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QuiversWhiskers
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10 Jul 2014, 8:26 pm

Did anyone else make up their own social rules over time to keep yourself out of trouble based on experiences? For instance, some of mine are as follows in no order of importance:

1) I should ask for help only once. Beyond that makes me really anxious and sick and guilty-feeling. I worry about overstepping, not being able to really tell if someone is just being "nice" in offering but really doesn't mean it (and I don't feel sorry for people who say things like, "if you ever need anything let me know" because if they are going to say something like that they better mean it. I don't have patience for "niceties" but I know I have to "honor" them anyway just to get by peaceably), people saying one thing but meaning another and expecting you to get the implied meaning but then if you do take the implied meaning, they say they meant the other, etc. This applies to babysitting especially. I also have pathological fear of being a "nuisance".

2) If someone tells me to call them and they don't tell me when, I wait til the third day so I don't seem overly eager because people seemed surprised that I'd call the next day and I interpreted that as disappointment or annoyance or that they thought I was too interested when I was younger (like middle school to college age) when it probably wasn't really anything of that nature. I liked to call at three o'clock because I knew from reading somewhere or from hearing someone else say it that you shouldn't call during meal times. If I waited too long to call someone I didn't call them at all because I thought that passed the third day showed disinterest to them and that I would need to apologize for not getting it done. Most of the time, I never worked up the nerve to call anyway because I didn't know what to say. I can stretch this rule now and it hardly affects me anymore because my husband has really set me "straight" on it.

3) I feel like I am not allowed to talk to certain people until they talk to me first, like talking to them first is too forward or that it would be weird, or that I'd be crossing some sort of unseen barrier. I know now that this is ridiculous and who cares if I annoy someone just by being around, but it still gets me with some people. It extends to their children too, like I can't talk to their children either, even if said children were my own age. It's like them talking to me first is a sort of "permission". The more I like someone, the more "permission" I need and the harder it is to approach them. And then I can talk to them again if they continue to talk to me because I don't want to be too interested and don't want to presume that they feel the same about me and I don't want to annoy them because I have had that experience where you realize too late that that other kid who talked to you only meant to be "nice" and didn't actually want you to follow them around.

4) I had a tendency to call people too much, like repeatedly over and over again up to twenty calls thinking, "They couldn't get to their phone so this time I call I will leave a message.", Then I think they are like me and are too nervous or don't know what to say so they are avoiding answering so I call to give them another chance, then I worry they must think I am crazy for having called them three times in a row, so I called again hoping to explain myself, then I'd call again after they didn't answer because I'd worry that I'd freaked them out and so on. I think I racked up 20 calls in a row one time for this similar stuff, especially because I was picking someone up somewhere and they weren't there and I started to worry I was in the wrong place or that they weren't coming. This only happened twice but it was enough to freak me out a bit and I know that it probably freaked out the people that I was calling. So I limit to two calls in a row. I can explain that and it allows me to call, be surprised at having to leave a message (I hate leaving messages), then hang up. Then call again planning to leave a message so that I can leave a message. This was only a problem with new people or people I didn't know very well.

5) For a while, I had this thing where I tried to "punish" myself out of my social problems and mutism by thinking ahead of time that if I couldn't speak to a person that I could never speak to them again because it is weird to be able to talk to them in one place but not another. I didn't know what was wrong with me and thought it was all a behavioral problem I could control and that I could possibly break out of it if I made it even more painful. The anticipated punishment for losing the ability to speak or failing to converse properly (because I could do it in some places and circumstance regularly) was not allowing myself to ever associate with that person again. At the time I hadn't really connected the whole "environment" influence and even if I did I belittled it and invalidated it because that wasn't normal so it must be a character flaw I needed to work on.

I realize some of these come a lot or are reinforced by some social anxiety but also know that they do come from an underlying misunderstanding of how to be and what the "rules" really are.

Did anyone else come up with their own rules? I find they kept me out of more social "trouble", but some are very, very isolating and hurtful to me. How did you learn to break them or ignore them? Some of these hit me sporadically and some are almost gone nowadays (I am 29 and married to an NT-wonder-boy who has coached me some) and others are still very much present as their "triggers" are much closer to me in the timeline of events. I know I probably have more but these are the ones I have most noticed.



yournamehere
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10 Jul 2014, 11:55 pm

Practice, practice, practice.
The more people you associate yourself with every day, the more social you become. Everyone is different. I just try to target, and stay away from narcissists, psychopaths, and sociopaths. They voluntarily scew my head up. So they can be them.



gigstalksguy
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11 Jul 2014, 7:30 am

I think some of your rules are a it strict!

Particular Rule 3 about not talking to someone tell until they talk to you first. Just think if everyone followed that rule no-one would be talking to anyone!

The best thing I can say is to try and get into a place where people want (or need) to talk to you. That way people will approach you more readily.


