learning social skills a life long learning process?

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CaptainTrips222
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18 Jan 2012, 1:20 am

A family member cannot understand why I'm still developing socially even at 30. I can't seem to explain my situation. What more could I learn, they ask. To me, it's alien that some people perfect their skills so young.

Do you think it will be a life long process for you? Or did you plateau out? What's your situation?



MountainLaurel
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18 Jan 2012, 1:34 am

I am NT and consider learning social skills a lifelong process. Aren't all complex worthwhile skills a lifelong process? I mean; I think I've finished learning to brush my teeth (not a complex skill). But I continue to develop my skills in cooking, gardening, praying, swimming, reading, writing....

I'm not looking forward to finally finishing developing in any of the above endeavors.



mds_02
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18 Jan 2012, 1:52 am

For most NTs, I suspect that the idea of learning social skills at all is at least somewhat foreign.

I hope that even if if I reach a point where I can call myself socially skilled, that I maintain my willingness to learn.


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DeadOperaStar
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18 Jan 2012, 6:44 am

yeah, and what's more, even if i finish learning it (which i'm not sure exactly what that would entail), it still won't be the same as an NT's social process because their stuff is automatically accessible for them, whereas i'll always have to think a minute or concentrate to access my knowledge. they didn't sit down and study it. that's the interesting thing.. sometimes people want to criticize me or point something out about my behavior, but they can't always quite put their finger on what it is they want to point out. and that's because they've done so little conscious thinking about it that they may not even know how to articulate it. kind of like if we had no light, and everything was in darkness all the time. we wouldn't have a word for light or dark, right?



Cookiemobsta
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18 Jan 2012, 11:34 am

I think of it like learning a language. When you were growing up, you learned English automatically, just through assimilation (assuming that everyone here has English as their native language--otherwise substitute your native language in the example.) But if you had come to an English-speaking country as an adult, without any knowledge of English, and had to try to teach yourself, it would take you a long time. You might learn quite a lot of English, but you would probably still be learning even years later, and you might still speak with an accent. However, someone who had learned English naturally might not understand why it took you so long to master it--but they don't understand that learning something through study is a very different process than picking up something automatically.

The same concept is true for social skills; since Aspies don't have the wiring to pick up social skills automatically, we have to teach it to ourselves, which is a slower process than the way that NTs learn it.



EBartleby
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18 Jan 2012, 11:44 am

Cookiemobsta wrote:
I think of it like learning a language. When you were growing up, you learned English automatically, just through assimilation (assuming that everyone here has English as their native language--otherwise substitute your native language in the example.) But if you had come to an English-speaking country as an adult, without any knowledge of English, and had to try to teach yourself, it would take you a long time. You might learn quite a lot of English, but you would probably still be learning even years later, and you might still speak with an accent. However, someone who had learned English naturally might not understand why it took you so long to master it--but they don't understand that learning something through study is a very different process than picking up something automatically.

The same concept is true for social skills; since Aspies don't have the wiring to pick up social skills automatically, we have to teach it to ourselves, which is a slower process than the way that NTs learn it.


Please allow me to add a little something to the above. (Nice post.)

Let's not forget that like languages, social skills must be practiced by people like us in order to remain at an acceptable level. Stay cloistered for some time, and some of the progress you made could be erased. I would say it's good to force some regular social interaction (however long) in order for our ability to communicate with NTs to stay sharp. (Or, less bad. Haha.)



CaptainTrips222
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18 Jan 2012, 11:50 am

Cookiemobsta wrote:
I think of it like learning a language. When you were growing up, you learned English automatically, just through assimilation (assuming that everyone here has English as their native language--otherwise substitute your native language in the example.) But if you had come to an English-speaking country as an adult, without any knowledge of English, and had to try to teach yourself, it would take you a long time. You might learn quite a lot of English, but you would probably still be learning even years later, and you might still speak with an accent. However, someone who had learned English naturally might not understand why it took you so long to master it--but they don't understand that learning something through study is a very different process than picking up something automatically.

The same concept is true for social skills; since Aspies don't have the wiring to pick up social skills automatically, we have to teach it to ourselves, which is a slower process than the way that NTs learn it.


I thought of that too, how it's kinda like learning another language, especially with the accent part. But a language has set, consistent rules (English has many exceptions) while socializing is more a matter of interpretation. And also, people are much more forgiving over language.



AgnosticPhilosopher
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19 Jan 2012, 1:47 am

I am 32 and my NT Sister is still having to tell me the basic rules of social interaction, like you have to reply to E-mails, and call people on their birthdays. I think she is finally starting to give up on me, oh well. I assume I will be learning social skills for the rest of my life, and I feel as though the average 12 year old has more social skills than I have. :?