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To think a socially awkward introvert will struggle to learn social skills?

(14 Posts)
Phuquocdreams Wed 13-Jun-18 18:48:05

Especially when they have poor listening skills ( I struggle so much to hold focus on a conversation sometimes I think I must have ADD)? Or does anyone have evidence/anecdotes to the contrary?

Phuquocdreams Wed 13-Jun-18 19:08:25

I’m so socially crap no one wants to answer my post grin

Pigletpoglet Wed 13-Jun-18 19:14:29

There's a great book called 'Navigating the Social World' which is a social skills curriculum for people with Aspergers/ASC. Worth a read if you would like to try and improve your skills, but if not, socially awkward and introvert are just different ways to be!

iwishicouldbelikedavidwatts Wed 13-Jun-18 19:16:03

struggling doesn't mean something's not worth pursuing if you're interested. depends on whether you're interested enough i guess.

mselastic Wed 13-Jun-18 19:16:26

They are both differnt things,

An introvert has excellent social skills!

Phuquocdreams Wed 13-Jun-18 20:20:35

An introvert might have great social skills, but they might have crap ones too! I think I would just like to be a bit more like able really. I was looking at a summary of that Dale Carnegie “How to win friends and influence people”, and all looks like a good idea, but also EXHAUSTING to always be “on” all the time. remembering names, tememing to always be interested in people (sometimes I’m not that interested...), listening well - all that stuff just really takes such ENERGY for me. I struggle not to live in my own little world in my head, but a lot of the time I think I would like to be an extrovert. To be a bit more likeable!

endoftheworld Wed 13-Jun-18 20:34:30

I used to be crap at social stuff until about mid twenties. I still have a few cringe moments but I am quite confident now and I put it down to the fact I stopped caring what people think.

The taking in information/listening is a bit trickier...I tend to just tell myself that it's ok to clarify things or say sorry could you repeat that please. Sometimes though anxiety gets the better of me and things still come out all garbled.

I realised a lot of my bad social skills were down to anxiety and over analysing but then I meet some really confident people who I think have crap social skills because they're so rude/don't care.

wizzywig Wed 13-Jun-18 20:35:38

Im naturally socially awkward but hide it by copying other people really well. I totally fake it.

DuchyDuke Wed 13-Jun-18 20:39:25

Being socially awkward and being introverted are two seperate issues. Most introverts are just fine socially which is why stuff aimed at them tends to be more about self help ‘push your boundaries’ type of stuff.

Not sure it’s possible to fix ‘socially awkward’ without looking at the underlying issue. If you suspect ADD then you need to get it diagnosed and obtain targetted help.

Phuquocdreams Wed 13-Jun-18 21:31:04

Hmmm, I realise socially awkward and introvert are different, but I think the introversion makes it harder to have the energy to deal with people, even if I read the books that tell me how to. I think I can come across as rude and stand offish when I don’t need to mean to be. Supreme oddball as a teenager, then basically sozzled myself in alcohol for about 15 years which enabled me to be the social butterfly I wanted to be (in my head at least - I was a notorious drunk), then pregnancy and breastfeeding brought an end to that, and I need to learn to be the social butterfly without the alcohol!
Re ADD, my son was having problems in school that lead them to suspect something was up, when researching what might be wrong, I came across ADD and was struck how it could describe that completely scattered brain where it can take such energy to pull my thoughts (unless I’m supremely interested). Although I’ve been a very messy, disorganized, scatterbrain since childhood, I have a v good job and am in a (relatively) stable marriage (with a man whose social adeptness makes up for my lack). I understand an adult diagnosis requires dysfunction in relationships, career etc.

anzu66 Wed 13-Jun-18 22:31:25

Think about why Dale Carnegie's book became a best-seller.

Hint: huge numbers of people don't feel the need to buy a book about how to act a certain way if it came naturally to them. They would just act that way without need of a self-help book. Therefore, it stands to reason that the book is pushing a way of behaviour that does not come naturally to many, many people.

I read a book a while back - for the life of me I can't remember it's name - that discussed the history and styles of self-help books. What is considered the 'right' way of acting and behaving has also changed over time. These concepts have fashions, too, and are not indicative of a deep and universal truth about what is the 'right' way of behaving and interacting. Before the Dale Carnegie type books it was books about doing your personal best, and being quiet about one's own accomplishments. Nothing about being out-going or social at all, quite the opposite in fact.
Therefore, in my opinion, better to concentrate on what works for you personally than what a book tells you about the 'right' way of behaving.

My son has an ASD diagnosis.
After a lot of reading at the time of diagnosis (and since), I'm pretty sure I have it too, and most of my relatives as well. But no official diagnosis as we grew up at a time when it wasn't recognised. So I understand well the feeling of not getting things right socially.
On the other hand, with increasing age, I realise how arbitrary and unfair most social rules are, and truly just don't care any more about trying to follow them.

Based on all of that, a few questions:
-why on earth be a social butterfly, unless that is something that makes you happy?

-do you have any friends (even if just one, and even if it was in the past rather than the present) where the friendship does not feel like work? If you do/did, THAT is what friendship should be like.

-you have a good job, a marriage, and at least one child. How do you think you would feel if you concentrated on the positives in that and how it reflects (positively) on your life up till now, instead of looking at how you think you 'should' behave?

-what makes you happy? If doing those things or being like that doesn't hurt anyone, then concentrate on them rather than how you feel you 'ought' to be doing things.

-does coming across as 'rude and stand-offish' affect you, your career, your husband, your child, to a significant extent? If it doesn't affect it, try to accept yourself as you are, rather than trying to make yourself something you are not. If it does have an effect, work on changing yourself only to the amount that is do-able for you.

Be kind(er) to yourself. smile

Ellafruit Wed 13-Jun-18 22:38:45

I’d highly recommend therapy if you really want to suss out your energy drain.

I used to identify as an extreme introvert and feel exhausted from interacting with people, but for me I’ve discovered through psychotherapy that I had so much that I was holding onto that my head was so busy and I couldn’t be present with myself and my own emotions, let alone other people and theirs.

I don’t get exhausted by others anymore which is so utterly refreshing to my soul 🙂

Phuquocdreams Thu 14-Jun-18 08:35:45

Thanks for all your advice, yours in particular anzu, those are helpful, thoughtful questions for me to ask myself. Maybe I should be working on accepting myself and accepting the slip ups, rather than beating myself up about them! I actually had the feeling after my first child, where I got more comfortable in my skin, accepting being a little odd but generally good natured, but I seem to have slipped back to my self critical ways. And relying on alcohol definitely doesn’t cut it any more!

lljkk Thu 14-Jun-18 08:38:51

Just coz it's a struggle doesn't mean you shouldn't try or it's impossible.

One of the shyest most awkward people I know is immensely proud of how well he's learnt to speak in public. Has a job now that involves lots of public speaking. Says it was very hard slog to gain the skills, but very glad he did it.

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