Ways of improving your social capital?

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Loner
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Re: Ways of improving your social capital?

Post by Loner »

I think the world is also very fine for introverts. Introversion does confer advantages but you need to be able (and willing) to capitalize on them. And above all, you must recognize those advantages.

Introverts are usually great listener, for instance, and just as you (Jason) mention ("I personally find those people the worst people to be around"), extroverts can be a pain in the ass to have around specifically because they'll never STFU. Extroverts will even get on the nerves of other extroverts! How's that for a disadvantage? As an introvert, you have the advantage of having a good ear, which not only makes people feel heard but also important.

Quite far from being at a disadvantage, introverts can often be in the strong position in social interactions. I think we need to get it over with this myth that introverts are at a disadvantage. No need to bash ourselves on the head. Harry Browne wrote a great book (The Secret of Selling Anything) showing how introverts can be better salespeople than typical pushy extroverts. Susain Cain also explained quite well (with stories of real people) how introverts will indeed feel more depleted after social interactions, but will often nonetheless enjoy them if it's for a cause they enjoy.

We shouldn't let fears and awkward moments get in our way. Practice makes perfect. Introverts, unite!

classical_Liberal
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Re: Ways of improving your social capital?

Post by classical_Liberal »

Loner wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:56 pm
Introverts are usually great listener, for instance, and just as you (Jason) mention ("I personally find those people the worst people to be around"), extroverts can be a pain in the ass to have around specifically because they'll never STFU.
Within this statement is the key. I tend to be an extrovert. The greatest way for me to improve the depth of my social connections/capital has been learning to listen. Like, actually be interested in what I'm hearing. This can be hard, but it's a learned skill. Asking people open ended, leading questions about the facets of their life and personality that actually interest me makes it much easier to gain that connectiveness. Honesty, most people are actually extremely interesting in, at least, some ways. They have great s stories, struggles, happiness, heartbreaks, humor. At the very least you can kind-of learn what makes them tick, which is of interest to me anyway. Sometimes it's hard to get the introverted types out of their shell, but the key is to find something they obviously like talking about and let them go, if it's not overly interesting to you then transition the conversation.

Introverts can use this exact same skill. Just make sure, when initiating conversation, you lead with questions about things that are interesting to you. The listening is probably much easier for an introvert, the problem is listening and caring. So you have to practice leading conversations in the direction you want it to go to hold your interest, without letting an overbearing extrovert go on and on about his lawnmower, or whatever.

Once some connection is formed it's the repeated social interaction that forms deeper friendships. All you need to do is find one point of interest in another persons life to build upon. Although I grok this may be the hardest part for introverts.

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Ego
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Re: Ways of improving your social capital?

Post by Ego »

BookLoverL wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:21 pm
It's usually depleted if I do too much of it in a short space of time - hence, introvert. But if I space the social events out properly and stay mindful of my energy levels, then I can be inspired.
Same here and when I do those tests they pigeonhole me an extrovert.

I most enjoy conversations where I speak less and listen more. It can be exhausting to be the one carrying a conversation for a long period. On the other hand, it is unreasonable to expect someone else to do the conversational heavy lifting.

Expert conversationalists are those who can steer the discussion to topics where the talkers wants to talk, the listeners want to hear, those within earshot want to get in on it and everyone involved goes away better for having been there.

It is a dying skill. When you find an expert, latch on and listen to how they do it. Dismantle their technique then try to apply it yourself.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Ways of improving your social capital?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

bigato wrote:So there's this thing that extrovert girls do a lot, and that most of them learn soon in their life, in that they subtly make people think they may be interested, and leverage the interested parties expectations. That is a source of pain and broken hearts for a lot of introverts who take a while to get up to speed on this game. The "friend-zone" as they call it is basically an euphemism for this, as in: "I was never actually interested in you, it's just that I'm so used to play this game of recruiting people all the time, that I don't ever notice when I am doing it". It may sound harsh when put like this, and you probably don't want to go breaking hearts around, but actually people do this all the time, both guys and girls. Introverts too, although sometimes they take longer to learn it. It's usually said that pain and pleasure are what move people, but expectations are far more powerful motivators.
The way to take advantage of this strategy without being evil and breaking hearts is to only use it on "Big Boys/Girls." For instance, men who are Confirmed Bachelors, Diehard Players, Already Married, Significantly More Attractive Than You (on objective scale) or simply lacking the gene for romantic attachment (and female equivalents.) So long as you are able to hold your own liquor (handle your own emotions, ego-state and biochemicals) this can be a Win-Win-Win approach, and also productive of moments of great amusement. Obviously, this is a sub-set of the strategy known as the Double-Con.

