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Author Topic: Socializing as a major sticking point  (Read 3293 times)  Share 

smashthestate

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Socializing as a major sticking point
« on: February 07, 2013, 05:41:56 AM »
Since meditating and taking some more action in my life, I've become alot less anxious in social situations. But interactions with people are still kind of a chore for me. For example, most of my socializing comes from going to uni during class or exams, and the conversations I have with most people are pretty generic - mainly class and exam related stuff. I'm also not very good at joking around, other than on my own expense (which leads me to being a clown in circles I do get 'accepted' in) - I think it's because my attention is mainly focused on me and not so much outwards, I'm pretty egocentric. I barely remember times when I tease other people, and I think it might be fun, especially to tease girls.

Back to the point of socializing at uni - what happens is I actually talked to alot more people from my group (which consists of like 60 people or so) and even went to some parties during this period of 'awakening'. However, I haven't established much more in terms of better relationships with these people - others usually get some theme going between themselves, like joking about something or teasing each other, but I remain distant even towards people I manage to hold a 30+ min conversation with or people I've been out with once. Later on when I see them on the way to class or anywhere in passing, I just say hello to them and don't advance the relationship more (towards more than just being acquintances or just more than being a colleague). This is especially true in my relationships towards females, it would be nice to have a female friend, but I can't advance the relationship, and the one time I had a longer 1 on1 conversation with some girl, I wasn't very interested at all.

The worst part is, just being "present" won't lead me to being much more interested in these people. Initially I thought it would, but again I'm starting to feel like it's a chore - one that I must accomplish in order to develop my social skills so I can finally be confident and funny around my oneitis. This is the main thought loop I have when socializing, actually - one that leads to depression and frustration when I fail to perform well in a social situation (eg. I don't talk, laugh or joke much at all, act socially awkward due to not being experienced enough or I am being timid).

I barely care when even my longtime friends do stuff like take a driving exam - today I forgot to ask my friend if he passed it despite talking about it with him quite a bit the day before.

So, I'm not sure if there's anything specific I should try to be inclined to socialize and take more notice of others traits etc.? Does meditating really help with that or does it just help you focus on listening to people?

Also, is it possible weed can be quite bad for someone in terms of being present and clear minded ? It seems that for the most part, getting high increases the activity of my mind by quite a bit, and I enter these insane thought loops - while on weed, it is harder for me to relax in social situations, I tend to overthink things even more (and I do think too much already when I shouldn't). I actually stopped smoking for at least a month and I started it a few days in a row again, and it's pulling me down even when sober... it's weird because maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I didn't think of the effects it has on me in general.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2013, 05:46:25 AM by smashthestate »

Illuminatus

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Re: Socializing as a major sticking point
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2013, 06:53:02 AM »
Stop taking weed before socializing. It clearly isn't working for you.

The rest is just building basic social skills. You have obviously missed out on practising this area earlier in life, and now you are playing catch-up. But you have to do it, because it's an essential life skill. And no, meditation won't help you learn how to have better conversations (though it will help with presence and listening, as you said). Here are the things that will help. This is a list I've just made up on the fly, so it's not exactly exhaustive.

- Make statements instead of asking questions
I am guessing your conversations are rather "interview style" at the moment -- question, answer, question, answer. That's very boring for both parties.
Instead, just make a statement, e.g. "I went to X the other day. It was pretty cool. There was Y and Z and blah blah blah..." You are allowed to launch into stories or make observations about people and things at will. You do not need to wait for permission.
If you do ask a question, make it go somewhere if you can other than just another question.

This point is all about volunteering information -- giving the other person something to work with, rather than waiting to be asked for it.

- Use call-backs to re-establish conversation
So if you see someone you spoke to last week about something that interested you, use that to re-establish the conversation next time you see them: "Hey, how did that [thing or event] go last week?"

- Start caring about people, or at least pretending that you do
You should have asked your friend about his driving test. The fact that you didn't goes to show you don't really pay much thought to other people and their lives, currently. So begin practising thinking about 1 or 2 things about each person shortly before you know you are going to see them. It's really not much effort, and does make a big difference.


I think I would probably recommend something really basic for you to read like How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. You could make a thread while reading it and ask any questions in there.

Mark Manson's Models also has a great section on how to have interesting conversations, and is also the best book I've read for introverts on becoming better with women.


