Especially with the internet, it's easier than ever to shut yourself in and never go out into the real world and have real meaningful interactions, while still feeling like your online life is full of real, meaningful interactions. Just immerse yourself into a sub-community filled with 2k people, and you feel like a social butterfly.
And it's not just social lives. Things like learning how to interact in basic ways with your cashier at the store, or how to make new friends outside of work, so many of us just don't know how to do this, because our heads were in The Cloud™s while we texted and browsed reddit in line at the grocery store.
Things have even changed profoundly within a single generation. When I was in school, Tamagotchis were the thing. When my little brother was in school, his teacher was using YouTube to teach them. Now my son is in high school and all his classmates have Android phones, which are such a game changer that they aren't even allowed to even have them turned on in school.
And going back a little further, my oldest son and daughter have The Dangerous Book for Boys and The Daring Book for Girls which teach stuff that 100 years ago everyone knew, and now you need to buy novelty books to learn, despite many of the skills and tricks these books teach still being useful.
And yes, this article is patently ridiculous. Way to overthink something that should be about relaxing and having fun.
However, there is also no evidence that people 20 years ago were walking around all day with their heads buried in newspapers, reading them in grocery store lines, during walks in the park, and in class when they weren't really supposed to. Maybe on benches and on the bus.
Well, I found that article incredible useful.
Like, one of the main reasons I'm depressed right now is because I just can't relax. I'm away from family and friends and apparently don't know the basics of human interaction.
I'm just grateful that there are people overthinking simple things out there so I can catch up and fix some of my anxieties.
Sounds like they were meaningfully interacting with their friends.
Back before the internet, they'd have probably rushed inside and fought over who got to use the phone to call their friends first, and describe the incident outside over the phone to them.
That's a meaningful interaction to you - texting?
Yep. "How to Win Friends and Influence People" was published in 1937.
idk how much time you have spent being deliberately manipulative, but unfortunately i have in my earlier years. unless you are naturally this way, it takes a lot of work in the moment and people are not usually fooled.
I did not tried manipulate people much and hate a lot when people try to manipulate me. People in the past did that to me. Hence my distaste with the book.
It was crafted by a student, Kenneth John Freeman, for his Cambridge dissertation published in 1907. Freeman did not claim that the passage under analysis was a direct quotation of anyone; instead, he was presenting his own summary of the complaints directed against young people in ancient times. The words he used were later slightly altered to yield the modern version."
Thanks for sharing this the-dude, you've helped make me a little less misinformed, even though I'm sad to learn it's not a direct quote :)
these things have been going on a while
What social consequences (specifically pertaining to human behavior) do you concede computing has had, if any?
A staple plot of teen movies going back forever (to at least the 80s, but probably longer) is a kid who somehow makes friends with the cool kids and they actively teach the "loser" to be "cool".
Point being, sure there is maybe less chance of learning these skills organically, but I think that intentional learning of these skills is not a new thing that modern life has brought about.
EDIT: I do have a different expectation for parties, but understand that parties have a spectrum, from people going to a party to drink/smoke/bump what have you to reach a point of near senselessness on one end of the spectrum, to perhaps a gathering of people in the same industry who are trying to "network" at the other. My expectation for informal parties is in the middle of this where people may drink but where it isn't their expectation that they will get drunk, and the discussions will be more intimate and not business related.
The actual alcoholics drink alone. (And that's essentially the problem.)
Some would say it's sad that we can't just gather around a table just to talk. But the advantage of the drink (not necessarily alcoholic), is you have to be there and not on the phone.
Compare it to other “drug cultures”, e.g. cocaine. Of course users socialize heavily, but that does not mean that they are not addicted or harming themselves.
You also have the problem that people get suspicious of people hanging around not drinking alcohol.
It sounds like they wanted a hobby meetup group or similar.
Once you're out of college I think this is mostly in your imagination. Nobody will judge you for drinking water or diet soda and you similarly shouldn't judge someone for enjoying a beer at a social event.
The only major thing that seems to have changed are the names of the distractions.
this is a true statement, but idk how different it really is for the kids. when i was a kid i would happily spend hours rereading the same garbage star wars expanded universe books over and over and over, even though i had basically memorized the plot. with the abundance of content, i doubt today's children would be as satisfied to revisit the same thing so many times, but i also doubt that they waste much more time than i did.
