I think most people notice the link that seems to exist between certain people's interests and how well they do socially. Those who are into computer programming and text-based RPGs generally don't seem to do as well as the people who are into snow boarding and playing guitar. I think the connection between interests and social success issomewhat complex, and that's what this article will go into.
Your interests indirectly influence your social development
Your interests exert a strong, indirect effect on your social success by influencing how your people skills develop for the future. Some interests put you on better "life paths" than others. Having exclusively non-social interests in your earlier years can lay a ground work of youhaving lackluster interpersonal abilities when you hit adulthood.
* Some interests require you to be around other people and develop your social skills as a side-effect. Others are difficult to do unless you're alone, causing your social skills to not grow during that time. That alone isn't bad if you have other social outlets, but if you only take part in solitary activities, then the rest ofthe world's people skills can pull ahead of yours.
* Some interests put you in contact with other people who have good interpersonal skills, and who you can learn from. Other hobbies tend to place you with people who have several bad social habits and behaviors, which you could pick up yourself.
People are often drawn to interests that mesh well with their natural personalities. A solitaryperson is going to gravitate towards solitary interests. More social people will move towards more people-oriented pastimes. These choices can reinforce themselves. Over time the social person will improve their people skills and get even more enjoyment out of group activities. The solo hobbyist's social skills may fall behind, making interacting with people even less rewarding, and causingsolitary pursuits to look more even more attractive. If you're interested in improving your interpersonal skills, having interests that foster these abilities is one way to go about it.
No interests are intrinsically better than others
No interests are inherently good or inherently bad. There's nothing about math, for example, that makes it better or worse than cooking or baseball. I think someinterests carry more social cachet than others. But that's more related to the baggage surrounding them, not the interests themselves.
Certain interests carry more social value than others
It would be hard to argue that some interests aren't seen in a better light, on the whole, than others. If you spend hours pouring over dozens of statistics to pick your fantasy football team, you're seen as ared-blooded guy's guy. If you spend hours pouring over statistics to pick out the best equipment combination and attack pattern to beat a boss in an MMORPG, then society as whole tends to paint you as a dork with no life.
I could go into more detail, but basically some interests get associated with various negative stereotypes. Like all stereotypes, they probably have some small element of truth tothem, but are mostly based on exaggerations and ignorance. The stereotypes could be about the kinds of odd people who take part in an interest, or how the interest affects people's personality for the worse. In reality, most people who are into so-called dorky hobbies are pretty regular people. Take video games for example. For every basement-dwelling mole who fits the stereotype, there arehundreds of average people who like gaming.
And what if your interest is low value? Whatever, do it anyways. Don't give up something you enjoy because society has this vague aversion to it. However, I can understand when people decide it's socially practical to downplay a certain hobby they have if they think their audience won't get it. Everyone does that at least sometimes.
Your interests affect...