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Kiriae
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11 Jul 2014, 9:25 am

Some of my social rules I can think of at the moment:

1. Wait till a longer break in conversation before you speak.
2. Stop speaking when you start to say something and the other person keeps talking. You got it wrong - they were only taking a breath, not "telling you it is your turn".
3. Don't talk about your interests unless they ask you. They will make fun of you or get angry/bored. It's not worth it.
4. Don't use extremes even if you feel like it. Say "sort of" when you mean "very", "like" when you mean "I can't live without it" and "don't like" when you mean "can't stand it". You won't look crazy.
5. When you don't know what to do/say - smile. Often it is enough.
6. Always say "Good Morning!"(and similar) when you enter a place. It makes you a "nice person".
7. When they ask you what you think of something and you have no real opinion say "Beautiful/Nice/Good". That's what they want to hear. Don't say "so-so", "good enough", "normal" since they will assume you don't like it... (However I often forget about this rule...)
8. When they ask you about something you don't like say "so-so", "good enough", "normal" or "it's for you to like it, not me". They will get the message.
9. It is OK to ask for help/confirmation when you don't understand something.
10. Don't give advice and "fix" what other people say unless they ask you for it. (but I forget about it all the time, I remember once they get angry with me for this xD)



yournamehere
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11 Jul 2014, 9:58 am

^^^^^^^ nice. I should post those on my fridge or something.



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12 Jul 2014, 1:54 pm

I adhere fairly strictly to the "don't speak unless spoken to" rule, and it works out well. Although I will backtrack to recent conversations sometimes and initiate them that way... It's not an iron clad rule.

With people I am not super close to I have no idea how to start a conversation from scratch. It's different with family or close friends, I can make it happen to a degree if there's catching up to do. But I am a sort of social person (typically when my hand is forced, but occasionally by choice as well) so it's not for a lack of contact or something, and I think it's funny that not a single person I've ever met has picked up on the fact that I basically don't speak unless spoken to :lol:


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League_Girl
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13 Jul 2014, 5:31 pm

Keep to myself
If anyone is always busy, quit bothering them, if they are into you, they will ask you to hang out or invite you somewhere or even contact you
Do not call someone too much
Stop calling if they never answer their phone

If anyone claims, they are busy or have been busy, they are just saying that to be polite. They don't want to tell you they don't like you or don't want to be your friend or to even not speak to you. If they truly meant what they said, they will call you and keep talking to you.

Do not ask anyone if they are okay or alright if I see them upset unless they are my friend or family or husband
Only speak when spoken to
Ask questions back that have been asked to me
I only speak when spoken to
I don't talk about my interests
Don't mention facts or trivia
Try not to ask lot of questions

No hugging anyone or kissing unless they are my children or husband and unless they hug me first, then it's okay to give them a hug if they want one
Don't join in any conversations unless they include me
Do not give out any advice unless they ask for it

Do not suggest to a parent their kid could have something wrong with them unless they ask or if it's clear they want validation that this is normal stuff their kid is doing because they are asking if anyone else's kids are that way too.

I don't do things to people I wouldn't like done to me
I laugh after I make a joke so people know I am kidding


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QuiversWhiskers
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19 Jul 2014, 8:20 pm

Thanks for your replies. Interesting to see how many rules there are and how similar. There must be something to them.

I still can't respond to each individually yet. Still processing I guess.



Anna_K
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28 Jul 2014, 4:45 pm

I don't really "make up" my own rules, but I just observe others behaviour and if I make a mistake, I learn from it and adjust my behaviour accordingly, which I guess is almost the same thing. I have learned a lot of these the hard way unfortunately.

-Don't start talking until there is a break in a conversation. I used to do this a lot, and it never got me anywhere with people.

-Don't go on and on about the same topics when you are with people. Eventually, you may end up boring people.

-If someone looks like they don"t want to talk (Like they are quiet, not making eye contact, avoiding you) then don't try to keep talking to them. If they walk away, or say "leave me alone", don't run after them.

-Do not stare intensely into someones eyes. You may be perceived as a creeper. Eye contact is a good thing, but that does not mean staring intensely into their eyes.

-Don't talk about obsessions/special interests unless asked about it. Again, this may eventually bore someone.

-At school, do try to smile and greet people that you know. I know from experience, if you walk around with a cold expression, and don't smile or make a little bit of eye contact, or talk to anyone, you will be perceived as unfriendly. I know a girl who never smiled or talked to anyone, and her neutral face looked like she was glaring at you, she was just shy but everyone thought she was rude/snobbish.

-If you make plans with someone and you have to cancel, do not cancel at the last minute unless some emergency happens at the last minute. But if you bail on people too often they will eventually stop calling/texting and making plans with you.

-Never call someone fat or make fat jokes in front of someone who is self conscious about their weight. Most girls are especially self-conscious, especially about their weight. I learned this the hard way, cuz I am slightly thin for my age and height, I am mostly happy with the way I look, and I had a friend who was very self-conscious. Boys: "Never call a girl fat, even if you are joking" -Demi Lovato

-If someone doesn't want to talk about something, don't bother them about it.

-When texting, do not send the same texts over and over. I have been on the receiving end of this, and it is extremely annoying. Nor should you text or call someone when you know they are busy, sleeping, eating dinner, at school/work etc?.

-Do try to get to know someone before you make judgements abut them.

-Boys: if you try to a approach a girl and she walks away from you, says that she doesn't want to talk, do not chase after her. This could be considered harassment. i have been on the receiving end of this one unfortunately.

-If someone tells you to stop, then stop.

-If you try to engage in physical contact(hand holding, hugs, high fives, pat on the back) and the other person pulls away, then don't do it again. They have sent a nonverbal message that they are uncomfortable with that.


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