Socialization for struggling furries:
a guide written for a friend.
Written for a friend and any other furry with socialization problems, based on my own experience.
The following section tries to explain two things: who to talk to and how to talk to the choosen person. This guide assumes that you have some self-confidence and a decent level of self-esteem. That’s because low self-esteem, that is, a poor self-concept can make you feel insecure, thus lowering your confidence which, in turn, can make you paralyzed or scared when it comes to human relationships. That’s called shyness and must be first overcome before employing the tips that follow.
While these are not definite tips to improve self-esteem, you can at least improve your self-confidence by:
• remembering that you are like everyone eles and that the other person also has their flaws;
• that everything will be fine if you use common sense;
• that it could be the partner’s fault if a chat goes bad;
• that a chat may be unenjoyable due to personal struggles on the other person’s side;
• that some people are assholes because they choose to be
• and that you have qualities that others may admire.
By keeping those things in mind, maybe it’s easier to feel better if something goes awry or seems to go like that. It’s not always your fault.
Similar attracts similar. We can identify people to talk to through two ways: common interests and common tasks. In the first way, you pay attention to what a person does for fun and in the other way, most commonly employed in school or workplace, is by the resolution of common tasks assigned to a team.
The first way is more useful online. When we are talking to someone, we expect to have a good time and a talk that is good for both needs to be about a common ground, a common theme. In the furry fandom, a good way to find common ground for conversation is by browsing the person’s gallery or favorites. Another is to reply to comments that are received. When you find someone who seems to be into the same things as you are, a good way to test the waters, to see if that person would reply to you and get a conversation going, is by dropping a comment on the submission. If the person replies, reply to their reply and then send a private message. If you receive a comment from someone who appreciates your work, reply right away and connect with that person.
The second way is more used in school assignments or team tasks. The proximity between work mates can allow you to learn more about a person and seek common interests. Plus, that can allow you to be regarded highly for a good work, which will make others want to work with you, increasing your chances of finding potential friends, that is, people who like the things you also like. Even if you don’t find friends, you can still find reliable colleagues. Job and school are also good subjects to start a conversation in such a setting.
People enjoy talking about themselves and feeling like others care. A good way to keep a person’s interest is stimulating them to talk about themselves, but freely, in a not inquisitive manner. The following tips are for interest-oriented chatting. If you are interacting with a person in a workplace or school setting, only use the tips below after exhausting the most important subjects, such as the task that was assigned. Preferably, talk about the tasks assigned to the person you are talking to, rather than your own.
Hia, how are you?
The person should tell you how they feel at the moment. That can allow you to get subjects for conversation. If they say “sad” or “angry” or generally “bad”, you could ask why. That can keep the conversation going. If they are unwilling to share the reason, do not insist, but tell that you are willing to listen if they would like to say at some point in the future. If they say fine or if the subject was exhausted, you say how you are going, só that the talk can continue. If the person has confided their feelings to you, one can use this to gain confidence.
How was your day?
Same as before, it’s another way to ask how the person is feeling, but in a more objective, less abstract way. That way, the person may reveal details on their day, which may give you more things to talk about. After the subject is exhausted, then you talk about your day. In a first chat, avoid talking about bad aspects of your day or life. That can be explored in another occasion.
Anything you would like to talk about?
This is for when all subjects were exhausted. Assuming that you have found common interests between the partner and yourself, you can talk about those things when the suggested subject is exhausted, if any (as a lot of people start a chat without an actual subject to talk about).
Some things such as short replies, taking too long to reply or long absences are often interpreted as signs of indifference, but it’s not always like that. Some people just get tired of chatting but are too polite to say it. While others become absent to take care of something and forgot (or don’t care about) saying that they are going. In those cases, don’t think you are doing something wrong, if a chat isn’t working out. The person might be distracted, playing, multitasking and those things take away focus. While some things can be construed as signs of indifference, do not jump to such conclusions. Just carry on and pretend you are not noticing.
If all subjects are exhausted, excuse yourself and leave. Trying to keep a conversation without a subject in mind can be boring, very taxing and maybe even annoying, for both parties. That being said, if neither person has something to talk about, give yourself and your friend a break and talk to them again the next day.
