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My wife is boring(71 Posts)
OK, to sort out the flamers and haters from the helpers. Let me clarify. My wife is not very good in social situations. She struggles to converse and I would like some constructive advice on how to help please.
Making friends has always been difficult for her, long before she met me probably since school. When I first met her I couldn't understand why she didn't have more friends. She is a nice person, caring, thoughtful, helpful, genuine and one of the most simple and straightforward people I have ever met.
Yet people will make reasons not to meet up with her or politely avoid her in social situations. She thinks it is because she comes across as stand offish because she avoids conversation. I think part of that is true but having been out on many occasions I think it simply because she is not very good at making conversation, she can be a bit boring. Ironically she is not boring, she has a real zest for life, she is a successful business person and very good at what she does. But socially...she struggles.
I have wondered whether I should try and explain this, but to basically tell her she is boring would be devastating to her. I would like to help her but I am not very good at being supportive. She doesn't have many friends yet you wouldn't hope to find a better friend.
She had been at a business event and someone she met on the first week, really liked and thought she had got on with very clearly avoided her this week and it brought out all her insecurities.
I took the opportunity to give her a couple of books that I ordered for her a couple of years ago, books along the lines of "the art of conversation". I can't remember what specific event made me buy them or why she wouldn't read them but I gave them to her, she looked a little flat when I did (unsurprisingly).
I tried to find a course that she could go on "better conversation" on Google brought up language classes and other phrases didn't' fare any better so I wondered if there was anyone on here that could suggest ways to help. Soft skills classes, social skills courses. That sort of thing or even some practical advice. It is making her unhappy and I want to change that.
@Lovingfreedom you sound single and bitter. I'm really not interested in your POV if you can't be arsed to read the thread.
Asking people about themselves is definitely the key to successful interactions at business events. People love talking about themselves.
I sometimes play a little game with myself that I am going to find the most interesting person in a gathering. So I go round meeting lots of people, finding out who they are. One time I met a woman who turned out to be Scandinavia's foremost expert in German Shepherd ears!
I've read the whole thread. If you want to help your wife how about laughing at her jokes, being supportive, encouraging her that she's not abnormal and listening to how she might improve her life instead if taking it upon yourself to criticise, undermine and fix her?
@lovingfreedom OK, fair question but as you can't see the effect this is having on her you can't understand how I feel seeing it.
I am not criticizing her, certainly not undermining her but yes I would like to fix things - to make things better for her.
I don't know how to help her. This is a forum for advice. That is what i was asking for. Several people on here have said they have similar issues.
I disagree that everyone loves talking about themselves, as a few people here have claimed! A lot of people dislike direct questioning; I know I do - I feel very scrutinised and put-on-the-spot. I especially clam up over anything that seems like polite rather than genuine interest. Makes me squirm.
OP IT is perfectly possible your wife could be on the autistic spectrum and be emotionally intelligent - I am and I'm (nearly!) a nurse agree with all the pp, dogs and dramatics are great for socialising, also the more you do it, the easier it gets to fake it and the less anxious you feel x
Hypnotherapy may be worth a go. Just to see if there is anything she worries about subconsciously and it stops her making small talk. I hope you find a solution - you sound like a caring husband.
I'm just like anunearthlychild. I feel I waffle on about rubbish. When people are cool and quiet I worry they don't like me and waffle more. So being chatty isn't always how it looks. I agree that learning to ask questions can be helpful, but the most helpful thing, and the simplest way to make friends, is to genuinely find the person one is chatting to very interesting. The moment that happens then it all falls into place. So I also think that maybe she is moving in social circles which aren't sparking her interest, or that she has become a little bit too inward looking and is losing sight of just how interesting people can be. Whenever I watch "Who do you think you are?" I am amazed by how fascinating other people's lives and family histories are. Perhaps finding something that she is interested in finding out about other people would help, maybe she could imagine she is researching for a book or something, and ask questions on a similar theme of people she meets. Or could she join something like a book group? At mine we all talk about the book, how we felt about it etc, and having a set common theme makes for good conversation. We are a fairly diverse bunch of women, but I really enjoy the evening, hearing all the different view points.
1. Could, as others have said, be purely down to the people she's mixing with. I am pretty confident but if I'm in the wrong group (say footballer's wives types) I completely clam up and don't really know how to talk to them. I also struggle with women generally, being used to all-male environments, and the women I do really click with tend to be similar to me (sciency/engineery, outdoorsy types).
2. Does she realise that in female social interaction in particular one has to open up and give information about one's self, the other participant then offers info about themselves and the conversation continues. If she doesn't offer something about herself she won't get anything back and the conversation will feel unbalanced and will stall.
3. The book 'Watching the English' has some interesting sections on women's gossip, grooming talk etc. Eye-opening for me. It's a book you might both enjoy and it's not aimed at fixing a problem - it's an anthropologist who has decided to treat the English as a tribe to be studied properly. Fascinating.
Again thanks. I know she could do it and she is worth getting to know.
have just bought "watching the english" going to have a look at the local drama group on Friday.
If you're still on these boards, sands67, have things improved for your wife? Did any of these suggestions help? I have a friend in a similar situation and would like to help her but not being that close to her I'm not quite in the same position.
is it possible that she is suffering with social anxiety or perhaps she has autistic traits...?
ZOMBIE ZOMBIE ZOMBIE
@sweetpotatoesteak just PM him?
Oops sorry ignore that, didn't realise it was an older thread.
I realised after a while, I used to talk about myself too much. And people don't like that. Does your wife do that as well! Relationships are a two way thing!
I’d suggest exercise, yoga, Pilates, martial art, will improve her conidence, and I suggest she reads book, goes to the cinema so she has something to talk about.
OP - I had the exact same problem as your wife, I called it social anxiety, I really struggled and it was really impacting me, I totally understand how your wifes feeling.
I went and got hypnotised! Honestly as soon as I came out the place I was chatting away to anyone, I can quite easily start a conversation with literally anyone now.
Ha, just typed all that out and realised its a zombie thread!! Oh well maybe it will help someone!
Your reasons for discounting autism/Aspergers aren't correct btw, she can be successful, emotionally intelligent and just about anything else and still be on the spectrum, it presents very differently sometimes, especially in women. Though research on that area is still woefully inadequate.
When I read your initial post my first thought was she's on the spectrum. Nothing you've posted since makes me think any differently.
It's worth exploring at least.
Is she a people pleaser? I can talk the arse off a donkey, my DH is the opposite, but my waffling covers up massive insecurity and the worst of all is wanting people to like me. It kills me if people don't like me, even if I don't like them. I have a huge lack of confidence. I did a drama degree and yet improv and roleplay fill me with complete terror. I'm a bit strange overall.
My DH is great as he literally doesn't give a toss if people like him or not - he's very nice to everyone but if they're not interested in talking to him, no loss. I need to learn this and I suspect your wife might too!
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