Social skills for autonomous people

ischemgeek:

realsocialskills:

how do you tell the difference between when someone is gaslighting you and when you’re doing the distorted thinking thing from anxiety/depression? (for example you KNOW they’re judging you because they’re your parent and you’ve learned what that LOOK means but now…

ischemgeek said:

Yes on distorted thinking and gaslighting being not-mutually-exclusive. I had distorted thinking when I had situational depression as a teen and I thought everyone in the world hated me (literally everyone. And that I deserved it). At the same time, my parents were being emotionally abusive and they were gaslighting me about it. At that point I was also getting very angry/frustrated with their utter lack of action on the bullying front and was calling them out a lot about it and they were always, “no, that’s not what happened” even though it was.

Journaling is really useful for this, too, I found. Just write down the conversation and come back to it a while later after the heat of the moment is gone and look over it again. Future-you can reality-check now-you. Plus, journaling helps if they’re prone to denying that conversations even happened, like my parents are. If your abuser says, “No, you never told me that Jonas was bothering you! If you told me, I would have done something!” you can go back to your journal and if you find an entry that says you told them about Jonas and they laughed at you, you know you’re right. In this way, past-you can also reality check now-you.

realsocialskills said:

Those are good suggestions.

One thing though: I think the main point of accumulating evidence is to figure out for yourself what’s going on. It can also be good as a way to show other people what’s going on.

It’s worth being a lot more cautious about using evidence to confront an abuser. People who are gaslighting you already know they’re lying, and they’re already committed to tricking you. When you gather evidence and figure out for sure that they’ve been manipulating you, that will shift your perspective considerably. But for them, it will not be a perspective-shifting revelation because they already *know* that they’re gaslighting you.

So, be careful about thinking that you can find arguments and proofs that will convince someone to stop gaslighting you. If you’re in that situation, the most important thing is probably to find ways of protecting yourself.

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Dealing with sales pressure: Say no and walk away

empiredice:

realsocialskills:

I’m reading through old posts (because I do that sometimes) and I found an old post of yours from like your first month of blogging here about handling sales pressure when you plan a major purchase. I have a strategy for it that works really well since I can’t think while being pressured: Develop a no reflex.

By which I mean: Teach yourself to say no and walk away the moment you feel pressured or confused. When you’re pressured, you need to get yourself space and time so you can think. If you’re feeling pressured, say no and walk away. If you’re feeling like you’re not allowed to leave, say no and walk away. If you’re feeling like you can’t get a word in edgewise, say no and walk away. If they’ve manipulated you into being so pressured/stressed you can’t talk, then shake your head no and walk away. Above all: get yourself away from the sales person so you have space and time to think. Practice it over and over and over so it becomes your reflexive response to feeling pressured or coerced in a sales environment.

It feels like you’re being rude to do this, especially if you were socialized to not have boundaries. But you’re not. You’re asserting a boundary: You’re saying, “I will not be pressured into this decision.” Say no and walk away. Get yourself the space and time to think clearly. 

If the person won’t leave you alone, leave the store. Say no and walk away. Nothing says you have to get it from that particular store or on that particular day. If you’re not confident that someone will let you make your own decision, say no and walk away.

High-pressure sales people work by manipulating you into thinking that saying no isn’t an option or that leaving isn’t an option. They don’t tell you this explicitly, but they know how to trick you into thinking it. They badger and badger and badger until you want to shove money at them just to shut them up. But they lie. No is always an option when you’re buying something, and if you find yourself feeling like you’re not allowed to decline something or if you’re feeling so overstimulated that you’re desperate to make it stop, it’s time to say no and walk away. You do not have to give them your money, your time, or your attention. Say no and walk away.

Another thing they might do is try to convince you to take something more expensive than you can afford or more expensive than the one you want. In this case, reassert what you want, and if they won’t take it for an answer, you can say no and walk away and get the thing somewhere else or at some other time.

I’m not the best at budgeting (to put it mildly) but since I’ve developed my no reflex, I actually have a surplus at the end of each month because I don’t get pressured into buying things I don’t need and can’t afford.

