. People talk to me, but only if they have to. If I never initiated, they would never interact with me. I just want to be accepted by others. But can that ever change if everyone already has a subpar (at best) perception of me?

    What I’m basically asking is, can I do anything to fix my situation, or am I stuck? Should I even bother trying to find friends in high school when the social climate will probably be much better when I’m an adult and none of this will really matter? I’m halfway through school and I just feel awful all the time. And while I don’t want to give up, the future does not look bright. I don’t know if this all makes sense, but I figure it doesn’t hurt to ask to for help.

    Thank you for reading,
    – A very distressed teenager

  5. Shyneka

    Thank you for being so open an sharing this.
    I can definitely identify with this on a more deeper & personal level a myself. I know exactly how it feels and it’s helpt a lot just having you simply speak of it.

  6. Dave

    my biggest problem is that I have trouble getting people to open up to me. even when I get into personal stuff, they always give short answers such as:
    me: “what do you love most about ___?”
    them: “idk” or “the story”

    what can I do to get better at that? thank you!

  7. Camilla

    Hi David,

    I agree with most of the things you write about – I like your social thinking skills! The last one got me thinking. I stopt trying look nice and doing what I love with hair, makeup and clothes (something I always got with my mother and sister that is creative and fun) because that it often makes feel like everyone has the right to the hole me everyway i go (talk to me, cut between, toutch me in public). And I don’t have the skills to say no without beeing respectless – because thats how I feel i beeing treated. It takes a lot of my happy energi around people i don’t know, but I like people.

    So, i rather dress upp in a big skirt or a sweather how is big with no makeup so that people treath me like a person. I don’t think I like the people I hang around now because they hang with me “cause im pretty” not because of who I am. And I don’t even like beeing pretty anymore. I see the life as a footballfeeld where everyone helps out, byt this people seems to see life as a pyramid. Are there a good way of saying “thanks, but no thanks” without hurting people?

    I don’t like to talk open about this because “who am I to say that I am pretty, and thinking thats a problem?” But I noticed in people because comments like “you seem to have it so easy” and “boys are always looking at you” or if i go on a dating-app i get so many mails I just give up, cause I don’t want to be mean by saing no (or saying nothing). And that is with a picture of me from my neck and Up just smiling. NOT with a short skirt, a deep neckline or even bare arms. I feel like every person have something god in them, but maybe I need to get that smaler cirkle of people who you describe who sees the life like I do. I figured I maybe cut My hair so that I falling down on the pretty-scale, but I do like my ponnytail beacuse I grow up with horses. And I do like my makeup couse it reminds me of my family.. ideas? Thanks for reading.

    • Viktor Sander

      Thank you for sharing Camilla!

      I thought a lot about your issue, it’s a tough one. I don’t really know the perfect solution, but what stuck with me is: Don’t let the cards you’ve been dealt stop you from doing what you truly want. Also, practice saying “no” to what you don’t want. Everybody doesn’t need to like you that much. (I have the same problem, it’s so hard to make someone sad, but sometimes it’s necessary.)

      • Camilla

        Hi Viktor!

        Maybe thats true, maybe not all people need to like me. So maybe it’s okay to say no sometimes.

        I really think that this SocialPro things is an amazing thing you’ll doing. I think you help so many people. Keep it up!

        Thanks!

  8. Linus

    David that pin ball machine looks really classic
    Just curious: how old were You when You made it ?

    • David Morin

      I think I was around 12-13 🙂

  9. sam

    Hello David
    There is this friend i want to talk to badly. We share only a few things in common and have never had verbal conversation except on text which is alot atimes not fulfilling to me. Is there anything you can advice me on?

    • David Morin

      I would focus on the things you do have in common. After all, that’s what feel interesting for both you and your friend to talk about. Perhaps you have more things in common you don’t even know about yet? You find commonalities by genuinely wanting to get to know someone. If you show a genuine interest in the person + talk about your commonalities, your friend will probably enjoy the conversation. Why not text your friend and say that that texting is tedious so you’d like to call him/her.

  10. David Morin

    Hi Quentin,

    Now that you’re aware of the issue you’re already halfway there, and that’s great. You need to force yourself outside of your inner thought process and over to what they’re actually saying. If there’s some ego involved, like “I alreay know what this person is talking about so I don’t need to listen” or “I come off as un-knowing if I don’t show that I know what the person is talking about”, you need to let that ego go and instead just focus on doing this shift from being attentive about your inner thoughts and instead be attentive towards who the one who’s speaking at the moment.

  11. Quentin

    Hi David, I am a semi social person and have a few close friends which I am super cool with, but sometimes when I’m talking with someone instead of listening to what they’re saying my brain just automatically assumes what they are saying an shale the time it is wrong. Do you have any tips on how I can listen more?
    I understand if you’re to busy to respond, but thanks in advance if you do.

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