View Full Version : How to overcome social issues

02-24-17, 11:46 PM
So I have the following social issues(I have more issues than this but just thought I'd deal with the below). They don't sound major but they actually affect my relationships or lack of quite a lot. Do you guys have these issues? What's the solution? Only thing that seems to help is getting buzzed which of course isn't a solution.

1. Lack of displayed enthusiasm. Like people will tell me I don't seem like I had any fun all the time even when I did enjoy myself. It's particularly bad when people are screaming and cheering and I just can't fake enthusiasm (it was fun but not THAT fun). Makes me a real party pooper.

2. Getting myself to participate in small talk. I'm not even talking about not knowing what to say. I mean I can't get myself to go to things that involve small talk. Like I'm supposed to hang out and chit chat with the rest of the vacation tour group in the evening cause we are all on the same boat. But I couldn't bring myself to and instead hid away in my cabin playing a video game. My traveling companions were ****** off I was so antisocial cause some of their coworkers came on the trip and it was embarrassing to them.

02-25-17, 12:21 AM
1. Be yourself, loud is not better.

2. Listen when someone is talking as though you were evaluated on writing a summary, then summarize what they said (paraphrase) to show you understood. Example:

So yesterday, you drank 3 beers, went to take a leak and fell, butt in the mud? Are there any details you might have omitted? Like a prince charming coming to your rescue?

This takes practice. If you never try to give a reply guess what, you won't learn how to do it. People talk about the most random crap ever, because their lives are so empty, nothing ever happens! Learn to bring humor into their boring life, is my advice.

02-25-17, 12:43 AM
2. Listen when someone is talking as though you were evaluated on writing a summary, then summarize what they said (paraphrase) to show.

Thanks for your ideas. I'm leaning towards doing as you suggested for 1. right now as im not sure how i can fake enthusiasm. Would have to compensate in some other way for this negative of mine.

For 2. I think I didn't explain clearly. I can be charming sometimes when I participate in small talk. But I can't get myself to attend social settings that involve small talk. It's actually affecting my work even. I skip many unmandatory work events. They are supposed to be optional but they really aren't cause you are frowned upon if you don't attend. Also, it's beside the point I guess but listening is not my Forte and the idea of having to do that to the extreme, well it makes me even more adverse to social settings.

02-25-17, 09:27 AM
Ya that's the trick, when someone talks you have to listen as though your life depended on itr. You also gotta understand what everybody is doing. It's ok to know your job but you also gotta know your bosses job and everyone else and see how they are wired together. Then you kinda guess what your boss would want, what your colleagues would want. Then you start knowing what to say that would appeal and motivate everyone.

And don't worry too much about enthusiasm, don't worry about them.

02-25-17, 08:12 PM
Lack of enthusiasm:

Are there things you're very enthusiastic about, except it isn't those things? Or are you never enthusiastic about anything?

02-25-17, 09:16 PM
I often wonder, when people say that small talk doesn't work for them, whether big talk might be better. In other words, what about participating in a way that suits you more, instead of staying away?

Anyone inviting me to something will soon learn that the puns and unpredictable changes of topic are part of a package deal, not optional features. :)

In other words, be absolutely confident that they've invited YOU, not just someone who looks like you and acts like them.

02-26-17, 05:40 AM
First one use to bother me a lot. If I'm engaged, meds help me be more lively.

Second one, depends on the small talk. Don't like getting into those bagging situation, opens to many cans of worms. If someone wants to engage I hang on as long as possible.

02-26-17, 12:44 PM
I think you've hit on the answer for me dvdnvwls. I think I need to change my attitude toward "small talk" and what it entails.

I've always thought of small talk as a give and take, a sharing. No more. The next time I feel like making an excuse not to go to a party or not do some social event where I'll meet more people, I'm going to tell myself over and over that I don't have to listen to them talk about things I'm not interested in (only what I like). So hopefully I can get myself to go. The conversation is going to be all about me, me, me. Its going to be what I can get out of the conversation, not about keeping them interested as well. Maybe selfish thinking but just what I got to do.

I do like talking when we only talk about stuff I like to talk about so I'm going to completely control the conversation so we stay on topics I like. I'm going to control the conversation in a way that they don't realize I'm controlling it, like I will talk about what I like that they like too. I've tried this in the past but with some people there's only so much we have in common and we invariably talk about topics I don't enjoy. I think I'm going to come to social events with some predefined topics I would think almost everyone enjoys, like food. It's easy to switch to that subject too as there is usually food at a party.

Hopefully that works. If only I could do that at boring staff meetings whose agenda is completely out of my control.

I think I'm going to just leave my lack of appearing enthusiastic be. It doesn't hurt me nearly as much the lack of attending social events/activities. It's not that I'm not enthusiastic about anything. It's that my response to stimulus is very different from others. When a wakeboarder on a boat I'm on does a 360 flip, you can see everyone else's excitement cause they all have big smiles and are all cheering the person on. Even though I too am impressed , my response is to stare at them hypnotized without a smile. While everyone else voices become excited, my voice stays the same calm, monotone. I don't look supportive or interested and people have specifically called me out saying I don't look like I'm having much fun multiple times.

02-26-17, 01:32 PM
That method of controlling the conversation is apparently very very common among autistic people. So even if autism isn't part of your situation, you can be sure that at least some of your conversational companions have seen that style before.

I don't control conversations in exactly the same way, but I know someone who does. ;) I guess I'm biased, but for me it's just another style. And when I have something important to say, I have no problem with just taking control - and then returning it. :)

Oh - about the lack of enthusiastic emoting, looking like nothing happened even though you're genuinely impressed or whatever - I'm the exact opposite sometimes, where I show everything on my face just a little too much for others' comfort. People think I'm strange.

