Author Topic: Social skills  (Read 2580 times)

MeTekillot

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Social skills
« on: December 18, 2018, 12:20:23 PM »
Does anyone know of any very clinical style books that examine and explain the dynamics of human body language and eye contact, or of any resources or professionals I could consult to help me blend in better? I suffer constant social rejection and ostracization because I don't have a good grasp on how to communicate my intentions and feelings and how to blend into conversations.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2019, 07:13:56 AM by MeTekillot »
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Jihelu

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Re: Body language
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2018, 02:39:47 PM »
From my very limited schooling with this sort of stuff (Criminal justice dips into it because we talk about Psychopaths/other mental health issues/not fitting in and how it can lead to crime), I'm not very sure you can pick up a book that will give you any help for learning body language outside of its discussions on its importance and all sorts of other scholarly jargon.

I think your only real bet is a therapist/some sort of mental health professional. Even then, these things are learned, and usually learned rather young.

MeTekillot

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Re: Body language
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2018, 03:03:50 PM »
Your last sentence is not exactly encouraging so I'm going to ignore it. I'll discuss with my therapist. Thanks.
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mansa

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Re: Body language
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2018, 03:17:32 PM »
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Lizzie

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Re: Body language
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2018, 04:13:03 PM »
I suggest a modeling class. Not so you can become a model, but so you can present yourself with poise and grace. Or ballet, or jazz dancing.
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MeTekillot

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Re: Body language
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2018, 08:19:30 PM »
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deskoft

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Re: Body language
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2018, 09:37:39 PM »
I disagree that body language gets learned at an early age and cannot be changed. That said - what do you think you are trying to achieve? You seem to have a very analytical way of approaching this. I think a lot of the body language things tend to come from just being relaxed and knowing what little things make your intentions known better: there are certain behaviors that are universally or unconsciously understood by most people. Crossing your arms is a closed posture. Fidgenting: nervous. Staring and frowning: angry.

Generally you want to look relaxed. Your eye contact should be there when needed but also not too much. People tend to look away when thinking. A lot of it is imitation too.

Because of what I studied, I used to look at docummentaries but they're mostly for analysis -what I wrote above. For roleplay, I have been trying to be able to portray body language that is not my own and more realistically: I have been watching some movies and noticing the little quirks.

It's a process. The hardest time definitely was battling through the little bit of anxiety I had some time ago. Competing in sports, doing sports, going out while doing sports: it helped me be more relaxed and feel more confident. I don't know if that helps. It's my experience.

MeTekillot

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Re: Body language
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2018, 09:46:42 PM »
You seem to have a very analytical way of approaching thiseverything
I analyze until I internalize.
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Pale Horse

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Re: Body language
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2018, 10:14:57 PM »
"Fake it till you make it."

Take some classes on Method Acting, Acting and Improvisation.
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RogueGunslinger

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Re: Body language
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2018, 10:18:46 PM »
Isn't that what an actor does? The good ones at least, change their body language, their voice, their general demeanor. The very best ones, who can actually emulate behavior and make it believable, train, and study, and make it their life's work. They are preparing constantly. And even they fuck it up all the time. They need to do multiple takes, and they need everything around them set up perfectly. They have to do all sorts of things to get in the right headspace.

You shouldn't be trying to force your own body language. If you want to be seen as confident and charming, you need to practice enough in social situations to be relaxed. You don't simply adopt the mannerisms a confident person has. You put yourself through something enough times that you know it in and out and the confidence comes naturally.

If you're trying to use your own body language to subtly manipulate people, you're trying too hard. I mean that both proverbially and literally. Not only does it make you come off awkwardly to anyone paying lots of attention, but it's just not needed. People are fucking easy to manipulate. It's hard not to manipulate people. The older I get the more I see all the ways I've manipulated people, and the was they have manipulated me. And it just makes me sad. Eventually you find yourself in a situation where you wonder if anyone knows the real you.

Look for the people who think you're a good enough friend that they can just be themselves around you, and try to do the same in return.


lordcooper

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Re: Body language
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2018, 03:06:57 AM »
Have you been trying to 'fake it' wrt body language?  If so, it might be worth experimenting with not doing so at all.  Some people just aren't very physically expressive, and while some will find them less likeable for it I'm fairly sure most won't really give a damn.  That said, it's usually really obvious when a person is forcing body language (something I've most often encountered with crap salesmen who've recently heard of 'mirroring') and while i can't speak for anyone else, I personally find it quite unnerving.  A bit like those gits who insist on forcing your name into every sentence, it just raises my guard and evokes an 'uncanny valley' kind of feeling.

If that doesn't pan out then take some acting classes.  If you're gonna fake it, you'd better fake it well. 
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James de Monet

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Re: Body language
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2018, 01:51:42 PM »
Iíve started paying more attention to my body language also, but more because looking at how Iím reacting physically can sometimes give me clues into how Iím feeling emotionally that I wasnít aware of (and sometimes donít necessarily find warranted).

