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How NOT to be socially awkward?

Discussion in 'I Have a Question...' started by Xenos, Jan 5, 2012.

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  1. Xenos

    Xenos Well-Known Member

    I'm super super socially awkward. My mother tells me the reason why I have a hard time having friends is because I'm weird. How, I don't know. In fact, friends need "high social skills" to talk to me because I'm that bad. Apparently, I'm never happy, and I see friends as mentors, like I need advice to solve my problems (so says my mother). Then they give up being my friend because I'm so hard to deal with. Thing is, it doesn't feel that way to me. I don't bring up negative things... I try to talk to friends and get out of my bubble... but maybe she's right. I can see it in much of my friends' eyes, that they are uncomfortable when they talk to me and that some comment they say might offend me. I even have a hard time talking to my own brother, and I go to him more than I go to my parents. He doesn't say a lot to me because he doesn't know what to say.

    Basically, does anyone know links to articles I can read to be better at talking? Or suggestions, or whatever.. I can't get along with friends, I can't get along with my own family... I can't get along with anyone.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2012
  2. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    First, I think maybe you're being too hard on yourself when you say you "can't get along with anyone." Are you miserable, disagreeable, nasty, uncooperative? I kind of doubt it. So, maybe you're just not as "socialized" and "socially experienced" as you would like to be. :)

    Mentors can be friends, but not all friends are necessarily mentors, imo. A mentor usually has experience in some specific area and wants to help guide someone else to a goal in the mentor's area of experience. We turn to friends to share interests and good times, to hear us out when we hit the bumps, and to listen to them when they have good news or hit the bumps. In a friend relationship, both sides "share" themselves - their feelings, their ideas, their hopes. Friends offer each other a soft place to land if there's a bump, and a safe place to explore oneself. Insecurities and lack of social experience can sometimes lead us to do much less of the sharing and listening and a lot more of the "landing." Could that be what's happening?

    The only way I know of to become more comfortable socially is to get out there and practice. As a quiet (even somewhat shy) person, I know this is not easy...but, what you do is practice smiling and asking "How are you today?" with the clerks in stores. And then really listen. Start a short convo with them. Ask about their day (Has it been busy? I bet you're looking forward to your break! Do you memorize all the codes for the vegetables? Do many people still use cash or do most people use their cards? ... talk about the weather, notice their name tag and use their name...just be friendly and take an interest. It will be hard at first, but it's just "practice." Keep in mind that you're one of many, many people a store clerk sees in a day, so s/he won't be offended or anything. Get good at talking about little things with people you don't know. This is the groundwork for talking to people you want to get to know better. As you get comfortable doing this, stretch your comfort zone - go a small bit beyond it. Talk to people at the bus stop about how hot/cold/windy it is; gee the bus fare is going up in a month; the bus is crowded/empty today; etc., etc.

    With the friends you already have, focus at first on the shared time you are spending, the activity you are doing. If you are sharing thoughts, feelings, ideas, be sure to ask about theirs, too, not just for "reinforcement" that yours are okay. As you get more and more confident, you will need to ask for reassurance less often. :)

    Also, there are courses at many community colleges or through Parks and Recreation or other agencies for things like assertiveness, overcoming shyness, public speaking. Any of those can be useful exposure and reinforcement of the social skills you want to learn.

    OK. Enough lecture from me. Sorry if it came across that way. I suspect that you just need more practice and the above are just some ways that did help me. I wish you lots of fun and good luck as you proceed! :)
  3. Xenos

    Xenos Well-Known Member

    Thank you Acy for the post. I learned quite a bit and I will utilize it to get out of the messy situation I'm in!
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