My point is that the nature of what kids do at parties hasn't changed in any significant way to support your original claim that there are "so many basic things we just don't learn how to do anymore".
The worst are work “parties” and happy hours where everyone feels forced to go, no meaningful team building really happens, and the cliques in a company become more evident and visible.
Plus I’ve lost some hearing due to one too many loud metal shows, so party conversation is pretty stressful.
Are your work parties dry?
I work at BigCo we have a monthly "free beer and pizza" on our floor and it's the great at getting people to meet each other and de-siloing.
They aren’t but it still ends up being the same people grouping up and talking to each other. Maybe it’s the company culture but it makes the whole affair feel pretty uninviting.
In my youth it was common to drink at a "party", until it was fun.
Then I decided that parties where I need to be drunk to enjoy, are not worth my time.
But trust me, there are different ones ...
> Texting is now the preferred form of communication [among teenagers], with 35 percent of teens saying that’s their favorite way to communicate, compared with in-person (32 percent), social media (16 percent) and video chatting (10 percent). In 2012, in-person communication was the most popular. (Emphasis mine)
One upon a time if someone wanted to start a conversation with a stranger there was a clear and practiced way of doing so. You could easily identify whether a person was of a similar class and background to yourself. Then there were acceptable and unacceptable times and places for such conversations. It was rigid, formal and often evil (racism etc) but it gave everyone guidelines.
Vestiges of this still exist today. Two doctors or lawyers know how to identify and address each other. Certainly the military has formal rules. It isn't about common backgrounds, it is about knowing exactly how the other person expects to be addressed and how they will respond to you. Such knowledge makes starting that first conversation easier.
Of course those books assume that there are things like a junk model T in the backyard that you are free to take parts from or otherwise destroy. Just to name one change in circumstances.
I certainly lost the illusion of online communities being like real communities. I mean, I certainly don't post to HN to feel socially competent.
this was a really sad part of growing up for me.
I.E. Standard/Manual Transmissions
Socially, maybe not, but my example still stands.
Im middle class (bachelors degree, not from a wealthy family) and the "medicore" , "average" person just talks so much shit out of their ass. Its like a public twitter forum where stupid cliches about "Trump is an idiot" or so much drugs and even orgies have become a not too crazy idea.
Can we have the 50s back without the racism. The people are not the same but parties are not the same either.
I wonder if the rich have stayed classy? Parties are like a rap video. Twerking being a phenomena should tell you all you need to know about the "party" culture in America.
Hell give me the 70s, at least the disco seemed fun. But I guess thats where the drugs started too.
Anyways I would appreciate just ignoring the comment instead of being snarky. This board has standard I hope it strives to keep.
It seems to have done its best to downvote you.
I think we're seeing 2 problems:
1. People really don't want to get together due to the consequence of callout culture/(PCism/SJWism). This has caused people (I'm seeing the effects with the communities I currently and have previously maintained) to be less likely to share, be willing to meet with people, and even branch out their friend circles. Censorship/Censorship has been the conservative "let's all get along" response.
2. Technology has become a detriment, I'm not sure when we're going to have our WWI for personal technology. (WWI introduced the concept that all of these improvements in technology may also bring death and destruction) Given the hooks of technology, we're going to get to a really nastic predicament here. I'm not sure how to describe what it will be, or how we can fix it. But we're losing valuable communication skills and we're making things worse for society. (That has been an ongoing thing for a while) My theory: We're going to go into a dark age.
Lastly: If you found this article somewhat helpful, I would suggest reading Captivate by Vanessa Williams/Edwards?
Anecdotally, SJW/PC call-out culture appears to have a much more depressing effect on public discourse over the internet where posting opens you to criticism from anyone on the internet.
As far as expressing disagreement goes, the rule is the same as it's always been as far as I can tell: The degree to which a view outside the local Overton Window is expressible is directly proportional to how much the listeners respect your politics/thought process/moral grounding and how far outside the Overton Window the view is. The more the listener respects your politics/thought process/moral grounding, the more radical the idea you can argue to them without being dismissed. Go too radical for someone who doesn't know you well and you lose the listener.