One final thing.

the conversations I have with most people are pretty generic ...I think it's because my attention is mainly focused on me and not so much outwards, I'm pretty egocentric.

This is one of my pet peeves, and it happens ALL THE TIME on personal development forums. Someone will describe a behavioural trait they have (or don't have -- in this case, the practised skill of conducting an interesting conversation), then immediately "diagnose" themselves with some psychobabble they read or heard somewhere. I believe this comes from our over-medicalized society. It seems everything falls under some "condition" these days.

Consider the ludicrousness of the following phrase, and you will see where I'm coming from:

"I can't play the piano. I think it's because I have Never-Practised-Playing-the-Piano Syndrome."

:)

95imprezaSTI

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Re: Socializing as a major sticking point
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2013, 11:08:41 AM »
...but again I'm starting to feel like it's a chore - one that I must accomplish in order to develop my social skills so I can finally be confident and funny around my oneitis. This is the main thought loop I have when socializing, actually - one that leads to depression and frustration when I fail to perform well in a social situation (eg. I don't talk, laugh or joke much at all, act socially awkward due to not being experienced enough or I am being timid)...

Hey, I think your issue starts with the assumption that you need socializing for something other than socializing itself. (Un)fortunately, it's just one of those things that you will never be successful at unless you're enjoying it. Perhaps you should think about how cool, and rare, it is to have friends. Maybe even think back to a time where you didn't have friends in a certain place, and how that felt to be alone. Now, you look at all your current friends with gratitude, because they are effectively taking you away from loneliness and accepting you into their lives. (And you're doing the same to them). Even though you're talking boring small talk, you are still doing each other good in the sense of social needs, and that is to be appreciated by both.
I've found that listing all the traits I appreciate about specific people, makes me feel closer to them, which in turn allows me to further my friendships without much conscious effort - it comes natural to open up a bit. Perhaps you should think about all the cool stuff about your friends too.

I guess my points are, friends are valuable in and of themselves, it isn't the stuff they talk about. And that goes for you too, you don't need to be "special" and you don't need to "impress" anyone - you're doing each other a mutual favor just by filling each others social needs. If you learn to appreciate friendships, you will also appreciate socializing, and you'll improve much better because you're enjoying yourself rather than forcing yourself. Still, some people you will enjoy less than others, which is fine too. You don't have to force yourself to like them.

Ultimately, everybody has something you can learn from them. The more people you know, the more experience you get. From generally just recognizing personality types, behaviors, to explicit subjects that you would otherwise be unfamiliar with. For example, I have a friend who has lived in Germany, and I heard a lot of random stuff about it (seems boring, but..). Months later, I met a girl who always wanted to go to Germany, and I could tell her all this stuff about it, and she was soaking it up like a child hearing a fairy tale. Isn't that cool? It's a win-win.

tyummk

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Re: Socializing as a major sticking point
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2013, 04:42:50 PM »
...but again I'm starting to feel like it's a chore - one that I must accomplish in order to develop my social skills so I can finally be confident and funny around my oneitis. This is the main thought loop I have when socializing, actually - one that leads to depression and frustration when I fail to perform well in a social situation (eg. I don't talk, laugh or joke much at all, act socially awkward due to not being experienced enough or I am being timid)...

Hey, I think your issue starts with the assumption that you need socializing for something other than socializing itself. (Un)fortunately, it's just one of those things that you will never be successful at unless you're enjoying it. Perhaps you should think about how cool, and rare, it is to have friends. Maybe even think back to a time where you didn't have friends in a certain place, and how that felt to be alone. Now, you look at all your current friends with gratitude, because they are effectively taking you away from loneliness and accepting you into their lives. (And you're doing the same to them). Even though you're talking boring small talk, you are still doing each other good in the sense of social needs, and that is to be appreciated by both.
I've found that listing all the traits I appreciate about specific people, makes me feel closer to them, which in turn allows me to further my friendships without much conscious effort - it comes natural to open up a bit. Perhaps you should think about all the cool stuff about your friends too.

I guess my points are, friends are valuable in and of themselves, it isn't the stuff they talk about. And that goes for you too, you don't need to be "special" and you don't need to "impress" anyone - you're doing each other a mutual favor just by filling each others social needs. If you learn to appreciate friendships, you will also appreciate socializing, and you'll improve much better because you're enjoying yourself rather than forcing yourself. Still, some people you will enjoy less than others, which is fine too. You don't have to force yourself to like them.

