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I have a question.. - May 6th 2011, 03:02 AM

Sorry about this... but because of my disability and having no social skills at all, what may seem like a silly, stupid question to you really is a serious question for me. It's kinda embarrassing to ask but I don't know, I honestly don't know.

How do you make and keep friends effectively?
What are appropriate things to do with friends when you're 21 and up?

What kinds of things (in general) do people in their 20s talk about?
How do I keep a conversation going?

I honestly don't know the answer to these questions and I really need help. I kinda still have a mentallity of a 9th or 10th grader as far as socializing goes. I'm gonna be putting myself out there more when I get a job and stuff. Also, my friend from 10 years ago wants to hang out with me again and I would love that, I just don't know what to do.

Help???
   
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Re: I have a question.. - May 6th 2011, 08:05 AM

I'll answer the questions out of order for ease of simplicity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DenimSupergirl
How do I keep a conversation going?
It's not all on you. The person you're talking to is also going to try to maintain the conversation so you don't need to worry about doing all the work. You're responsible for only 50% and that includes: proper signaling that it's the other person's turn to speak (i.e. change of tone, certain words/phrases), keep the idea going or change to a new idea, read body and facial language (many seem not great at this), proper manners and show interest in the conversation. Many of these are fairly easy to do, such as manners and showing interest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DenimSupergirl
What kinds of things (in general) do people in their 20s talk about?
What sort of things do people in their 30s talk about?

There's no set guideline. It varies with a) the setting you're in, b) your knowledge/interest in the topic and c) the receiver's knowledge/interest in the topic. The most important one is the first as it gives a rough guideline. For example, if you go to a home hardware store, you'll talk about your house, houses you've seen, what you like and give ideas. You may also talk about other home-related things, such as food and possibly computers. You're not going to have a deep philosophical debate because your attention is scattered, not focused. Another example: you're walking through a park near a child's playground. You're not going to be talking about rapists, causing harm to children and such in explicit details. As with this example, it's more obvious what topics are to be avoided than the home hardware example. In both, you don't want to be talking about deeply personal and intimate issues if you are not comfortable with others hearing and commenting on them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DenimSupergirl
What are appropriate things to do with friends when you're 21 and up?
This also has to do with context but also with general interests and knowledge. Many people around that age want to do something that is interesting and has some excitement to it. It doesn't have to be mature though. For example, I play video games with my buddies, make sexual innuendo jokes, see a movie, play-fight a bit, look at funny pictures/jokes online, etc... . Is it mature to be looking at silly pictures or comics online? No, but that doesn't matter because you're with friends and friends want to do interesting stuff. However, you may have to sacrifice some of what you truly like if your friends aren't interested but want to do something you have some interest in. For example, one of my friends is great at programming and would love to write whatever programs. I'm clueless and have minimal interest. My other friend loves history and politics but I have no interest there. I like pharmacology and neuroscience but my friends haven't studied it so don't have lots of interest. Instead, we have to find common points of what we all like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DenimSupergirl
Also, my friend from 10 years ago wants to hang out with me again and I would love that, I just don't know what to do.
Welcome them, ask how they have been and let them give as much details as they want. Do not drill them with questions because it can seem like an interrogation. Anytime they ask a question, you answer it then ask them about it, unless they've already answered. However, this isn't a completely new person. Since they want to talk with you, there already is some trust formed as well as an interest in interacting. Chances are, they may also know you're not great at social interactions, which gives you a benefit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DenimSupergirl
How do you make and keep friends effectively?
This is always the most commonly asked question and is easy and hard to answer. The hard part is keeping friends because there's no method that can be applied, other than act how they want to be treated (i.e. some don't like excess politeness while others cant stand if you say "damn"), frequently interact with them, share some personal details, develop trust and some honesty. I say some honesty because many people don't want to hear your actual answer to a question. These are typically things involving personal judgment, such as how something looks on them. You may think it's the most hideous thing you've seen but you're not going to say that, you're going to say something positive because people want to be complimented. In a way, this involves lying but only lying in certain times.

Getting friends I find easier. Key thing is relax, be comfortable and know that if you screw up, it doesn't matter because there are plenty of other people you can interact with. For me, each time I talk to someone new, I take it as a learning experience both for what they say and what we did to interact. I take this to levels some don't in that I talk to people of completely different social and age groups. I know that it will be awkward for them because it's atypical for someone of my age and social group to openly approach them. Knowing that, I still try to make it work because if I can, it means I've succeeded at something more challenging.

You want to be aware of not only how they are acting in terms of body language but how YOU are acting. You also may want to change your appearance to wear clothing that others find more approachable. Doing so immediately shows others that you are part of their social group and they're more likely to interact with you then. Additionally, it's less awkward if you initiate the conversation. For example, a group of, say 5 "gangsta" people aren't going to be willing to chat with a "goth" sporting tattoos because they're not of the same social groups so both groups will find it odd. It's a highly stereotypical example but a real-life one.

