Nope, I’m not complaining. I actually enjoy alone time. I become productive and accomplish more things on my to-do list than I would if I were surrounded by people. However, I recently realized that my antisocial behavior has taken a major toll on my social skills.
I have become socially rusty.
How do I know my social skills are rusty? For starters, I had these interactions in a 24-hour time span:
-At the gym (noon)
Me (in a groggy voice, attempting to speak for the first time all day): “Hi, how are you?”
Receptionist: “Good, how are you doing today?”
Me: “Good! How are you?”
Receptionist: “Still good.”
-At the grocery store
Cashier (scanning my produce): “Hmmm…Chinese Long Beans, what do these things taste like?”
Me: “Beans, but longer.”
Cashier: “Hmmm…ok, your total is $10.37”
Me: Attempts to pay a $10.37 bill with $12.00
-Old lady pushing a cart past me in the grocery store parking lot
Old Lady (staring directly at me with an I-will-kill-you-I-hate-you-so-much face): “Oh my god, it’s Jillian!”
Me (scared that the old lady has mistaken me for a woman named Jillian who she obviously hates): “Nope! Not me! I was just buying groceries!”
Old Lady (with a confused look on her face): “Ok, have a good day dear.”
Me: Super relieved the old lady didn’t challenge me to a fight. Then, 20 minutes later realizing that the old lady hadn’t said “Oh my god, it’s Jillian!” Rather, she had simply stated, “Oh my god, it’s chilly again!”
-Getting ready for bed at 8:30 pm
Me: Coming to the realization that the only 3 people I talked to all day were a gym receptionist, a grocery store cashier, and an old lady in a parking lot. Then comprehending it was only 8:30 pm and I was getting ready for bed.
Yep. Proof that I have become socially rusty, but SO WHAT?
I’ll tell you what. During the above socially awkward moments, I was anxious, nervous, stressed, and weirdly, a wee bit sad. My lack of social connectedness was starting to affect my outlook and self-confidence. So, I did some scientific and not-so-scientific research and discovered that social relationships (whether with family, friends, or strangers) are connected to well-being and happiness.
Increased life expectancy
Increased physical activity
Reduced incidents of cold and flu
Individuals with diseases have an increased survival rate if social support is present
Social older adults have decreased risk of cardiovascular problems, cancers, osteoporosis, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease
I was being faced with quite a predicament; continue to be socially rusty and enjoy solitude, or become a social butterfly. I chose the latter.
The Experiment: For the past week, I have been a walking and talking social experiment. The plan was simple, do two things per day that were recommended for social prowess (see The Social Skills List). I also refused to turn down any invitations I received during the week.
The Results: My social experiment was successful and I gradually became less awkward in public. Tomorrow, I will post a play-by-play of the experiment, so please stay tuned.
Meanwhile, I challenge you to join me in becoming a more charismatic person. I dare you to improve your health by networking more in your social circles and pushing your boundaries to meet new people. Need help becoming more social? Use The Social Skills List to enhance your skills, and remember to return to Miss Nutralicious’s website tomorrow to learn from my social successes and failures.
If you have a proven successful method for refining your social skills, please share! Good luck on your social adventures!
The Social Skills List*
Make eye contact
Pay attention to local stuff
Talk to people
Join a group
Introduce yourself to strangers
Arrange an activity with a friend or family member
Push your boundaries (Pretend you are a social butterfly)
Avoid being critical