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verticalmum
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20 Jul 2011, 11:50 pm

Hi there,
My son started school this year, and I am still really nervous around the other mum's......I rarely know what to say, and just generally feel like an outcast. They all huddle in there own little groups , talking , but Im too scared to join in , incase I say something wrong, or just dont know what to say.....and look like an idiot..........Im not much good at small talk...........
Any idvice would be appreciated, thanks,
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purchase
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21 Jul 2011, 12:05 am

Hi! I've noticed people tend to huddle in groups for two reasons:

it's the natural formation for talking intimately with several people and
they're nervous about being seen standing alone and and gravitate toward other people even if they're not in an interactional mood

I know I'm younger and all that but (until my recent + hopefully temporary agoraphobia) I have since college started just been fine with standing alone. I had to force myself to stand and do stuff alone and first then I was like "Yeah. So what. I'm standing alone. I don't know howto join groups so I'm just standing here alone" and I pull out a book or something else and just forgetthe world around me.

I've found when I want to join a group it doesn't work cause I never know how to insert myself in naturally cause I'm so nervous.

I am however able to approach a single person standing alone if I feel like being social. One person alone is easy to start a conversation with - trying to start a conversation with three people at once is the challenge. I go up to the other lone person and just start talking about whatever's on my mind. Usually they seem glad to have someone to talk to also. If they're not communicative I excuse myself and go back to reading in my comfortable spot by myself. I make myself comfortable wherever it is, even if there's only grass or pavement to sit on. Relaxed posture leads to relaxed breathing leads to relaxed feeling. Then sometimes someone will approach and ask what you're reading. I personally would bring some nice snacks too, that's a;so a good opportunity to offer food to people as a way of being social.

All of this assumes there's some waiting period such as before school lets out when you're all standing around.

You'd have to ask someone more NTish than me how to smoothly enter a group conversation, that's mu Achilles heel.



whatamess
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21 Jul 2011, 1:34 am

Just sending good vibes because honestly, I have no recommendations. I feel the same. It's no different to me than living where I am now where everyone expects me to socialize...but once I do, everyone hates me. I would rather just keep to myself.



grayson
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21 Jul 2011, 3:03 am

I always had difficulty with the standing-in-the-schoolyard thing, too. I have to say, most of the things the other mothers talk about bored me to death, anyway, when I did manage to join a small group talking together. I don't really "get" the average woman, I guess. So you may not be missing much of anything by standing off to the side. :-)

If you do walk over and join a group, you don't automatically have to say something, either--just listening with an interested look is enough to have them accept you in the group. (And perhaps even the best thing, if you worry anything you say will come out "weird." People always appreciate an interested listener.)

Also--as your kids make friends, you'll automatically come into contact with the mothers of those children, to make playdates and so on. I've actually had a couple of good friendships come out of that kind of contact. And even the mothers you don't get to know well will recognize you as the mother of a classmate over time, and you'll wave at each other, and maybe even chit chat (if you want to) from time to time in the schoolyard. So don't sweat it--it will gradually happen of its own accord.


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Xenia
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21 Jul 2011, 3:14 pm

I am the same, I usually take mine to school late to avoid the gathering in the playground but I know I need to stop doing this.

I go for the stand and stare anywhere but at the parents option but would actually really like to be in a little crowd chatting about something.

When I do go into a crowded playground I am never sure who I am supposed to say hello to, who I am on aquataince terms with and therefore should just walk past and who considers me a friend and therefore expects a hello.

If I see someone I am on speaking terms with on their own then I may go and hover near them or say hello and hope they make the next move but if they are already speaking to someone then I assume I would be interrupting and so I keep my distance and try to look busy somehow.



K-R-X
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21 Jul 2011, 3:35 pm

whatamess wrote:
Just sending good vibes because honestly, I have no recommendations. I feel the same. It's no different to me than living where I am now where everyone expects me to socialize...but once I do, everyone hates me. I would rather just keep to myself.


^^^ This right there.



verticalmum
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24 Jul 2011, 6:21 am

Thank you for all the advice and for the good vibes..:-)
I guess I will just have to hang in there and grin and bare it.......
Thank you all.



moraine
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22 Aug 2011, 3:39 am

My son is not school-age yet, but we live in a townhouse complex full of cliquey, gossipy moms. For several months after we moved in they were pointedly shunning me, so there was no question of joining their group. I actually have no desire whatsoever to join it, but I do like to exchange polite greetings with my neighbours in passing, so this was very stressful for me, and I avoided leaving the house when they were cliquing outside. Then they abruptly stopped the shunning after the ringleader moved away (relief!), and some of them obviously are intrigued by me and I can tell they want to talk to me.

Now that the b---h is gone and I can muster the courage to pass the group, I say something like, "Good morning, how're you guys doing?", as I walk by without stopping, with a not-too-big smile and a not-too-long glance in their direction. This goes over very well, and they reply in a nice way - rather deferentially, actually. I have found that this kind of casual, breezy, friendly approach projects an appealing confidence to NTs. I think it says, "I'm so cool that I'm not afraid of you and I don't feel the need to hang out with you. But have a nice day."

If I wanted to join the group, I would stop after they greeted me, and I would just go ahead and introduce myself. Although this feels abrupt and forward to me, I know they don't find it odd.

I can really relate to what Xenia said about not knowing who I should say hello to in friendly public places...but I have learned that it's okay to smile lightly and say hello to all of them, whether you know them or not, even if you're just out for a walk in your neighbourhood and you pass them on the sidewalk. They really like it. And interrupting is not a big deal if they're just "small-talking".

I hope this helps you. I'm dreading the schoolyard thing too.



Mummy_of_Peanut
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22 Aug 2011, 6:28 am

Please don't assume that women who stand in a group are all cliquey. I have a best friend and another friend (a gran I know from a toddler group). We stand together within a very large group of acquaintances - they are no more than that to any of us. The conversations splinter off and I speak with one or two, which suits me much better. If there's a mum on her own, standing outside the group, but close by, I do my best to include her. I would not like to think that people thought I was part of a gossipy clique, as it's quite ironic really.

But, there's been an argument between a couple of mums. I don't know how much to believe, but I've been told by one mum that it all happened because I was being gossiped about (no doubt about my concerns for my daughter or judgement was being cast on my social awkwardness) and she claims to have been standing up for me. So, it's a little uncomfortable just now. In some ways, it would be better if I just spoke with my 2 friends.

My advice would be to try to stand next to another mum on her own. If you arrive early, but not first, there might be someone else there on their own and it would be polite to approach her. You don't need to be formal and introduce yourself or anything. I'm not good at small talk either, but I'll ask a question like, 'What teacher does your child have?' or 'Is your little one settling in?' or 'What nursery did they go to?' It's difficult, I know, and if I didn't have my friends prior to my daughter starting school, I would have been quite unsure of what to do. That said, I'm also fairly well known amongst the mums and grans, as I ran a toddler group (as part of my 'throwing myself in at the deep end' to overcome my extreme shyness).

Good luck