Coping with Conversation
Social interaction is like navigating a maze. One wrong turn can lead to disheartening rejection. But, a lot of difficulties arise from misinterpretation and misunderstanding. These are some tricks I use to try to get through successfully.
Take charge of social situations. Social interactions are shaped by both participants. If someone is being grumpy, be kind to them. How the other person acts does not determine how you act and there is no rule that one must follow the other’s lead. Stay true to yourself.
Listen and think about what the other has said. There is a pressure to respond quickly in conversation; resist it. Often it is hard to understand the context. This can lead to an inappropriate response. If you’ve got nothing to say or need more time, try repeating what the other has said in a different way. This can result in the other revealing more information which can help you to contextualize their comment.
Don’t be afraid of disagreement. People are not always going to see things the way you do. You don’t need to convince them otherwise. It’s okay, their differing view does not invalidate your experience.
Keep in mind that you never really know what’s going on in someone’s mind. Don’t behave as though you do. Respond to the other’s words, rather then trying to figure out any hidden meanings. That’s not to say there aren’t hidden meanings, just that you don’t have to figure them out. You can try, but you may get it wrong and that could lead you further down the path of miscommunication.
Verbal interactions can be overwhelming. There is so much going on in even a casual exchange. It can take me hours or even days to understand the true implications of a conversation. That’s not something the will change, but these strategies have helped me cope.