My Personal Point of View
Before we start the topic of socializing, I would like to mention that this blog is written from the viewpoint of a person who leans more towards being an introvert rather than an extrovert. This means that I prefer to be alone than to be with a group of people.
People are social animals; even people who are more inclined to their work still make social groups in their workplace. People try to connect with others through their level of expertise or work interests. Standing on the tallest mountain alone for a prolonged period of time creates a different point of view and experience altogether. A person needs goals to push themselves forward, and having people around them on the same level and playing field makes a competitive environment that allows one to keep moving forward.
Where It All Begins
From the moment we are born, we are accompanied by someone, whether the person is a family member, a midwife, a nurse, or a doctor. We are born in a society where socializing is a skill of most importance, a skill that we develop throughout our whole life. According to the Britannica Dictionary, socialization is the process through which a person learns how to behave in an appropriate manner accepted by society. Some people would say that the socialization process starts from preschool, kindergarten, or the daycare center. I would say that socialization starts from the moment we are born.
All animals have the instincts to start learning from their surroundings at the moment of birth. Humans take this one step further: we take our babies with us everywhere we go to ensure their safety and well-being. We, as babies, cannot learn from vision, sound, smell, or touch right away after being born. We learn by feeling the energy in the environment. The only defensive mechanism a baby has is to cry, something that babies do instinctively. So the first step of socialization that everyone learns is to feel, whether that be the environment or the state of a person. We learn to “feel” our surroundings.
The Foundation of Socialization
A big influence that most people have while growing up is school. We learn our social skills in a fun and educational environment, thus allowing us to try to interact with other kids. Our teachers correct our socially unacceptable behavior towards others at school while our parents correct our behavior outside of school. Our socialization learning is constant, regardless of the environment — at home, outside our home, or in a digital setting.
Learning from our mistakes, reviewing our interactions with others, and suffering the consequences of our actions are all part of life and socializing makes this easier to handle. Having friends that have your back when you are in need, having someone that will push you forward because they can see something in you that you can’t. For a big building to not fall, you need a good foundation. Socialization is part of that foundation you need to grow into your own “building” someday. Social skills are essential in all fields and are something that keeps improving the more you use them.
Benefits of Socializing
As an introvert, I don’t like to interact with people, it feels as if the more I interact with them, the more tired I become. Only when I know the person well enough is when I feel less tired while interacting with them. Surprisingly, socializing with others helps with the mental health of the person. Talking with someone can be an enjoyable experience, which will make you forget your worries and become more composed and calm after the conversation. Social interactions need to be genuine for them to have a good impact.
So just be yourself and don’t care what others think about you. Find the people you can hang out with, and make sure you don’t lose your head over the friendship you have. People come and go; social life is the mixture of getting to know your surroundings and learning how to behave in them. My advice would be to not look for places that are way out of your comfort zone; a fish needs water even when migrating from a pond to the ocean, so you need something that will link you to your surroundings to adapt. Simply put: socializing will help you greatly in your life — literally, figuratively, and mentally.
Improving my Social Skills and Contemplating my Actions
As an introvert, my social skills would be labeled as average, just enough to be able to start a conversation with someone, but not enough to keep it going for a long time. Meeting new people used to feel like a chore instead of a fun activity. So I used to alienate myself from other people to make myself more comfortable. As a person who likes to play video games, I would often play a free-to-play competitive game called Warface. As I played, I got better, and I met new people online. In competitive online games, the social skills needed were higher than my own in the beginning.
I experienced getting ghosted, being ignored, and the occasional friend removal. Being good at the game doesn’t mean you have good compatibility with others. In online competitive games, having bad social skills equals being a bad teammate, no matter what skill level you are at. I started to understand that some things would need to improve and change to prevent getting the “short end of the stick” inside the game. I started to talk more, not worrying about what others would think of me. I started to interact with as many people as possible, seeing what worked and what didn’t. The more I interacted with people, the more I got to know the importance of social skills.
A misunderstanding is harder to solve online than in real life, so I needed to learn how to pick up the clues that people were giving me and change my behavior accordingly. After I improved my skills to the point where I was able to maintain a stable relationship with them, I was able to put those skills to the test in person. Online social skills and in-person social skills are completely different. Both have a basic foundation where communication is important but the differences come from: the wording used, body language, topics mentioned, and the openness of your information.
While at Truckee Meadows Community College, I started to learn the difference between online and offline social skills, and the behavioral patterns that a person needs to know to adapt to the situation. I am still learning and trying to improve my social skills, but I will try my best to maintain a friendly environment with my peers.
|Ayavitl Acalli Gonzalez Navarro, who goes by Acalli, was born in Mexico and moved with his family to Singapore when he was 12. He is currently a student and International Peer Mentor at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada.
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