How to Develop Social Mastery

Being magnetic is a skill. From who should pay for the bill to how to engage at a dinner party, I share...

Written by Amy Chan · 7 min read >
How to Develop Social Mastery - Heart Hackers Club - Social mastery - Batman

Call it networking, call it community building, call it social mastery – there’s a way of relating that either magnetizes people to you, or repels them. The good news is, social mastery is a learned skill. The problem, most people aren’t even aware of the social faux pas they are doing on a regular basis. Here are some tips. You’re welcome.

Online Etiquette

Make win-win connections

Before you make an intro for someone, check with the two people you intend to connect BEFORE you make the intro. Being a good connector is a skill, it requires thoughtfulness and tact to make win-win connections. If the value exchange is one sided, then you waste the time of the person you’re connecting and lose credibility as a connector. If you want one person to be of service to the other, that’s okay! Just let the person know so they can choose if they want to be of service, instead of volunteering them to help out one of your contacts.

Lead with value

If you are reaching out to someone for a meeting, coffee or connection and you do not have an existing relationship (being Facebook friends does not mean you have a relationship), provide context of WHY you want to connect. Note – this is unsolicited communication – they do not have a responsibility to reply.

If you want something from the person (time, advice, resources, a date, etc) chances are, they are being solicited often by many other strangers, so your request is swimming in a sea of other people, who also want something from them. For instance, I get on average 5 requests a day of someone wanting to ‘pick my brain’, to get advice, to partner for their new blog that has no traffic, etc. Consequently, I need to say no daily in order to protect not just my time, but my focus and headspace. You might think, it’ just a 30 minute coffee, or a reply to an email – but when you’re on the other side filtering a barrage of incoming requests it adds up.

Stand out from the “what can I get from you’ people. Lead with what you can offer. Build a connection or relationship first, and you may find you’ll have more positive responses.

Dinner Party Etiquette

Respect the host

If you are invited to an intimate dinner at someone’s home, arrive on time. Bring something – a bottle of wine, a dessert, a card – some token of appreciation. Do not bring uninvited guests. Offer to help clean. Be the fucking MVP of the dinner party by showing up with good manners, grace and you’ll likely get invited to future dinner parties.

Do not dominate the conversation

Keeping a flow of conversation requires high emotional savvy, and I learned this by watching my friend Devon Brooks at a dinner party once. She knew who the extroverts were – who would keep talking and leading the conversation. She would thoughtfully ask questions to the introverts to bring them in. If you are a dominant personality – be aware of how much airtime you take and bring people into the conversation, the objective is to keep a flow, not to hear your narrative.

Don’t ask about the guest list

I once gathered a group of awesome humans together for a dinner party and one of the guys, before accepting my invite asked who would be there. That signaled to me that he would come only for the contacts which felt gross, and so, I’ve never invited him again. All good, he didn’t like me enough as a host to come and that’s okay. If you don’t like the host enough to go or trust the person won’t invite a bunch of energy vampires, don’t go. But don’t ask them for the guest list.

Conversation Etiquette

Don’t interrupt

Have you ever shown up at an event, see a friend who’s in deep conversation with someone, and interject to say HI and start talking? WTF. Interrupting someones’s deep conversation to announce yourself is intrusive and stops the flow of the two people who were originally connecting. See someone you know? Stand to the side. Trust that the person has periphery vision and can see you, and when there is a natural break in the conversation, that’s when you become a part of it.

Track the balance of conversation flow

If you’re someone who takes up most of the airtime in a conversation, you probably don’t notice you do this, but I guarantee you, the people conversing with you do. Maybe you do this to get people to like you, to overcompensate, or because you think you are building connection. But on a scientific level, you’re doing the opposite. When people reveal information about themselves, they release feel-good chemicals, this enables them to bond and have positive feelings towards you.

When people reveal information about themselves, they release feel-good chemicals, this enables them to bond and have positive feelings towards you.

If you’re the one blabbing away, you’re not giving a chance for the person to start feeling good about you, and they’ll likely avoid talking to you in the future. The thing is, people can subconsciously sense when you’re faking interest too – there’s dozens of tells from your facial expression to your energy that shows that you’re asking a question not because you’re generally curious, but because you read in this blog that you’re faking it. I can’t teach you how to be curious about people, but maybe start by going into the conversation with “what’s one thing I can learn”.

Don’t casually drop that you know Elon, Mark, or Richard. 

Namedropping might seem like a sly way to boost your street cred but it’s OBVIOUS to everyone else. Look at the unnecessary details you drop in a conversation as a way to overcompensate. Whether you’re dropping names or complaining about all the people who are sooooo in love with you, or emphasizing that you fly first class or private, just stop. It doesn’t prove you are any more worthy, it reveals lack of self-esteem.

