Lifestyle Factors That Can Affect Your Social Success


Lifestyle factors can exert a big effect on your current social success. They can also have a large impact on the opportunities you'll have to practice and develop your people skills going forward. The importance of these factors changes over your life. College is a bubble that's set up to give students a good social experience. It's once someone graduates and is out in the work world that lifestyle differences can really exert their influence.

Lifestyle factors are especially relevant because a lot of people with social issues have tendencies that won't naturally cause them to go out of their way to get out there and be around others. Here are some lifestyle factors that can affect your social progress. You obviously can't control every last one of them, but if improving your social skills is important to you, you may want to weigh them when it's time to make decisions about things like where to live or work.

Closeness to amenities

Someone who lives downtown, near all the good places to hang out, is in a better spot than a person with an apartment off in the middle of nowhere. It's way easier to motivate yourself to go out when most venues are a ten-minute walk away vs. a forty five-minute trip on the bus or a half-hour drive. People are also way more likely to accept invitations to do things at your place if it's convenient to get to.

How safe your neighborhood is

If you live in a sketchy part of town people may be more hesitant to visit you, and you may rightly not want anyone to come to your place to begin with. You may also have to consider things you wouldn't have to think about in a better area.

Living with your parents vs. living on your own

Everyone knows living with your parents can cramp your style. You can't have friends over as easily, or have the freedom to use their place however you'd like. Some people may also be embarrassed to still be at home, though it's not viewed as the failure to launch that it once was, and in some cultures it's the standard thing to do. It does have some advantages.

Living in a dorm vs. living on your own

This is a big factor in university, where people who live off-campus often mention that they miss out on the easy, built-in ways to meet a ton of people.

Living on your own vs. living with roommates

There are lots of pros and cons to having roommates that don't have to do with socializing. But thinking about that area, it's also a mixed bag. If you get decent, compatible roommates you gain a lot of little chances to be around people and practice your interpersonal skills. On the other hand, if you really need your own space and lots of alone time, having people constantly around may be too much for you.

Living with a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife

Some people start to neglect their social lives when they're living with their partner, since he or she fulfills most of their social needs. Even if they logically realize they should have other things going on socially, they're not quite 100% motivated to go get them.

Having a good place to entertain friends

It's that much more of an advantage if your place is fun to hang out in, or has other kinds of perks. It's easier to get people together, because you can always say, "Hey, let's all watch a movie on my giant TV, and then we can use my apartment's free rooftop BBQ, and then all sit on my balcony and enjoy the summer evening."

The kinds of people in your building or neighborhood

If you're young, is your building full of other students and young professionals, or did you somehow end up in a place full of old people? If you're fifty-five are your neighbors in the same place in life as you, or are you stuck in a student ghetto?

Presence of enough people who are compatible with you

If the city someone lives in is big enough, usually this takes care of it itself and there are going to be enough people around from the same scene as them. It doesn't always work that way though, and sometimes people need to move to a city that's a better fit for them. An example could be a liberal, non-religious person moving out of a conservative part of the country.

Size of your community

People vary in how much they like bigger cities. According to the cliché, a lot of people leave their dull, suffocating, close-minded small towns to go somewhere where there's more going on and they can disappear into the crowd. On the other hand, tinier places can have a better sense of community, may be more friendly, and not everyone wants to live in a cold, sprawling megalopolis.

Suitability for important hobbies

For some people a particular interest is a central part of their lifestyle and their social life. Someone who loves skiing probably isn't going to be happy living in an area with no good mountains around. A musician or actor needs to live somewhere with a good arts scene.