Well, I AM strange. No surprise there. :D

02-26-17, 06:35 PM
That method of controlling the conversation is apparently very very common among autistic people. So even if autism isn't part of your situation, you can be sure that at least some of your conversational companions have seen that style before.

That's interesting. Didn't know that. I imagine I might have extremely mild autistic/aspberger tendencies though I don't have it. There's a lot of mental illness on my dads side of the family and I think one of them is aspergers (though no one is officially diagnosed except me, it seems pretty blatantly obvious).

Oh and about your level of displayed enthusiasm, I think I would like seeing that in someone. I imagine there's others who do too.

02-26-17, 08:04 PM
1. I tend to get excited easily but I can't control displaying it. Sometimes I look excited at the right moment when someone (who cares if I am enthusiastic or not) ie etching and sometimes they miss it. Often I've been too distracted to excitingly else 56respond to am eviring

I've been told at times that I look less than enthusiastic and it always annoys the hell out of me. Ironically if someone doesn't open display the level of excitement that I expect I get frustrated too.

Sorry can't keep my eyes open. ..lļ

Johnny Slick
02-26-17, 09:10 PM
To #1, you can demonstrate the fun you had in ways other than outright showing enthusiasm. One way is to go out of your way to express that joy people who gave it to you by complimenting them on something they did. For example, when I'm in choir and someone sings a nice solo, I like to go up to them and tell them. IME as long as the compliment is sincere, not backhanded ("hey, you're a lot less fat than the last time I saw you!"), and not, like, about sexy body parts they own, people will take things well. And all you have to do is tell them positive true facts about themselves, it's kind of a great deal.

I feel like #2 is going to be harder because I think that may be more your spectrum disorder talking than the ADHD (I mean, when I'm unmediated I also get easily bored by stuff that doesn't interest me, but I feel like less "oh god I want to get out of here" and more "oh god let's change the subject to something good". To that... try and find a reason to get interested in the topic using your own creativity, maybe? You don't have to make this connection out loud - in fact, in some situations it'd be a bit obnoxious if you did - but, like, if someone's talking about their job at a preschool and that's boring to you but you enjoy... politics, maybe think about how this person might be shaping young minds that one day could vote Republican if she doesn't get to them first, for example.

The other thing to remember is that for all of us, on the spectrum or not, that listening is a skill, not a talent. When the other party is talking, try listening to how they sound rather than what they're saying, for example. You might find it interesting that they sound happy instead of sad that their last child is about to graduate high school. Or pay attention to details that are given... and left out. Why is it so important that this person's blazer was red the last day they saw them that this was what they chose to tell you, but they left out the actual conversation that took place?

Human conversation itself, even human conversation about relatively mundane things, can be absolutely fascinating in its own right. And on the flip side, while these personal observations you make to yourself may not be appropriate to share, nobody else can see into your brain so to them you'll just look like an avid listener. Which you are, sort of.

02-26-17, 11:23 PM
I like your idea for #1 a lot Johnny Slick.

Incidentally, I don't think I'm on the spectrum. Just maybe some traits and if so, mild at best. I don't have any difficulties reading people's emotions/faces and I have tons of interests.

I think a strong desire to avoid social situations happens to ADHDers sometimes. Maybe cause of bad experiences. It's definitely gotten worse with age for me though I've always had somewhat a dread for social situations. It's not like I'm afraid of them either. It's more like dreading doing the dishes or something (though much stronger dread).

02-27-17, 12:55 AM
I guess it also depends how your parents raised you. I used to be like that and I changed, so rest assured change is possible. But there's something even funnier: My parents got a puppy dog and she's not 5 y.o. One time we left the dog at PetSmart and when we returned to get the dog, it was playtime, and in the store, there is a plain glass through which we can see the dogs play. There were 15 dogs in the room, all playing with each-other. Our dog was standing in a corner, shy, weak, you name it, at a safe distance from the dogs playing. The dog can't be autistic cmon, it is pure breed Maltese we bought from a guy living in a forest. Your parents, like mine, probably did a couple of things wrong along the way.

03-26-17, 07:24 AM
I can relate. Small talk bores the living sh*ts out of me. I also often have a hard time showing i'm having fun. However, that has more to do with either being shy or really bored.

04-02-17, 12:56 AM
1) Re. lack of enthusiastic expression: I don't think there is anything wrong with you, people are different, that's all. If anything, most people should probably get a better understanding of human differences than assume everyone should conform to one way of reacting to things. And then there are the cultural contexts. I am not from the U.S., and one of the things that struck me as very different from where I am from is that Americans are extremely enthusiastic and animated about things that would get a much more reserved, even understated reaction where I come from. So in that social context, you'd probably fit in well there. There are certainly those at home whose reactions to things would fit in better in America (they get grief for being overly dramatic and possibly fake). But the bottom line is that unless we have completely inappropriate responses to certain things (laughing at a funeral, maybe?), you shouldn't have to modify yourself just to make people happy and stop criticizing. How about they open their minds a little instead?

2) I don't know what to do about this one. I hate small talk, I hate mingling, and it's not that I don't like to meet new people (I do), it's just that I can't handle the distractions of so many people at once, having to move around the room. Which is why, if you see me at a party, I will likely be talking to the same person for a very long time, seeking out quality (=interesting conversation that dips beneath the surface) over quantity. But of course, that doesn't work in a professional context if the point is to network or socialize with employers and other employees.