Now, full disclosure: Say no and walk away can backfire if you apply it in the wrong situation. If an authority figure is pressuring you into something, they probably won’t respond well to it. As well, it can lead you to refusing to buy things you were going to buy anyway, but in that case I judge it just as well because I don’t think that someone who distresses me so much that my no reflex is activated deserves to get a sale off me. But with most situations, and especially with the majority of sales situations, it works well as a way of getting time and space for thinking.

empiredice said:

I would like to add to this. Because some people are more comfortable with scripts, and I handle salespeople coming up to me pretty well, generally, because of some that were unintentionally given to me when I was little, and they are polite, firm, non-defensive scripts.

#1. “I’m just browsing.” I say this whenever a salesperson rushes up to me eager to help their new customer, me. It effectively shoos them away. They typically respond, “ok, let me know if you need anything!” then go back to what they were doing before. I don’t think it’s ever failed me.

#2. “Can I try this on?” (while holding clothing) or “do you have a bathroom?” Not what they seem! While you might really need these for the intended purposes, if you’re overstimulated or having a breakdown these are private places most stores have where you can take a little break. I highly recommend a dressing room over a bathroom for overstimulation because it’s cleaner and there’s less musical doors going on. Ask these when you don’t know where the rooms are but need a break.

#3. “I’m not buying today.” I love this one for pushy salespeople and big purchases. For the big ones, it leaves the door open to asking questions about something I want to purchase but need to weigh pros and cons before committing to. But it is also explicit that I’m not going to make a sale that day. It says, I won’t appreciate being pressured to buy right now, and if you can respect that and just answer my questions I will probably ask for you when I come back so you still get the commission. Awesome huh? Who knew four words could say so much. There is a caveat, though: payment plans. Stores that carry expensive items (like furniture, for example) tend to offer payment plans and an eager salesperson may interpret this script as “I don’t have the money right now” (which may also be true, and something you needed to ask about.) But don’t fall for it, too. Committing to such a plan is no different than making a purchase. I don’t have scripts for this, but “no thank you” will probably work fine. “I’ll have to sleep on it” would probably work if you needed to ask questions about a plan but suddenly find yourself being asked if you want to go with (buy) their payment plan.

#4. “No, thanks.” Just a simple, polite, no.

I’m extremely terrified of people in general and typically can’t talk to people I don’t know but I’m good with these and usually have a pleasant shopping experience or at least, the unpleasantness of my experience is out of wanting things I can’t afford.

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snouted replied to your post “Anonymous said: how do you tell the difference between when…”

Sometimes it helps that it’s OK not to be sure if something is real or not - I’m not going to get resolution on every issue that matters to me right NOW. Some stuff might resolve itself over time, and some stuff I may never know and that is OK.
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survivablyso replied to your post “Anonymous said: how do you tell the difference between when…”

I sometimes ask for outside perspective from people who aren’t even at all familiar with the situation. Strangers, even. I test them by floating situations to which I know the answer first. If they’re reasonable, I’ll use them to figure it out.

realsocialskills said:

How do you find people to ask? Do you talk to people on Tumblr or Reddit or something? Or in person? I can see how this might work, but having trouble figuring out how you’d identify people willing to have that kind of conversation with a stranger.

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slashmarks:

realsocialskills:

how do you tell the difference between when someone is gaslighting you and when you’re doing the distorted thinking thing from anxiety/depression? (for example you KNOW they’re judging you because they’re your parent and you’ve learned what that LOOK means but now they say they’re not judging you which means you can’t trust your own perceptions)
realsocialskills said:
  
One thing that’s important here is that distorted thinking and gaslighting are not mutually exclusive. When you know that you have distorted thinking, gaslighting abusers sometimes exploit that to get you to doubt your perceptions. Even when you are having an episode of actively distorted thinking, that doesn’t mean that the things someone else wants you to believe are necessarily true.
  
