Review of Awkward to Awesome: The Art of Making Conversation

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Theodor describes himself as a positive person. He likes helping out when people need it, and he always wants to be kind to people. But his main problem was “one-on-one” conversations, where he couldn’t keep a conversation going. “I think a lot about what to say, but I talk very little. Probably because of fear of taking the conversation away from what everyone else wants it to develop into,” he says.

During the program, he got more confident and began realizing that others don’t have a strict plan of in which direction they want the conversation to go. That is one thing that has helped him be more at ease and speak his mind.

Theodor on social challenges and how he has overcome them

Now, I have understood the profound meaning of me asking them questions and be more interested in their lives. That makes conversations go easier. But it’s still hard. Especially when I have been that one labeled “the silent one” in almost every setting. The last big challenge is to get other people interested in talking to me. It’s much easier now, but it still needs a bit of practicing.

“I never got any conversation going, and I felt that no one was interested in me”

This is what made Theodor decide to start improving his social skills

Over several years now (maybe five or so), I have seen how everyone around me at my age began hanging out with each other outside of school and in other settings than the classic “stay at a friends place from after school and until they eat dinner”-visits that children often do when they are young. I realized that everyone else went to the cinema, the mall, and when I went to high school, others began going to parties everywhere, while I was just sitting at home, doing my homework and not getting any invitations to any activity with anyone from my class when the school day was over.

Then came a school trip to Florence (I had art classes at high school) two years ago, and I saw even more how everyone had fun in other settings than in a classroom. The one difference between me and everyone else was that everyone else talked to each other, while I always just listened. So I understood that I needed to talk more, just in order to make more connections with people. The problem was that I didn’t know how to talk to people in other ways than just throwing out easy comments like “wonder when they are going to change that light bulb” or “that was a nice drawing”. I never got any conversation going, and I felt that no one was interested in me because they didn’t talk to me (and I guess that is true because I didn’t seem like a person that was very interested in any other people, unfortunately).

When I started at university last year, I already knew that I would need to make friends fast, because if not, everyone would start forming groups while I stood outside. The problem was that I wasn’t included, even though I walked around with them and went to every social event during that first ‘buddy week’. I decided that I needed better social skills because the way things always seemed to end was heartbreaking. I felt that no one I met wanted to include me, and I didn’t understand why. The only way to understand it and fix it is to gain access to their groups, and the only way to do that would be to improve my social skills.

“I didn’t understand that I had to do things by myself”

Why is it do you think that you didn’t really connect during that buddy week?

I think, I simply never asked people about their lives. I didn’t contact them to find out when they would be in the park or anything, I just showed up at the time the whole buddy group of students was supposed to. I didn’t understand that I had to do things by myself.

“I try to be the one who takes the first step, initiating a talk or sending a message”

Understanding of social concepts and how that affected his social interaction in “now and then” examples

My new knowledge has made me more active in social life. I make contact with people I see. Before, I could meet a group of people I knew at a place and be with them, expecting to be included simply because I was in their vicinity. Now, I understand that I need to take part in what they are talking about. I try to talk more with them, and I try to be the one who takes the first step, initiating a talk or sending a message, and ask them about where to meet, when, and so on.

“Now and then”

In the “buddy week”, we were going to a park to just hanging out. I thought that everyone was just showing up by themselves and that everyone would be sitting together and having fun. What happened was that I arrived early, alone, while most of the others arrived in groups of 2-6 people a bit later than me. At that point, I didn’t quite understand what I was doing wrong. Now, at a gathering about a week ago, I contacted other people before leaving my home. In that way, I knew when they would arrive, and I knew that this one guy could meet me a little earlier so that we found the way together.

friends

I am talking to people. I still have some work to do with rebuilding an image of myself, so that everyone doesn’t think I am that quiet and uninterested guy. I do really like the fact that I am able to hold a conversation.

A recent situation where Theodor started talking to someone (where he wouldn’t before) and what happened

I was at this birthday party last weekend, and I had a slight fear that I would just sit by and listen to everyone else talking. What happened, though, when I started talking and asking questions to the one sitting next to me, was that I focused on him and asked further questions about what he said. I started drawing connections to my own life, and he seemed more interested in talking to me. More people joined, and we ended up discussing things that had happened that week and when the group conversation ended, I was able to continue talking to one of the others.

“The hardest thing is to really want to go to a social happening”

Theodor talks about his fears of improving socially

That has been the one thing I have been afraid of all the time since I started thinking about the fact that I need to improve. I don’t really feel that I am becoming someone that I don’t want to be, even though I am changing. The hardest thing is to really want to go to a social happening – I am still a bit afraid I am going to slip back into my old habit of just listening. I just have had this fear that I would make a fool of myself, that other people would think that I am weird and annoying for talking more, but that is a fear partly sticking in me from the time when that stopped me from talking at all.

