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Working through issues with social interaction.

 
 
Reply Tue 17 Jul, 2012 08:27 pm
I've been recently going through some self discovery and think that I may have Sensual Processing Sensitivity (SPS) but I'm not certain. I don't really have difficulty talking to people and don't feel shy, nervous, or anxious, it's just that when talking with people face to face (especially multiple people) I feel myself start to shut down I start feeling like I'm overwhelmed. It's a whole lot better if they aren't looking at me or at least not making eye contact. I sort of feel as if it might be a sort of "performace anxiety" but that doesn't seem to fit. I'm just wondering if there is anyone here that might be able to help me make sense of this.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 4 • Views: 1,745 • Replies: 12
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Jul, 2012 04:07 am
This is pretty difficult, because no one here is going to know your background well enough to advise you. If this were so bad as to be paralyzing you, then the best advice would be to seek counselling. However, you son't make it sound that bad. Perhaps you should consider your own personal history to determine if there are episodes from your past, or from the sum of your childhood experiences which make this difficult for you.
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Jul, 2012 01:51 pm
There are a lot or people who don't like eye to eye contact,. Have you always been this way?

If it is preventing you from finding friends or romance, then see a therapist.
TheFallout
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Jul, 2012 06:00 pm
@Setanta,
It's not paralyzing but I either tend focus on one person that I know best or feel most comfortable around or simply avoid everyone and only give short responses. I've never really been talkative and have really only ever had a couple friends at a time. It's not so much that I want more friends, it's just I don't want to seem distant or as if I don't like people because I don't talk to them or give very limited responses. I personally don't feel that this is a problem, it's just that my wife wants to start meeting other people (like other couples) and we both have difficulty meeting people (she has social anxiety).

Sometimes I think that my being sort of a "control freak" plays a factor in it? When other people are talking or have just had a conversation or even a simple statement was said, I tend to just imagine how the conversation could have gone or can go instead of actually participating and having to try and control the conversation or try to plan ahead and think of how the person would respond. I think this might be why I talk more with people I know because I can more easily predict how the conversation will go and how they will respond. I don't think that this explains everything though.
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TheFallout
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Jul, 2012 06:05 pm
@PUNKEY,
I actually feel as if I have to keep eye contact with people when talking to them. I just feel that if I don't make/keep eye contact with someone that it's a signal that I don't want to talk which is really the desired effect. I also actually don't want to make friends, I find that my wife is enough social interaction with me an occasionally making small talk with people at work.
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Sun 22 Jul, 2012 06:07 pm
@TheFallout,
Socially, what is it that you want out of life?
roger
 
  2  
Reply Sun 22 Jul, 2012 06:32 pm
@TheFallout,
My own opinion is that that eye contact thing can be overdone. If there's too much of it, I begin to suspect my opposite of trying overwhelm me with false sincerity. If it doesn't come naturally, I suggest you don't force it.

Anyway, in the Navajo culture, eye contact is hardly considered polite. They probably think we Anglos are rude, while being thought of as shifty by us. There are probably other cultures with similar outlooks.
chai2
 
  2  
Reply Sun 22 Jul, 2012 07:47 pm
@roger,
I am so with you roger.
I feel it very unnatural to have others what I consider "stare" at me when talking.

I look at the people I'm talking to, but tend to take in their whole body, look away to break up the interactions.

It's not like being shifty, when someone won't meet your gaze.

Also, sometimes when I'm talking to someone, and they don't meet my gaze, I realize it's because they are shy, or like the OP, are just not comfortable.

I'll let them set the pace.
TheFallout
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Aug, 2012 07:39 pm
@vikorr,
Wow, I have been gone for a long while, sorry about that.

I'm personally fine with my social life...or actually lack there of. It's just that my wife wants to go out and meet people and make friends but has trouble doing it on her own because she has social anxiety. So basically I'm looking for advice that might help me become more sociable, or at least give me the tools or show me the "path" in order to becoming more sociable.

Another problem that I think I've noticed is that I seem to not just want to say thing just to say them. I like my words to really mean something, either a funny joke where people laugh, a witty remark, a deep thought, etc. I do also find that I'm a little timid in when I should say such things. I don't have trouble thinking them up but I believe that I focus too much on how people might react to it and whether it would even be worthwhile in saying.
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TheFallout
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Aug, 2012 07:47 pm
@chai2,
I don't believe that I stare, it's just that I lock eye contact with the person's dominate eye and blink normally, It's not as if I'm unblinking and wide-eyed like some psycho or something. It's just that I don't really shift my gaze unless I have reason to (like if I'm driving or something). I'll also shift back and forth if I'm talking with multiple people but when they are talking I'll aways lock eye contact with the person speaking (assuming I'm participating in the conversation that is). I also hate not returning, for example if you're in a board interview and only one person talk but everyone is staring at you, I hate not looking back at them and having to focus on just one person.
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Aug, 2012 05:39 am
@TheFallout,
Hi - I'm not a psychologist (just in case the following gives the impression) - I just have a deep interest in all things human.