I think there are a couple of things that can help to sort out what’s really going on and what’s distorted thinking: outside perspective, and paying attention to your perceptions over time.
 
Regarding paying attention to your perceptions over time: Even if you have depression, you’re not always going to be equally depressed. Even if you have anxiety, you’re not always going to be equally anxious. If you still don’t like what someone is doing to you even when you’re not actively anxious or depressed, it’s probably not distorted thinking.
  
Also, if every time you object to something someone does, they consistently convince you that it’s distorted thinking, something is probably wrong for real. Nobody is perfect, and sometimes you’re both depressed *and* reasonably objecting to something. If someone consistently uses your mental illness to try to make conflicts go away, that’s gaslighting and wrong even if your perspective actually is distorted.
   
 (That said, if you’re actively anxious or depressed, it can be hard to tell in the moment whether or not something is a pattern. It’s possible to feel like it is a pattern when it isn’t, due to distorted thinking. That’s a reason why it can be really helpful to pay attention to how you feel over time.)
   
One way to keep track of how you feel over time is to write a journal. If you write a journal, you can pay attention to how you felt yesterday and whether you still feel that way today. Writing down your perspective is a more reliable way to track things over time than relying on memory. It’s hard to have accurate memories of how you’ve felt over time, and it’s particularly difficult to have accurate memories of what you thought when your thinking was distorted. (That said, journaling does not work for everyone, and if you can’t do it, that doesn’t mean you can’t figure things out.)
  
Outside perspective can also help a lot. That’s one reason that therapy is very helpful to a lot of people who struggle with distorted thinking. If you can find a therapist who you can trust to have a good sense of when you’re probably getting something right and when it’s probably depression/anxiety-related distorted thinking. This backfires horribly if your therapist *isn’t* trustworthy. I don’t really have any advice about how to find a good therapist (I wish I did, and if I ever figure it out, I’ll post about it), but I know that for many people it is both possible and important to find a good therapist. 
  
Personal blogging can also help as a way to track your perceptions over time and get feedback, but be careful about that. Personal blogging attracts two kinds of people who can create problems for those who struggle with distorted thinking: mean people who try to make you feel awful about yourself, and people who unconditionally offer you validation no matter what you say or do. Neither of those kinds of perspectives are helpful for sorting things out. In some ways, unconditional validation is particularly dangerous, *especially* if there’s a possibility that you’re abusing someone.
  
Friends and relatives can also sometimes be really helpful, particularly if they know the people involved or observe things.
 
If you have a sibling you can trust (not everyone does, but some people do), you might be able to have this kind of conversation:
  • You: Sarah, when Mom made that face, was she judging me or was I imagining it?
  • Sarah: Yeah, that’s definitely her judgey face. 
  • or, depending on what she thinks:
  • Sarah: Actually, I think she probably didn’t mean it that way this time. She just talked to me about her obnoxious boss and I think it was her pissed at my boss face.
Similarly, friends sometimes have a really good sense of what’s going on. 
   
The caution about blogging goes for consulting friends/family and other forms of peer support. Be careful about people who offer unconditional validation of all of your thoughts and feelings no matter what. That can end up reinforcing distorted thinking, which is not going to help you learn how to improve your perspectives and trust yourself when your perceptions are accurate.
  
People who are offering you useful perspective will sometimes tell you that they think your perceptions are off base, and they will not be jerks about it when they are critical. They will also not try to coerce you into adopting their perspective. Sometimes they will be wrong. Sometimes you will disagree with them and be right. You are allowed to think for yourself, even if your thinking is sometimes distorted. No one else can think for you, even if you go to them for perspective and help sorting things out.
tl;dr: Gaslighting and distorted thinking are not mutually exclusive. It’s common to experience both, even simultaneously. If you have distorted thinking, people inclined to gaslight you tend to exploit it. Tracking your perceptions over time, and getting outside perspective, make it much easier to sort out what’s actually going on. Sometimes therapy is helpful. Sometimes blogging is helpful. Sometimes friends and family are helpful. Be careful about trusting people who are mean to you or who offer unconditional validation. 
 
