I've always felt that my book IQ out ranked my social IQ. I'm not proud of that. Being able to relate to people, to know how to set them at ease, to get them talk, it's a gift.
Which is why I love this article on how to be polite.
Paul Ford writes: Here’s a polite person’s trick, one that has never failed me. I will share it with you because I like and respect you, and it is clear to me that you’ll know how to apply it wisely: When you are at a party and are thrust into conversation with someone, see how long you can hold off before talking about what they do for a living. And when that painful lull arrives, be the master of it. I have come to revel in that agonizing first pause, because I know that I can push a conversation through. Just ask the other person what they do, and right after they tell you, say: “Wow. That sounds hard.”
Cool, right? I'm totally going to try that at the next awkward cocktail party.