Scott 2
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Re: Ways of improving your social capital?

Post by Scott 2 »

Ego wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:15 am
You will notice that some of the questions are somewhat imprudent. It is amazing the things people will tell you if you simply take the time to ask. I've noticed a strange analog to the Franklin Effect where people feel closer to you if they've told you something personal.

This kind of thing drives self-identified introverts a little crazy. :D So be it. If you want to make an omelet you must be willing to crack a few eggs.
Not just a little crazy! Cue the internal dialogue - "how do I get this to stop without being a total asshole? I'm leaving asap" Now that I'm older, I'll straight up ignore people or walk off mid sentence. "I have to go."

Scott 2
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Re: Ways of improving your social capital?

Post by Scott 2 »

Jason wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:57 pm
Bottom line - the world is made for extroverts. If you are introverted, you will forever be at a disadvantage.
I am learning to "use their words". I ally with a strong extrovert, sell them on my ideas and share credit. They don't have to think about the introvert stuff, I don't have to talk to people. Their social skills carry my ability to focus and think through all the fine details.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Ways of improving your social capital?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Scott2 wrote:I am learning to "use their words". I ally with a strong extrovert, sell them on my ideas and share credit. They don't have to think about the introvert stuff, I don't have to talk to people. Their social skills carry my ability to focus and think through all the fine details.
I think this can often be the efficient move when you are self-aware enough to know where you are lacking, but at the level of "not in this lifetime" in rational assessment of ability to move towards high neutral or fluid functioning along a given spectrum.

From my perspective as somebody right on the boundary between I and E, who has interacted with extreme Es and extreme Is, I think high neutral fluid is better than extreme E when it comes to social functioning, because extreme E can be more like NEEDS to interact with other people ALL the time. If you can take it or leave it either way on choice between stay home and read a book or go to the party, then your happiness level will most often be maximized.

OTOH, because I am extremely N and also fairly strongly P, I often "choose" to partner with these terrible people who have Tiger Mom like personalities and who are always yanking my chain back to center focus.

Jason
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Re: Ways of improving your social capital?

Post by Jason »

Scott 2 wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:16 am
I ally with a strong extrovert, sell them on my ideas and share credit. They don't have to think about the introvert stuff, I don't have to talk to people. Their social skills carry my ability to focus and think through all the fine details.
Jagger and Richards. Jobs and Wozniak. Leopold and Loeb. It's great if you can find that special person.

BookLoverL
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Re: Ways of improving your social capital?

Post by BookLoverL »

Definitely being introverted can have some advantages - for instance, listening and being or appearing interested is one of the things I have generally been better at, once I was in the position to be listening. Plus, introverts generally have the ability to amuse oneself without anyone else around, and therefore experience less boredom and lower social-related expenses. Also, of course, extreme extroverts, especially ones who are not self-aware, can indeed be obnoxious, being loud, pushy, not recognising other people's need for personal space, etc. As usual, the thing to do is to figure out what the extrovert does that is beneficial, while avoiding taking on the obnoxious traits.

Finding a suitable extrovert as an interface can be a good strategy, but does come with complications such as needing to share profits (business), allowing yourself to become complacent in your skill level, running into problems if you fall out with said extrovert and they are your main point of contact with the social realm, and identifying and persuading a suitable extrovert in the first place. And it's best to try to learn at least the basics of the social realm anyway, to avoid falling into traps laid out for fools. Still, if you REALLY hate dealing with people, it may suit.

Regarding leveraging people's expectation of a future payout (of money or sex), I agree it's best to avoid practising this on people who aren't really aware they might be playing that game, and also I think it would be best not to promise anything that one wouldn't theoretically be at least sort of willing to pay out if it actually came to it. E.g. paying one realtor at the end (in which the payout is a sort of prize for the realtor who succeeded) seems more ethical than a hypothetical person who got the realtors to do all the work and then paid none of them (which would be an illusion, in which the prize didn't really exist).

subgard
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Re: Ways of improving your social capital?

Post by subgard »

Consider this exercise.
With anyone else, family, friend, acquaintance, or stranger.

1. Don't attempt to manage their impression of you at all. Don't consider what they might think of you. And, don't have anything you want out of the interaction. Set aside your own desires, interests, agenda.

2. Try to figure out what they want out of the interaction, even if they don't know it themselves.

3. Deliver that interaction. Within reason, of course - don't compromise your own values, or agree to some burdensome thing.