What do y’all think? How do you protect yourself from gaslighting when you struggle with distorted thinking?

slashmarks said:

What I did when I was trying to figure out if I was being psychotic or my mother was actually being horrible was, right after something upsetting happened, I would text or IM my partner and describe what happened (not just how I felt about it; what she said, what she did, things that aren’t really a matter of opinion.) I had both a second opinion of things and, in the case of IMing, a record of everything that had happened right after I sent it.

This also meant that when I was trying to figure out if my memories of something were real or not, I could ask my partner and she would remember me telling her about it right afterwards.

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mulder-are-you-suggesting:

realsocialskills:

how do you tell the difference between when someone is gaslighting you and when you’re doing the distorted thinking thing from anxiety/depression? (for example you KNOW they’re judging you because they’re your parent and you’ve learned what that LOOK means but now…

mulder-are-you-suggesting: said:

This is a really tricky thing to tell the difference between. I was gaslit by several therapists who dismissed a lot of what I said out of hand as “distorted thinking”, even when I presented them with evidence to back it up. And I think that’s what kind of made it clear to me that I was being gaslit: the fact that they wouldn’t try to refute the evidence I presented them with by actually making arguments against it, but that they just dismissed everything out of hand.

realsocialskills said:

That’s a good point. When people refuse to listen to your perspective, they’re probably not people you should trust to evaluate it.

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how do you tell the difference between when someone is gaslighting you and when you’re doing the distorted thinking thing from anxiety/depression? (for example you KNOW they’re judging you because they’re your parent and you’ve learned what that LOOK means but now they say they’re not judging you which means you can’t trust your own perceptions)
realsocialskills said:
  
One thing that’s important here is that distorted thinking and gaslighting are not mutually exclusive. When you know that you have distorted thinking, gaslighting abusers sometimes exploit that to get you to doubt your perceptions. Even when you are having an episode of actively distorted thinking, that doesn’t mean that the things someone else wants you to believe are necessarily true.
  
I think there are a couple of things that can help to sort out what’s really going on and what’s distorted thinking: outside perspective, and paying attention to your perceptions over time.
 
Regarding paying attention to your perceptions over time: Even if you have depression, you’re not always going to be equally depressed. Even if you have anxiety, you’re not always going to be equally anxious. If you still don’t like what someone is doing to you even when you’re not actively anxious or depressed, it’s probably not distorted thinking.
  
Also, if every time you object to something someone does, they consistently convince you that it’s distorted thinking, something is probably wrong for real. Nobody is perfect, and sometimes you’re both depressed *and* reasonably objecting to something. If someone consistently uses your mental illness to try to make conflicts go away, that’s gaslighting and wrong even if your perspective actually is distorted.
   
 (That said, if you’re actively anxious or depressed, it can be hard to tell in the moment whether or not something is a pattern. It’s possible to feel like it is a pattern when it isn’t, due to distorted thinking. That’s a reason why it can be really helpful to pay attention to how you feel over time.)
   
One way to keep track of how you feel over time is to write a journal. If you write a journal, you can pay attention to how you felt yesterday and whether you still feel that way today. Writing down your perspective is a more reliable way to track things over time than relying on memory. It’s hard to have accurate memories of how you’ve felt over time, and it’s particularly difficult to have accurate memories of what you thought when your thinking was distorted. (That said, journaling does not work for everyone, and if you can’t do it, that doesn’t mean you can’t figure things out.)
  
Outside perspective can also help a lot. That’s one reason that therapy is very helpful to a lot of people who struggle with distorted thinking. If you can find a therapist who you can trust to have a good sense of when you’re probably getting something right and when it’s probably depression/anxiety-related distorted thinking. This backfires horribly if your therapist *isn’t* trustworthy. I don’t really have any advice about how to find a good therapist (I wish I did, and if I ever figure it out, I’ll post about it), but I know that for many people it is both possible and important to find a good therapist. 
  