So in direct response to your question, I'm very comfortable stating disagreement on topics that it's socially acceptable to disagree about generally and am comfortable disagreeing about anything with certain specific groups of people. This is, as far as I can tell, the most any society has ever achieved. A Bay Area neoreactionary will be shunned by most for expressing their belief that a woman's place is in the home just as a progressive in Birmingham, Alabama would be shunned for suggesting there's nothing wrong with abortion.
I would go so far as to say that if this level of self-censorship is new to someone then they have been fortunate to spend much of their life in communities in which their views fit comfortably inside the local Overton Window; for everyone else this is normal.
Second, for a group seeking social cohesion a certain amount of censorship is desirable. We also don't allow people to casually disparage people of color because if we do those members of our community who are people of color would either leave or cause a ruckus, neither of which we want.
Third and lastly, mistakes are tolerated, we're people not caricatures and know that the pronoun stuff can be difficult to track. If you slip up you'll be given a "look" and a chance to correct yourself. If you don't correct yourself, and continue to slip, interventions slowly escalate from friendly reminders of the form, "hey, please watch what pronouns you use" to longer discussions about why your behavior is not acceptable in this context. We use this same approach for people who use unacceptable language, or have trouble controlling their volume when speaking, it's the only way to keep a group of random people tolerable to be around.
As I stated, you are immediately shown the door if you are intentionally misgendering someone. So if someone tells you they want to be called she/her/hers and you very emphatically refer to them as he/him/his a dozen times in three minutes you get the boot. Just as we'd throw out someone who was being extremely rude to our members in a more conventional manner.
On an interpersonal level, I respect the overton window. On a group level, I'm highly concerned with it. It caters too much to the needs of the over sensitive.
I'm on the level of if you're abusive towards other members, you've lost the support of the group and a rule about that is fine. Setting the line at "don't abuse other people" is generic and supported to all people.
But when you codify a rule about pronouns, you're just giving an endorsement to the most oversensitive member that would be 'victimized' by that 'crime.' (Are they going to be easily set off by mistakes?, unintentional misusages during excitement) It also communicates to everyone that it's something you will be rejected and ostrisized from the group over. (That's where the silencing effect comes in).
Anyways, that's my 2c and what I've seen about some groups and how I run my groups to be inclusive.
The thing I see all the time, online and off? Comments like yours where people (mostly guys) self censor out of fear of this hypothetical life catastrophy.
I think we dudes are hurting ourselves here. Far more than PC culture wants to harm us (which seems on the internet like a lot, but in reality, is effectively nil)
It’s not just a modern problem caused by phones.
Maybe if you think about this in context of tech conferences, that will help you get more use out of it.
To me that sounds like - "how do I learn to drive?" - "Just be yourself!" or "how do I train to run a marathon?" - "Just be yourself!". Yeah, thanks for the advice.
"Just be yourself."
Great advice, thanks! (-:
It's kinda weird all the judgement.
Coming from Eastern Europe, I was really clumsy socially during my first visits to the US because I didn't recognize the boundaries of small talk.
Extroverts become more so. Introverts become more so.
Doing this helped me so so much. The only issue I had is it gets very difficult to form long lasting relationships when you're on the road all the time. But it worked on getting my "foot in the door" so to speak at parties or whatnot now
Please, please, please stop trying to be pleasing to other people. Just relax and be yourself. Performed, goal oriented, behavior at parties is hugely off-putting to me and most people I know (although I don't live in New York, so ymmv).
You may say something that's upsetting to someone, or is brilliantly insightful, or in retrospect obviously silly. So fucking what!? IT'S A PARTY, not a convention. It's this kind of attitude that there is a "right" way to be social that contributes to social anxiety. Fucking stop it!
It seems like you mean well, but as a person with generalized anxiety disorder, telling someone who is anxious about parties that they shouldn't be anxious about parties probably isn't going to be very helpful.
> Personally I detest people who interact with others in a programatic way. Not perhaps the people themselves, but this kind of behavior. I feel compelled to snap my fingers in their face and say "WAKEUP! We're right here talking, stop performing!"