Ultimately, everybody has something you can learn from them. The more people you know, the more experience you get. From generally just recognizing personality types, behaviors, to explicit subjects that you would otherwise be unfamiliar with. For example, I have a friend who has lived in Germany, and I heard a lot of random stuff about it (seems boring, but..). Months later, I met a girl who always wanted to go to Germany, and I could tell her all this stuff about it, and she was soaking it up like a child hearing a fairy tale. Isn't that cool? It's a win-win.

Definitely agree with this and I am working on it myself. I am very similar to smashthestate. I am egocentric, overly serious, take jokes too personally, can talk with people all day if I wanted to/blabbermouth, a big time overthinker whose mind cannot wind down and I have the same social frustrations too.

The thing is though is that meditation and spirituality is irrelevant in the social situations we are in. I know I want validation when I am socializing and it gets things tangled up with having a good relationship with people. When I say I want validation I mean I start talking only about my personal problems and seeking people to acknowledge them then help me sort that out. But the thing is even if they suggest things I thoughtlessly refuse to listen and continue on and on. It's a terrible feedback cycle that implodes inward and affects my relationships. I can't get closer to people because my desire for validation makes me not want to take emotional risks to stay close. I have seen this validation cycle help me make close friends but in the end causes me to distance myself and then cut off relationships from everyone. Definitely do not use meditation or spiritual stuff as a scapegoat or an excuse to criticize or critique your social situation. In the end it's how strong your bonds are to your friends.

You are still in college and I really do suggest you see the colors and beauty of your relationships. Just work hard socially, don't give up on your friends and consistently hang out with them. It doesn't f***in matter if you get bored together or talk about generic stuff. Don't give up on yourself or them. They want you around and that's why you are still hanging out with them. You are doing the best you can even if your mind says you aren't. One day the flowers will bloom in your life and you will see your friends for what they are and not what they are through your camera lenses. Don't be like me and have your whole life devoid of best friends because you have to struggle between seeking validation and taking emotional risks like it emotionally will kill you. I am dead serious about this.

Illuminatus

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Re: Socializing as a major sticking point
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2013, 07:34:26 PM »
I know I want validation when I am socializing and it gets things tangled up with having a good relationship with people. When I say I want validation I mean I start talking only about my personal problems and seeking people to acknowledge them then help me sort that out. But the thing is even if they suggest things I thoughtlessly refuse to listen and continue on and on.

I think "validation" is a horribly crummy, negative term to use for this (and generally).

If you rename this "emotional exchange" with the acknowledgment that it serves your human needs, and with the "exchange" part indicating your ability and role in doing the same for others, you can view socializing and talking about your life through a lens of mutual benefit and the building of bonds.

Our language directly affects our perceptions of what it is we're doing within our human experience. Choose your words wisely, and do not be afraid to through out a word or phrase completely if suggests some sort of condition or debilitation on your part. The connotations attached to the word "validation" will feed back into and colour your perceptions negatively of what it is you are doing, and create a feedback loop whereby you attach shame to those behaviours, which make you demonize and withdraw from those behaviours, when they are actually a core part of your human emotional spectrum.

smashthestate

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Re: Socializing as a major sticking point
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2013, 02:37:16 AM »
Don't have much time to post everything I wanted to, I'll do it tomorrow.
In the meantime I have some more questions that I was planning to ask before.

Why is it that Models is a good book for introverts ?

Right hemisphere activation should help socializing, no ? And since meditation is supposed to help with this, it should make us able to enjoy socializing more... but I'm kind of confused as to what it means to be present in social situations. You're always thinking about what to say and analyzing what others are saying, it just happens faster when you're in 'state'.

Is speaking your truth really the best way to express oneself ? For example, 2 months ago my life was mainly about playing a video game and studying. The 2 still take up alot of my time. If I was to speak my truth, it would come off as pretty awkward. Maybe I don't understand this concept well enough. Obviously you won't always have to present your life situation...

I'm quite anxious about the socializing and other personal development aspects because I feel like I'm on a timer - I have to improve myself as fast as possible so I can impress my oneitis. Trying to improve myself the fastest way isn't necessarily the best way, though... thinking for oneself, while slower, is a better way and it might lead to more confidence in the beliefs and knowledge you establish throughout experience. THis is true, is it not ?

aelephant

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Re: Socializing as a major sticking point
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2013, 10:45:31 AM »
If you weren't embarrassed about playing a video game, it wouldn't come off as awkward.

