I'm a full grown adult, why can't I do this?

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LostManAbroad
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18 Apr 2019, 1:23 pm

I am so annoyed with myself. I'm 43 and I live in Frankfurt, Germany and have lived here for six years now. Apart from my parents who live a bit north of Frankfurt and a few family members I have no friends here. In six years I have met no one. I am so lonely and yet I still back away from some social situations.

This evening was a stand up comedy night at a local cafe and a bunch of people from a group called Internations were going. I signed up for it to meet people and I showed up. As usual I showed up an hour and a half too early and then sat around bored watching all the people out enjoying a warm evening with all their friends. Then the time came around that we were supposed to meet and I realised that I could not remember what any of the people looked like, despite having looked at their photos on the Internations group page. I tried to check on my phone but of course my battery died. I actually managed to go into the cafe and go check the room where the comedy was going to happen and it was quite full. The one person from Internations who I did know didn't show up and I could not bring myself to go into the room and ask people if they were from Internations.

So now I am back at home ready for another night in front of my computer. I am never going to make friends. I accepted a while ago that it is unlikely I will ever have a girlfriend again but I cannot seem to make friends either and I am afraid of what all this isolation will do. There is a homeless guy near my house that I always see talking to himself. Full blown conversations with thin air.

I never considered myself to be in anyway like him until the other day when I was out walking around town looking at all the people I had no idea how to talk to. When I am walking around on my own I often daydream that I am actually walking around Frankfurt with a group of friends. I imagine the conversations we would have. Then the other day I caught someone looking at me strangely and I realised that the conversation I was having in my head was actually coming out of my mouth.

How can this be my life? I am physically fit, slim, reasonable good looking, above average intelligence, I have an amazing family and now I'm turning into a complete head case.



magz
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18 Apr 2019, 2:36 pm

The story you told reminds me of one word: prosopagnosia. Inability to recognize faces. According to Wikipedia, 2.5% of population has it. My husband does. He couldn't recognize his teachers outside classrooms.

I also talk to myself, especially when I work. It's likely just one of possible manifestations of hyperfocus. In the time of bluetooth earpieces, people walking while apparently talking to themselves look less strange than they used to ;)


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MathGirl
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19 Apr 2019, 5:11 am

There are different degrees of prosopagnosia/face blindness, too. So you might be able to remember someone's face if you see them very regularly for years, but be unable to recognize a bunch of new people you just met.

I agree with the hyperfocus point. Generally, talking to oneself is a common trait, although perhaps more in a narrative than a conversation form. Many people at my work talk to themselves and they are some of the most socially adept people I have ever met. Just because you share this trait with a homeless person (just as you do walking, sleeping, eating, etc) doesn't put you at his level. It's so much easier and fun (at least for me) to have a conversation with yourself in your head because you do not need to tune into a multitude of stimuli and adjust your thinking to other people on the spot.


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firemonkey
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19 Apr 2019, 5:41 am

Try this. I got 26 when the average is 33.15. I was better than 1 out of 10 people.

Test Name: Cambridge Face Perception Test
Mobile Version Available?: Yes
Primary Domains: face perception
Demo Link:
http://www.testmybrain.org/tests/cambri ... PTnew.html
Psychometrics: Excellent
Time (minutes): 5.8
Description of Test: Sort faces by how similar they are to a target face shown on screen.


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Your neurodiverse (Aspie) score: 133 of 200
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 47 of 200
You are very likely neurodiverse (Aspie)


TUF
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19 Apr 2019, 5:48 am

firemonkey wrote:
Try this. I got 26 when the average is 33.15. I was better than 1 out of 10 people.

Test Name: Cambridge Face Perception Test
Mobile Version Available?: Yes
Primary Domains: face perception
Demo Link:
http://www.testmybrain.org/tests/cambri ... PTnew.html
Psychometrics: Excellent
Time (minutes): 5.8
Description of Test: Sort faces by how similar they are to a target face shown on screen.

Wow I was better than 0.