Personal blogging can also help as a way to track your perceptions over time and get feedback, but be careful about that. Personal blogging attracts two kinds of people who can create problems for those who struggle with distorted thinking: mean people who try to make you feel awful about yourself, and people who unconditionally offer you validation no matter what you say or do. Neither of those kinds of perspectives are helpful for sorting things out. In some ways, unconditional validation is particularly dangerous, *especially* if there’s a possibility that you’re abusing someone.
  
Friends and relatives can also sometimes be really helpful, particularly if they know the people involved or observe things.
 
If you have a sibling you can trust (not everyone does, but some people do), you might be able to have this kind of conversation:
  • You: Sarah, when Mom made that face, was she judging me or was I imagining it?
  • Sarah: Yeah, that’s definitely her judgey face. 
  • or, depending on what she thinks:
  • Sarah: Actually, I think she probably didn’t mean it that way this time. She just talked to me about her obnoxious boss and I think it was her pissed at my boss face.
Similarly, friends sometimes have a really good sense of what’s going on. 
   
The caution about blogging goes for consulting friends/family and other forms of peer support. Be careful about people who offer unconditional validation of all of your thoughts and feelings no matter what. That can end up reinforcing distorted thinking, which is not going to help you learn how to improve your perspectives and trust yourself when your perceptions are accurate.
  
People who are offering you useful perspective will sometimes tell you that they think your perceptions are off base, and they will not be jerks about it when they are critical. They will also not try to coerce you into adopting their perspective. Sometimes they will be wrong. Sometimes you will disagree with them and be right. You are allowed to think for yourself, even if your thinking is sometimes distorted. No one else can think for you, even if you go to them for perspective and help sorting things out.
tl;dr: Gaslighting and distorted thinking are not mutually exclusive. It’s common to experience both, even simultaneously. If you have distorted thinking, people inclined to gaslight you tend to exploit it. Tracking your perceptions over time, and getting outside perspective, make it much easier to sort out what’s actually going on. Sometimes therapy is helpful. Sometimes blogging is helpful. Sometimes friends and family are helpful. Be careful about trusting people who are mean to you or who offer unconditional validation. 
 
What do y’all think? How do you protect yourself from gaslighting when you struggle with distorted thinking?
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initiating conversations

evalilith:

realsocialskills:

Anonymous said to realsocialskills:

My voice is really quiet when I speak. People don’t hear me the first time nine times out of ten. I feel like I’m yelling and people still barely hear me. I’m shy and sort of autistic. Help?

realsocialskills said:

This sounds really similar to a problem I used to have (and to an extent, still have). I used to regularly get such a complete non-response from people I spoke to that I couldn’t always feel sure I’d even said anything.

For me, part of the problem was volume (and I might write about that part eventually), but another part of the problem was that people often didn’t realize that I was trying to talk to them. I wasn’t doing any of the things people look at as a way to tell the difference between someone talking *to* them and someone talking *near* them.

A major cue that people look for is eye contact, which I basically didn’t understand at all until a few years ago. I know that eye contact is a loaded, so I  want to be explicit about this: I am not here to tell you to make eye contact, or to tell you that you’re irredeemably socially broken if you can’t or won’t. You’re ok, and capable of social interaction, whether or not you ever look anyone in the eye.

That said, I think that it’s worth knowing what people are expecting.

Most neurotypical sighted people in English-speaking cultures assume that people who want to talk to them will make eye contact with them first as a way of initiating conversation. 

That kind of eye contact works kind of like this:

  • You look at them, indicating that you’d like their attention
  • They look back, indicating that they noticed and are paying attention to you
  • Then you talk to them, and they hear what you say

People who expect conversations to be initiated with eye contact often have trouble understanding the intentions of people who don’t make expected forms of eye contact. They often don’t understand that we’re trying to talk to them. So, it’s important to find an effective way to tell them that.