Focus completely on trying to figure them out, and don't worry about what they think of you, at all. Then interact with them in the way that they would like. (It's true - most people just want to be listened to).

It helps to first practice this with people you already know fairly well, as you don't have to work so hard on step 2.

Jason
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Re: Ways of improving your social capital?

Post by Jason »

Like patriotism and unwavering support for the military, I think introversion and the ability to listen is a false equivalency. I'm an introvert and for the most part, I can give a fuck all about what people have to say as I'd rather be alone. And extroverts listen. They just turn everything you say into how it relates to them. I"m not saying there are not benefits to being an introvert. I'm just saying "the world" i.e. that place we leave home to and go out into values extroverts. Look at politics. It's extrovert central. Adlai Stevenson was labeled an "intellectual". Ronald Reagan a "communicator." Or the difference between JLF and MMM. One's a genius who took time out to write a book and the other's an shirt off posing, TED talking, demagoguing blogger who can't wait to tell the world he gave away $100K. Who's better known?

IlliniDave
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Re: Ways of improving your social capital?

Post by IlliniDave »

I have an aunt who relocated from a faraway state 5 years ago and I've had a chance to watch her skillfully build social capital. I don't know if I'd call her an introvert, but socializing in the usual sense of the word isn't a huge part of her life. The main thing she does is offer to help others first. She also does a good amount of volunteer work, etc., especially in areas where she has an interest (e.g., she volunteers as a tour guide at the local "Frank Lloyd Wright house" and is a docent at a local Japanese botanical garden).

That all comes after initial acquaintance. Net result is that she's got a network of people who are either the sort of people who like to be helpful, and/or people that have gratitude towards her for the times she's helped them. I'm sure if she ever really needed anything and asked she would have people beating down her door to help. Since she's well-to-do she doesn't exploit it often though.

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Dream of Freedom
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Re: Ways of improving your social capital?

Post by Dream of Freedom »

;) I thought listening was more of a P/J thing than an I/E thing.

oldbeyond
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Re: Ways of improving your social capital?

Post by oldbeyond »

Great thread, questions and responses both!

I've built a bit of social capital with the extended family, where we've traded favors (I'll help MIL with he computer and she'll mend my sweater etc). It's very small scale and the financial impact isn't huge, but I think it has deepened our relationship in the more strictly emotional sense too, and coming together to arrange a feast or a move feels much more natural. Sometimes the relationship moved forward after I asked for something, of course something not too burdensome that I was reasonable sure they would enjoy helping me with. As long as you make sure to reciprocate, "going into debt" can be a wise move.

Campitor
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Re: Ways of improving your social capital?

Post by Campitor »

My organization sent me to a leadership training where they gave us a personality test to find out who was an introvert versus an extrovert. The person doing the testing was a self admitted introvert himself. One lady who was ranked an introvert took umbrage at needing to "perform" for extroverts. Her words were "am I a clown that has to amuse people?" The tester told her that the majority of the world's population are extroverts and there is a cost to being an introvert who refuses to play with extroverts - you're labeled as the person whose "lights are on but nobody's home." Opportunities will be lost.

The tester said introverts must find moments of solitude to recharge from extrovert exposure, ask questions and provide feedback effectively in order to give extroverts the engagement they are looking which hopefully sends them on their way. And learning how to politely disengage is a must, e.g., "sorry I have to finish X please excuse me" or "I need to use the restroom, etc."

In case anyone was wondering, I actually scored right in the middle, I was neither an extrovert or an introvert. About 2 other people in a class of 30 scored neutral as well. Neutrals are supposedly the ambassadors between introverts and extroverts - we facilitate the communications between both sides which allows organizations to function but we also pay a penalty for this - we tend to get overworked, over utilized, and burnt out at higher rates than pure extroverts/introverts. The bonus is that organizations tend to keep us around, compensation is higher than the normal distribution, and we can function in both worlds.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Ways of improving your social capital?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Campitor wrote: Neutrals are supposedly the ambassadors between introverts and extroverts - we facilitate the communications between both sides which allows organizations to function but we also pay a penalty for this - we tend to get overworked, over utilized, and burnt out at higher rates than pure extroverts/introverts.
Amen. Classic example being the Art Gallery Owner who has to simultaneously attempt to sell/explain work from an Artist's black period to affluent extroverted Businessman and advise/explain to the Artist why the general public isn't "like"-ing on her black period pieces. The Scientist is right down there in the Introverted Disciplined Innovator-Technician Abyss with the Artist, so same rule of thumb applies to their "black" works such as global warming models.

