Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states
15. All types of hand gestures.
There are dozens of other non verbal types of communication that communicate more about you than you really intended or ever wanted to send. It is the face that probably says more about us than anything else. After all, from birth onwards, infants stare at the face of their mother, father or anyone else who holds them. We are born with a natural and built in preference for any form that resembles the human face, as illustrated in dozens of studies and experiments with infants and parents.
There are lots of self help books that can be found on this web site or in the book stores that describe ways in which you can help yourself interact with people with much greater skill and success. While some of the suggestions may seem unnatural and uncomfortable at first, as you practice and experiment with new behaviors, you will become more comfortable as these behaviors become part of your natural way of interacting. As the old saying goes, "practice makes perfect."
It is important to not become discouraged as you reach out and make an effort to meet people and make friends. There are always those individuals who may not respond. This is usually due to their own sense of shyness or reservation around new people. The idea is to not give up but to keep trying.
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I pointed out in a recent bldg that socializing is sometimes a matter of geography At present, we are in New York State and both my wife and I notice a decided difference in the way strangers interact here as opposed to people living in the West and South. Here, everyone looks more serious, are less likely to respond when greeted with a "hello or hi," and generally more reserved. Out West or South, the look on the faces of most people are relaxed and everyone is likely to beat you to the first "hello." The point is to remember that it is not personal.
In the end, if you are still having difficulty meeting people there is always psychotherapy. In this case, I would strongly recommend Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy.
Your comments, questions and observations are welcome and encouraged.
Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, PhD
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