One possible way is to learn how to do something approximating the form of eye contact they’re expecting. Some people who can’t handle full-blown interpersonal eye contact *can* learn how to use eye contact for the purpose of initiating conversation. (I can do it some, but it’s a skill I’m still working on and I’m not totally sure how to describe it.)

I find that it helps to keep in mind that using eye contact to initiate a conversation doesn’t mean that you have to use eye contact to *sustain* the conversation. I fairly frequently use eye contact to start a conversation and then spend the whole conversation starting at a stim toy. For me, it works fairly well a lot of the time.

It’s also not all-or-nothing: 

  • If you can’t look at eyes, you might be able to initiate conversations by looking at noses, foreheads, or chins
  • If you can’t look at faces at all, you might be able to initiate conversations by turning your head or body in their general direction

For some people, it’s well worth learning how to do this. But others can’t, shouldn’t, or don’t want to, and it’s not the only option.  Fake and real eye contact aren’t the only ways to start conversations.

The basic principle is that, if you want to start talking to someone, you need to indicate in some way that you want their attention *before* you say what you want to say. 

One way you can indicate that you’re requesting attention is by saying their name (if you know it). Most people listen for their name, and will assume that a person who says it near them is probably trying to get their attention.

Eg, this is a fairly typical interaction:

  • Brenda: Hey, Mandy?
  • Mandy: Brenda, did you say something to me? 
  • Brenda: Yeah, I was wondering if you knew where the extra chairs are.

There are also other kinds of attention words/phrases that people listen for, eg:

  • "Excuse me?"
  • "Hello"
  • "Hi"
  • "Do you have a minute?"
  • "ma’am?"/"sir?" (these two are loaded in all kinds of other ways which I hope to address in a different post)

These all have somewhat different connotations, but they all contain the message of “I am trying to get your attention. Now would be a good time to let me know you’re paying attention and listen to what I’m saying.” Eg:

  • James: Excuse me?
  • Bill: Yeah, what’s up?
  • James: I’m trying to sleep. Would you mind wearing headphones to listen to that heavy metal?

or:

  • Carla: Hi
  • Judith: Hello
  • Carla: That picture is pretty. Where did you get it?

tl;dr: When you want people to hear what you’re saying, it helps to make sure they know you’re talking to them. Eye contact is one way, but it isn’t the only way.

Readers, what say you? How do y’all get people’s attention so they hear you?

evalilith said:

I’m not autistic, but this is something I have trouble with as well. It especially increases if I am anxious, even if I am not anxious about the person I am trying to talk to.

The eye contact and attention phrases are probably the best way to get the attention of someone you do not know very well.

However, sometimes it is also hard to get the attention of people you do know. For example, you might be in a group of friends who are all louder than you, and want to make a statement to a specific friend. Or you might be with someone in public, and they are paying more attention to the surroundings than they are to you. This can happen if the two of you are shopping, for example.

In this case, gentle touch can also be appropriate. Obviously, it has to be someone you are comfortable touching and who you are confident is comfortable being touched. This is harder for some than for others, so it won’t work for everyone.

Usually, a light touch on the outside of the arm, either at the elbow or the shoulder, is best. Most people consider that okay, and it will get their attention.

Also, you can talk to the people you know about this problem. As I said before, I have an even harder time increasing my volume when I am anxious. This means it is very difficult for me to ask for help or to go someplace quieter. However, my friends know this, and if we are in a large, crowded situation where I might get anxious, they check in with me. They try to ask specific questions that I can give short answers to, and they know to listen closely because my voice is soft.

realsocialskills said:

I know attention-getting touch is sometimes ok, but I don’t really understand when it is and isn’t. So it’s not something I do, and so I don’t really know how to describe the parameters. 

It’s definitely a thing though.

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Question for y’all: participating in conversations without dominating them

thaxted:

realsocialskills:

So, I’m hoping some of y’all have this skill, because I do not.

I’m pretty good at having a one-on-one conversation.

I’m lousy at in-person conversations with more than one other person, unless I’m dominating the conversation (or sometimes if the conversation has another clear leader). When I’m at the center of the conversation dominating, I understand the flow of conversation, how to listen, and how to respond to what people are actually saying.

