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Awkward socially

Old 04-19-2015, 05:59 PM
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Awkward socially

I am great in professional settings.

I am awkward in social settings outside of work.

When I drank, I got along with the other drinkers.

Sober, I am awkward. I have noticed I just ramble on.

Advice?
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Old 04-19-2015, 06:07 PM
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Sober I bet you are just fine...just maybe too self conscious.
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Old 04-19-2015, 06:12 PM
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I read a book a long time ago called a life time guide to conversation. The Cliff Notes version is people love to talk about themselves so let them. Come armed with 20 open ended questions that will work on just about anyone. Something like, "How did you meet the host of the party." Just keep you mouth shut and they will do the work for you. When they stop talking you can add a little something or ask them another question.

Works every time
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Old 04-19-2015, 07:02 PM
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I was always better in work situations too. Social situations, unless with people I was close with, were not easy. And, yes alcohol helped those situations. I probably am less social now, except with family and close friends for the most part. And, I'm fine with that. For me, part of the recovery journey has meant embracing all parts of me.
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Old 04-19-2015, 07:37 PM
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I've learned that I'm never going to be the great bon vivant and I've accepted that. I'm ok with it.

My social situations these days almost invariably include people I know. I have a lot of fun. Any new people I meet it takes a little time but mostly I get on with everyone. if in doubt, ask them about themselves

D
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Old 04-19-2015, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by MIRecovery View Post
I read a book a long time ago called a life time guide to conversation. The Cliff Notes version is people love to talk about themselves so let them. Come armed with 20 open ended questions that will work on just about anyone. Something like, "How did you meet the host of the party." Just keep you mouth shut and they will do the work for you. When they stop talking you can add a little something or ask them another question.

Works every time
I've got a pretty social job setting. This works every time for me as well. you will be surprised how easy it is to keep the conversation going.
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Old 04-19-2015, 08:51 PM
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There's a popular mythology in our culture that most people are naturally outgoing, extroverted, and socially adept. We see this on television, on the Internet and in social media. Having eighty thousand friends on Facebook is both an inside joke shared by millions and a grotesque caricature of what it means to be successful as a person.

Successfully executing our responsibilities at work is generally measurable, and our professional relationships come with definable rules and boundaries. Our professional roles are essentially mapped out for us. Our roles as social animals derive from social mandate, creations of what we should be. It's only natural to conclude that we're "supposed to be" friendly when we're with other people, particularly when we're with people we don't know. When being around other people causes subjective distress, we wrongly assume that there's "something wrong" with us, that we're "different," or that we "don't fit in." Civilization relies on "getting along" for its survival, and one unintended consequence is that we're trained to play-act when we're in certain situations. This, in turn, produces undue anxiety in anticipation of our being around other people.

Many of us can't wait to get home from either work or social outings so that we can just be ourselves. Yet we are, after all, social beings. But this doesn't mean that we have to be social beings of any particular type. Societal norms and expectations can rob us of our individuality by counseling us to act "normal," even though no one seems to know what "normal" is. They stunt our personal growth, sacrificing individuality in the service of not rocking the boat filled with people just trying to survive yet another social gathering.

Being shy, quiet or introverted are not symptoms of pathological states; they are, instead, attributes that often suggest strength of character, thoughtfulness, and even wisdom. Being or acting cautious, reserved and distrustful around people we do not know carries survival value and is part of our evolutionary history. Many of us have had the experience of meeting someone who comes on too strong during a first contact, and it's never pretty. There's a sense that something's "off," and we can be left feeling uneasy for the experience.

Ideally, personal and social relationships exist in negotiated space in which two or more people can express themselves as honestly as they care to do so, and within certain limitations or boundaries. The expectation, or rather, the demand, that we should act in certain ways in order to make everyone else happy or to satisfy someone's expectation is unreasonable, sometimes rude or destructive, and only encourages a special kind of deception.

