Social ineptness

Chat with others about dyspraxia and share your experiences.

Social ineptness

Postby mattie » Wed Apr 13, 2005 1:48 am

Ever since I was little, I've always been very awkward in social situations. This, unfortunately, is something that I've never managed to master. Even now, I get really nervous in everyday situations that most people would laugh at - such as paying in a shop, or during any social gathering. I even get nervous when I'm working in my part-time job! I'm just really crap with people, unfortunately. It really embarrasses me to admit this, but since everyone is anonymous on this forum, no one will know who I am anyway. Thank God!

It really gets me down sometimes and I feel totally helpless. I feel that life is passing me by (I'm in my early 20s) and I haven't done the things that normal people of my age have done yet. Before I know it I'll be middle-aged!

To demonstrate how socially inept I am, I have gone over a month without venturing outdoors, in the past. I now try to avoid any social situations altogether as I only end up looking stupid. As for my social life - I'm afraid it's completely non-existent.

Oh well, I suppose I should be thankful because there are more unfortunate people in this world than me.
Last edited by mattie on Wed Apr 13, 2005 3:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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I can relate

Postby Hermionefan5 » Wed Apr 13, 2005 1:56 am

Hey Maddie,

This is Shanna. I am a 19 year old American girl. I used to be a lot more afraid of social situations than I am now, but I still have trouble with a lot of the things you said. LIke paying at the cash register. I get nervous that people are judging me all of the time. :oops: I just try to be calm and if that doesn't work, um...I just try to think that everyone gets nervous around social situations every once in a while. That makes me feel a little better. :) I hope this helps. I know how hard it is to be social sometimes although I don't really know how you feel exactly. :)
Hope you feel better. This website is really cool and it really helps with problems.

Fellow Dyspraxic,
Shanna, age 19, North Central College, Naperville, Illinois 8)
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Postby Phil » Wed Apr 13, 2005 8:32 am

I have the same problems. People have been too over judgemental over my communications skills in the past.

I am trying to improved all the time.
Last edited by Phil on Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Helen » Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:43 am

Hi Mattie,
You are not alone in your worries about coping in social situations. Many with dyspraxia have the same problems and insecurities and believe me, plenty of us without dyspraxia do too.

Have you any friends who understand your difficulties that you could go out with? Places like cinemas are good because once in the movie you don't have to talk and then afterwards you all have a common topic to talk about. Are you a member of the Dyspraxia Foundation? They do have adult support groups around the UK. Maybe it would be worth contcting them to see if there is a group near to you. Among people who understand dyspraxia because they live with it too, you may feel more relaxed and begin to cope better when in social situations.
Have you any hobbies or interests that may open up opportunities to join groups and meet like minded people? Even enrolling on a short collage course in something you have an interest in may help.

I understand that it is a challenge for you to get out and meet people, but if you always avoid doing it, you will become more and more isolated and it will become more and more difficult for you. If you have one postitive socail experience, it will build your confidence and self belief. You are still very young (oh how I wish I was still in my 20s! :wink: ) and you can learn to cope out there.

Don't be so hard an yourself Mattie. You have written here with eloquence and expressed your feelings perfectly. You can learn to do the same socially if you just give yourself a chance and try to create opportunities to practice.

As for paying in shops etc. Those people do not know you and so you have no need to worry what they think. We all have days when we make prats of ourselves but there really is no shame in it. Just be polite to the person who serves you. Say hello, smile, anything to show them that you are friendly. If you feel confident to, make a friendly comment relevant to the day. 'It is a beautiful day' for example. Before you leave say thank you and smile again. Try it next time you go out Mattie and see how you go. They will not judge you, they will smile back and you will leave them feeling that they have just served someone who is cheerful, polite and respectful.

I always say that it is possible to spread a smile. If you smile at someone it lifts their mood and they are more likely to smile at the next person they meet and so on. Before you know it you could have been responsible for making someone smile in Australia! A warm friendly smile speaks a thousand words and will often lead to a conversation starting up, even if it is about the weather! :D

All the best Mattie. I really hope you are able to find a way to build your self esteem and confidence. Stay in touch.

Helen
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Postby Hermionefan5 » Wed Apr 13, 2005 2:50 pm

Sorry I spelt your name wrong. I spelled it Maddie instead of Mattie!! :oops:

Shanna
Image is from "Gilmore Girls" Season 1
"You are the same as everyone else."--"Forrest Gump"
"I want you to go out there and skate for these people like I have seen you skate."--"The Cutting Edge"
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Postby parnassus » Wed Apr 13, 2005 6:55 pm

Helen's right, Mattie. Many, many dyspraxic people are just like you. I used to feel sickish and clammy if I had to deal with shopkeepers, and if I'm eating with my parents in a restaurant I chicken out and ask them to order for me. Talking to strangers is a very frightening and disorientating experience. BUT IT DOES GET EASIER.

