When I’ve presented at conferences on social learning I typically will have a parent who tells me a story like this: “My son practiced inviting a peer over with his therapist (or in his social skills group) yet none of the boys he’s asked have said yes”.
The reason for this is because these boys were never taught the need to show an interest in others and make small talk in order to cultivate a friendship. Rather, they were taught to just ask someone over and rehearsed the “script” required to do that.
I use this graphic in my groups to teach how we can find a starting point to initiate conversation with a peer.
The examples I use: It would be a “smart guess” that another boy your age games online.
A “context clue” would be if someone in your math class is wearing a Ric and Morty Shirt he likes the show.
Your “people file” is information you have stored in your brain about someone’s interests, sense of humor, etc.
Social attention-showing others that you’re interested in them needs to come before “social skills”.