MathGirl
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19 Apr 2019, 6:25 am

Re: the Cambridge Face Perception Test - Interesting. I scored higher than average and I thought I was horrible at faces, but come to think about it, have not noticed it being a problem lately. I used to not recognize people if they cut their hair or were in a different location all the time. I have a feeling I developed this skill over the past few years through intensive social skills training and just by through being a therapist.

Point is - maybe it's not hopeless and CAN be trained over time!

Quote:
Your score was 36.67. The average score is 33.15. You scored higher than six out of every ten people who took this test.


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Luhluhluh
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19 Apr 2019, 6:53 am

LostManAbroad wrote:
I am so annoyed with myself. I'm 43 and I live in Frankfurt, Germany and have lived here for six years now. Apart from my parents who live a bit north of Frankfurt and a few family members I have no friends here. In six years I have met no one. I am so lonely and yet I still back away from some social situations.

This evening was a stand up comedy night at a local cafe and a bunch of people from a group called Internations were going. I signed up for it to meet people and I showed up. As usual I showed up an hour and a half too early and then sat around bored watching all the people out enjoying a warm evening with all their friends. Then the time came around that we were supposed to meet and I realised that I could not remember what any of the people looked like, despite having looked at their photos on the Internations group page. I tried to check on my phone but of course my battery died. I actually managed to go into the cafe and go check the room where the comedy was going to happen and it was quite full. The one person from Internations who I did know didn't show up and I could not bring myself to go into the room and ask people if they were from Internations.

So now I am back at home ready for another night in front of my computer. I am never going to make friends. I accepted a while ago that it is unlikely I will ever have a girlfriend again but I cannot seem to make friends either and I am afraid of what all this isolation will do. There is a homeless guy near my house that I always see talking to himself. Full blown conversations with thin air.

I never considered myself to be in anyway like him until the other day when I was out walking around town looking at all the people I had no idea how to talk to. When I am walking around on my own I often daydream that I am actually walking around Frankfurt with a group of friends. I imagine the conversations we would have. Then the other day I caught someone looking at me strangely and I realised that the conversation I was having in my head was actually coming out of my mouth.

How can this be my life? I am physically fit, slim, reasonable good looking, above average intelligence, I have an amazing family and now I'm turning into a complete head case.


So... I don't think that recognizing faces is the problem here... It sounds to me like you have some difficulty organizing time.

Two major things stuck out to me: You showed up way too early and your phone battery went dead.

Was there a reason you arrived that early? Because a good time to arrive is about 10 minutes ahead of the scheduled event. And you should ideally make sure your phone battery is always charged so you can use it in an emergency.

Some things to think about. Lots of people have difficulty with faces. But time management is important socially because it shows other people that you are considerate of their time.


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LostManAbroad
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19 Apr 2019, 10:25 am

On that face test I got a score of 41. I don't think faces is my issue. I just don't know how to talk with strangers I don't know in a social context. Put me in front of people in a work setting and I can talk to them. I find when I go out I just don't know what to say. I am fine every summer when I go to Berlin because there I have my brother almost my age and he has lots of friends that I have gotten to know. Sadly I cannot move there as it isn't easy to find work in my profession without a full qualification.

So I am stuck in Frankfurt and will be for the next 3 years while I try and get qualified. I am just so sick of my own company. I'll try again this weekend. I have signed up to go on a 70k bike ride with a bunch of people from Internations. Plus I know a couple of them so it shouldn't be as bad.



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05 May 2019, 10:34 am

Consider helping with an event. You'll have extended contact with a small group of influential members. Branch out from there.
Try to calm down and suppress that critical voice in your head. It's not helping. Yes, think about what worked and what didn't, but don't torture yourself. I was only diagnosed 8 years ago, and resolved to learn how to interact with people. Experiment on people not critical to you, i.e. clerks, cab drivers, etc. Be careful with co-workers, bosses. Accept that it will not work sometimes, but over time it'll slowly get better. Read books on how to be a friend. Helped me a lot.

Think "quality" not "quantity." I'm little impressed with people who have hundreds of Facebook "friends."