Are you aware that people experience life in 3 main ways - Visually, Auditory, and Sensory - and that one of those traits is usually our dominant way of experiencing life? And by that I don't mean 'through our senses', but rather - if you were predominantly 'sensory' - then it is your feelings about things you remember most, and your sense of touch. Such people would say (for example) 'It feels right to me', while a visually dominant person would say "I can see how that would work"

Also, there is usually more than one reason for why we do anything, or even for any pattern of behaviour we experience within ourselves.

Quote:
don't feel shy, nervous, or anxious, it's just that when talking with people face to face (especially multiple people) I feel myself start to shut down I start feeling like I'm overwhelmed

It's a whole lot better if they aren't looking at me or at least not making eye contact.

I either tend focus on one person that I know best or feel most comfortable around or simply avoid everyone and only give short responses

I've never really been talkative and have really only ever had a couple friends at a time

I think this might be why I talk more with people I know because I can more easily predict how the conversation will go and how they will respond.

This points out something you already know - you aren't shy, but you get drained by being around too many people (look up the definition of introvert - introverts get drained by being around too many people, while extroverts become energised by the same)
Quote:
It's not so much that I want more friends, it's just I don't want to seem distant or as if I don't like people because I don't talk to them or give very limited responses.

Another problem that I think I've noticed is that I seem to not just want to say thing just to say them.

I like my words to really mean something, either a funny joke where people laugh, a witty remark, a deep thought, etc.

I do also find that I'm a little timid in when I should say such things. I don't have trouble thinking them up but I believe that I focus too much on how people might react to it and whether it would even be worthwhile in saying.

This points out that you feel a deep need for others approval. If you didn't, you wouldn't feel timid (all timidity is born of fear)...and your need to say only meaningful/deep/funny things seems very related.

Quote:
Sometimes I think that my being sort of a "control freak" plays a factor in it?

...and having to try and control the conversation or try to plan ahead and think of how the person would respond

This points out a perfectionist streak. Perfectionist streaks can have a number of sources :
- a deep desire to excel
- a deep need to control your life to make up for a deep feeling of helplessness (or lack of control)

Note : the last is not contradictory - our brain has several areas that compete with each other (we have an instinctual area, an emotional area, a logical area, a visual area, a reward area etc). You can feel helpless in one part of your brain, while another part fights to control your life....those two areas can then become conflicted.

Note also : one is a desire to excel, while the other is a desire to control - but they can both come out as 'perfectionist'.
Quote:
When other people are talking or have just had a conversation or even a simple statement was said, I tend to just imagine how the conversation could have gone or can go instead of actually participating and having to try and control the conversation or try to plan ahead and think of how the person would respond.

This is to point out that you don't have the same problem in your internal world that you have in your face to face world. I'd say this is a form of escapism, and wishfulness. But it probably doesn't help you in the way you want.

Many introverts have a strong internal world (it's in a way easier for them to deal with). Many have a perfectionist streak. Many have difficulty with assertiveness and conflict. Many prefer just a few friends that they are comfortable with - being around numerous strangers for a long period of time will leave them feeling drained.

I asked what you want socially - because it will help you set goals if you know what you want. If you set goals, you can then go about moving towards them, and start learning what you need to know to achieve it.

With you, I'd train myself to see each social situation as (me) dealing with one person at a time...acknowledging that it will be draining...but also that I will learn worthwhile things about myself, worthwhile skills, and start interacting more consciously with people.
TheFallout
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Aug, 2012 12:16 pm
@vikorr,
Thank you for all of the information, some of it seems to fit while other parts don't but then again we don't really know each other and for speculation I think you have done a wonderful job.

Some other information that I have found out that I previously did not know was that as a young child I would have trouble transitioning between different activities and would throw huge temper tantrums over it. One of my teachers would always hug me incredible tightly in order to calm me down which would always work. I'm not sure if this helps or provides any additional insight but Setanta previously advise that consider my past personal history.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Aug, 2012 03:38 pm
@TheFallout,
btw fallout, I don't think staring means not blinking. I mean when someone locks eyes on you and doesn't look at anything else.

It's disconcerting and strange.
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