The symptoms you describe might be allied to agoraphobia or another form of extreme anxiety called social phobia. Take a look at this list of agoraphobic symptoms from the National Phobics Society:

During the past 6 months:-

Do you regularly avoid situations because you are frightened of having a panic attack?
Do any of the following make you feel anxious:-
Going outside away from your home
Standing in long lines
Being in a confined space such as being in a tunnel, on the underground etc.
Being at home alone
Being in wide open spaces, such as in a field, in a park
Being in crowded places
Do you avoid being in any of the above situations?

http://www.phobics-society.org.uk/

According to my psychology textbook, agoraphobia:

Is easily treatable
Is one of the most common of all anxiety problems
Usually kicks in between the ages of fifteen and ninteen, and is especially problematic in the 18-29 age group.

If the problem gets no better, you could ask your GP for a referral to a mental health professional who could help you to fight agoraphobia. Remember, it can be cured completely.
"This above all, to thine own self be true." - Polonius, Hamlet.
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Postby mattie » Wed Apr 13, 2005 8:32 pm

Thanks for all your words of encouragement.

I've realised that I desperately need to face my social phobias. If I leave it any longer then it'll only get worse. Therefore, I am very determined to address my fears in the near future.

The good news is that I am going to apply for another part-time job in the next few weeks. I left my last one because it didn't go as planned. Hopefully, my new part-time job should give me a bit more confidence and enable me to earn a bit of money so I can go out more. :D

I have also received unconditional offers to study Accountancy and Finance at Bristol, Durham, Nottingham, Exeter and East Anglia. I don't really know which one to choose at the moment. I want to travel from home as I don't think I could cope living away from home. Being at Uni should give me the chance to be in a few more social situations, though, which can only be a good thing.

I don't think that things will suddenly improve overnight. It will be a gradual process, but I now realise that the only way to conquer my fears is to face them.
Last edited by mattie on Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Hermionefan5 » Wed Apr 13, 2005 8:42 pm

Good luck, Mattie!!

I will be praying for you,
Shanna
Image is from "Gilmore Girls" Season 1
"You are the same as everyone else."--"Forrest Gump"
"I want you to go out there and skate for these people like I have seen you skate."--"The Cutting Edge"
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Postby mattie » Wed Apr 13, 2005 10:45 pm

Thanks!

My moods have become so changeable. Some days I feel really down (and just don't want to wake up) and then I have some days, like today, when I feel more positive. :?
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Postby Hermionefan5 » Thu Apr 14, 2005 3:21 am

Write if there is anything any of us can do to help.

Shanna
Image is from "Gilmore Girls" Season 1
"You are the same as everyone else."--"Forrest Gump"
"I want you to go out there and skate for these people like I have seen you skate."--"The Cutting Edge"
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Postby mattie » Thu Apr 14, 2005 11:56 pm

Thanks Shanna. You're very kind. I just need to be a bit braver and then hopefully things will improve. :)

I've only just noticed that there is another dyspraxia forum so I've joined that as well. :D
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Postby parnassus » Fri Apr 15, 2005 12:41 pm

Durham is a lovely city and its university is world-class. I personally would choose Durham, although you may feel comfortable at one of the others. Do what is best for you.

And you never know - you may be perfectly capable of coping with life away from home. I thought I'd never be able to do it when I first came to boarding school, aged thirteen - my social skills were so weak. It took me two years to settle down, but I did it and I'm so proud of myself now. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith. Great people often have to take great risks.
"This above all, to thine own self be true." - Polonius, Hamlet.
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Postby madame_tigre » Fri Apr 15, 2005 4:38 pm

I hope things turn out well for you Mattie.

Most people on this forum will understand how you feel. My mum is always persuading me to ring up some friends at the weekend and I don't, it's not because I don't want to see them, it's more to the fact that I'm worried they won't want to see me!

Good luck on future social situations. The more you have them, the more confident you'll become!
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Postby Hermionefan5 » Sat Apr 16, 2005 9:49 am

What is the site for the other forum?

Shanna :)
Image is from "Gilmore Girls" Season 1
"You are the same as everyone else."--"Forrest Gump"
"I want you to go out there and skate for these people like I have seen you skate."--"The Cutting Edge"
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Postby mattie » Sat Apr 16, 2005 6:02 pm

Matt's hideout. I'm under the username spursfan.
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