Three specific ways to improve your social skills

Now that I do a lot of public speaking, I am flying a lot – two or three times a month. There are a lot of perks to travel, like expensive hotel rooms and a break from my kids. But my favorite perk is meeting sales guys.

Warning: here come generalizations with no data to back them up. Most people who fly on Sunday night and Thursday night are consultants – all those young people who clawed their way to the popular starter jobs at Deloitte and Ernst & Young. But most of the people flying during the week are speaking or selling, and the people in those careers who travel a lot are men. So it’s no surprise that I’ve been meeting a lot of sales guys.

It’s great for me, because I was not born with good social skills, I’ve learned them. So I see the time on the airplane as a time for learning specific tips from people who make a living from having good emotional intelligence.

Here are three things I’ve learned from the sales guys I’ve met.

1. Count how many times you interrupt someone.

If you ask a sales guy why they are good at sales, they always say they are good listeners. And then, in fact, they display those skills during the flight.

I am not a good listener. I spend the flight hearing myself interrupt. Constantly.

It sounds like a moment that is bad for my emotional intelligence work, but really, it’s good. It’s good because it allows me to go to the next step, which is asking myself why I am so reluctant to wait to hear what someone has to say. That’s where I am now – asking myself that.

And I think I’m on the right track, because I think better social skills come from asking yourself better questions about why you are the way you are.

2. Learn to read very specific types of language.

Last week I was having lunch with a guy I met on a plane. He will have a fit when he reads this because the first thing someone with high emotional intelligence tells me when they sit down with me is that I can’t write about them in my blog.

We were talking about what his company could do for a blog strategy, and I was thinking about how I could convince him that his company should pay my company to do something. And Mr. Salesguy asked me a question, and I didn’t like what the answer was going to be, so I started trying to think of another answer.

And he said, “Hey, are you going to lie to me right now?”

I said, “What?” I tried to say it in an incredulous way, but in hindsight I’m sure I just sounded panicked.

He said, “When you ask someone a question, if they are right-handed and they look to the left before they answer, then they are trying to recall the information. If they look to the right then they are trying to make up something new. You looked to the right.”

It was so smart of him. Because for the rest of the lunch I was very honest. Not that I’m not honest in general, but I basically gave the first answer that came to my head for everything because I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be able to control my eye movement. It’s a great way to get the upper hand in a conversation.

I can’t wait to catch someone else in this act.

3. Stop thinking your situation is special. It’s not. Rules are useful to everyone.

Here’s another thing I learned from sales guys. They ask the same questions everyone else asks on the plane, like, “Are you going home or leaving home?” I would feel stupid asking that, because it’s so conventional, but it works as a way to start a conversation. Every time.

These routine conversations are just social conventions to allow strangers to start talking. Which drives home to me that social conventions are there to help.

Take something as simple as holding a door for someone. Social convention says do it if someone is right behind you. But the rule is actually just there so the door doesn’t slam in someone’s face.

A lot of times, people think that their particular situation is so complicated that you can’t have rules – you just have to wing it. This is where having a threesome comes in.

I get a lot of books in the mail from publishers who want me to write a review. When I got The Threesome Handbook by Vicki Vantoch, I thought the publisher had gone nuts. But I noticed she is a sex historian and she writes for the Washington Post. So I took a look at the book.

And it turns out that a threesome is actually a very complicated social situation, and the best way to make sure everyone stays happy is to have rules that people follow. I’m not going to into the intricacies of negotiations, but chapter four is called “Strategies for Navigating Freak-outs, Jealousy, and General Messiness.”

And, winging it actually means guessing what people want. But guessing is hard.

So asking for rules is important, listening is important, practicing very specific skills is important. Also, making a public commitment to having better social skills is important, which is why, I think, I blog about this topic so often.

