Social techniques on friends.

Merry Christmas first of all. I was wondering what you think about an idea:
The more social skills you use, the less the other person sees the real you.
This might be okay in certain things such as business, but in terms of friendship this might not be ideal. You want the other to know YOU, not a mask.
Though this may be the case, what if the person is not very good at friendship?

What do you think about this and what solutions (if you think a solution is needed) you come up with.

Social skills aren’t necessarily a mask. Sometimes, they can mean being better at letting others see the real you.

Please define “social skills” in this context.

“You” can be a very fluid concept. (Hitch reference)

Social skills should NOT be a mask. They should help their practitioner in social interactions. They have the potential to help a person be more genuine and present. Like driving skills help one get about safely and effectively, not just drive getaway cars.

Why associate social skill with phoniness?

Social skills are transparent with someone who has them. If you go into a situation thinking “I have to use social skills here,” you are not a natural and people probably think you are awkward and a little weird anyway. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Let your freak flag fly, it’s far more appreciated than trying too hard, that’s where people think you aren’t genuine.

When I am thinking of social skills, I am thinking of using a skill such as “mirroring” where you match a persons posture or way they are talking so that it is similar to theirs. The idea is you can subconsciously effect another so that you are seen to be similar on a subconscious level and are more likely to be accepted.

-To try to do things which are not who you are to come off as an alpha male

-Or you try to act somewhat disinterested so someone wants you more, but really you are interested.

I do that all the time but it’s not conscious, it just happens. Apparently you’re one of that small group of people who’d take offense when it does, most people don’t have a problem.

Hit the nail on the head. A “fake” persona is not the end result of good social skills.

I don’t mean unconscious mirroring. I mean consciously going at it to get an effect where normally you wouldn’t try, but now you are actively going against what you would naturally do to get approval or something like that.

**Some ideas about this subject which are floating around in my head…
**-TRYING in social interactions is diametrically opposed to being.
-Coming from the heart vs coming from the head.
-Techniques are not the self. If they like the techniques, they are not liking your real self.

… Also, if you don’t see social skills as getting in the way of true connection, can you perhaps give an example of what you see as social skills and maybe an explanation of how it doesn’t get in the way.

Mostly they involve being aware of the other person, their desires and needs and worries. So, for example, say you are talking to someone and you are aware that they are going through rough time in their romantic relationship. Strong social skills in this context would mean that you are aware that they might want to talk about what is going on, for sympathy and/or advice. But you are also aware that they might not want to talk about it at all, because it’s private and they are working through it on their own. You are also aware that they are probably not interested in your own little issues with your mother-in-law, because in proportion to their problem, that’s going to seem trivial.

So you work openings into the conversations: opportunities for them to start talking about their relationship. They aren’t blatant: they are subtle enough that if the other person wants to ignore them, it’s easy to do, and there is no pressure to talk about the situation if they don’t want to. If they ignore more than three openings, you drop it entirely, showing you understand that they don’t want to discuss it. You go on to bring up only topics that are neutral: you don’t talk about anything at all to do with your own relationship, or really anything emotional at all, because they are clearly trying to distract themselves from emotional stuff.

If they do start talking, you pay attention to cues if they are looking for advice, or just want to vent to a sympathetic ear, and you provide what they are looking for. You don’t lie to them, or bullshit them, but you respect that they are working through this process in their own way, and that you are there as support.

Basically, social skills have nothing to do with a real you or a fake you: they are about providing a space for someone else where they feel comfortable and accepted and understood. If both people can do this for each other, both people can be themselves without hurt feelings.

I am not very sociable, and sometimes I deliberately use specific techniques to get on better with people. I don’t think of this as not being genuine. I do genuinely want to be friends with people (some people), and I do care about them and want them to be having a good time with me. I just have to think a little bit about how to make that happen because it is not instinctive for me. Because I’m not used to doing it, it feels unnatural, but I think about what am I trying to do here, and is being my normal, abrupt self going to achieve that, and it’s not.

People can be fake in their interactions, but I don’t think that’s to do with social techniques exactly. Some people are very good at covering up their real feelings with blahblahblah and some people are very good at communicating their real feelings in a relatable way. It depends on what they want to do. If they want to relate to people, they do that to best of their social ability, and if they want to hide from people, they do that instead. But social skills, communication, are just tools, and you can use them to hide, or use them to be genuine.

You aren’t talking about social skills. You are talking about social manipulation. And you really shouldn’t try to manipulate your friends. I guess you could do it for practice if you let them know that you’re into that stuff, but otherwise, don’t.

Use social skills genuinely for the purpose of, well, being more social, helping everyone get along.

I’ve tried active listening, mirroring, conflict resolution, etc and it helped with friendships when I did them.

I think it depends on what you mean by social skills. A big part of social skills is understanding context. In some situations you have to wear a mask (work, with strangers). You can’t let your true personality come out unless you are in a safe place with people you know and trust.

This. Real social skills are, as described, perceiving unspoken message about the social/emotional needs of others, and responding to them in such a way that both your needs are met. These messages may be found, in, for example, body language, tone of voice, and what is said vs. what is not said.

Specifically, a type of social manipulation advocated by the “pick up artist” movement. It’s intended to be used on strangers because it is very obvious and if the target notices you can just walk away. When your actual friends notice you are manipulating them to produce a result you desire without any interest in their needs, they will – depending on their inclination – confront you angrily, or cut you from their social circle. Unless they are extremely socially inept themselves, they will notice fairly rapidly. Even the inept eventually notice they’re being used.

Techniques? Really? Any “technique” besides good manners, kindness and humor is, at its best, phoniness and, at its worst, sociopathy.

Just be yourself.

I think I can relate to what you are talking about, maybe not from the same angle. Some social settings might find me comfortable and confident while at others I might find myself just the opposite. Out of fear or nervousness I would sometime babble, or bring up inappropriate topics. I failed miserably at being someone I am not. I can’t talk world travel, exotic fishing trips, art, literature or anything else that requires culture or much education so I am limited.

  I do have a genuine interest and appreciation in hearing stories or opinions on almost anything I can think of. I seem to be able to hold my own on theories and expanding on things so I tend to let others take the lead and simply pay attention and comment honestly where I can. My social life has actually expanded itself beyond the groups I thought I would have any kind of access to. Just be yourself and maybe humble would not be a bad term.

Good manners and kindness often require NOT being yourself. They require putting your own desires aside at times, and being sensitive to what others need.

I mean, I’m always thinking about my 2 year old, but I don’t talk endlessly about him with my girlfriends, because, honestly, it’s boring for them. At home, I am always thinking about my students and other work stuff, but I don’t talk about that much with my husband because he doesn’t really care about what order I present vocabulary in or in the sudden rise in quality we see in Jim-Bob’s writing. Does that mean I am “not myself” with my friends? With my husband?

The whole point of social skills is to not appear to be a jerk or a douchebag or so shy and uncomfortable that you can’t communicate.

What the OP is talking about is “running game”. Techniques used by salesmen, pick up artists, politicians and other people looking to influence or manipulate others towards a particular end.

Remember that your real friends actually KNOW you.