Theodor’s advice to those who are just starting this journey

I would say that they should take notes from the course, have the notes with them in a little notebook. Check it regularly, repeat things, but the most important thing would be to say hello, ask questions, try not to think that they have less to say than anyone else. They should take it slow, and compliment themselves for the good things they did during a conversation. They should take small steps, but take them consistently (not thinking that you can skip it one time because you did well in another conversation earlier).

They should be patient, though. They should be really patient, and try to see the improvements instead of what went wrong.

That way, the days will come that they will never forget.


Success Stories

Bianca Gelli, Brazil

"[...] you know, little did I know that it isn’t about having an endless list of things to say, but about being genuinely interested in hearing from the other person and finding mutual interests. That’s so much more profound than I thought when I dreamed of a silver bullet to solve my conversation dead ends.

David’s course is DEFINITELY NOT a band-aid, it is a cure, for whatever social discomfort you have.

From this life, we don’t take away material things, only the good relationships we’ve had. Also, if you think that you can’t find friends that are like you, I guarantee you they are out there, you’ll find them with the help of this course."

Read Bianca's full story here

William lives in Irvine, California where he studies International Commerce

"I always felt I was a good guy, well-intentioned and nice. However, sometimes life and people were kind of stepping over me. I didn't have a lot of girls and social success.

Now I'm outgoing, social, and generally easy to talk to. What I learned is that change is possible!"

Read William's full story here

Rakesh, 20, is an engineering student in India

[...] one thing it has done is completely eliminated awkward moments. And because I’m not putting on a mask, it’s not at all tiring.

In fact, I look forward to more interactions. I’ve even started a brotherhood group so that I can meet new people and forge healthy relationships.

Read Rakesh's full story here

Rachel, 25, works in IT-support in Australia

"The way you teach and your methods have helped me so much. I have been implementing your ideas, and it has changed my life in such a positive way.

I have been genuinely interesting myself in others and it makes others feel cared about, and in turn, that makes me feel good!"

Theodor from Norway studies History at the University of Oslo

"When I started at university last year, I already knew that I would need to make friends fast, because if not, everyone would start forming groups while I stood outside. The problem was that I wasn’t included, even though I walked around with them and went to every social event during that first ‘buddy week’. I decided that I needed better social skills because the way things always seemed to end was heartbreaking. I felt that no one I met wanted to include me, and I didn’t understand why. The only way to understand it and fix it is to gain access to their groups, and the only way to do that would be to improve my social skills.

During the program, Theodor got more confident and began realizing that others don’t have a strict plan of in which direction they want the conversation to go. That is one thing that has helped him dare to speak more."

Read Theodor's full story here

Claire, 33, is from UK and currently lives and works in the Netherlands

"I realized when I found your course that it’s not only I who feel self-conscious in social situations but most people feel that way. It was the feeling that there's actually nothing wrong with me that's made the difference. That helped me to start to forget the painful things that harmed my confidence in the past.

Before Christmas, I went to the birthday party of a friend and as a result, I got invited to someone’s dinner party after chatting for some time with someone who seemed to really like me and said that I was fun!"

Read Claire's full story here

Estuardo Paz, 29, works as a data processor for a U.S. media company

"Before I feel all bad because I didn't make any friends. I wasn’t motivated to interact with people because I got depressed. Now I don't panic and can go on speaking until I create rapport.

Now I know that I can make a difference in people’s lives just by connecting with them and sharing what I am."

Read Estuardo's full story here

Richard, 29, is a mechanical engineer from Portugal

"I've read several things about improving social skills and most, by far, are very general, vague tips.

I have to congratulate you and Viktor. Some of the things you teach give what I call "aha moments" or "make me see the matrix". It's those bits of knowledge so well thought of that make you connect the dots."

Read Richard's full story here

Kaitlind lives and studies in Corona, California

"I've been homeschooled, so I didn't have very much social experience and I wasn't very good at making friends. I hardly had any friends. Almost a year ago, I started going to my church's huge youth group. As you can imagine, from my background, I got off to a bad start."

"Your concept of slowly going out of my comfort zone has really helped. I have more friends at my youth group than I thought I was capable of making."

Rebecca

"I find that people make an effort to talk to me now and ask me how I’m doing. I know that friendships take years to build, but this course definitely is putting me on the fast-track to do so. I now find small-talk with strangers, and bonding 1-on-1, to be effortless. There is a great improvement in group conversations as well.

This course is amazing and I 10/10 recommend it for anyone who has EVER been at a loss at what to say when conversing. This course holds all these social skills so many of us seem to just be missing. Thank you so much, David! Your product has revolutionized not only my social life but my life in general. Because life is about the connections and relationships you have, and now I know how to have some."

Read Rebecca's full story here