Page 1 of 2 [ 19 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

IamLucy2
Emu Egg
Emu Egg

Joined: 9 Apr 2022
Gender: Female
Posts: 5
Location: Lynchburg, VA

16 Mar 2023, 9:24 am

Does anyone have any advice how not to get overwhelmed when you have to be around a bunch of people you do not know? I do not want to draw attention to myself, just do not want to feel major anxiety.



Double Retired
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 31 Jul 2020
Age: 69
Gender: Male
Posts: 5,219
Location: U.S.A.         (Mid-Atlantic)

16 Mar 2023, 9:29 am

I typically try to stay to the periphery of crowds and don't participate.

Except when moving through a crowd. I don't really see them as people, just obstacles to be maneuvered around.


_________________
When diagnosed I bought champagne!
I finally knew why people were strange.


timf
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Oct 2013
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,040

17 Mar 2023, 6:32 am

If it is like a waiting room, I always bring a book. If the group has some task to perform, it can help to be busy with the task. Today almost everyone has a cell phone so you might be excused if you seem immersed in something else.



lostproperty
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 Jul 2015
Gender: Male
Posts: 547
Location: England

17 Mar 2023, 7:26 am

I think it depends on the age of the strangers.

If they are under 19sh, you could end up drawing attention to yourself by trying NOT to draw attention to yourself, they'll see you as being vulnerable and then there's potential for difficulties.

Adults are more likely to leave you alone, but some can be needy and want to strike up a conversation, or they see you as lonely and think they're doing you a favour by trying to get you involved.

I had somebody stop me in the street a few months ago and just started going on and on about some new shops that were being built, when he eventually stopped to take a breath, I blurted out one quick line about it all being fine once they're finished and turned to get away as quickly as possible. Then I felt bad for the rest of the day going over and over it worrying about how rude I might have come across.

Avoiding eye contact, which probably comes naturally to almost all here, seems to be the best defence against being approached and yes - looking at a phone and having clearly visible ear phones in, if the situation allows for that.



Benjamin the Donkey
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 7 Mar 2017
Age: 60
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,309

17 Mar 2023, 9:56 am

Find an empty room with a cat. Of course these 2 things are not always available.


_________________
"Donkeys live a long time. None of you has ever seen a dead donkey."


CinderashAutomaton
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

User avatar

Joined: 11 Jun 2021
Age: 38
Gender: Male
Posts: 203
Location: Canada

17 Mar 2023, 4:22 pm

Depends on the circumstance.

Not sure on any wholistic approach since there's a LOT of stuff involved, but some small tips:

-Think of everyone like they're just a friend or acquaintance you haven't met yet. Don't treat people like strangers or you'll get stuck in apprehension of trying to break the ice. Treat them like commiserating compatriots of whatever event or situation you're both currently jointly experiencing.

-Train yourself to work a routine of social interaction so you don't have to think too much about it and it'll just feel like familiar territory. There's lots of safe, common topics to ask about. School, work, what one does in their spare time, movies or shows they've seen recently, big recent news or events, "hows the family?", "are you into music? what do you listen to? have you heard X? what do you think?", etc.

-Try to focus your attention on a single person at a time if possible, and avoid focusing your attention on and trying to keep up with lots of people all interacting. Less volume and density of stimulus, less mental consumption.


_________________
Thank you deeply for sharing your experiences. I don't feel so alone anymore.


Double Retired
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 31 Jul 2020
Age: 69
Gender: Male
Posts: 5,219
Location: U.S.A.         (Mid-Atlantic)

17 Mar 2023, 8:46 pm

CinderashAutomaton wrote:
-Think of everyone like they're just a friend or acquaintance you haven't met yet. Don't treat people like strangers or you'll get stuck in apprehension of trying to break the ice. Treat them like commiserating compatriots of whatever event or situation you're both currently jointly experiencing.
Probably excellent advice but I have a different reason for not treating people like strangers. I have face blindness...they might not be a stranger, they just might be someone I've met but don't recognize. I try to treat most people nicely and as if they might be someone I know.

I know that sounds like an odd plan but I know for certain that some of those "strangers" weren't really strangers.


