How Do You Socialize?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 08, 2012 9:02 AM GMT
    I've been a homebody for as long as I can remember. I don't mind it, but I don't have many friends. Bars have not been helpful. Guys there are either getting drunk with friends or old men leering at the younger guys.

    Where do you socialize and meet new people? If at the gym, how exactly does that go? "Hey, nice arms, bud...." ?

    Thanks in advance fellas.
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    Nov 08, 2012 11:18 AM GMT
    I am by nature shy, and that was a drawback when I came out late at 45. Nothing adds to shyness more than being a stranger in a new land, about which you know virtually nothing, and what little you think you know is mostly wrong.

    So I fell back to my Army methods, which included enlisting a "Subject Matter Expert" (SME) to guide me, and be my social support. In other words, a gay mentor who would also be my companion and ice-breaker in gay social situations. I think a more contemporary term is "wing man".

    And it worked. With him along for confidence & advice I did very well. And like losing the training wheels on a child's bicycle, before long I could go out solo.

    I learned my "craft" partly in gay clubs & bars, but also at private gatherings in homes and other venues. The techniques to use are provided in books and online, with most very basic.

    - Show more interest in others than in showcasing yourself. Ask friendly questions that invite them to do the talking.
    - Dispense compliments freely but honestly - no empty flattery, unless dealing with politicians or actors.
    - Try to say "I agree with you" as often as possible in a conversation.
    - Soften & rationalize areas of disagreement. This is social conversation, not a college debate or oratory; you're trying to make friends, not win forensics team points. You can lose some points but still win the game.
    - Develop areas of commonality & shared interests. "I was there just last year!" "I've had that happen to me!"
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    Nov 08, 2012 12:05 PM GMT
    ^
    But how does one in the OP's situation engage a wingman?
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    Nov 08, 2012 12:10 PM GMT
    ART_DECO said
    - Show more interest in others than in showcasing yourself. Ask friendly questions that invite them to do the talking.
    - Dispense compliments freely but honestly - no empty flattery, unless dealing with politicians or actors.
    - Try to say "I agree with you" as often as possible in a conservation.
    - Soften & rationalize areas of disagreement. This is social conversation, not a college debate or oratory; you're trying to make friends, not win forensics team points. You can lose some points but still win the game.
    - Develop areas of commonality & shared interests. "I was there just last year!" "I've had that happen to me!"


    I love this. I was talking with a colleague the other day about interpersonal communication skills. This is one of the far-fetched research goals in cochlear implant kids right now.

    We do know interpersonal communication skills (pragmatics) are built by a process called incidental learning via 'overhearing', something hearing impaired children do not have access to. It takes on average seven years to develop in normals. I often think I haven't developed any, but then I just thumb through all the kids I work with. They've got it really rough.

    For me: I went through a re-peoplization period. I relearned behaviors and habits on how to socialize with people. Instead of reaching for a drunken dick, I had to reach for a common ground. I learned via experts just like Art_Deco.

    Three Rules
    1) People love talking about themselves. A good way to start conversation is ask about something they are, and (side-note) like a vulture you can hone in on what makes them insecure. That way you know to avoid it.
    2) People do not want to hear about me-- how good or bad my life is.
    3) Establish a pattern in the places you visit. This sometimes takes years, but you will eventually recognize every consistent body and every inconsistent body.

    Oh and body language is about 80% of our communication!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 08, 2012 12:30 PM GMT
    *gets notepad out*
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 08, 2012 12:53 PM GMT
    like a tiger.. i hang back and observe and wait until that magical moment in which everyone is drunk and non confrontational .. then i pounce! hahahicon_twisted.gif
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    Nov 08, 2012 1:03 PM GMT
    Turn off computer and all other electronics.
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    Nov 08, 2012 1:24 PM GMT
    You can meet friends anywhere. Just comment on anything-- the place you are at, something they are wearing or talking about-- or ask questions: have you been here before, do you come here often, etc. People want to talk. They just need someone to draw them out.
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    Nov 08, 2012 1:40 PM GMT
    This time last year I was experiencing a that same problem. Moved to a new town, didn't know anyone, and it seemed like that was no one here with the same interests.

    You need to put yourself in an environment that encourages socialization and meeting new people. I don't think bars are a good idea, because that is more of a "pick up" environment. I've never been to a gay bar, but I hear it can be bad with clicks already developed.

    I don't know if a gym is a good place. Many guys view that as their sanctuary and prefer not to be bothered during their workouts. Others may want a spotter and someone to work out with. Might be good to join a class or two where socialization is normal (i.e. spin class, kick boxing, circuit classes, etc).

    I have a solid group of friends I met at a church sporting event. We play sand volleyball, soccer, flag football, dodgeball, softball, and other sporting events. Some of the group attends the church, others don't. I liked the church services offered, so I ended up joining. I also joined a bible study group and met more great people through that.

    For non-secular activities, I joined a local running club and met some people there. Don't hang out with any of them outside the group runs (as most of them are married and older) but still enjoy their company.

