Being Social - a Guide for the Unsocial
Whether you are an admin or a player, there's probably been at least one time in your role playing career that you felt you were obligated to be social and chat- and just didn't know how. Or perhaps you want to, and still don't know how. Either way, here's some tips and tricks on being social when that's not your strong area!
The most important part of being social is simply saying hello! Say hi to everyone who shows up in the cbox and posts something- it validates that you saw them, which is a good feeling for the other person(s). It also gives them a reason to stay around and chat!
If you are posting the first message of the day, it is a good idea to say "Hello!" and then include a little detail about what's going on with you today. For example: "Hello! Today I have a dentist's appointment at noon."
"AND YOU?" IS YOUR FRIEND!
If someone asks you how you are doing, it's always fine to answer them! But remember to ask them how they are doing as well. Make it a habit to ask "And you?" at the end of your response. It's polite, and also gives the other person room to begin a dialogue.
ASK OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS!
Don't ask questions that can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no" (or can otherwise be answered with just one word). This winds a conversation down to a close, which is what you don't want. Also avoid asking questions that already have the expected answer in them, which have the same effect. An example of such a question would be: "Are we all well today?" It's reasonable to expect that everyone will say yes (hopefully), and then you've got little to talk about.
A good example of an open-ended questions is "What do you have planned today for fun?" Unless the answer is "nothing," then it's not so easy to answer with only one word.
ASK FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS!
A follow-up question is a question which is meant to get more information from the answer you were just given. It's an easy way to keep the conversation flowing, and also leads to other possible topics of discussion. An example:
You: "What do you have planned today for fun?"
Other person: "I'm going to go to the zoo!"
You: "Awesome! I love the zoo. What animals are you going to see?"
Other person: "I definitely want to go see the giraffes and there's a bird show to watch, too. But we'll probably look at everything."
ADD TO THE CONVERSATION!
In the above example, the other person's response might seem like an end to the conversation- but it's a perfect opportunity to expand on the talk if you wish! You can do any of the following:
- Share what animals you like to see at the zoo. Example: "We don't have any giraffes at my zoo, but I really like to visit the tigers! They feed them at around 3.20 and have a presentation about them."
- Change the topic to something related. Example: "My zoo doesn't have bird shows, but once when I was at a Renaissance fair they had a demonstration on falconry."
- "Zoom out" and talk about a broader subject. Example: "Giraffes are really cool. I only recently learned that there's more than one kind!"
- Ask another question. Example: "How many giraffes are at your zoo? We only have two."
If you've ever played a video game involving guns or weapons, chances are you've encountered a weapons wheel before. Usually, you have the option to run through your selection of weapons with the D-pad. Think of the above bullet points in this way! These options are your weapons arsenal- select which one best suits the conversation!
THINGS TO REMEMBER...
- The conversation isn't about you. People are egotistical by nature and want to talk about themselves.
- However, in order to move a conversation forward you do need to include a little bit of what's going on with you and your own experiences as well. Remember to sandwich this between the bits about the other person. A good example is the above example: "How many giraffes do you have at your zoo? We only have two."
- Be positive! No one wants to talk to a sulker. This is not to say that it's not okay to feel bad sometimes, however if that is the case then that's not the time to try and be sociable with everyone in the public eye. Better to talk to someone privately and open up to a friend instead of everyone in the chatbox.
- Socializing may be difficult for the other person too, so do not take any awkwardness personally. It's more likely that they just don't know how to respond.
- A conversation is a two-way street. Give the other person room to talk, and they should give you room to talk.
- It's okay to back off. If you're running out of things to say or the person is leaving you scratching your head on how to respond, it's okay to not say anything at all.