Yesterday I was in a meeting and felt myself begin to grow defensive (chin comes down, blood pressure rises, brow begins to knit), but I was able to dismantle the feeling and relax myself and my posture before I reacted any further (by getting louder or crossing my arms, turning toward the person, etc).  I was there presenting someone elseís proposal based on a third partyís set of ideas, and the decision was a no brainer.  The other people only reacted negatively because they didnít understand (and maybe wanted to show off a little, which is acceptable).  There was no reason for me to be defensive.

On the whole, Iíd say you might be trying too hard.  Paying a lot of attention to this stuff (and I include myself in this charge) is usually a sign that you care too much about what other people think of you.  The simple ways to not offend people with your body language, though, are:
  • Donít stand too close.  In the States, if you arenít in a crowded space and can reach out and touch the person without leaning, youíre probably too close for their comfort (unless you know them well).
  • Look at people when they are talking to you, but donít lock them in a death stare (donít be on your phone, computer, etc.).
  • Smile at people, and say hi (in shared spaces like office buildings or schools, not public spaces like the street or malls if you live in a city).  Cheerfully.  Not creepily.  (Do it like you would if you were having a great day).
  • Last but not least, pay attention to how people respond.  If they squirm or turn away from you, or put an object in between themselves and you (like a desk, or a chair, or they hold something up toward you and step back so itís at armís length), youíre probably making them uncomfortable.  Take a (literal) step back, and excuse yourself (cheerfully) if you feel they need a minute to rebalance.  Try again later.
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MeTekillot

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Re: Body language
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2018, 02:38:44 PM »
I don't have an inherent natural sense for "normal" body language is why I asked. I have to consciously manipulate my body language or I'd stare at the ground and flap my wrists or other body parts as I spoke because that's what's "comfortable" for me. I am extremely sensitive to eye contact and other people's expressions, uncomfortably so, and I block it out by reflex or distraction if I don't force myself to pay attention.

Thank you for the advice, James.
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MeTekillot

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Re: Body language
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2018, 02:42:22 PM »
Things I've noticed matter:

Partial and full body facing
Leg spacing
Leaning forward or away
Posture tension
Length of held gaze
"Stirring" slightly when you intend to speak
Speak slightly over the end of someone's statement or question to communicate interest and enthusiasm
Rhythm of conversation matters A LOT, pay attention to rhythm
Display of palms
Shifting about when you intend to leave
Sighing, have had to learn to do breathing exercises for anxiety quietly or people think I'm angry
Bouncing body parts usually mean anxiety, but sometimes mean ADHD
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MeTekillot

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Re: Body language
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2018, 02:51:58 PM »
Look toward the person speaking
Look toward what everyone else is looking at when attention is on it or brought to it, hold the gaze even if you've assessed it at a glance
Don't glance around at every sight and sound or people will think you're anxious
Stay with groups, walk at their pace, dont go to the destination as fast as you can
Don't emote every feeling you have, maintain neutral or thoughtful expression unless it seems like you're supposed to react
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Riev

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Re: Body language
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2018, 11:53:40 AM »
Joe Navarro's "What Every Body is Saying" is a decent read. Its not fully clinical, it is more about reading a person's intentions and feelings behind their posture or facial twitches.

Its not super scientific, and I think a lot of what you're asking has a lot to do with cultural mores (holding gaze, stay with groups, etc), but it might be interesting for you to maybe see if you're performing any of the behaviors in the book and what you might be saying unconsciously.
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MeTekillot

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Re: Body language
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2018, 12:44:17 PM »
Thank you, Riev.
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X-D

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Re: Body language
« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2018, 06:07:01 PM »
First off...body language is not something some of us learn young but actually have to spend time teaching ourselves.

Next off....this is a rather huge subject and I agree with the ones that say that books and such will be of little help...at least when trying to learn others.

They can be of help to how you wish to portray yourself though.

Hell, I think I have posted such before on the GDB. Myself for instance, I carry myself erect, shoulders back, eyes fully open and I look everybody in the eye, when I see them, meet them, talk to them, I keep my arms at my sides and do not fidget...confidence with the risk of aggression. Of course that way of presenting yourself, you need to be willing to back it up. Relaxed expression with an easy smile that uses the entire face...disarms people usually without losing a commanding presence. Crossing arms is a defensive sign...I never use. Looking down or to the sides shows as being timid, eyes not showing as quite open enough as well, also means likely not so alert and not ready to fight. Not saying this is for everybody, I am a pretty big guy who has spent his life in hard physical jobs and been jailed 32 times...29 were simple battery...I shudder to think of how much I have paid in attorney fees and fines.
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MeTekillot

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Re: Body language
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2018, 09:16:30 AM »
I'll say that X-D seems to have the same understanding of the inherent dominance dynamics in human social interaction that most people don't seem to be conscious of, but I don't think being extremely dominant alpha all the time is the way to be most successful. It's more of a dance than a zero sum game.

I've also found that men seem to eat louder in situations where they feel like they're not in control when they'd like to be in control. This behavior seems both conscious and unconscious depending on the person.