Some of those pro gamers are pretty badass.

Find some pride in what you do. There's gotta be a reason you're doing it in the 1st place, right?

95imprezaSTI

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Re: Socializing as a major sticking point
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2013, 11:33:47 AM »
Right hemisphere activation should help socializing, no ? And since meditation is supposed to help with this, it should make us able to enjoy socializing more... but I'm kind of confused as to what it means to be present in social situations. You're always thinking about what to say and analyzing what others are saying, it just happens faster when you're in 'state'.

You're not gonna learn it through some fancy workaround means. Activating your right brain more may help with understanding things, but it too needs to learn to socialize through hard experience (which you said you don't have). The way I see it, presence is about being in the physical world more than in your mental world. You still need to consciously participate obviously, it's just a matter of "where you are". If you're present, your thoughts are coming from "behind" you (back of your head), and you are standing right there in front of your friend. Focus is on the friend and generally the physical world, your thoughts are the support from behind, rather than the main narrative. Opposite would be - if "you" were inside your head, and the physical world is something external which you only interact with through a wall of thoughts.

Quote
Is speaking your truth really the best way to express oneself ? For example, 2 months ago my life was mainly about playing a video game and studying. The 2 still take up alot of my time. If I was to speak my truth, it would come off as pretty awkward. Maybe I don't understand this concept well enough. Obviously you won't always have to present your life situation...
Speaking your truth does not mean speaking everything about yourself, haha. It means acting according to how you really feel and what you really want.

Quote
I'm quite anxious about the socializing and other personal development aspects because I feel like I'm on a timer - I have to improve myself as fast as possible so I can impress my oneitis. Trying to improve myself the fastest way isn't necessarily the best way, though... thinking for oneself, while slower, is a better way and it might lead to more confidence in the beliefs and knowledge you establish throughout experience. THis is true, is it not ?

Developing social skills to impress her.. I hope we don't have to explain to you the extent to which this idea is wrong. Even if you did by some miracle do it in time, you don't get women by "impressing" them. And to spare you a lot of trouble and disappointment, that girl you think is different, is only "different" because of how you feel about her. You fell for her, suddenly you're attracted to her a lot, and not so much to other girls by comparison, and your brain comes up with 1001 rationalizations why she MUST be better than everyone else (because there's gotta be a rational reason, it's not like you're an irrational human!). This may be a tough lesson to truly understand emotionally. I guarantee, once you meet another cool girl, you'll start feeling the same about her.
Your oneitis will leave, and may not even be interested in you in the first place, whereas your social skills are an integral part of you, and will stay that forever. Which should take primacy?

smashthestate

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Re: Socializing as a major sticking point
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2013, 02:28:05 PM »
You're not gonna learn it through some fancy workaround means. Activating your right brain more may help with understanding things, but it too needs to learn to socialize through hard experience (which you said you don't have). The way I see it, presence is about being in the physical world more than in your mental world. You still need to consciously participate obviously, it's just a matter of "where you are". If you're present, your thoughts are coming from "behind" you (back of your head), and you are standing right there in front of your friend. Focus is on the friend and generally the physical world, your thoughts are the support from behind, rather than the main narrative. Opposite would be - if "you" were inside your head, and the physical world is something external which you only interact with through a wall of thoughts.

Yeah, just gotta find a way to socialize 24/7 and expose myself to various feared situations.

Speaking your truth does not mean speaking everything about yourself, haha. It means acting according to how you really feel and what you really want.

Yeah that was pretty dumb to ask, don't know what I was thinking.

Developing social skills to impress her.. I hope we don't have to explain to you the extent to which this idea is wrong. Even if you did by some miracle do it in time, you don't get women by "impressing" them. And to spare you a lot of trouble and disappointment, that girl you think is different, is only "different" because of how you feel about her. You fell for her, suddenly you're attracted to her a lot, and not so much to other girls by comparison, and your brain comes up with 1001 rationalizations why she MUST be better than everyone else (because there's gotta be a rational reason, it's not like you're an irrational human!). This may be a tough lesson to truly understand emotionally. I guarantee, once you meet another cool girl, you'll start feeling the same about her.
Your oneitis will leave, and may not even be interested in you in the first place, whereas your social skills are an integral part of you, and will stay that forever. Which should take primacy?