_________________
When diagnosed I bought champagne!
I finally knew why people were strange.


CinderashAutomaton
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

User avatar

Joined: 11 Jun 2021
Age: 38
Gender: Male
Posts: 203
Location: Canada

18 Mar 2023, 6:05 am

Ah, sorry. I guess I don't have too much I could say to help. My problem is actually the opposite. I see too much in people's faces lol.

How great would it be if people came with name tags like in video games? XD

How are you with remembering people's gait and voice?

Hmm you could try and just own that quirk. You ever try that? Be the curious older dude with the quirky way of interacting with people? Once people register that you're just like that, they'll let you get away with plenty of silly stuff. Interact with everyone like they're your best friend or favorite grandchild. Just be super nice to everyone, tell them crazy stories or just make up goofy ones to entertain the younger folk. Call everyone random names, or use the wrong name on purpose when you figure out who you're talking to lol.

I donno, have fun with it haha. We tend to give older folk and the harmlessly quirky a lot of leeway. And it might help you de-prioritize the anonymity of strangers and the amount of mental resources your brain dedicates to trying to figure out who you're talking to if you genuinely don't care overly much about who you're interacting with.

I've enjoyed a similar phenomenon with my phobia/hyperfocus of people looking at me and what they're thinking of me. I solidly internalized the idea that it doesn't matter where my interactions with people go. I just focus on making the moment pleasant for us both then say goodbye when I can't think of anything else entertaining to do. And if I can't manage much at the time, well, that's just the way of things. I did the best with what I had at the time. Shrug and move on.


_________________
Thank you deeply for sharing your experiences. I don't feel so alone anymore.


colliegrace
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Nov 2022
Age: 30
Gender: Non-binary
Posts: 1,263
Location: USA

18 Mar 2023, 7:42 am

Bring a video game or something. Or maybe a fidget toy if you plan on interacting.


_________________
ASD, most likely have dyscalculia & BPD as well. Also dx'd ADHD-C, but don't think it's accurate.
RAADs: 104 | ASQ: 30 | Aspie Quiz: 116/200 (84% probability of being atypical)

Also diagnosed with: seasonal depression, anxiety, OCD


y-pod
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 16 Apr 2010
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,642
Location: Canada

20 Mar 2023, 5:11 am

Can you pretend they're a bunch of NPC in video games? You don't have to talk to them.

For practical tips, wear plain clothes with no logo in colors grey or dark blue. Keep yourself looking busy with a phone or book. Wear a headphone. Keep physical distance from others if possible. I think most people can easily get the "do not bother me" vibe. I think the only people who would still initiate conversation are those who might need help with something. In that case you should offer genuine help if possible.

Now if you actually want to interact with people but don't want to get anxious, only practice can improve that. Because it's a skill that need to be learned.


_________________
AQ score: 44
Aspie mom to two autistic sons (21 & 20 )


Joe90
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 23 Feb 2010
Gender: Female
Posts: 26,492
Location: UK

26 Mar 2023, 7:15 pm

I find I feel more social anxiety around strangers than anyone else. When you're around strangers you can't express yourself, and the unwritten rules are more tense and pressurising. Strangers judge you on the outside without considering what you're feeling, and they stare and judge if you're not a clone of them. People express their true personalities when they're interacting together, but when you're out in public you have to hide your unique personality and just be exactly the same as everyone else.

It's like last summer when me and my boyfriend were invited to a pool party. Being so we drove there my boyfriend just had his swimming shorts on and a t-shirt, because it was so hot that day. But on the way we had to go to a store to buy some drinks to bring to the party, and usually he would have went into the store but he asked me to because he said that he feels embarrassed going into the store in his swimming shorts, even though he still looked respectable. It made me think, that he had no shame in turning up to a party dressed that way, but going somewhere where there are strangers was completely different. I know that's because strangers will only judge what they see, and instead of rationalising like "well, it's a hot weekend, he's buying some drinks, it's obvious he's on his way to a pool party or to cool off somewhere", they look and go "what the hell is he wearing? What a freak! Let's stare with judgemental contempt."

And that's why I get anxiety around strangers. People who know me generally know who I am and what I'm doing, and if they are unsure then I can explain and they'll be like "oh I see", or if they do want to judge then I allow it more, because I know them. With strangers you can't explain your life or intentions to them, they only judge you from their perspective, they think everyone in public should be as mundane and emotionless as possible, all doing the same thing, and if they don't like some tiny trivial detail about you they'll communicate that by staring. And being stared at by people I don't know feels a lot more frightening than interacting with people I do know.