Posted in Knowing yourself, No image, Office politics
49 comments on “Three specific ways to improve your social skills
  1. HiTechDad says:

    Try to learn from good sales guys, I have met some really horrible ones. I am not a sales guy but watching a good one work is like watching a magician, truly amazing.

    I wish I had the threesome book in college! ;-)

  2. David Rees says:

    Three cheers from a recovering interrupter. I think the tendency to interrupt is driven by a need to influence or claim power (I am so smart, listen to THIS!). What it really does is the opposite. In the past 5 years or so I have been trying to replace it with silence. Silence is an amazing power tool – you look like you are listening (because you are) and you give pause, appear to consider your response (because you do) and because so many people can’t stand silence or a noticeable pause, it can be used as soft pressure.

    I only half believe the eye thing – I have heard it before, but true or not, it put you on notice that he was listening to more than your words and you felt compelled to be measured and honest so in the end, it was the fear that it might work that was actually most effective.

    Not sure about the threesomes – that is dangerous ground for sure. Every time I hear that, I can’t help but recall what a friend said – something about one person trying to drive two cars cross country…

  3. Joselle Palacios says:

    Great post, Penelope. I’ve noticed recently that I am almost always interrupting. I started tracking that after meeting my boyfriend, who is by far the best listener I’ve ever met in my life. I started falling for him because he asked such thoughtful questions when we first spoke that I knew he was really listening to me in a way I’ve never experienced with anyone else, male or female.

    I always thought I was a great listener. Now I know I am pretty lousy at it. I think one of the reasons I interrupt so much is because I get very anxious around stangers. I am an introvert (but just barely, I learned after getting a Briggs Myer test) and worked and work hard to learn better social skills over the past 10 years. So, when I interrupt, it’s often because I’m working hard to show the other person I am smart and funny. When I interrupt people I know well, it’s usually because I am not listening to them and my brain is racing as they speak.

    I’ve made a real effort now to ask more questions and let people answer them, give some space between each time we speak instead of running over it. I usually still interrupt but less so than when I thought I was a “great listener” and now I notice when I’m doing it.

    I’m in publishing where I’ve learned how to edit written text from my colleagues but it’s the people in sales who I watch for how to listen and talk to others.

    As for rules, I think one of the hallmarks of true adulthood is realizing and then accepting that you are not that unique and most rules and social conventions are there for a reason. Adults who don’t get that are a nightmare to deal with.

  4. Jackie says:

    I too am not very good at socializing in fact I have struggled with it through school and not having gone away to college I missed out on that social opportunity and now I have come to a point where I am just tired of not being able to be social. I am so much better at expressing myself in writing.

    I guess I am always scared of putting my foot in my mouth so that has made me a very good listener but in turn I have become very quiet and I find that I am not sure what topics to bring up. I am getting better but it hasn’t been an easy road. Thanks for the post, very encouraging!

  5. Matt Bingham says:

    I just started teaching a class and last night was my first class. I tend to think that I have good social skills. I can talk to anyone and I can make people laugh. I learned quick that social skills fluctuate based on audiance non verbal feedback – if you get good feedback your on your way…but if you concentrate on that one person that gives you nothing, absolutely nothing, your game goes down. So what do you do, try to involve them, ignore them, focus on someone who has positive non verbal feedback? I chose the latter and it seemed to work.

  6. Kathy S says:

    I can’t stand people who interrupt me when I talk. People like this are generally self-centered (duh). When I encounter someone like this, I deal with it and try to get out of the conversation ASAP. If I encounter someone like this in a social setting around other people, I actually get REALLY annoyed because I want to hear what other people have to say so I generally jump in and make a brave statement like “WAIT.. Jane was saying something, I think we ALL want to hear what it was!” And, I usually have to do this 2 or 3 times before the self-centered person actually gives up with their boring story.

  7. C says:

    When will you be speaking in Florida? Jacksonville or West Palm Beach

    * * * * *
    If only I were speaking at the Gator Bowl or something. I actually usually speak at conferences or corporate type events that are not really open to the public. But I’ll be sure to announce if I’m somewhere a lot of people could go to… Thanks for asking.