Personally, I'm most often drawn to the most quiet person in the room, even though I don't always approach them.
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Old 04-20-2015, 01:38 AM
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Im not much of a bon vivant either (cool term D) i agree with a lot of the posts
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Old 04-20-2015, 02:33 AM
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Originally Posted by MIRecovery View Post
I read a book a long time ago called a life time guide to conversation. The Cliff Notes version is people love to talk about themselves so let them. Come armed with 20 open ended questions that will work on just about anyone. Something like, "How did you meet the host of the party." Just keep you mouth shut and they will do the work for you. When they stop talking you can add a little something or ask them another question.

Works every time
I totally agree with this! I get massive feelings of anxiety when I know I'm going into any kind of social situation. I ask a lot of questions too. Even when the person I'm talking to is drunk and trying to have a somewhat slurred conversation with me, I stay with the same technique! I have no other social skills haha.
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Old 04-20-2015, 05:41 AM
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Hi Suzie.

I used to think that I was much more comfortable in professional situations and did not enjoy socializing just for the sake of socializing much when I was younger, until I actually understood better how it worked. For me, it's all about my being driven by my internal interests, whatever my mind wants to focus on at a given time. Work of course seems like the most straightforward situation, because my career is indeed a choice driven by strong subjective orientations. No surprise I'm usually more than happy to talk about it and to get together with people who share these interests! The other area I had problems with in my youth especially was what's considered "emotional expression". So again, being professional (at least in my field) often requires a seemingly more objective communication style and it came more naturally to me.

What I learned about all this as I grew older was that it actually has little to do with work per se. I can do and am happy to do just the same in any environment with people with shared interests, be it pretty much anything at a given time. I've learned to build my social circuits this way; it almost seems like there is no other way for me as I truly have little interest in just "hanging out" without much substance regularly, unless I'm already friends with the people or they are close relatives. So I tend to meet people via work, my hobbies, taking classes, interest-focused groups and clubs etc.

I also learned at a very young age that my more preferred way of socializing is one-on-one. I've never in my life had problems with that one with compatible people (well... except when hungover and totally confused and crippled by anxiety), while I do sometimes experience a bit of anxiety in groups at least at first. I think this is reflected in my patterns throughout my life, that since my earliest memories, I've always had 1-2 close friends with whom we can communicate with very little boundaries. Sometimes just friends, other times intimate partners, and I often don't even have a strong boundary between these categories and don't like to push them into conventional formats... so people I can be close with.

As for the professional life, ironic enough but despite those feelings I described, I actually mixed and matched purely work-related and sometimes very personal relationships all over the map, especially when younger. My field (I'm a research scientist) is quite open and flexible and does not observe strict rules and hierarchies in this, and there is indeed a lot of mixing and matching. Not so much these days for me though.

As for the emotional part... I believe that we can work on that a lot consciously. For example, I'm quite happy with how I think I was able to shred a lot of that "detachment" behavior (which was pretty much anxiety-driven for me most often) mostly during my early 30's. What I found underneath is that I actually love being intensely involved and interact with people, even with people I just work with, about our share interests.

I don't do any of this socializing all the time or even on a regular basis, though. I don't have the need. What I do need though is sufficient amount of space and alone time, and I rarely feel lonely unless I'm depressed. Or when I was drinking... Drinking actually never truly helped my social life in any form, it made it much worse especially in the latest phase when I was isolating extremely. So for me, I am actually really not shy... much more what it classically considered under "introversion", and honestly, I would not want to be any other way. OK sometimes, for a little while, when I am being pressured into situations I don't want to be in

My advice is that you try to figure out what motivates you. Maybe try what I described: find company based on what interests and excites you. And/or hook up with like-minded people 1:1 or in smaller groups. I've always been surrounded by quite a few people who consider themselves introverted, and this strategy seems to work for most of us. The internet is good for interest-focused communication as well (like here ).

If you feel that you have problems starting conversations, I like MIRecovery's suggestion a lot.

Finally, I would recommend Susan Cain's work if you are interested in a radically positive take on introverts, including many great practical suggestions and personal shares. I have seen her book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts mentioned here on SR several times by others as well, and she has some great TED talks also.
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Old 04-20-2015, 07:02 AM
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This may help

http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content...6/SMA-3716.pdf
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