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Thread: I really need to get my social skills back

  1. #31
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Hanging around a bunch of 20 somethings is a huge part of the problem. You need friends in your own age groups and life stage. You can start this by volunteering and developing some interests and joining some groups and clubs.
    Originally Posted by Markus86
    Most of my classmates are around 20-24 years old, but that shouldn't be a problem

  2. #32
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    Originally Posted by Markus86
    Yes I am aware that I should focus more on paying attention to other things than myself, it's just really hard to avoid falling into that self-absorbed state where I worry about myself because that's what I have been doing for several years now.

    My social skills also depend a lot on the situation;
    I can have relaxed conversations with people once one of us have started on a topic that I am reasonably interested in, and then have long discussions about that with no problem.
    So it's a little bit diffuse sometimes, but basically I need more practice in avoiding those self-absorbed thoughts and being more relaxed among people in general.

    At the moment, I think it might be better for my overall well-being to try improving on the things that don't necessarily have anything to do with social interactions.
    I have had a break from strength training for several months now and became a member again just a couple hours ago, so that's what I will start with tomorrow first of all.
    Then from there, I guess I can basically take any opportunity to speak with people when I feel some certain motivation to do that, like if I want to ask some classmates about something that seems hard in the course or something like that, or maybe give my own advice about something that someone is talking about and that I have got the hang of myself - instead of feeling that I "should" talk to them every lecture.
    Lots of things are hard. So what? If it's worth it you do it. So do you have a natural curiosity about people? What they like, don't like, how they think, what their lives have been like, where they like to travel, eat, see theater, etc? Yes it's fine to ask a classmate about things you are studying -that is an interaction focused on you and your needs. Many people are helpful/like to help and that often has nothing to do with developing a friendship. Yes, it's good to give advice if a person asks you for your advice. Giving unsolicited advice especially to someone you don't know well can come across as overbearing and not that friendly.

    I like the idea of strength training of course - often if you work on your body you then feel more confident overall!

  3. #33
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    Originally Posted by Batya33
    Lots of things are hard. So what? If it's worth it you do it. So do you have a natural curiosity about people? What they like, don't like, how they think, what their lives have been like, where they like to travel, eat, see theater, etc? Yes it's fine to ask a classmate about things you are studying -that is an interaction focused on you and your needs. Many people are helpful/like to help and that often has nothing to do with developing a friendship. Yes, it's good to give advice if a person asks you for your advice. Giving unsolicited advice especially to someone you don't know well can come across as overbearing and not that friendly.

    I like the idea of strength training of course - often if you work on your body you then feel more confident overall!
    Yeah, I visited the gym earlier today, and that wasn't a problem, so it feels good to get that part of my life going again.

    One annoying problem that I find myself having among people, though, is that due to my overall insecurity among them I very easily feel judged when I receive eye contact from someone who looks grave or serious in some way - it is a bit draining for me to get eye contact with someone who has that grave look, because it gives me the feeling that they dislike my presence or something, kind of as if their eyes as saying "what are you doing here?", which is kinda weird since nobody actually knows me and I haven't done anything that would give me a bad reputation in any way.
    My solution to this problem has been to avoid all eye contact with everyone and mind my own business as much as I can, but this feels a bit weird.
    Of course, they might look grave because I might look slightly tense and uncomfortable, and thus simply react to that and feel a bit uncomfortable themselves.

    I know that I didn't have any problem with, for example, making eye contact with girls and giving them a playful smile when I was a teenager;
    I just treated it as some innocent flirting, and if they looked a bit grave in the beginning then I would just try to make them feel comfortable with me by holding eye contact with them for a while and giving them a kind smile, so that maybe they became willing to smile themselves (which did work a lot of the time, and that always felt great), and I felt that I had full control over those kinds of situations - and if they didn't respond the way I wanted to then I would just think to myself "alright, no problem" and leave.
    I remember that one of my main role models back then was Leonardo DiCaprio in "Titanic", and I had randomly decided to try flirting with girls the way he is flirting with the character Rose early in that movie the first time he sees her, and I got fairly good at it after a while.
    This is a lot harder right now, since I don't have that encouraging energy from a social network with lots of friends to fall back on, but I guess that going to the gym and improving as many things as possible in my life will help with that.

    I still consider visiting the school's night club this weekend - definitely on either Friday or Saturday.
    I also consider re-joining that ensemble orchestra that I used to be a member of, since that has been one of my best chances to actually have conversations with people at my school in the last couple years.
    Last edited by Markus86; 10-07-2019 at 11:53 PM.

  4. #34
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    See a doctor for a complete evaluation. There is no reason to suffer this way and analyse every "grave look" etc.
    Originally Posted by Markus86
    I know that I didn't have any problem with, for example, making eye contact with girls and giving them a playful smile when I was a teenager;
    I just treated it as some innocent flirting, and if they looked a bit grave in the beginning then I would just try to make them feel comfortable with me by holding eye contact with them for a while and giving them a kind smile

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  6. #35
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    "I still consider visiting the school's night club this weekend - definitely on either Friday or Saturday.
    I also consider re-joining that ensemble orchestra that I used to be a member of, since that has been one of my best chances to actually have conversations with people at my school in the last couple years."

    So when you join a group of people chatting -what "are" you doing there -why are you there and are you inserting yourself into a more private convo even if it's a group?

    I think you need to look at flirting/romantic interest as a separate category from how to interact with people socially for the purpose of being involved in an activity, getting to know the person better, or both.

    I quoted above because those are great ways to meet likeminded people!

    Do you think you have an approachable vibe/energy? How is your body language and posture? Can you work on faking it till you make it -not with flirting, I mean with having a more relaxed, open, approachable demeanor.