OTOH, I am currently more cheerful about my data science studies, because I recently read that a human who possesses all of the qualities theoretically needed by a data scientist is known as a "unicorn", so it's more sensible to put together a team, and at least one of the people on the team needs to be able create and present a results-based narrative for intended audience of stake-holders, and that's something that I can do fairly easily compared to coding for 12 hours straight.

subgard
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Re: Ways of improving your social capital?

Post by subgard »

1) approaching people you don't know yet and talking to them without somebody you already know introducing you
Ask questions. The blander, more boring, and non-intrusive, the better. Bland statements about the weather are good. Don't try to be funny, interesting or witty. The vibe you're going for is "I say bland pleasantries to strangers all the time, and it doesn't matter to me whether they engage me or not."

2) making a good first impression that causes people to think of you roughly the way you want them to think of you
Don't try to do this. Focus on making the other person comfortable. It was a big paradigm shift for me when I stopped worrying what people thought of me and started focusing my attention on them. I realized how insecure most people are. I realized just how much they were concerned with making a good impression on me. If you practice not worrying about yourself, and focusing all your attention on others, you will give off a kind of "dominant" vibe. People will be worried about what you think of them, they will try to please you.

3) small talk
Don't worry about having an interesting conversation. For most humans, conversation is not about content. It's about the good feelings they get from interacting with another human. Just accept it, and roll with it.

4) how to move on from small talk to bigger talk
Be accepting and nonjudgmental. Create a comfortable conversational environment where the other person is not afraid to be vulnerable.

5) following up on your conversation so they become a friendly acquaintance instead of just someone you met once
Be pleasant to be around, and they will want to follow up with you. This is kind of zen - Just focus on other people, paying attention to their emotional vibe, facilitating them being themselves (if that makes sense?), and they will want to be around you.

6) staying in touch with them regularly enough that they become a casual friend that invites you places and sends you opportunities
Make people feel good, and they'll want to stay in touch with you.

7) how to deepen the relationship to become a close friend that you can go to for emotional support if desired
karma. Be the emotionally supportive person you want others to be.

8) how to manage conflicts in the friendship
Hand grenades and baseball bats. Nah, if you pay attention to the other person and behave like an adult, you can head off conflict before it gets to that stage.


On the other hand, there are a lot of emotionally needy, manipulative, unpleasant assholes out there. You got to know when to cut people off.

reepicheep
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Re: Ways of improving your social capital?

Post by reepicheep »

I don't really bother with meeting strangers at the store and hoping to befriend them, though once in middle school I got a fencing coach out of that strategy. Generally I don't expect strangers to offer me much of interest.

I haven't had to deliberately break this down as yet, because I don't lack for people who want to hang out with me. Benefits of being 20-something, attractiveish, and tits.

Mostly my problem is finding people I actually like and can sustain mutually beneficial relationships with.

To whit, that is a initially a question of shared values and interests. I dance. I have volunteered at dance. Befriended fellow dancers. Asking someone if they'd like to get lunch later is an easier jump after my face has been in their armpit. Also, dance is a great test for physical chemistry.

I currently mostly live in an intentional community/eco village. People care about their carbon footprint, etc. We hang out together. I don't know if those relationships will last, yet, but there are shared values. Indeed, the people living year round in a tent with a woodstove are harder core than I am.

I have other communities I participate in. Finding people with shared interests is a question of surrounding myself with people similar to me. Then I screen for other desirable traits -- reliability, emotional management, control over substance use, knowledge of sci-fi, etc.

I don't have many good friends. The circle isn't large. I have a number of casual acquaintances and enough people who will help me move in exchange for pizza. Trying to play statistics by meeting strangers where the odds aren't already stacked in my favor seems like unnecessary challenge.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Ways of improving your social capital?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

reepicheep wrote: I don't lack for people who want to hang out with me. Benefits of being 20-something, attractiveish, and tits.
Eh, based on my experience, even 50-something, attractive-ish-ish, and tits will serve. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that just "tits" or maybe even "tit" would be enough. This would be evidenced by the way our language rather rudely embodies the concept of social capital in the phrase "living off the government tit." However this language embodiment does become rather confusing when combined with the concept of sugar baby, because the sugar baby is somehow producing or providing "sugar" while "living off the tit" of a particular affluent old man, which would have to entail some sort of energy intensive reverse fermentation process in order to convert sour back into sweet.

basuragomi
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Re: Ways of improving your social capital?

Post by basuragomi »

A sugar baby just needs to produce lactase to convert lactose to its monosaccharides. That's why the elderly need sugar babies as lactose tolerance fades with age. Living off the government cheese implies that one is a rennet baby instead.

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