If a person who is anxious about parties tries to socialize at a party using some sort of system in order to reduce their anxiety, and you call them out for how they are socializing, that person is now going to be more anxious at parties.
You seem like a person who isn't anxious about social situations, which is good, but understand that some people are anxious about social situations, and articles like these can possibly help those people.
I did not say, and would not say, that you should not feel the way you feel. Advice on how not to behave does not speak to how one feels.
My advice does not apply to you if you have a disorder that requires you to handle social situations in a particular way. However, you should be aware that regardless of the reason why you must not be genuine in social situations you will be perceived as disingenuous.
On the other hand for those without a disorder, if you can tolerate being genuine or at least not intentionally fake about yourself and your interests you will have a better chance to connect with people.
> You seem like a person who isn't anxious about social situations...
You'd be right that I seem that way, you'd be wrong that I am that way.
I used to be an extrovert/ good at social interactions when in my country, but have found it very difficult to replicate my social interactions in the US.
I break social relationships into 4 kinds. Acquaintances , close acquaintances , friends and best buddies. Each have very well defined boundaries. Having a pool of predefined things to talk about has made making acquaintances significantly easier in the US. Not having a rule set for interaction makes the options too wide, and causes a type of decision paralysis.
I still struggle with converting those to close acquantinces and friends, but I am getting better. And I am one of the good ones. Most people from my country only hang around people of their nationality because of being unable to make basic acquaintances with people. These people aren't socially awkward, just completely confused in a system with foreign rules for interaction.
I went on a tangent here, but I am sure there is a point in there somewhere.
Yes, there's something demonic about intentionally rule-based behaviour.
>It's this kind of attitude that there is a "right" way to be social that contributes to social anxiety. Fucking stop it!
Here's the problem. You're claiming both that it's wrong to interact like this and that there's no right or wrong in social interaction.
I'm saying that though failure is unavoidable, a performance of social correctness is more failure prone then being genuine.
nah. socializing is performing by necessity.
"being myself" would entail picking apart people when they say silly/ignorant things regarding religion, science, etc. it'd be interrupting people and explaining how their favorite TV shows are full of holes. how their prattle about celebrities speaks to the emptiness of their heads. it'd be playing the devil's advocate when nobody is looking for a balanced discussion. it'd be going on long monologues on various topics. these are not endearing traits to have. i know that i wouldn't want to be around such a person for long.
maybe this is why social interactions can't be relaxing for some people. once you know that being yourself and "relaxing" is extremely grating on other people, you know to keep it tightly under wraps, which circumvents any relaxation in social situations.
That may be a good thing.
Most people would feel discomfort [from your attempt to pick them apart]. In this case you would learn not to speak with them.
Some other people would enjoy thoughtful discussion with you. These would be your new friends.
But if you try to put your polite mask on - it would be hard for you to find new friends, even if there are matching people at that party.
I for one, appreciate effort and am willing to reciprocate. If he don't explain me why my favorite shows are dumb, I will not insult his shows.
You also assume that people who take others apart don't mind the same being done to them. In my experience, they typically like to pick apart others, but can't handle being picked apart.
Yes. cryoshon even states in his post that he wouldn't want to be around a person like himself. So he's only allowed to interact with masochists who like being constantly criticized while never criticizing back, because anything else would be "fake"?
Such people are not competent to pick apart others, because they did not polish their criticism against the feedback they receive.
I, personally, like both: find mistakes in other people mental models and people finding mistakes in my mental models.
Another helpful tip along these lines is don't arrive at parties nude
...well at least not unless that is explicitly required.
I dunno. I don't mind picking apart holes in a show or two (I watch a bunch of shows and most of them are full of silly holes, that's par for the course) and having some balanced discussion. Long monologues though are probably not good at parties, and definitely no celebrity talk.
For a lot of people, having a script allows them to relax and be themselves. I don't see whats wrong with them interacting the way they want to interact, rather than the way you want them to.
I would never, ever go to a gathering without forthought, self coaching, and some tips for myself lined up. There's way too much social pressure and too much of my self-esteem on the line to skip it.