Lastly, act roughly how they act. That is, if they have a certain view on something, you can support their view, treat them with the respect they give you, etc... . If someone asks you "yo, whad up g?", you're not going to act formally and say "thank you for asking kind sir, I am doing quite well, how about yourself?". You'll say something like "chillin, gonna hit it up at my bro's place, whad'bout you?". People like it when you act similar to them, as long as you do not begin mocking them.


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Re: I have a question.. - May 7th 2011, 07:03 AM

Thanks, this helps. But I have a few other questions as well.

How would I start a conversation?
How would I find out what to talk about and not talk about?

Sometimes I would start to talk about something and there's something I don't understand. Suddenly, they don't talk to me or whatever. I must be doing something wrong.

   
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Re: I have a question.. - May 7th 2011, 08:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DenimSupergirl View Post
How would I start a conversation?
If it's with a stranger, you can comment on something in the setting. For example, you're waiting in line at a pizza shop to order a slice. You can ask someone next to you if they've ever been to the pizza shop and if X-slice is any good. Alternatively, if the person is wearing a shirt of a band that you like, you can comment to them about the band, you've seen them live before, awaiting the next album, etc... . If you're walking around in a mall, find a bench with someone on it and ask them how they are or it's such a big mall it's tiring on the legs and wallet, etc... . Always make sure the person isn't having a conversation with someone else because it's generally rude to interrupt the conversation. Also, look for clues on the person. For example, if you go to sit at the bench in a mall, see if the person has kids. If they're young kids, parents are generally accepting if you wave and do a silly smiley face to the kids to get them to laugh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DenimSupergirl View Post
How would I find out what to talk about and not talk about?
Context determines much of this as does the person. If you're waiting in line, you're not going to talk to the person about quantum mechanics. Additionally, opposing something the person has, such as commenting that the band on their band t-shirt sucks isn't going to get you a conversation, unless others are near-by with the same feelings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DenimSupergirl View Post
Sometimes I would start to talk about something and there's something I don't understand. Suddenly, they don't talk to me or whatever. I must be doing something wrong.
I cant say what may be happening because I haven't talked to you in-person. If you're confused on something they've said and don't respond quickly, it suggests the conversation is over. Or it could be emotional expression not fitting the topic and context.


I can rip you off, and steal all your cash, suckerpunch you in the face, stand back and laugh. Leave you stranded as fast as a heart-attack.
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Re: I have a question.. - May 7th 2011, 10:51 AM

i have problems with my social skills aswell. what i find helps me is just starting off with asking someone i havent seen for a long time, hey how are you ? and then just going from there, asking them what they've been doing since i last saw them ect. and then just following the conversation, usually what i've found is we end up talking about school and teachers, and work, and such like.

i sometimes ask them about their hobbies and what films they like, books are also a good subject to talk about with someone, like you could ask them what books they enjoy reading and ask oh have you read this one i think you might enjoy it.

you could also discuss tv shows with them, me and my friends often talk about the show teen mom and shows similar to that, and of course discuss drama tv sereis, most people watch thoose.


if its in a job and your serving a customer, depending on what the job is, i've often found where i work, because its a preschool, addressing the child rather the parent works well for me as then the parents don't notice that my social skills do lack abit because when addressing a child i change my voice and the words i use, ect, and such like. but if its a job where you work in a clothing store, when im in a clothing store buying clothes i've often found that person on the till will comment on the top im buying by saying something like 'this is a lovely top' or 'i really like this top its pretty'. of course alter the comments suitable to what the person is buying. ect. you can pretty much comment on this someone once commented on a pair of jeans i was buying they said ' theese look like nice ' or you could always tell the person who's buying the item 'wow this is really pretty it will look nice on you'

also maybe watch other people when you have conversation with them, and such like. when you go for a job interview as hard as it is try to maintain eye contact and shake their hand, a firm hand shake but not so firm that you break thier hand or hurt them in the process of shaking thier hand and smile at them. also maybe tell them 'i have a dissability which means my social skills are'nt quite as you would expect them to be for someone of my age' they will respect you for telling them this. also what i've found helps is asking the interviwer or the people who are interviewing you how they are too. also ask questions about the job your applying to such as 'how do you see the buisness doing in say 2 years ' and ask general questions, and more formal ones such as ' what is poilicy on harrasment?' when they ask you questions about yourself answer them the best you can. when the interview is over smile, and shake their hand agian, and thank them and then tell them that you look forward to hearing from them soon. smile agian and wait for them to say you can leave.



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Re: I have a question.. - May 9th 2011, 09:29 PM

Thanks. And thank you for bringing up job interviews. I need to get a job, but I don't know how to act at all in job interviews. Yes, I know, I'm lame. But I want to make sure I do well.

What should I do and what should I not do?
(Please explain as if I was 16 and never even thought about having a job).
   
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