    Penelope

  8. Will says:

    Another excellent post!

    I have a friend who is an excellent salesman. He also has, by far, the best social skills of anybody I know. I’ve tried to learn from him and emulate his behaviors with some success. It takes work and requires a lot of self awareness.

  9. Sidney says:

    Your post brought back memories of when I was in sales. However, I guess I reacted to traveling a bit different than the sales guys you have been meeting (who are probably thinking of the other definition of screw than the one Susan Johnston wrote about). Rather than hit on the passengers next to me, I relished the alone time. After spending hours being up and energetic; I loved the quiet lunches and dinners(when not taking out clients) and especially loved the airline flights when I could read a book or get caught up on magazines. I never understood the drones typing away on their laptops; there is always time to do email, sales reports, etc.

    Since your career (with what I can see are your strengths and weaknesses) seems to be moving towards a more public speaking/spokesperson route instead of strictly content driven; what do you think the effects on your lifestyle are going to be? You've written before about how happy you are with your lifestyle choices. I left sales when my son was born (and to switch careers in order to enter public service). What happens to your lifestyle when those flights become 7-8 times a month instead of 2-3?

  10. Alice Bachini-Smith says:

    I love this post, so much to think about. I wonder if the annoying people who think they are special also secretly think they are inferior, or sometimes come over as thinking they are special because they are trying to cover up how inferior they feel. But, whatever- pretty much everyone could use better social skills, because it’s basically about being a nice person and connecting constructively with others, and the sky is probably the limit there.

    Thanks for highlighting interrupting- I am horrible at that, for the exact reasons Joselle mentions I think- so, very useful.

  11. Rob says:

    I am having a very difficult time reconciling your third point with the majority of your published career advice — i.e. ignore conventions or (many) universally accepted rules of interaction/conduct in the workplace. In fact, I know of few seasoned (mature) professionals (or for that matter non-professionals) that don’t intuitively adhere to all three points. Taking into consideration many of your prior posts, I find your observations here either an epiphany or a Gordian Knot.

    * * * * * * *
    I think this is about knowing which is a social convention and which is a career management convention. The social conventions are about being nice — they don’t go out of style easily. So, for example, you can hold the door for someone to be nice, but then quit their job when you have a better one lined up.

    -Penelope

  12. Amy Beckett says:

    Asking where people grew up is one of my favorite, most rewarding openers, much more satisfying than “what do you do.”

    * * * * *

    I like these, too. I used to think they were too packaged and boring, but now I see them as a gift to someone who you care about getting to know — it’s a way to get things started.

    –Penelope

  13. Caitlin says:

    I have a bad habit of interrupting, which I am training myself out of. It’s not a matter of not caring about what the other person is saying, although I know it can come across that way. It’s more a case of getting excited by social stimulus and the conversation triggering lots of ideas.

    The other thing that can be awkward is when two people start talking at once. For this reason I think I tend to be better when interacting with just one other person than in a bigger group.

    Sometimes I do have to interrupt for work – when I’m doing interviews (I’m a journalist) and the interviewee is not answering the question or is being too long winded and there is a time constraint.

    • CJ says:

      Exactly! My late husband once likened me (when interrupting) to a shaken-up soft drink, where the rush of tiny bubbles (my words) just couldn’t wait to overflow their container. In an exasperated (yet affectionate) way, he often referred to me as his “little fizzy bottle” every time I interrupted him.

  14. janya says:

    “And he said, "Hey, are you going to lie to me right now?"
    [...]
    It was so smart of him. Because for the rest of the lunch I was very honest. ”

    This is a brilliant piece of conversation.

    Regardless on what actually happened, you suddenly felt like your lunch partner could see through your un-truths, and he cared.

