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Share any tips or ideas that you have which make living with dyspraxia easier.(Please start a new thread for each tip)
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Wed Feb 22, 2006 5:31 pm

I'd rather not go any further into that particular issue...

Tue Feb 28, 2006 1:47 pm

I read a book on communication skills last summer. It was not specifically for people with learning differences, but it operated on the premise thtat many people are not aware as they should be of basic social rules. To be sure that the reader understood, it started very basic, and I found it most useful.

One thing it really stressed was trying to monitor one's facial expression in having a conversation. I find this somewhat difficult. Whether or not I am intereted, I often have to consciously make my face look certain ways. I have a practiced sympathy face that I use when I want to show sympathy. It's not that I don't care; it is that I want to let people know I care, and that won't happen without extra effort.

Another tip was to try to introduce new topics by making a brief statement about something that interests you, and ask if you can talk about it. Then, one is supposed to just say a few sentences unless the other person is really asking lots of questions and seems really intrigued. I think this is a good idea, but it is much easier said than done!

I find that I never know what to say for small talk. If it is on the phone, I make a list of things to speak about before the conversation. It might be helpful to make a list before going out to converse with friends, as long as one is not sitting there reading the list. (Although I suppose people have done odder things).

Also, I find that if one asks other people lots of appropriate questions, and then just keep nodding your head and saying "oh," it makes them talk and you can mostly just listen. Many people like to talk about themselves. Some questions aren't appropriate, of course, and I do not claim to be an authority here! I guess ideas would be things that one knows the person likes to talk about. Maybe to keep it balanced, one could talk about a favorite topic for a certain amount of time (perhaps subtly look at one's watch) before switching to something different. Otherwise, it is easy at times to dominate a conversation that one finds especially fascinating.

Sun Mar 05, 2006 3:34 pm

* Smile

* Try not to interupt

* Ask open-ended questions. This means questions that do not require a 'yes' or 'no' answer, for example instead of 'you all right?' 'How are you?' instead of 'Do you like it at college?' 'How do you find college?' This gives people more opportunity to speak and makes it easier for you because you can listen and don't have to think of much to say. And as theyre giving you more information than if you ask closed questions, you find out more there's more opportunity to talk more about what you've found out

* Don't talk about yourself too much

* Ask people questions about themself. (Nothnig too personal though!) If at college/school/work, things like 'So, what made you want to study this course/do this job?' 'How are you finding that assignment?' If at a party of a friend, 'So how do you know (friend's name)?' 'Where do you live?'

* Give and receive compliments. People love to hear nice things about themselves! Say something simple like 'I liek that jumper you're wearing' or 'I hear you got an A in that assignement, very well done.' Smile as you say it. At the same time if someone says something nice about you, don't shrug it off or boast, just smile and says 'thank you.'

* If in a group of people, try to focus on one person who looks nice or isn't saying a lot and talk to them. See tham as individual people, not a group. Gradually involve more people in the conversation when you become more confident or allow more people to join the conversation if they say things

* Seem generally interested in people's well being by asking them how they are. Seem interested in what they have to say. For example if someone says 'I am off to University next year', you could say 'Oh, that sounds excellent!'

They are my tips for general social situations with acquaintances. I'm not so good at getting close to people and making actual 'friends.' I don't believe there are any real tips you an give for friends because every situation and friend you have is going to be different. Some friends may be joined at the hip while others may be perfectly happy seeing each other once a week. However in general:

* Stay true to yourself. You don't always have to agree with everything your friend says as long as your opinion can be justified. For example if they are for capital punishment and you are against, state your reasons for your views and be prepared to listen to there views for. It can be very interesting

* Compliment your friend. Do this more than you would an acqaintance. Obviously you like your friend or you wouldn't want to be friends with them so make sure you tell them. Praise their successes and attempts

* Buy your friend presents and gifts now and again 'just because.' Be generous. However don't do this too often or you will lose all your money! And don't do this in order to 'keep' your friend, they should like you for who you are

* Invite your friend over and enjoy the time you spend with your friend. If your friend is at your house for the first time, remember they will not know where everything is. Show them the toilet and yuour bedroom. Ask them if they would like a drink or soemthnig to eat etc.

