Tired of people, yet? After spending anywhere from one to ten decades on this planet, you begin to realize that socializing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Small talk? Meh. Face-name recognition? No, thanks. Unfortunately, interacting with people is kind of important, especially if you sign yourself up for a reality competition where your fellow contestants can vote you out because they don’t like the way you avoid eye contact or peel a banana.
That’s where this handy guide comes in. Welcome to a crash course in personal relations, Survivor style. Long live the most conniving, athletic, popular person (because yeah, island competition is basically just like high school — isn’t everything?)
Step 1: Do Not Steal (Unless You are Very Good at It)
Ugh. There’s not a lot worse on Survivor than being around a clumsy thief. Especially if he or she is a food thief. Do yourself a favor and keep your klepto tendencies at bay. Nothing says social pariah like a player who could be convicted of a felony in the real world.
Step 2: Only Dress Provocatively If You are in Ridiculously Good Shape
You know what’s worse than a food thief? A person who subjects his or her fellow contestants’ eyes to views the FCC would disapprove of. Of course, it’s worth mentioning that a certain type of “popularity” is bestowed on fit players who prance around the beach in skimpy swimwear, but that’s sort of a low way to go. You’re better than that.
Step 3: Find Something in Common with Everyone — Even If This Requires Lying
Martha Marthason from Atlanta has two poodles and a canary? Maybe you should have two canaries and a poodle! How wild would that be? Your subsequent alliance must surely be written in the stars, a pet coincidence impossible to ignore. Okay, so don’t go overboard, but yeah, embrace manipulated coincidences. They’re great.
Step 4: Seriously, Lie ALL the Time
I’m really not kidding. Lies are your best friend on an island reality competition. Don’t be the one dork who promises himself he’ll get through the game without telling a fib. Make alliances, lie to people’s faces, swear on your aforementioned poodle’s life that you’ll never vote so-and-so out. It’ll be fun.
Step 5: Be Funny Without Being Overly Witty
Everyone likes the funny guy, but show your witty hand too early, and you’ll have the whole island after your torch. See, it’s easy to trust players who are nice and easy-going. I’m not saying you should be nice and easy-going (you’re not like that, are you?), but hide your devilish side, assuming you have one — even if it’s just a matter of keeping a few clever comebacks to yourself.
Step 6: Smile and Nod Whenever Anyone Talks
Blah, I know, this one can be rough, but trust me, it works. Don’t be creepy, though. Maybe practice in a mirror first.
Step 7: Exude Trustworthiness by Creating a Heart-Warming Backstory
If the world blessed you with a stress-free past, have no fear! Your good friend lying is here. Nothing endears you to the hearts of your mushy fellow players like a believable, self-deprecating, touching story, featuring you in the starring role. Emphasis on believable, please.
Step 8: Remember That Sometimes the Super Aggressive and Hostile Bird Catches the Million Dollar Worm
Be everyone’s friend, sure, but don’t be afraid to make earth-shattering moves. Boston Rob finally achieved victory by isolating his alliance from the rest of the tribe. Like they had to travel in pairs just to avoid getting “cornered” by the enemy. Weird, anti-social, and ridiculous? Yes, yes, and yes! It also worked.
Step 9: Unleash Your Dazzling Intellect and Sharp Tongue During Camera Confessionals
You know there’s a fan-voted prize on the line, right? Your inner monologue needs a release and the good producers of Survivor are more than happy to provide a private (if only for a time) opportunity to vent. Take it. It’ll make for awesome TV.
Step 10: Achieve the Almost-Perfect Holy Trinity of Athleticism, Attractiveness, and Amiability.
Hey there, beautiful and likable Olympians, tone it down a bit. Your fellow Survivor contestants can see your gleaming halo of perfection a mile away — which translates to an early boot, likely right around merge time. In other words, don’t be a show-off.
Will any of these tips aid socializing off island as well as on? Probably. (Though I’d suggest weighing the moral cons of lying a bit more in real life than I would in game.) Just remember that people can be difficult, but we’re all in this big old social game together.
And no has the power to vote you out, which is nice.
Tune in to Survivor: Blood vs. Water on Wednesdays at 8pm on CBS.
(Images courtesy of CBS)