1. People prefer shallow meaningless conversations, rather than philisophical deep meaningful conversations. Brush up on trends, celebrity goings on, slang, and anything else that would fall in the shallow topic category, you're gonna need it.
2. If you hide from jerky, arrogant, opinionated, annoying, judgemental, you-name-it people for years at a time, for whatever reason, you will lose what social skills you have and it will take you being around jerky, arrogant, opinionated, annoying, judgemental, you-name-it people, failing miserably, embarrassing yourself, flopping like a fish out of water, to get those social skills back.
3. People notice your lack of social skills and will judge you and make comments directly to you and behind your back, some accurate, some inaccurate. Get used to it, people judge people, and ignorance cannot be avoided.
4. You cannot hide and be quiet in a social environment. This is considered unacceptible and weird and you will quickly become an outcast.
5. Making eye contact for too long makes the other person feel too uncomfortable. Also, too short of time makes you seem like a wimp. Time the eye contact perfectly to balance respect and level of comfort for the other person.
6. Be witty and willing to embarrass yourself. People respect that more than seriousness and showing too much intelligence.
7. Reflect how you're feeling through expression. People need the upper hand by being able to read you. If you're stone faced, that invites negative speculation, i.e. angry, mean, aloof, boring, nontrustworthy.
8. Most of all be open and honest. Once people know you're just anxious, that you have a certain level of anxiety in certain situations, they are more understanding and forgiving. You might even make a close friend out of it.
Feel free to add what you've learned, you might help someone else