    And you don’t really need “to catch someone else in this act” to tell people that (a) you care that they don’t lie to you and (b) it’s not really that hard to spot a lie.

  15. Mark W. says:

    A good salesman has to have good social skills. While I was an engineer I had to listen to many salesmen give their pitch. I also had to ask the pertinent questions for the details they may had left out. A good salesman will give good service which is to say they may or may not have all the details but they know who does or else they’ll get the answers for you. I once had a salesman tell me I was a good listener but I think he was just blowing smoke you know where. I think the key to a good meeting with a salesman is respect, listening, and communication from both parties.

    * * * * *

    Yes, great point, that good sales and good communication is rarely about getting all the facts right. It’s something else…

    -Penelope

  16. Neil C says:

    The first point is by far the most important. Too often people want to demonstrate their knowledge & can’t listen to find out the needs of the person they are talking with. I was once assigned to mentor an extremely bright Gen Yer right out of college who could not listen to advice & drove me nuts by constantly interrupting me and coming across as a know-it-all. (Penelope–not all Gen Yers are enterprising models of excellence)

    I think I would have gotten a lot more out of a class in college devoted to sales/personal skills than any other class I took. I see many examples of the “2.0 and go” college student that is thriving in sales due to likeability while other bookworms do not do as well in the real world.

  17. Jo says:

    For me, its trite I know, but talking about the weather is a great opener. “Its really cold/hot/rainy/snowy today!” It works everytime. From there its talking about the other person. People love it when you ask questions about them. “What floor do you work on?” And as Owen Wilson says the best way to pick up a woman is to pretend to be a good listener. ;-)

  18. EAC says:

    From the comments, I’ve read three concrete reasons people interrupt. I totally agree, and think they are very insightful realizations!

    1. Desperate to show the other person that you’re smart and funny (and saying your piece quickly, before anyone else has thought of it! to show how smart and funny you are!)

    2. As a need to influence or claim power (I actually find myself interrupting my boss a lot – bad idea – because I don’t feel he listens to or values my contributions)

    If you realize why you do it (and how ineffective it is for your purposes), maybe you can head yourself off before it happens. That’s my hope, anyway.

    Man, Joselle is hitting them out of the park today! She said: “As for rules, I think one of the hallmarks of true adulthood is realizing and then accepting that you are not that unique and most rules and social conventions are there for a reason. Adults who don't get that are a nightmare to deal with.”

    So true! Why do I feel like SoCal is utterly FILLED TO THE BRIM with such people?! It’s truly what bothers me most about bad traffic here – it’s not the sheer quantity of cars on the road that’s bad, it’s the utter disregard for other drivers that sickens and tires me.

  19. Jim C says:

    There are two types of interruptions. One is the act of someone who is not interested in what the speaker is saying and prefers the sound of his/her own voice. The other kind is the act of someone who did not understand something the speaker said and needs clarification or amplification. The listener is interested but needs to ask for more information.

    Unfortunately, most speakers get equally annoyed at both kinds of interruption. Yet, if we are in the position of being interrupted by a question, and if we think about it, we might learn something about an area where our own communication skills need improvement.

  20. Ernest says:

    Asking where people grew up is one of my favorite, most rewarding openers, much more satisfying than "what do you do."

    * * * * *

    I like these, too. I used to think they were too packaged and boring, but now I see them as a gift to someone who you care about getting to know – it's a way to get things started.

    – €“Penelope

    ===

    So what do you say when people ask you what you do? Blogger? Career expert? Volleyball player? Porn writer? Political pundit? (Whoops, that’s porn writer again.)

  21. Anonym says:

    Another common (and, IMHO, more benign?) reason for interrupting is "I got your message – I am ready to respond – here is the response" which comes from actually being smart and perceptive (or from other person's being waaaaay tooooo meticulous :-)). I am having trouble training myself to not interrupt since I have an extreme case of the above.
    Any opinion, Pen?

