As primates, we are social creatures. We need quality interaction with other human beings everyday or else we start to fade. Without friendship, we may seek escapism from the our boredom, monotony, and loneliness through our screens.
After seeing lonelness as a recurring theme in a lot of nosurfers I thought we could make the social component a part of nosurf too.
Some nosurfers were lonely as children due to bad conditions at home, bullying, or social awkardness. Their screens became a refuge from the real world. They could meet others like them who were kind and empathetic to their problems, who could really understand them as no one in the real world could.
Others nosurfers became experienced loneliness as they got older. Every year tons of young people graduate from college only to find out "the real world"is a lonely place. Some may move to new cities for work and find it difficult to start their social lives from scratch. Others have all their friends move throughout the country and are the ones left behind.
As we grow older we might lose touch with people as real world responsibilities take over, people work more and more, and start settling down.
As a result our screen use can slowly increase overtime until it gets to the point where we we are relying on it to alleviate boredom and replace the social connection we once had. We come home from work, browse through our facebook and instagram feeds while having Netflix on in the background. After a while we go to bed only to repeat it the next day.
It doesn’t really matter what category you fall under, the solution is just to develop the motivation to build up your social life and see that as one of the pillars of nosurf.
So I thought I could start some practical discussion on the topic of making friends and building a social life.
If you’re just starting out on this it’s beneficial to approach it from a growth mindset. If you’ve been lonely for years you might have a lot of limiting beliefs about your social ability and label yourself as awkard or even unlikable.
I think it’s really good to look at our social ability as something that can be developed through practice, a bit like how muscles can get stronger or how we can get faster by running consistently rather than something immutable like our eye color or how tall we are.
It might be worth reading Mindset by Carol Dweck as a basic foundation for going in. It’s mostly geared toward academic performance in students but she also applies the growth mindset to artistic abilities, our personality, and other less academic areas.
Less Screen Time Is Good For Your Social Skills
The cool thing is that just by deciding to nosurf you’ve taken a step on you’re journey. In a book I read either Subliminal by Leanord Mlodinow or Adam Alter’s book there was a study showing that children who spent 3 days at a tech free summer camp scored 48% higher on measures of nonverbal social skills.
This makes a lot of sense, since most of communication in real life is nonverbal and implicit, we lose these abilities when we move to our screens where we can’t pick up peoples tonality, micro expressions, and body language. By spending less time on our screens we actually become better and better and reading these nonverbal cues.
By spending as much time as possible interacting with real people, your brain will naturally pick up social skills like how infants naturally learn languages just by being around people speaking them.
How To Win Friends and Influence People & The Charisma Myth
The information in this book may seem obvious but you’d be surprised at how often people violate some of these rules.
I think it’s worth a read and it might be enlightening to many who don’t realize that social skills are a complex interplay of intangibles regarding what you say, how you say it, and how people perceive you as a result.
I haven’t read this yet but it seems interesting. It ties into the ideas of the growth mindset that by establishing that being charismatic and likeable are learnable skills.
Patook & Meetup
I found an app meant to help find friends. It sounds a little odd, even kind of lame but you have to remember that online dating was once considered weird and embarrassing too. So I’m sure within a few years, saying you became friends through an app will be considered normal.
The one I’ve used is Patook. It actually works pretty well and I’ve met a few people through it. Also remember, you have to put in effort on your profiles and talk to other people. Don’t just write “Hi I’m Nik I’m 24” and expect people to reach out.
The other is Meetup.com. You can use meetup.com to sign up for local meetups. Attend everything, even if it’s not your cup of tea. Every opportunity for social interaction is a chance for your social skills to get better and better.
Approach all this with the intention to get out of your comfort zone. Also think of it as a numbers game. With each social interaction there is the chance that you might just meet someone cool and awesome.