I know rationally that it's not healthy, but basically what I'm doing is is using her as a motivator to get these things done. In the process I might meet some other chick too and get rid of the obsession with her... but so far I gotta do it this way.

95imprezaSTI

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Re: Socializing as a major sticking point
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2013, 10:05:06 PM »
I'd tell you to not look at this as something you gotta get done. It's a never ending process, there is no "done" point. It is essential that you find a way to enjoy yourself.

But, I guess one has to reach these conclusions on his own.

smashthestate

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Re: Socializing as a major sticking point
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2013, 05:29:04 AM »
I'd tell you to not look at this as something you gotta get done. It's a never ending process, there is no "done" point. It is essential that you find a way to enjoy yourself.

But, I guess one has to reach these conclusions on his own.

I'm not enjoying myself that much when socializing, but I'm willing to put up with it until maybe I do start enjoying... hopefully :P I'm just driven by the end goal at this point and use willpower to go into action

Illuminatus

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Re: Socializing as a major sticking point
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2013, 04:27:40 PM »
I'd tell you to not look at this as something you gotta get done. It's a never ending process, there is no "done" point. It is essential that you find a way to enjoy yourself.

But, I guess one has to reach these conclusions on his own.

I'm not enjoying myself that much when socializing, but I'm willing to put up with it until maybe I do start enjoying... hopefully :P I'm just driven by the end goal at this point and use willpower to go into action

The onus is on you to find the ways in which YOU enjoy socializing. This could be very different from how other people enjoy it. Half the fun is finding out how you enjoy interacting with people. :)

For example, my favourite ways of socializing are:

- Telling elaborate stories (and I'm very good, after years and years of practice)
- Shocking people by bluntly saying exactly what I think (similar to how stand-up comedians are the only people "allowed" to tell the truth)
- Shocking people by bluntly breaking taboos
- Teasing girls
- Playing silly word games with people
- Telling stories or creating imaginary scenarios which become progressively more absurd, while I purposely leave little "hooks" for the other people in the group to grab hold of and add their own input, so it becomes a co-creative event where by the end of it EVERYONE is joining in.

This last point is very advanced, and comes from practising and understanding the previous points. Maybe I'll write some examples if I think of them, but to be honest this stuff simply doesn't translate over text so I don't see much point.

WetWaterDrop

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Re: Socializing as a major sticking point
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2013, 05:20:37 PM »
You could make a video of you telling a story, it be "story time with ed" you'd wear a santa hat and sip hot coco, maybe have cat who looks a little grumpy.

95imprezaSTI

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Re: Socializing as a major sticking point
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2013, 12:17:30 AM »
You could make a video of you telling a story, it be "story time with ed" you'd wear a santa hat and sip hot coco, maybe have cat who looks a little grumpy.

hahaha, that made my day.

smashthestate

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Re: Socializing as a major sticking point
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2013, 03:48:19 AM »
I'd tell you to not look at this as something you gotta get done. It's a never ending process, there is no "done" point. It is essential that you find a way to enjoy yourself.

But, I guess one has to reach these conclusions on his own.

I'm not enjoying myself that much when socializing, but I'm willing to put up with it until maybe I do start enjoying... hopefully :P I'm just driven by the end goal at this point and use willpower to go into action

The onus is on you to find the ways in which YOU enjoy socializing. This could be very different from how other people enjoy it. Half the fun is finding out how you enjoy interacting with people. :)

For example, my favourite ways of socializing are:

- Telling elaborate stories (and I'm very good, after years and years of practice)
- Shocking people by bluntly saying exactly what I think (similar to how stand-up comedians are the only people "allowed" to tell the truth)
- Shocking people by bluntly breaking taboos
- Teasing girls
- Playing silly word games with people
- Telling stories or creating imaginary scenarios which become progressively more absurd, while I purposely leave little "hooks" for the other people in the group to grab hold of and add their own input, so it becomes a co-creative event where by the end of it EVERYONE is joining in.

This last point is very advanced, and comes from practising and understanding the previous points. Maybe I'll write some examples if I think of them, but to be honest this stuff simply doesn't translate over text so I don't see much point.

Welp, most of the stuff from that list sounds fun if I could actually do it T_T


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