culture · self-improvement

Social Life 101: How You Are Doing It Wrong

To kick off my posts on social life, I want to tell you about how you are doing it wrong and how society teaches you to do it wrong. I used to be the guy that made these same mistakes but recently, I have corrected them which has led to me having a better social life.

Trying to be a “people person” and win everyone over.

All too often, I will see guys trying to build a social life become eager. They will join a bunch of groups and hope that they can become this popular guy that everyone in the group likes. A lot of times, they will try to chat with everyone in the group itself and even try to please them. On a more broad level, these guys will get into “hobbies” for the sake of making friends rather than appreciation for the hobby itself. One can say that these men are selling their soul for the sake of more friends.

You cannot blame guys for doing this at all because that is what society taught them. In movies, shows, and from what adults tell you, it seems like this is how you do it. The “social” guy is stereotyped as one who is shaking hands with everyone and trying to be everyone’s friend. However, most people find this guy annoying and in the worst-case scenario, an easy target.

I used to do this and not only did I fail in making friends, I even had situations where I left myself vulnerable to an insult or attack from someone in the group. At the time, I did not realize it but I was engaging in low value behavior. I was coming off as desperate for friends and giving off the vibe of someone who has no friends. Social life kind of works like dating as well, women love men that they think other women love and people want friends that they think are actually popular.

When you try to be the guy who is trying to win everyone over, there are things you subconsciously do that give off low value vibes. For one, you will be less likely to stand up for what you believe in and will go along with whatever opinion people have. You might even make sacrifices for the sake of pleasing people enough to where they want to be friends with you. Eventually, you will come off as a guy who stands for nothing and will go along with just everything.

How society misleads you into social life and how it works.

Society has you believe that the social guy with a lot of friends is the guy going around making everyone in the room laugh and feel good about themselves. You are supposed to make friends with everyone and somehow, it all comes together into one massive social group. However, even in college and high school which get hyped up for being prime places for a social life, this is not true. Talk to any Fraternity guy, he probably didn’t get along with all of his brothers (in some cases even most).

The media, society, and Hollywood have you believe that the people with great social lives and a lot of friends are those that are trying to please everyone. Not only is this false but in some cases, even bad for your own well-being. Social life does not work like this at all and if you do this, you will make yourself miserable. Not only will you make yourself miserable, but you will also lose out on the friends you could have made because they think that you are just nice to everyone and don’t feel like there is any unique value in associating with you.

Here is an uncomfortable truth, not everyone (or even most people) is going to like you.

In any social situation, expect there to be a number of people who for whatever reason do not want to be friends or acquaintances with you. Learn to accept this as a fact and you will save yourself a lot of embarrassment. Once you internalize this, you should avoid trying to affiliate with these people. Some may try to win them over but instead, you should just ignore them as much as possible unless they are trying to get hostile toward you (often in a passive-aggressive way).

Similarly, you should take an approach of not liking everyone in a group either. You should start to be more true to yourself and find what red flags you see in a person. For example, I don’t like to make friends with the redneck country boy types in most cases because I don’t mesh well with that culture. I hate overly religious people because I often find that they are hypocrites. You should learn to set standards of your own when building a social life.

No one really wants to go to a nightclub with free entry that anyone can get into, that nightclub has low value. However, a nightclub that is exclusive and only lets certain people in has high value. You should create this sort of a vibe around yourself even if you are just starting out with your social life. See yourself as a high-end elite club that only certain people are good enough to get into.

Proactively disqualify people.

If you see certain behavior in people that is a red flag, either call it out or shut them off. If people give off a strange or weird vibe on the first encounter, walk away. If people are not true to your values, cut them out and do not bother to pursue a friendship. When you do this, you will start to find that more and more people want to actually try and affiliate with you because they will start to wonder how someone can just walk away from them like that. People want what they can’t have.

Here is how social life and making friends actually works.

Think back to your high school or even school days in general, did you like every single one of your classmates? Chances are, almost all of you did not. You had people in your class you just hated and wanted nothing to do with. However, you found a small number of people that you clicked well with and overtime, you all became “friends”.

It works the same way in the adult world. If you get a job, you won’t like some people at your company and in some cases you won’t even like most of them. However, you will know a group of people or a person that you just seem to click well with. Same with any activity group or large group you get involved with, you will not like all or even most of the people in it. However, you will find a small number of people in any group you get involved with that you just seem to get along with. Those people are going to be your friends.

Most importantly, when you do this, you focus on people that actually matter to you. In a social setting, you will be spending time with people who are in line with your values and who you are rather than trying to win over those who want nothing to do with you. All too often, I see guys trying to win over people that are not as into them as opposed to working on people who are. One of the worst mistakes you can make with social life is focusing your energy on people that are not as invested in you as opposed to people who are invested in you.

Overtime, you get involved in more groups and social situations where you see this play out. Most people you cannot stand but you find a person or a few that you just seem to click well with. The people you click well with become your “friends” that you can have drinks with or invite to events. Overtime, your number of “friends” grows and you start to become a guy who has a lot of friends.

Most importantly, be about something as a man.

For me, I hate golf with a passion and think that young men who play golf are just wannabe grown ups trying to come off as high class. I refuse to affiliate with guys that play golf unless I absolutely have to. You can say that is a strong stance to take but you should do the same thing as a guy. Find something that you are passionate about as well as things you cannot stand. Line up your vision with those very things. Actively disqualify people that are associated with things you cannot stand and be choosy about who your friends are. Overtime, you will find that you actually end up with more friends as a result.

“But how about those people I see with a lot of friends in their Instagram pics?”

How about those sorority girls in those massive pics with a big group?

How about that one workplace with all smiles in their Instagram group photo?

How about those people out to brunch with their large group?

Here is the reality, a good number of those people do not like each other or care for each other. The smiles and photos are misleading. Most of those people gossip about each other behind their backs and only a small subset in that large group will actually stick up for each other. It is not this large group of 50+ people going out to the bars every weekend, no one does that. Usually, when people do this, it is because they are in it for something other than just socializing which could mean networking opportunities, dating/women, or some hobby they genuinely find fun.

Do not be misled by what people show on Instagram or even what you observe when out at brunch. Most of those people do not like each other in some cases and are only putting up with each other. As for what a healthy social life looks like? Stay tuned for my next post!

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