The Social Skills Picture Book
It’s kind of ridiculous how insightful this book is.
How to start a conversation, how to stop a conversation, how to keep a conversation going, how to know if the people you’re listening to are really interested in what you have to say.
These are things (most of us) learned without really learning, which is to say, if I sat you down and asked you, “How do you get someone to be your friend?” you’d likely sit in a state of silence, bewildered.
How do you get someone to be your friend? How do you even ask someone to play with you?
We can’t answer this question, though most of us have at least one if not dozens of friends.
Many of us lament our early childhoods—when we could simply ask another person, “Will you be my friend?” and we’d have made a friend. But was it ever really like that? Our memories deceive us.
I only wish the book had more encounters specific to dealing with assholes. In the chapter about how to ask join in others’ play, the recomendation is if the players deny your request, seek out other playmates. But what if one is forced to interact with antagonistic individuals? “Keep calm,” the book advises, and shows you how to do that, but only in a generalized sense. Conflict resolution is an intrinsic part of social interaction. Dealing with irresovable conflicts is an important part of that.
Perhaps the follow-up book “For High School And Beyond” adresses this. I hope the library has a copy.
If I’ve one serious complaint it’s that a second edition is desperately needed. The book is heavily comprised of low-res digital photographs taken in the late 90s or early 2000s. The poverty of the reproductions make the facial expressions we’re supposed to be reading somewhat hard to interpret, and the fashions are laughably dated. Little girls don’t wear polka-dotted stretch pants and bulky ESPRIT sweat shirts to school anymore, at least I don’t think they do.