    Just assess your interests and look for groups that are aligned with those interests. When you do, force yourself to meet people in the group. A good ice breaker is asking a couple people about when the group meets, what events are planned, how long they had the similar interest, etc.

    I'm naturally shy, but I finally forced myself to approach new people and not over think my interactions. Now that I have been in the group for a year, I try and make an effort to approach the new people, make them feel welcomed, and encourage them to come back.
  • PR_GMR

    Posts: 3831

    Nov 08, 2012 1:52 PM GMT
    (sits down and listens)

    As someone who recently got accused of being 'socially inept' and moved to a new city, I'm going to make the effort to make new friends. I'm going out this weekend. Gonna make the effort and approach people. hehehe
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Nov 08, 2012 1:58 PM GMT
    like a champ
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 08, 2012 2:07 PM GMT
    I've always found socializing as burdensome as necessary.
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    Nov 08, 2012 2:08 PM GMT
    eagermuscle said^
    But how does one in the OP's situation engage a wingman?

    I was afraid someone would ask that. Perhaps the most difficult task, if he doesn't already have a candidate among his existing friends.

    I found mine online. Before the spread of the internet in 1994, using a local dial-up bulletin board system (BBS), I had already befriended this gay guy prior to realizing I was gay myself some months later (a long story in itself, as most of mine are icon_redface.gif ).

    So when I came out I knew who to ask, and he was kind enough to help. He knew all the gay spots in Seattle, knew many guys in the community, would accompany me to places, make it all easy. He also wrote articles about HIV/AIDS in the Seattle Gay News (SGN), was a fierce proponent of safe sex and hammered those practices into me, which were all new to me.

    I was such a novice I know that without him I would have made ignorant mistakes, and might not be HIV negative today. So that his mentoring extended beyond helping me to learn the social ways of the gay community, and to overcome my shyness, but also to keep me healthy in a risky new environment.

    Among the many things the Army taught me was to locate & rely upon experts when you're engaging in something where you have little knowledge & experience. And even before that, to recognize and acknowledge that you DO need assistance, something many men are typically reluctant to do. It's related to the "won't stop to ask driving directions" syndrome to which males seem so prone.

    And so I had no hesitation to ask this guy for help. And later as his contacts helped me to network in the gay community, I also asked THOSE guys for help, a constantly spreading web of human resources I could draw upon. And once again I had as my model the Army, where we were reassigned frequently, and had to fit-in and adjust to a new command & community rapidly in order to perform our jobs, to "hit the ground running" as much as possible.

    The Army would even formally assign a "sponsor" to you, especially in overseas assignments, to get you up to speed and assimilated quickly in a new place for maximum effectiveness. So you can see why this line of thought would be natural to me, now being applied to joining the gay community.

    If the OP would like to try this approach, but sees challenges in getting started, we can continue to help him here with suggestions to make that happen.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 08, 2012 3:06 PM GMT
    Being an active listener will be very helpful. And from there I think things will fall into place
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    Nov 08, 2012 3:14 PM GMT
    I grew up in a very popular family, but I was a shy kid - so I had to force myself to overcome this - or continue to spend my time at high school parties & every event like some wallflower. I made myself get over my shyness by just walking up to people, introducing myself and learning to make small talk (about whatever is current that day - sports, for example). Some places I've met good friends:

    * Through my Episcopal church - all kinds of activities - just jumping in and meeting people.

    * Through my alumni association - volunteering and serving on the board - getting invited to a lot of things with the people I've met there.

    * Team sports in college, & my fraternity. You get to know a whole lot of guys - some you'll like better than others - and some get to be very good friends.

    * Through work situations. Not everybody at the office by any means, but I've always met some cool people wherever I've been - people you want to know outside of work.

    * Through other friends. This is key.

    * Through clubs you belong to (golf, tennis, historical associations, antique car groups, whatever your interests are - look for people you have things in common with).

    * On this site. We've met a whole bunch of great guys here.
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    Nov 08, 2012 3:32 PM GMT
    bigDrunner said I've never been to a gay bar, but I hear it can be bad with clicks already developed.


    Sorry, but you must return your gay card until this is accomplished.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 08, 2012 3:45 PM GMT
    Always, always go hang out when you are invited. Many of my best friends are people I met when I went to lunch/bowling/etc with other friends.
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    Nov 08, 2012 4:27 PM GMT
    PR_GMR said(sits down and listens)

    As someone who recently got accused of being 'socially inept' and moved to a new city, I'm going to make the effort to make new friends. I'm going out this weekend. Gonna make the effort and approach people. hehehe


    i saw your naked pics with a hard-on xtube, you are hot.
  • ChrisBGood

    Posts: 103

    Nov 08, 2012 4:50 PM GMT
    I wonder if I am gay anymore. Lol. Guys dont seem to be into me. Nor have I ever been hit on by a guy. Now that I say that, I wonder if I am that repulsive?....