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Is there a way to (re)learn social skills and confidence?

(4 Posts)
BallOfString Fri 21-Aug-20 11:21:20

This is quite a specific thing. I’ve had lots of MH issues my whole life - anxiety, depression, and recently starting to realise that all of this stems from ADHD and probably autism. That’s a whole separate issue that I’m working through and hoping to get diagnosed and treatment/support where possible.

Part of the problem/symptom is severe social anxiety, which has got a lot worse. So I used to just be a bit rubbish around people, no good at small talk, etc. Partly I’ve just avoided social situations for so long now, and partly my anxiety has got worse, but now I get really tongue tied and can barely have a simple conversation without stammering or sounding completely stupid.

So I wondered if anyone has suggestions for learning how to manage social situations, speaking to strangers, etc? Aside from meds, counselling, CBT, calmness apps, etc, I’m thinking more about practical ways to get these skills to help get my life back on track. It’s got to the point where I sometimes can’t string a sentence together with family, never mind strangers, and I always used to be okay at ‘acting’ confident/articulate, even when it was the opposite of what I was feeling. I do need the medical treatment as well, but I feel like these are skills I’ve lost that won’t just come back even if I can get help with my mh issues. Any suggestions?

OP’s posts: |
Atalune Fri 21-Aug-20 11:26:41

Why don’t you ask a trusted family member or good friend to practise with you? Choose some topics and practise chit chat about them. Things like
The weather
Current affairs
Your fave Netflix etc box set
Something you do like a hobbie

A good conversationalist asks questions and makes comments.

So-
Have you gotten into anything good ok Netflix recently. We’ve just finished Ozark. It’s soooo good!

Rather than
What tv do you watch?

katy1213 Fri 21-Aug-20 11:32:02

You had those skills once and I'm sure they'll come back with a bit of practice. You don't have to set the bar very high in striking up a conversation; a remark on the weather will do - or how are you finding lockdown - or did you see whatever in the paper this morning? And strangers are great to practise on because if you fluff it, you don't have to see them again! Could you volunteer somewhere?Not necessarily people-facing like in a charity shop but something where you have a task like gardening that you can get on with - but there are people around you?

BallOfString Fri 21-Aug-20 14:58:40

Thanks Katy and Atalune. I do try practising discussions with my family, though they’re not the most social people either. I think the problem is that this has never come easily to me, always felt like I was putting in an act to cope socially, so now my confidence has gone and I can’t do it any more.

The volunteering is a good idea. I wfh so don’t have much enforced social contact. Before lockdown a friend suggested I could volunteer at a local arts centre which was asking for people to sell programmes, show people to their seats etc. I think something like that might help, and like you say there’s a task to get in with so less daunting.

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