And if I'm not afforded that, or it's a surprise, I'll just go to wherever with my laptop and browse HN or work on my projects instead.
People are really, really hard, especially for us with social anxiety.
"There's no right or wrong way to dance...just be yourself!"
"There's no right or wrong way to paint...just be yourself!"
"There's no right or wrong way to play the drums...just be yourself!"
I don't buy it.
If a thing can be done at all, it can be done better or worse. Even if my perception is the only thing that matters, things can still be done better or worse by the yardstick.
> Please, please, please stop trying to be pleasing to other people.
It's not just about pleasing other people. It's about pleasing myself. And I'm pleased when I have a good relationship and a good conversation.
> Just relax and be yourself.
Advice typically given to people whose "selves" are naturally anxious, i.e. the opposite of relaxed. Being able to follow an outline can make such people considerable more relaxed.
(My comment is neither a joke nor sarcasm).
This normally leads to converstaions about their friends, then hobbies and lastly jobs.
Either I have (had) some similar interests/frieds/job or I just show general interest for parts of their lifes.
The main point that helped me in such coversations simply was: Not having a goal.
I don't care if I just have one conversation, find new friends, a hookup, business contacts or whatnot. I simply try to learn about peoples lifes and appreciate the conversation.
Somehow this elevates one already above 90% of dudes who talk to someone at parties...
A good trick if you have trouble striking up conversation or finding what to talk about: FORD - Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams. Once you have a conversation going, just let it flow of course - but it's a trick to get past the initial "hello" stage.
These are bad conversation topics if you don't have a similar background as most of the other people at the party. The point is to connect with people. Highlighting your differences is not the way to do this.
That's a fairly narrow way of looking at it, and having a differing background actually benefits, instead of hurts. If there are differences, there is more for you to talk about so you can both explore each other's perspectives. If you're not interested in their perspective, don't ask the question. However, I'll warn you that if you are not interested in their perspective, they likely will not want to talk to you - why should they?
I think you're viewing FORD as a hack to get the communication going. That's a self defeating mentality.
>The point is to connect with people. Highlighting your differences is not the way to do this.
I and many others read this as "I want to connect with people. But I really don't want to understand why someone is different from me." I don't know if that's what you meant, but that's the signal people will get from you.
FORD is heavy and personal. The point of small talk is that it's small and light. You have to make sure you trust a person before you start talking about personal stuff.
Small talk is about progressive disclosure. You make the conversation a little bit more personal and see if the other person reciprocates--but you have to start small, that's the whole point. If someone started out asking me about FORD I'd think they were odd/awkward or maybe snobby.
(maybe the other party was bored by these conversations, idk, but they seemed to happen pretty smoothly)
One of the things I noticed as I got older, is that for any number of reasons, lots of people wind up spending 40 hours a week doing something other than what they hoped and dreamed they would be doing.
And they tend to not enjoy talking that much about it when they're off the clock.
People will tell you about what they do, but lots of people aren't interested in answering follow up questions, or making conversation about their job flow very smoothly; often the conversation gets stilted pretty quickly.
I make a point to never ask, unless it's a work scenario (conference/meetup). Besides, there's usually something more interesting to talk about.
Why? The goal of most social conversations is to find a common thread, and if your commonality with this mustache twirling yacht owning theoretical is that you have a little canoe you enjoy taking duck hunting, then you at least have the beginnings of your thread.
Wealth and it's presence or absence is not indicative of social or moral worth, nor is socializing about "besting" the other person with your knowledge of imported French brandy. You may well talk to the person for five minutes, get through the usual pleasantries, and find you have nothing at all in common and part ways - or you might both settle on talking about small game hunting.
unfortunately there is a lot of baggage wrapped up in one's occupation (social status, money, etc.). if, as a software dev, you start asking someone who works at a pizza place all kinds of questions about their work, it could be a very different dynamic.
btw, i used to work in a pizza place and i had devised all kinds of strategies to optimize every aspect of my job. i loved when people would give me the opportunity to talk about it, but i know a lot of my coworkers were very unsatisfied with their job and place in the world, and would not be happy to be asked about it by someone who obviously made a lot more money.
