Social Dynamics

Social Anxiety Protocol: What to do at the Public Events

By Jonathan Roseland  Connect    

What are you going to be doing at the public event? Well, I've got a few things for you to try.

The Elbow Tap
You won't always have the opportunity to approach someone from the front, practice approaching people from the side (or even back) by tapping their lower elbow, it's a nonintrusive way to get someone's attention that works quite well actually.

Find a Social Foundation
Since you are likely solo at this event, you'll find yourself alone from time to time. You want to establish a foundational person or group that's very receptive to you that you can return to. This is maybe someone you know from elsewhere, a friendly group of guys, or the event host themselves.

Number Closing
Anyone who you talk to for more than 10 minutes, get their number, Facebook or contact details. Even if you don't intend to follow up with this person get their number arbitrarily. Just get in the habit of asking, you'll be surprised how many say yes.

Merging Groups
The hack to really multiplying your social value is to introduce people to each other. Once you've met a few groups (or individuals) that are in proximity to you introduce them to each other.

Assumption Stacking
Instead of asking people boring questions like...
What do you do for work? What do you study? Are you from here?
Make assumptions...
You look like an attorney. These glasses and the cigarette make me think you are working on your master's degree. You said you worked at a hospital and these shoes are very responsible, that makes me think you are a foot expert. Your accent sounds makes me think that you maybe a good dancer.
This makes the conversation a whole lot more interesting and will help it to flow a little more. Making assumptions like this builds your social intuition; you'll find that you get better at it over time.

Conversational Looping
This is an essential listening skill; you show people that you are listening to them by looping back to something they were saying earlier. 
You were saying that...

What gets measured, gets improved. So I do encourage you to keep track of two metrics from your nights out. One is objective and one is subjective.
Score the action you took
1 Going to an event
2 Approaching someone, making conversation
3 Number closing
Rate your social mood
1 No change from baseline
2 Noticeable change from baseline
3 Significant change from baseline
It may sound like extra work but if you're going to approach overcoming your social anxiety like a Biohacker, we need to run this like a true quantified self experiment.
If you are going to spend the time to go to these public events, which is going to take hours a week, you may as well take the extra minute that it takes to record these two metrics for your night out. You can also make some notes about

  • What social smart drug were you on and dosage
  • Where you went
  • What you did
  • What you experienced
  • What you felt, etc

This will provide some emotional context to the metrics you are recording. The way I like to do this is by just taking voice notes on my phone

If you're still a bit confused with what you should be doing at these public events, see my other articles and podcasts about social dynamics. However, resist the temptation of getting too dogmatic or strategic about what you do at these events. The objective is to

  1. A/B test how the different smart drugs affect you
  2. Increase your baseline confidence by getting out of your comfort zone
  3. Actually have fun and make new friends

Finally, realize you going out to these events is a huge win and an improvement over the past when you would have likely just stayed home watching TV or surfing the Internet.

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