Emotional Etiquette

Manage your emotional chaos

We all have ‘stuff’ – bad childhood, shitty exes, and rude Uber drivers. If you live in North America and over the age of 30, you are officially responsible for ALL YOUR EMOTIONS and how your emotional health impacts others. Yep that means if you have outbursts of anger because you were neglected as a kid and had to throw tantrums to get your way – you are now responsible for getting the help needed to stop hot-potato-ing your anger on to others. It means if you get resentful because a friend forgot to text you back you are responsible for getting to the source of the wound that caused you to equate lack of response with abandonment. Should people love you as you are? Sure. But should they spend time with you and invite you out when you’re an emotional time bomb? Uhhh prob not.

Make a request not a demand

When you expect things from people such as: invites, time, resources, contacts, information, gifts, etc – you are coming from a place of entitlement. Entitlement is a turn off and not fun to be around! Instead, try to see these things as a bonus – and feel grateful for when you get them. If you want something and you’re not getting it, make a request, not a demand. When you demand, someone may oblige out of reluctance, obligation, guilt or sheer terror, but it’s forced, not inspired.

A request, on the other hand, means that the person has the freedom to say yes or no without judgement, blame or a passive aggressive tantrum.  The former makes someone feel TAKEN and the latter gives someone the freedom and inspiration to choose.

Romantic Etiquette


When you don’t like someone, or dread an uncomfortable conversation, then it may feel easier to withdraw and not respond. This may seem harmless, but ignoring is actually a form of abuse and can trigger deep psychological wounds. It’s not kind. So when is a response warranted? There’s no set rule, but I think if you have had an emotional, intimate or physical connection with someone, it warrants some sort of response. Whether that be a text, a call or an in person meet depends on the situation. Let’s be more conscious daters and leave hearts better than how we found them.

Text after sex! 

Obvious one night stands or a Mexico vacation hook up not included, but when you get intimate with someone, there’s vulnerability and emotions that come up. We are not robots fucking. Send a message the day after – you can’t go wrong with proactive communication.

Phone Etiquette

No phone at the dinner table

Research shows that just having your phone on the table, affects the depth of conversation. People can sense when you’re not present, it doesn’t feel good, and they probably won’t want to keep hanging out with you. If you need to use your phone, politely excuse yourself.

Step aside when you check your phone

I was once walking and checking my own IG story simultaneously, and fell in a pothole and twisted my ankle. I deserved it! Try to create the habit to move to the side and stop when you check your phone. There’s no such thing as multi-tasking, it’s diverting your attention.

Money Etiquette

Who pays?

General rule of thumb, if you’re the one asking for the meeting, the coffee of the meal – you pay. If you are getting something from the person – advice, help, etc – you pay. In America, while where there’s more emphasis on the self versus the group, it’s common for people to split the bill. But guess what the most magnetic people have in common: they’re generous. You can argue it’s because they have the means to, but generosity is not limited to finances. You can be generous in many other ways. It’s about having a spirit of giving.

Best-selling author and super connector Adam Robinson shares: Delight VIOLATES LAWS of economics + thermodynamics–

Observe: A & B have drinks twice, $30 total tab each time.

Splitting tabs = 0 delight.

But if 1st A treats B, he gets the delight of GIVING; B of RECEIVING–

then reverse = GREAT delight, $0 extra cost!

Exactly the same expenditure in both situations, but the net “utility” is far greater in the second.

Practice being generous. Treat someone. Maybe they’ll get you back next time maybe they won’t. Generosity is a muscle you build, You are training your mind to be in abundance versus scarcity. Cultivate a spirit of generosity and I promise you’ll see a positive return.

Return what you borrow

When you borrow something, don’t wait for the person to ASK you for it back. Whether it be money, a book or dress – give it back. Don’t make the person who has provided a favor to chase you down or go out of their way to get back what was theirs.

Spiritual Etiquette

Use lingo that lands

Have you ever spoken to an engineer or a scientist, and the minute they use 4 syllable jargon you tune out? Spiritual brothers, sisters, goddesses and shamans – the same thing applies to you. It doesn’t matter how enlightened your intentions are, if you are speaking and people are losing you at universal oneness, medicine journey and spirit guides, you won’t turn them on to spirituality, you will turn them off. Speaking in a way that the person will understand requires consideration and empathy of where that person is. It’s not just about where you are and want them to be. For more clarity check out @amydoodlesok 

Newsflash – your ego is still there!

I get it, you experienced ego death at your umpteenth Aya ceremony. That’s cool. But chances are, if you’re living in a major city, posting your life on IG, and wearing $500 fedoras, your EGO is alive and well. And when you look down on others who are not as spiritual as you are, or judge others who haven’t done as much “work”, or who don’t know what the fuck their human design is, guess what? That’s EGO!

Ok, good luck making friends!

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