And you know, be proud of who you are. Some people spend 40 hours a week as a blood elf archer.
That's even worse at a party full of people I've never met before.
Most importantly have a good time. If your not.. then leave.
I would bet from that statement you're not interested much in hearing about other people jobs and/or willing to talk about your own. But, well, I am, on both counts. YMMV.
Since we're talking about scripted conversation, why not design a more evolved script that takes into account some people like to talk about their X, and some don't, such as:
"Is your job interesting (smile) ?"
If yes: question further and listen
If not: say "good, mine neither (smile)"
My take is it would work in some regions of the world where somewhat blunt, tongue-in-cheek questions, a tiny bit of healthy self-derogative sarcasm, and some obvious white lies aren't necessarily bad things.
Unless you don't know anyone there except for the hosts. It's always easier to let them introduce you to the first few people through the door while the atmosphere is still calm. From there, you already have an "in" with the rest of their friends that show up later.
Why not bring up work?
Work is an important part of our identity. It makes sense to talk about it.
No matter how interesting / fun you think your job is; Work talk can lead to you talking to much about yourself in a way thats not interesting / fun. It can limit the type of people you meet, and you can miss out on some really great network building.
That may happen with any topic. What is so special about work?
At the beginning of "what do..", Feynman's mother gives very practical advice on how to treat women well and how to behave at parties. In "Surely..", when he is in a student club, the guys who always study and the guys who always party decide to teach each other the skills from the other side.
Both passages struck me about how society cared about teaching people the necessary social skills. Part of what made Feynman shine was that he could be social as well as smart. It seems his environment and upbringing cared deeply about these skills and think about them as skills: Being social would not come automatically, and needed teaching and practices.
To me, this article demonstrates what happens if society think social skills do come automatically, and tries to wallpaper over the cracks if it fails.
This advice seems heavily skewed towards attractive people.
I struggle a lot with social anxiety, but hosting brings everyone into a safe known space, you can always duck out to do the "jobs" the article suggests, and you learn a lot about how to manage the flow of people, set things up so everyone has a good time, and have an easy in to pretty much any conversation.
Hosting a good gathering (be it a small dinner or a drunken bash) is an important skill that's often overlooked.
I can still get anxious for what I think are good reasons : like big socioeconomic differences or it is a professional event or whatever . But just meeting new folks or speaking is no problem now.
I think I gave up caring about this about 10 years ago.
--edit-- Actually I don't think I ever cared about this, I was probably that person, because I was too interested in just enjoying myself to be bothered what my party-rating would be at the end of the night. I think I gave up caring about parties at all a few years ago.
> If you don't like social events then that is an even better reason to want to be "better" at them.
I like social events, I'm just not really fussed by mass gatherings so much any more. Further, why would I want to be 'better' at something I'm not really bothered about? That seems a little perverse.
I don't care for oysters. I'm not sure that means I should spend time studying how to eat them better, there are plenty of things I do like.
Oysters aren't an unavoidable part of life?
I mean, I'm fine with them,I don't actively avoid them and I don't get anxious or have a terrible time. I just find them less appealing as I get older, especially when compared to having a good time with a small crowd of friends.
I think it's important to remember that one's level of skill and appreciation of something aren't always directly related. I have found some things to be more enjoyable as I've improved (art, music, fighting games), but other things, like big social gatherings, remain unenjoyable for me.
'Aim for the ratio of your conversation time (or word count) to be equal to that of your fellow conversationalist.'
Meet someone who has an interesting career / hobby / culture, but they only speak in single sentences? Game on, then, for you to draw more out of them! Likewise, a dullard with no original ideas or fun topics to draw on? — hey, it's up to you to find a way to make them hold up their half (without their knowing, obvi).
It took me some time to adapt and get the hang of it, but I must admit that it's made my abilities in the casual or friendly (e.g., "annual friends") social settings much stronger. You'll also find that people will remember you as being fun to chat with and they'll be more likely to catch up with you intentionally when or if you again cross paths.
Hell, I'm happy if I remember to bring my lucky D20 and not the metal one that destroys tables.
As long as you have a cleric you're good.
Tried this a lot of times and it always works. Most of the time the conversation will go into other interesting directions.