When I’m trying to participate equally in a group, I get very confused and tend to fall back on trying to dominate. It comes off like I think my voice is the most important, but I actually don’t, I just don’t really know how to have a group conversation. I’m hoping some of y’all do?

 Have any of y’all figured out how to participate fully in group conversations without dominating?

thaxted said:

Oh god, this is such an issue for me and it took me a really long time to understand that my “I’m so excited about this I want to share every thought immediately as I have it because this is so cool and I’m exploding with thoughts!” was coming off as “I think I’m smarter than everyone here and I don’t care what anyone else has to say”.

I also have a really, really bad habit of hearing the first few words people say and guessing that I know what they mean and wanting to get on with the conversation already and not wait for them to say the same thing over and over until they’re ‘done’. (Which it is much easier for me to see how obnoxious that is when I write it out that way.) It’s not just that I guess wrong—I do sometimes and I don’t sometimes—it’s that I’ve learned that even for the times that I do understand them right away, it’s really important for people to articulate all their thoughts fully because they may be understanding something about their own thoughts by saying them out loud. If I interrupt them, I’m interrupting their thought process and not giving them a chance to engage with their own ideas. I’m also creating a hostile environment where they don’t feel heard or cared about.

What helps me most is taking notes. I’m really bad at auditory processing and often I worry that I’m going to forget what I have to say if I don’t say it right away because I can’t hold one thing in my head while I’m focusing on a bunch of incoming auditory information (so I have about as much trouble with one-on-one conversations as I do group conversations). Sometimes that means letting go of the need to communicate everything I’m feeling if it’s more important to share the space. If I’m not dominating a conversation, I do tend to become more the “quiet person who interjects a key comment now and then”. It’s hard to have middle ground. But if there’s any possible way for me to write down jot notes of my ideas without being rude or weird (this works great in business meetings, not so well in casual social conversations), then that immediately relieves the pressure to remember everything and helps me engage with the conversation more fully.

tl;dr I have trouble with this because I get very excited to share my thoughts, get impatient if I feel people are repeating themselves, and I also fear forgetting what I want to say if I can’t say it right away. I deal with this either by accepting the fact that it’s more important to share the talking time and just add in a few important thoughts as I can, or by writing down my thoughts as I have them so I can add them when I get the chance.

realsocialskills said:

Oh wow, yes. Taking notes *does* help a lot. I forgot about that.

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Question for y’all: participating in conversations without dominating them

alltheharrypotterurlsaretaken:

realsocialskills:

So, I’m hoping some of y’all have this skill, because I do not.

I’m pretty good at having a one-on-one conversation.

I’m lousy at in-person conversations with more than one other person, unless I’m dominating the conversation (or sometimes if the conversation has another clear leader). When I’m at the center of the conversation dominating, I understand the flow of conversation, how to listen, and how to respond to what people are actually saying.

When I’m trying to participate equally in a group, I get very confused and tend to fall back on trying to dominate. It comes off like I think my voice is the most important, but I actually don’t, I just don’t really know how to have a group conversation. I’m hoping some of y’all do?

 Have any of y’all figured out how to participate fully in group conversations without dominating?

alltheharrypotterurlsaretaken said:

I have the same issue, and I tend to feel like I’m not being heard if I’m not dominating the discussion…  But what has worked really well for making everyone else feel like I’m not dominating the conversations is this kind of internal script:

  • I have a thought that I want to say
  • Construct how I’ll say it so that it is as short as can be
  • Count to five
  • Say it
  • Wait until I’m asked about what I said or until I have a thought that is very different from the one I just said before I talk again

Like I said, I still feel like I’m not talking ENOUGH but in conversations where I have the ability and social power to talk over others it’s really useful.

I do, however, ask whatever questions I feel I need to ask in order to understand without worrying about dominating the conversation.  I feel like asking a question to clarify whats being said so that I understand what others are saying does NOT count as dominating the conversation.

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