Gone from one type of awkward to the other

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MONKEY
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07 May 2009, 8:32 am

I was having a think the other day and I noticed this.

When I younger (about 12/13-)
I was quite rude and spoke my mind and rambled on about the same things all the time and although I wasn't shy I was awkward as hell. But when I got to about 13 I was more self concious and became shy and constantly watched what I was doing. And I ended up not knowing what to say half the time so I was still awkward.

My point is even though I had more of the annoying social traits I still had more friends than I do now I'm shy, and so my social problems have gotten worse although I don't annoy people an more when rambling about obsesions and being blunt. So instead of improving I've just gone from one extreme to the other, from rude and obnoxious to very quiet and passive, and I had a much better social life when I was younger.
:? Am I making sense here?


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zeichner
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07 May 2009, 9:34 am

Yeah - unfortunately, my experience has been that the older you get, the harder it gets to make friends. When you are young, it's much easier to base a friendship on a common interest - and I think kids also tend to make friends by sheer proximity & availability. But as you age, people tend to use more complex criteria for friendship - social standing, emotional compatibility, etc.

I sure wish I had an answer.


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zer0netgain
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07 May 2009, 10:28 am

Sounds like classic AS....we tend to shift from extreme to extreme and struggle to find a happy medium.

When you're young, it's easier to be bold. As you get older (and hurt more often), you realize wisdom in holding your peace, but since you don't know how much interaction will be welcomed, you find it safer to say little or nothing.

I was never Mr. Outgoing, but I've become more reclusive as I realize I tend to make more enemies than friends.



Fiberfiend
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07 May 2009, 10:40 am

I can totally relate. When I was young, I had tons of friends from the neighborhood. I think when I hit middle school age, the social norms became more complex and I just retreated into myself.

Now that I am 31, I have learned how to play the social "game" and carry on a conversation, i.e. small talk, though I'm still not comfortable with it. One thing that has really made a difference to me is trying to put myself in someone else's shoes. My akwardness made others feel akward, so I try to make them feel comfortable by relaxing. It's not something that comes naturally for me though, and I do have to work at it.


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aleclair
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07 May 2009, 1:01 pm

zeichner wrote:
Yeah - unfortunately, my experience has been that the older you get, the harder it gets to make friends. When you are young, it's much easier to base a friendship on a common interest


I don't know why they do not tell you that when you're young. In high school, the spiel I got was that as you got older and mellowed out, it was easier to meet new people. Wrong! Strong friendships have roots, which often need to go back several months or years - and this is most true in any situation, like college or high school, where you're around the same people for several years.

Pretty certain this story - one of going from one extreme to another - is one of those reoccuring themes both in AS and in normal people, as we struggle for identity. The whole idea that social life was one big interconnected system that you had to be initiated into first clicked in eighth grade and I started saying much less and understanding that most people carefully watch what they say for second meanings, implicit arguments, etc. Irony is people thought me equally annoying (and I'm certain this has traveled with me up till now, in college).

Connecting these points together, I'd bet my life that you had more friends when you were younger simply because it's easier to make friends when you are younger. I had elementary school friendships that literally began with "let's be friends" and somehow moved from there. Also, I don't think students learn the subtleties of second meanings and implicit actions until fourth grade, so up to then it's more our level.