Anyway:
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


I'd like to preface this question with the request that I not be called delusional, a narcissist, or an attention whore:

How do I keenly, but not cruelly, communicate disinterest in sleeping with a woman without attacking her self-esteem? I'm running into the problem of women (who are involved with men I'd like to be friends with) unsubtly (seemingly subtly in their minds) flirting with me and this is causing tension between me and the men in question. I don't have a girlfriend, but should I lie about having a girlfriend, or perhaps talk about a woman I'm seeing? I've tried studiously avoiding eye contact and looking the other way whenever they do things to display their body, but it's not working. I find that many women will talk about their boyfriends/husbands when they want to communicate they don't want to date, but I don't want them to take that as a "try harder", which I'm afraid they will.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2018, 09:40:03 AM by MeTekillot »
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cnemus

  • Posts: 210
Re: Social skills (formerly: body language)
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2018, 02:13:27 PM »
Have you tried, I dunno... the truth?

"You're making me uncomfortable."
"I'm not interested."
"What exactly are you looking for? I'm only looking to be friends, nothing more."

Body language is not uniform across cultural and geographical boundaries. What someone is attempting to express and is actually perceived are often very different things. A good communicator will confirm their perception without making assumptions and then phrase their response (verbal or non-verbal) in a way the other person can understand.

These resources divide communicators into four groups (each example has four different groups):
https://www.uky.edu/hr/sites/www.uky.edu.hr/files/wellness/images/Conf14_FourCommStyles.pdf
https://www.forbes.com/sites/markmurphy/2015/08/06/which-of-these-4-communication-styles-are-you/#50b54bcc3adb
https://communicationstyles.org/the-four-communication-styles/
« Last Edit: December 29, 2018, 02:19:23 PM by cnemus »
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X-D

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Re: Social skills (formerly: body language)
« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2018, 02:21:36 PM »
Another tough one...to many women...and men, simple flirting is normal and harmless, not a true sign they are really interested in you sexually and could simply be a sign of being comfortable. And some are simply flirty period....and the reasons can be many that have nothing to do again with sex or real interest.

If it really does seem to be true interest that you do not share or do not want to share...your best bet is simple and straight forward. Put them in the "friend zone" All women understand that...not that they like it mind you but, meh. I like you as a friend but you are not my type otherwise. Or some variation. Don't worry so much about her self esteem, in most people that is something far more durable then you might think and less likely to be damaged by a straight response then by say...ignoring what she is doing...women ignored when flirting or actually hitting on you tend to simply try harder.

Beat to the post by Cnemus...drats!
« Last Edit: December 29, 2018, 02:24:20 PM by X-D »
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MeTekillot

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Re: Social skills (formerly: body language)
« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2018, 02:53:38 PM »
snip
It would not go well if I said "Hey, stop making eyes at me/bending over/trying to touch me. You have a boyfriend.". Do you really think they'll just take that at face value instead of getting offended and upset? Do you think I could say something directly to their boyfriend and not have HIM get defensive, as well? What guy do you know would be totally okay with another man approaching him and communicating his discomfort about his girlfriend being too flirty?

I would absolutely love if direct, concise communication were accepted in the vast majority of social situations but it's not. I'm young and I'm trying to hang out with other young people and their self-esteem is brittle and can only be marginally dinged with passive aggression if you don't want to end up looking like an asshole.

Thank you for the resources that I can consult and the advice.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2018, 02:57:47 PM by MeTekillot »
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cnemus

  • Posts: 210
Re: Social skills (formerly: body language)
« Reply #23 on: December 29, 2018, 04:14:17 PM »
Learning to express yourself without imposing your expectations on others can be a difficult thing. It is a very rewarding quality to have. People are much more receptive to open and honest communication than you may realize. Instead of trying to tell others how they should behave, contemplate ways you can share your thoughts and feelings constructively.

Instead of "Stop doing x" try "When you do x it makes me feel y" Trying to empathize with their own similar experiences could be helpful.

"I would imagine you get a lot of looks that make you feel uncomfortable. I hope I haven't ever done that to you. Sometimes, the way you look at me makes me uncomfortable. I really hope we can be friends without adding those unnecessary complications to our relationship."

Telling someone else how to act rarely goes well, but if you can explain to someone how it makes you feel it goes much better. When it comes to unwanted touching, however, you always have the right to shut that down. Hoping for others to read your mind about what you want and correctly interpret your body language is an unreasonable expectation.

Why do you feel you should be talking to the boyfriend in this equation? Are they doing something that is bothering you or do you just think they should control their girlfriend?
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Armageddon isn't about closure.  It's about Murder, Corruption, and Betrayal.  It's about Mystery, it's about Passion, it's about Brutality.

MeTekillot

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Re: Social skills (formerly: body language)
« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2018, 04:36:18 PM »
I'm saying women seem to be attracted to confident, dominant behavior and their boyfriend not putting a stop to it when their girlfriends start coming on to me is likely a contributing factor.
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