    * * * * * * *

    Here is a gem that I actually learned in marriage counseling. If you are thinking of your response to the person while they are talking (which I do all the time) then you are not actually listening to what they are saying. At best, you are half listening, which is disrespectful. This is one of the reasons I am working so hard to not interrupt people; becuase I used to think it was just because I am so smart, but now I understand that it reflects more on my disrespect than my intelligence.

    – €“Penelope

  22. Laura says:

    The eye movement thing doesn’t always work! And it’s the opposite of what you said.

    I was in this personal development class when I was 18 and we were asked to imagine a soup bowl, then told to point in the direction we were looking. Most of the room pointed to the left (construction), and poor little me ended up pointing to the right (memory).

    Do not trust the eye movements! Anyone who pulls the eye movement card has never noticed the people in the room who were pointing the other direction. Or else they like to gamble.

    Also … I spent 28 years being a good listener, and 4 being a good talker, and omg I can tell you, being a talker is a hell of a lot more rewarding, even if it means interrupting from time to time.

  23. Sean says:

    Ok, so I was reminded of the eye thing recently when I watched A-Rod on 60 Minutes with Katie Couric (I believe he lied… partially). Left brain = logic, right brain = creative. If you look up and to the right when someone asks you a question, then you are accessing your right brain… i.e. creating an answer.

  24. Liz says:

    The brain hemispheres are switched, though. If you look to the right, you’re using your left hemisphere, and if you look to the left, you’re using your right. Also, left-handed people are reversed. So your suspicions of A-Rod may be well-founded, but the evidence you just described doesn’t say that he’s lying. If he’s right handed, it says the opposite.

    Also, by the time a public figure goes on tv, they’ve been coached so long that everything they say is from memory, so the trick doesn’t work. It is only reliable on first reactions.

  25. Sean says:

    Thanks for the explanation… I knew I was close… ;)

  26. Suze says:

    Really good post. And number 3 is so, so true.

  27. Curmudgeon says:

    I frequently wear a Weather Channel polo shirt when I fly, and people either ask or automatically assume that I work there. It’s a great opening to talk about work, weather, or flying.

    Now you will likely be able to identify me on your travels; given where you fly from, we likely fly the same airline.

  28. Recruiting Animal says:

    I read Vantoch’s article and she asks a good question. Why would anyone use chopsticks even in a Chinese restaurant? I’ve tried chopsticks and bare fingers (in rice with daal) and in the end there’s only one possible conclusion: there’s nothing like a fork.

  29. David Rees says:

    Animal,

    People who use chopsticks do so because on an emotional level, it feels better than using a fork.

    It could be about showing off their dexterity, feeling a connection with another culture or appearing culturally sophisticated. Whatever the reason, people have more positive emotions associated with using chopsticks in certain circumstances than they do with pragmatically shoveling food into their mouths with a common fork.

    If someone had not eaten for three days, they might temporarily adjust those emotional priorities.

  30. kathryn says:

    (This is another meta-comment, as I love to leave you such things.)

    I’ve not been visiting the site lately, what with the holidays and all, and now I don’t have time to really catch up.

    So *thank you* for using boldface headings. Because now I know which articles I really want to read.

    Oh! Chopsticks! Eating rice with chopsticks is easy if it’s cooked The Right Way. (I love sticky rice.) A gastronomic reason to use chopsticks and not a fork is that otherwise I gobble rice so fast that I get indigestion. A functional reason is that it’s significantly easier to eat rice from a traditional round bowl with chopsticks than with a fork. Thus in a restaurant, I just use whatever utensil is provided (they know how traditional they are) and I pretty much always use chopsticks at home. /end offtopic

  31. Jo says:

    Actually, personally, I find that I need to interrupt more and I am more effective when I do interrupt especially at work.

    For instance, I interviewed a guy the other day who had the gift of gab and I found I had to interrupt him to get to the next question. In this situation it was more productive than just being nice and listening. His gabbiness gave me the feeling that he was just a bs blaster which would reduce the number of questions I could ask him.