It’s good to create an “enjoyment rank” in your contact list, só that you can priorize a subsequent chat with those you enjoyed the most. The others who are lower in the rank will be talked to, as the ones in the upper ranks are unavailable. If someone chats to you, reply according to availability and subject priority. Depending on who it is and what they want to talk about, your presence may be more appreciated, which tightens those bonds. For example, if the person is upset about something and you ignore them, that will leave a lasting mark in your relationship between them. But if you priorize talking to them in the occasion of something going bad in their life, their confidence increases and you will be seen as reliable.
Some people just want attention. As a rule of thumb, you should refrain from giving advice until the person has finished talking about their problem and you have comforted and validated them. At first, you just listen. That’s because some anguished people want attention most of all. So, listen. From time to time, you comment on it, without telling the person what to do, to offer validation. After the person has said everything and appears to be feeling better, you can give advice. If the advice isn’t good, you confess that you can at least listen, if that helps them to feel any better. Some problems are too hard for friendship to solve, só you encourage the seeking of professional help or, if the problem is something eles, there are other ways to help a person to feel better. That won’t solve their problems, but, in the absence of a proper treatment, a painkiller can be a quick fix, until the treatment becomes feasible.
Always tell when you are going absent or when you are logging off: it’s rude not to. The next chat could start by picking a subject that wasn’t concluded last time. If that subject is exhausted, you ask the introduction questions again to grab subjects. If they don’t result in subjects, talk about yourself, how you are going, how was your day and something you could want to talk about.
Some people also enjoy role-playing online. Often, such practice is clean, but it’s a fact that the furry fandom, like any form of popular Internet-driven media art nowadays, is sexually charged. One of the ways people sound the pressure that might have wound up during the day is by doing a form of cybersex known as erotic role-play. A first chat isn’t a good time to ask for role-play (the furry fandom is só sexually charged that the person could assume you want the erotic kind, unless specified otherwise). You should only mention it in a next chat, after both have ran out of subject, otherwise you risk coming off as a horny slut, even when you are not. If you want a clean role-play, you have more chances of being accepted by just sprinkling in-character lines during the chat.
/me hugs. “Hia!”
That’s in-character greeting that is unlikely to go wrong.
If it’s not too much to ask, do you RP?
When asking for role-play, be polite. If the person declines, don’t ask again: there’s plenty of fish in the sea. When role-playing, you should modulate your replies to the replies of your friend. Some type semi-paragraphs as actions. If you don’t like that, you should say. The worst that can happen is your friend deciding that role-play wouldn’t work between you two. Again: plenty of fish in the sea. If the person is interested, they may write more, but not ask you to write more yourself. Analogically, if you are interested, you may want to write more, but don’t demand the other to write as much. If the other is also writting just a few words per line, you can complain at that or gradually end the role-play: some people leech on others, pretending to role-play, but actually just wanting you to practically write a story for them. A clear sign of that is, amidst the role-play, when things are getting good, the person sends an emoticon as reply and expects you to do your turn.
Most people are fine with three sentences per post, being one of them dialogue. If you don’t really know how to fill a post, describe what the character feels with all of their senses, whenever applicable: what they see, what they hear, what they smell, what they taste and what they touch.
/me sees his friend going to the door and starts following. “Hey, where are we going?”, he asked, hearing his friend moving things in a toy box.
Sight and hearing were enough in this one.
/me feels the air coming inside him, making his tummy grow bigger, taut. The skin is thinning as he inflates further. Due to the hose in his mouth, he can’t say much, other than undefined muffled noises, amidst hissing from reluctant air escaping.
Invokes visual, audible and tactile ideas.
/me goes to change his friend, undoing that diaper and cleaning him. “Erf, you stink!”, he says, giggling. Once the change is over, the diaper is rolled on itself and thrown in a pail, that looks overfull.
If I were to go further, I could describe the taste of the milk bottle that I’d feed him with. I think nothing eles needs to be said about role-playing. I have written another guide called “How to Roleplay With Babyfurs”, that is available on Fur Affinity and Sofurry.
Socialization is an inherent ability in humans, but it gets better with practice. However, you can’t practice with everyone. Checking for common interests is a good start, then knowing the person with non-invasive questions, while revealing yourself at the same pace. Those things require self-condifence above all, and self-esteem. So, if you are still struggling, you may want to seek professional help. It’s not supposed to be embarrassing to see a therapist for social issues, which seem to become more common as time passes by. A lot of people see those today.