Probably other Aspies won't relate to this, as the typical autism way of seeing this is "not interacting with people is not frightening, it's easier! And I don't care if strangers stare because I can ignore them." But I see it the opposite way.


_________________
Female


MatchboxVagabond
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 26 Mar 2023
Age: 43
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,200

29 Mar 2023, 10:20 am

Double Retired wrote:
CinderashAutomaton wrote:
-Think of everyone like they're just a friend or acquaintance you haven't met yet. Don't treat people like strangers or you'll get stuck in apprehension of trying to break the ice. Treat them like commiserating compatriots of whatever event or situation you're both currently jointly experiencing.
Probably excellent advice but I have a different reason for not treating people like strangers. I have face blindness...they might not be a stranger, they just might be someone I've met but don't recognize. I try to treat most people nicely and as if they might be someone I know.

I know that sounds like an odd plan but I know for certain that some of those "strangers" weren't really strangers.

Same here. I cut my hair last week and I'm still trying to figure out who is in the mirror. Seriously,I think my mirror might be broken because I don't think that's me in there. Or perhaps I have a substitute reflection.

Anyways, I try to avoid being anywhere that doesn't have some established rules about eye contact. Busses and trains where you're forced to sit across form each other without any guidelines are pretty bad. I'll generally take a page from most of the women I see and have headphones with me. I might not bother to plug them in, but putting them in does reduce the expectations for eye contact. It also allows me to close my eyes for bit without people thinking it's weird.

If I can sit, I'll try to have something with me to look at like an ebook or game. If I can't, then I try to find something in my environment to pretend to study, or I'll mill around if I'm not in a line.

I hate parties, but when I used to go, I'd close my eyes and try to figure out where everybody is in the room based on the floor's motion as people walked. Which surprising works out better than one would expect if the floor is supported by wood.



klanka
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 31 Mar 2022
Age: 46
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,888
Location: Cardiff, Wales

29 Mar 2023, 11:40 am

The only thing that's worked for me is alcohol. Thankfully I don't get addicted and only use it when I'm in a new uncomfortable situation.

When I know people at a place I'm ok then.



Joe90
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 23 Feb 2010
Gender: Female
Posts: 26,492
Location: UK

29 Mar 2023, 3:28 pm

Alcohol doesn't agree with me. It makes me feel weak and queasy, which heightens my anxiety.

I do have agoraphobia due to learning that everyone can automatically sense my anxiety even though it isn't obvious and even if I'm feeling confident, people still stare and I have Scopophobia. When you have that, it becomes agoraphobia that can't be cured by exposure therapy. The only time I can be cured from my case of agoraphobia is by having some sort of training on how to be when out in public. Although I know how to be when I'm out in public (like I don't stim or wring my hands or do any other unusual movements), apparently I don't, otherwise I wouldn't be stared at.

One of these days I'm going to turn chav and yell "what do you think you're f*****g staring at?" at someone who I catch staring at me, but I don't think I could ever do that. I would feel bad and regret it for the rest of my life, just like I'm still regretting hitting a boy at school who kept touching my butt, even though it happened like 17 years ago. But I was facing a lot of sexual harassment and bullying back then from random boys on my way home from school, so I just reached my limit and wanted to teach someone a lesson. That taught him a lesson all right. But I still feel guilty about it to this day, and sometimes it isn't always good to make a scene.


_________________
Female


klanka
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 31 Mar 2022
Age: 46
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,888
Location: Cardiff, Wales

29 Mar 2023, 3:39 pm

Even if you drink small amounts??

One or two shots of vodka in lemonade makes a huge difference for me.

I only go to places where there is some point or activity. I don't go to the pub anymore as that is just socialising. That might be the reason I feel comfortable where I go.



Joe90
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 23 Feb 2010
Gender: Female
Posts: 26,492
Location: UK

29 Mar 2023, 4:41 pm

Small amounts doesn't really make much difference to me. The first feeling I get from alcohol is a weird pain in the tops of my legs that make me want to lie down. I'm just not good with alcohol. My body isn't really used to it and I'm not going to start relying on it now.


_________________
Female