Whether you are single, in a monogamous relationship, or anywhere in between, the foundation to having a successful and happy dating life or relationship is learning how to communicate with other people effectively. This is also the essence of being sociable.
When I was in my early teens I thought that people were either born with great social skills or they had to make do without. There were kids in school who seemed to make no effort to have swarms of friends and be the life of all social functions. The truth is that being sociable is a learnt skill and even if you identify as notably introverted, it is relatively easy to practice being more sociable. Being able to have positive interactions with all the people you meet will enrich many aspects of your life.
In order to become more outgoing in general, it’s all very well being told, “just get out there and force yourself to be more sociable”. Unfortunately humans aren’t always the best at forcing themselves to break habits and do new – potentially uncomfortable – things. A more soothing method to become more sociable is to put yourself in situations where you are forced to interact with other people by default…
The best job for becoming more sociable:
Towards the end of last year I spent a few months moonlighting as a barman: partly for the extra pocket-money, partly for the extra structure and motivation outside of my normal work, but mainly as I have always wanted to delve into the social experiment that the job entails.
It still boggles my mind how high up the social hierarchy the barman is in the bar dynamic by default. On paper, there isn’t a great deal to be desired: the pay isn’t great and you are basically everyone’s servant for the evening. The reason for the unwitting social status – and why I had constant attention from both men and women regardless of if they wanted serving – is because of the underlying social power that comes with the job, as long as you carry it correctly. In a bar setting, the barman is the centre of attention, is offering value to everyone else (in the form of service) and generally holds a fair amount of authority in the room.
Working as a barman is a great way to make a bunch of cool friends immediately. If you pick your venue wisely and end up in a trendy and uncrowded venue like I was, you will most likely have a small group of young and friendly colleagues who directly leapfrog into your new social circle.
Starting conversations with patrons is also easy as long as you are friendly and interesting. This applies to starting conversations with strangers in general but without the underlying message that you are trying to GET anything from them. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome when approaching a stranger without any preapproved value is to convey that you aren’t seeking their affection or approval: that the interaction is clearly mutual.
With barman/customer roles, you don’t have any of those contingencies to deal with immediately, so you can concentrate on making friends and attracting people with no agenda.
Learning social dynamics:
The key to becoming superior in social interactions is learning to deeply understand the underlying communications: the subtle reactions people give off with body-language and expressions for example.
One of my favourite pastimes when I was relaxing in a bar (that I still enjoy occasionally now) was to simply observe the people around me and see how people interact with each other. Whilst working in a bar you can’t help but indulge in a similar activity.
You have an outstanding viewpoint of the dynamic of the bar and it is easy to spot the most successful people in the venue as you visually scan over the course of the evening. Notably, these are often the men and women who make an effort to spark up a short conversation with the barman when ordering drinks. They possess a certain degree of inner confidence and enjoy selflessly giving value to everyone they meet in some small way. It doesn’t take much to say “Hey, how are you doing?” and then say a small open-ended comment. This technique works in most situations in life.
Before starting my short stint working as a barman, I had already developed my social skills to a level I was happy with; I had been working as a dating coach for two years prior after all! However, I did have some enlightened observations along the way that you wouldn’t necessarily get without being in a neutral position like a barman.
Most of these observations revolved around male and female flirting. More specifically, how bad the average man is at spotting female communication cues and how women put intuitive trust in those cues being successful when attempting to attract men. Working as a barman in a popular venue, you will quickly learn a lot about how to attract members of the opposite sex simply by observing the people around you who are successful at it!
There are lots of jobs that will push you outside your comfort zone and encourage you to be more sociable (sales is another one, which admittedly I don’t have much personal experience with). However, if going out to social gatherings and making friends from scratch, or improving your social demeanour in everyday life and business situations seems intimidating, then working as a barman – or finding a similar scenario where you are forced to be sociable – is a great way to start the process. 🙂