* I find it helps sometimes to share problems with friends but this one is a bit debateable. If a friend shares a problem with you listen to them without interupting and be sympathetic. Don't try to offer any immediate solutions if the problem is big and seems hard to solve or make out somethnig isn't big when your friend thinks it is. Say somthing like 'That must be hard for you' or 'Is there anything I could do to help?'

* Finally, make sure friends are not taking you for granted and like you for you. I'd rather have no friends at all than twenty 'fake' ones who just want money/gifts/homework help.

I must admit, I don't do all of these and some of them may seem a bit strange or hard. Sometimes I just want to be by myself on a desert island but at others I feel I need people and I need friends. I'm sorry if some of these sounds obvious for some of you but I hope these tips have been of some help.

Mon May 15, 2006 5:48 pm

Ask questions.
Be yourself.
I dont have many tips cos Im not particulary good at socialising and it doesnt help that Im pretty quiet and shy as well but Im reading everyone elses tips.

Mon May 15, 2006 6:07 pm

I think this quote may be appropriate here:

"Life's a dance, you learn as you go. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow. Don't worry about what you don't know. Life's a dance, you learn as you go."-Country Song by someone I can't remember who

You're nervous trying to meet someone new, but it's okay. You will get better! Don't worry about what you don't know-you don't know how they will react to you, if they'll like you, etc. Just try to be yourself and talk to them. I know, easier said than done, but trust me, practice, and you will get better. I did and I have been getting better ever since.

Try to be yourself. If they don't like you as you, then they are not going to be a good friend to you.

Ask questions, but not too personal. Good ones might be about if they have siblings, do they like a certain type of hobby you like (although not something weird, something like sports, movies, books,etc.). I also wouldn't mention you like certian books right away b/c some can offend people or freak them out, ie. Harry Potter, LOTR, DaVinci Code, Brokeback Mountain. If you are at a Harry Potter event or something, ask their favorite character. Many questions you can ask without offending or making someone feel uncomfortable.

Take care of yourself. Shower, look presentable. People will be more apt to look at you and talk to you if you look like you respect yourself. It doesn't mean wear your prom dress/tux every day, but just don't look like you just rolled out of bed all the time. (It's okay for if you are sick or if you are just maybe hanging out with your closest friends, but meeting new people requires some kind of shower/presentable clothes (not jammies, unless a pajama party).

Don't talk about gross things like your period, sperm, sex stuff, etc., especially at the lunch table.

Don't interrupt or talk with your mouth full. Wipe your face when you eat. Make sure you know what time to meet your friends and wear a watch to keep track of the time. Carry a timer with you if you must so you won't be late.

It's okay to be fashionably late for certain kinds of parties, dances, etc. Ask when your other friends will be going before you decide when to go.

Make up an event calendar of where you will spend time with people and be sure to schedule some alone time too. 8)

Make up a weekly lunch time with a friend or a special time to hang out. My friend likes to watch Law and Order: SVU and she has parties every Tuesday night when it comes on. We go to the parties, hang out, and watch the show. It's only for one hour and about 5 people come. I've gotten to know some cool girls since coming there this past month. 8)

Make up a time to call old friends from high school/childhood each week. I need to get better at this. You can catch up on things you've missed in their lives. It's fun to reminisce on the "old days" too. :D

Schedule homework and social time appropriately. Don't spend too much time socializing or you won't get any work done! However, you do need to have some time for friends and fun! Balance is key. This is still something I'm figuring out. :)

Remember what Eleanor Roosevelt said: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

It means that no one can make you feel bad unless you let them. If people try to put you down, then just ignore them. The people that try to make you feel inferior are not worth your time. Don't give them that consent to make you feel like you are less worth it than them. 8)

Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:15 pm

My tips are just to be yourself,go and join clubs,smile and don't pretend to be someone your not

Mon Mar 19, 2007 2:04 pm

My tips are the following:

Make sure that you show interest in what they are talking about-try to ask questions at appropriate times in the conversation-if you do this for them, they are more likely to show interest in you, in my experience.