  7. #36
    Bronze Member kim42's Avatar
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    I think you are putting too much pressure on yourself, take baby steps, someone gave great advice on how to be more approachable. Try to accept it will take some time to improve your social skills, and maybe dwell less on the past, there's no way you can be exactly the same person as you were at high school, but it doesn't mean you can't feel good in your own skin as an adult.

  8. #37
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    Originally Posted by kim42
    I think you are putting too much pressure on yourself, take baby steps, someone gave great advice on how to be more approachable. Try to accept it will take some time to improve your social skills, and maybe dwell less on the past, there's no way you can be exactly the same person as you were at high school, but it doesn't mean you can't feel good in your own skin as an adult.
    Yes, basically I am just aiming to get back my relaxed personality that I had back then.
    I think that the fact that my teenage self could easily make eye contact with girls and casually flirt with them without feeling the least bit awkward summarises quite well what kind of social level that I am aiming for - because if you are gonna be able to do something like that in a relaxed and effortless way then you generally need to feel very confident in yourself and have a light-hearted personality, otherwise it will just feel stiff and awkward.
    So I will definitely know that I have made some significant progress when I start noticing that I can do that again.

    I have started going to the gym again (I will go there in a couple hours, actually), so it feels good to have started doing that again, and I will try visiting the school's night club this Saturday and basically just hang out there for maybe 20-30 minutes without demanding anything more than that from myself on my first visit.
    Then I might go there again the weekend after that and try ordering something at the bar desk or something, and work my way up in those environments as well.
    I might even find some sort of activity there somewhere, and meet people that way.

  9. #38
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    Originally Posted by Markus86
    Yes, basically I am just aiming to get back my relaxed personality that I had back then.
    I think that the fact that my teenage self could easily make eye contact with girls and casually flirt with them without feeling the least bit awkward summarises quite well what kind of social level that I am aiming for - because if you are gonna be able to do something like that in a relaxed and effortless way then you generally need to feel very confident in yourself and have a light-hearted personality.

    I have started going to the gym again (I will go there in a couple hours, actually), so it feels good to have started doing that again, and I will try visiting the school's night club this Saturday and basically just hang out there for maybe 20-30 minutes without demanding anything more than that from myself on my first visit.
    Then I might go there again the weekend after that and try ordering something at the bar desk or something.
    So this isn't about social skills that are geared toward getting to know people in a meaningful way, or geared toward wanting others to be comfortable around you. You want to be able to flirt with "girls" in a relaxed way. That's not about friendship or even general social skills. You used to be able to attract "girls" because you gave off a confident, relaxed vibe. But teenage girls are not the same as adult women. When I was a teenage girl I loved male attention/flirting for its own sake so I was much more likely to react to it and welcome it than when I matured, got more selective, didn't need the male attention in that way. Going to a night club is about meeting younger girls at your school, right? Not about social skills or making friends or even meeting likeminded people. The issue is that if there are teenage girls there they will not be comfortable most likely with the age gap and if you treat adult women like girls who like to flirt with any number of cute guys they're not going to go for that if they have reasonable self confidence.

    Just because you can flirt with girls doesn't mean you have self-confidence generally. My suggestion -keep working out, find some volunteer opportunities at or outside of school that are more likely to involve adults your age, and interact with people in a natural way -because you'll all be involved in the same goal/activity.

  10. #39
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    Originally Posted by Batya33
    So this isn't about social skills that are geared toward getting to know people in a meaningful way, or geared toward wanting others to be comfortable around you. You want to be able to flirt with "girls" in a relaxed way. That's not about friendship or even general social skills. You used to be able to attract "girls" because you gave off a confident, relaxed vibe. But teenage girls are not the same as adult women. When I was a teenage girl I loved male attention/flirting for its own sake so I was much more likely to react to it and welcome it than when I matured, got more selective, didn't need the male attention in that way. Going to a night club is about meeting younger girls at your school, right? Not about social skills or making friends or even meeting likeminded people. The issue is that if there are teenage girls there they will not be comfortable most likely with the age gap and if you treat adult women like girls who like to flirt with any number of cute guys they're not going to go for that if they have reasonable self confidence.

    Just because you can flirt with girls doesn't mean you have self-confidence generally. My suggestion -keep working out, find some volunteer opportunities at or outside of school that are more likely to involve adults your age, and interact with people in a natural way -because you'll all be involved in the same goal/activity.
    Well that wasn't what I meant, I just meant that I would notice a significant improvement if I started being able to flirt like that again, since this is something that I currently feel very awkward about doing, regardless of whether those girls are my age or not - and I think that one big reason for this is because I still need to work on a lot of things regardless my social life in general.
    And my planned visits at the school's night club are only meant to be a way for me to get used to hanging out in those environments, and exposing myself to "new" situations.
    I am actually not sure if I even want to get any encounters with girls on my first visit - I did go to that night club one time when I spent time with my classmates from my original class (I was 28 years old when I did that - I study a 5-year program and I had to retake my second year), and at one point I went up to the bar desk and ordered something and got approached by two girls that I had never seen before who tried to talk, and I was extremely brief and tried to find an excuse to go back to my classmates, so that wasn't even a pleasant experience.
    I could feel awkward in a similar way in those situations when I was a teenager as well, but those times it felt more like a funny situation that I found mildly amusing, whereas that scenario at the night club made me feel like "seriously, I am not in the mood for this, just let me go" inside.
    But I think that this is a part of my general discomfort in social situations.

  11. #40
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    You don't see an issues with a 33 y/o middle aged man trying to act like a 16 y/o?
    Originally Posted by Markus86
    I am just aiming to get back my relaxed personality that I had back then.
    I think that the fact that my teenage self could easily make eye contact with girls and casually flirt with them without feeling the least bit awkward

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