    Even though my coworker thought I was being a bit rude, I found out what I needed and did not need another interview.

    In another example, just a few minutes ago I was in a meeting with another gift-of-gab person who started off with no periods in his sentences so I just interrupted him and stated my position. I would have lost my leverage and the meeting would have lasted much longer if I had not done that.

    Also, I have read some advice that women in meetings and the workplace should interrupt more than their men coworkers otherwise their points of view will not be heard.

    So I think there is a time and a place for interrupting vs. only listening.

  32. Jo says:

    In addition, if you are really trying to get something done in a timely manner I think that most people talk too much without saying much. So that is when interrupting is very effective.

    Although I do think that if you are trying to sell someone something you have to put up with their gabbing.

  33. Gordon says:

    Pam,

    You are back…I kinda drifted from your blog when you were with Yahoo…your blog had lacked “You”…but the last few posts have been spot on …you are a good communicator and you have a passion for what you are doing now..it shows….I for one am glad to see it..

    Slainte

    Gordon

  34. John Feier says:

    I’ve always been really irritated when people talk about improving my social skills. It’s like they just KNOW that people HAVE to talk to one another. What causes them to make that assumption? I think talking is dumb.

    Writing is far better than talking. Of course, I might be biased in that regard because I’m have a slight hearing impediment. :)

    So all you do-gooders, trying to make the world a better place by making sure that everyone can talk eloquently best back-off and send me an email. :)

  35. Greg says:

    I sold cars for a couple years after I graduated from college. It did wonders for my “people” and communication skills.

  36. Milena says:

    I found this post a while ago, and found it deliciously entertaining. I’m not above making faux pas like this, so I don’t link maliciously -plus, you and the author made up, so I think it speaks of your willingness to change and learn – we see it in your blog all the time.

    Suburban Turmoil: Penelope Rips Me a New One

  37. MariaMH says:

    I am someone who is a good listener but I also have realized that I am other side of the communication spectrum – getting to the point. I have worked hard to improve a lot and I can usually spot the people I really need to make sure I get to the point with pretty quickly. I will say that even then, I encounter people who constantly interrupt, and at that point, it is usually obvious that it isn’t my problem – it is theirs. In business conversation, I put up with it. In personal relationships – I choose not put up with it, if it continues to make simple conversations painful and it is obvious that they should at least care a little what I say but they do not.

    On #2, whether this is true or not, eye contact is important. I always thought (and have been told) I am good at making good eye contact and using my eyes to help express my points. But when I recently lost my job, I had a chance to do a mock interview. The other person told me I kept looking up at the ceiling and I didn’t have good eye contact. Somewhere along the line I must have gotten into a bad habit of looking all around while I was talking. I have had to work at making sure I am making good eye contact during interviews and conversations. So, even when you think you are doing something well, it is always good to get some feedback to make sure you haven’t gotten lazy about it.

  38. shoba says:

    I also learnt somethings in sales scenarios. One thing that I now practise after learning is also to interrupt but not to inject our view but to keep the flow of the talk going by asking more relevant questions when the talker is about to stop and the key is choosing the questions that would reveal more information from whom we are asking. During a formal sales meet it is ok to scribble down in a note all the information as we keep the talk going. It does help us also to listen and prepare what more we need to know that would give us a good bargain.

    Looking forward to see you talk in our country Penelope!

  39. Caitlin says:

    I came across this site (http://www.succeedsocially.com/) and thought it might be useful for people wanting more on how to improve social skills.

  40. Music Site says:

    I used to interrupt people a lot when they were talking before until someday I found myself really look silly that I start to interrupt people and comment before even knowing the whole story, so after few embaressing situation I learned how not to do that and stopped it and now I am doing better and so thankful,

    I hate lies, this is a big obsession for me, I hate it so much,

    Regards.