Try not to interrupt them mid conversation-this is a problem area for me because I am very impulsive so as soon as a thought comes into my head, I blurt it out almost without thinking-just be patient and wait until there is a gap in the conversation where you can add your thoughts.

Try to always be helpful and kind to them-if you see they are struggling with something, offer to help-in school, I had a Chinese friend who struggled with English so I helped her with her English and we actually became really close friends through that.

Try to join clubs or societies where people will have the same interests as you-this gives you something in common and will thus make conversation easier.

Make eye contact or at least give the illusion of making eye contact-this tells people that you are confident and interested in what they have to say.

Always be yourself-never change yourself to fit in with other people-everyone is unique and if people can't accept you for who you are, they're not worth the bother.

I pretty much use all these strategies and, for someone with Aspergers (my comorbid difficulty), I am actually pretty popular and all my friends are genuine ones. I do not find these strategies particularly easy but they have paid off for me.

Mon Mar 19, 2007 4:51 pm

The best one I've found is to help people. If they want to borrow something, let them - if they need help, help them. In this way you'll be much better off through three ways - it enhances your reputation, makes you feel better about yourself and helps others. Along with several other things, it helps others to respect you.

Mon Mar 19, 2007 8:18 pm

My top tip for making freinds is this...

Ease your way into the group, then force your personality in their faces.

Mind you my group of freinds are a little bizaar. We never do anything in half measures, infact one of them has practicaly two personalities for his happy mood :D and sad mood :cry: like a yin side and a yan side. Anyway, the first part of my advice still stands, find general acceptance before revealing your more unique traits, at a pace feels right for the group.

Thu Mar 22, 2007 4:51 pm

My Tips Are,

*Always act yourself

*Don't be nervous just go up to the group and make
polite conversation

*Organise a day out and invite a few people who you wouldn't
usually consider as friends.

* Be Kind and then people will be kind back to you.

* In class (if you get to choose) ask a person if they want to sit next to you and make polite conversation

*Don't exclude people just because they aren't your usual 'type'
of friend.

PP,I agree.My (well not usual friend) wanted to sit next to me so I let them and I always let them borrow my stuff and they let me borrow theirs.We respect each other a lot more now,because of our kindness.

Wed Jul 04, 2007 11:51 pm

Be yourself,dont try bein someone ya not,by the way sweerings cool part of the east end culture 8) 8) 8) 8) dont feel bad about it,if ya like it its ok cause its part of :D :D who you are

Thu Jul 05, 2007 1:34 am

make a list of things to talk about. make sure they are interesting things.

Tue Oct 09, 2007 10:05 pm

parnassus wrote:I disagree there. Never try and blend in. Be yourself.

Be yourself.

Be yourself.

It's the biggest cliche of them all, but it's also the best advice anyone can give.

I whole-heartedly agree, yet it is still important to regard certain situations as requiring one to alter their personality by a small fraction in order to avoid an unwelcome scenario.

For instance, if you are used to butting into conversations at home - perhaps your family sees it as an integral part of who you are - you may acquire some distinctly negative reactions from those in an alternate environment.

Tue Nov 06, 2007 11:17 pm

Actually I've changed my mind about what I said. My new set of freinds have much more in common with me and I think I would have missed out on their freindship if I'd followed my own advice.

My new advice is, don't be shy and act like you would if you didn't care if you made any freinds. That way you end up with lots of freinds who you have something to talk about with.

Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:16 pm

If you're the type of person that doesn't think about weekend plans until the last minute (that's me) then maybe try and schedule something with a friend a couple weeks before. That way you can adequately prepare for the event. I always get nervous before hanging out with a friend because I'm nervous about what I'll say or do, so it helps to know when things are happening so I can prepare myself mentally for the event. :) I like going to movies with friends because I'm not much into talking, but usually after I get to know someone more I can talk to them about the movie afterward. :)
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