  41. Melba says:

    For years I was guilty of interrupting people, mostly finishing sentences for them or – €˜stepping' on last few words – until I decided to take a course in international etiquette. First, I realized how rude and disrespectful my behavior was. Second, I learnt that:
    – €¢ In American culture, there is no silence/pause after someone ends talking -the other person picks up right away. In addition, Americans, while listening, already think about their reply; one thinks that it doesn't show, but it does surprisingly…
    Go and observe morning talk shows and see if it is true.
    – €¢ In contrast, Oriental culture revere silence at the end of someone's paragraph – €“ it is to give time to – €˜digest' received information for a brief moment. Same could be said for some European cultures, writing from my memory – €“ probably German and Scandinavian.
    – €¢ Also – €“ people who think of themselves as being higher ranking individuals (and bullies) often interrupt lower ranking ones; details on pg. 88 of the "First Impression, Best Impression" book.
    Hope my comments help in avoiding being dominated or being rude unintentionally. Cheers.

  42. Laurie says:

    Great post with good information. Generally, I’m a good listener, but when I get excited about a topic, I have a tendency to interrupt. I’m becoming more aware of this bad habit and when I realize I’ve interrupted someone, I stop talking and say to the other person, “I’m sorry – I interrupted you. Please continue what you were saying.” And they do. And I listen until they’re finished. When they’re done, they usually invite me to finish what I started when I interrupted them.

    Thanks for the posting – I look forward to more!

  43. Heather Rose Russell says:

    All these posts are about listening and interrupting. What about other social skills? What do you do, for example, about the kook who invites herself to your place for tea, then when you offer salmon sandwiches, pipes up and says, “Have you got Kraft Dinner?” Of course, it happened to be a Wednesday in Lent, so I baited her with the salmon/fish thing, and it worked, but that was just that one situation.

  44. Social Skills says:

    Social skills are in fact learned. People who great socializer who say otherwise, learned them along the way and don’t have to take a direct approach at it. Excellent pointers Penelope!

  45. Guest says:

    Neurotypicals learn little detective tricks that are effective within society at large but which fail disastrously on individuals with ASD. Even worse, NTs are trapped by the emotional need to feel that the beliefs they’ve invested the most in are working out for them in every situation.

    People with AS often look away from the face while thinking of what to say, because the face is such a rich source of sensory information that it distracts us from the tedious work of putting a sentence together that NTs will find acceptable. NT social intuition leads them to interpret this as deceit, especially if they have had success spotting other NTs with deceitful intentions in the past. NT arrogance sometimes makes them unable to conceive of another reason why someone would look away from the face (in any direction) even if someone has tried to tell them. Reading this story made me angry at the salesman who convinced you you were thinking of a lie, whether or not you actually were. If you have AS, I feel like you were likely just unconsciously doing your coping micro-mechanism to stay afloat in conversations.
    This is something I struggle with a lot. How do you tell people that they’ll misread you because of your pervasive developmental disorder? Even if they believed you (the arrogant ones will never admit their initial read was wrong), broadcasting your medical diagnosis seems even more tasteless than going around looking like you’re thinking of a lie. What are we supposed to do? Anyone know?

  46. John says:

    That's
    absolutely smart of you learning how to improve your social skills through
    individuals that work in sales. These sales people deal with all types of
    personality everyday of their life and talking to as many clients as they can
    on their job really enhanced their social lives.

    I'll
    take your 3 tips in mind for sure for they sound really fantastic.

    So
    being a good listener will help me a lot in improving my social skill, right?

  47. Social Skills Guide says:

    Good feedback here Penelope!  I love the focus on specific, practical ideas. I’m currently in the process of writing a social skills guide of my own (www.improveyoursocialskills.com), and I’m trying hard to make sure that all of my advice is practical and very applicable. Your post is an inspiration to show that it can be done :)

  48. dedektif says:

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