Conversations, topic change and context. Keep loosing track.

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azzazinator
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19 Jun 2012, 3:25 pm

When I am in a social situation with two or more people, I have to use all my concentration, to keep track of the conversation. Typically, I have to choose either to keep track, or to formulate a response.

When I try to formulate a response, often the topic has shifted when I'm done. But I do not always notice, maybe because I can't keep track at the same time as thinking of a response. To others, it seems odd to revisit an old topic.

Sometimes, I loose track of the context, and make a fool out of myself, talking about something completely different than the others.

The best strategy for me so far is to "hijack" the conversation, by waiting for a subject to die out, and then quickly launch another subject. But even then, I often to late, and another subject has been launched.

How do you cope with this problem ?


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Valkyrie2012
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19 Jun 2012, 3:39 pm

If there is more than just me and another I just don't talk. I sit and just smile and nod at what I think appropriate times. What cracks me up when they turn to me and say "I love talking to you! I had so much fun today!"

Really?

Yeah right lol

But seriously - this issue is torturous for me and makes me miserable... No solutions for me... Sorry to be no help!



hyksos55
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19 Jun 2012, 3:44 pm

I know what you mean I hate conversations with multiple people and it happens often at where I work. At the end of a bad day of this I usually go home and drink a glass of Bourbon and Coke, it eases the nerves. Although I do it I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone.


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angryguy91
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19 Jun 2012, 3:45 pm

Oh, I hate this with a passion! I don't know how many times my NT friends will start discussing a topic that I have something valid to add to it, but when I try to share this input, they will cut me off because apparently I don't have enough "intention" in my speech or something. Usually before I can add my input, the conversation will have already shifted to a new topic and I will be left feeling very pissed because I wasn't able to add my input since people kept talking over me.



Last edited by angryguy91 on 19 Jun 2012, 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

azzazinator
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19 Jun 2012, 3:46 pm

Quote:
I sit and just smile and nod at what I think appropriate times.


Oh yes ... tried that too, but then my mind tends to focus on some inner thoughts, and I end up sitting there smiling every time somebody says something ... not cool


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kirayng
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19 Jun 2012, 3:47 pm

One other person is ideal and two is maximum. I'm extremely fortunate to have a job right now where I do work alone 20% of the time and closely with only one other person the rest of the time. I couldn't stand it any other way I think... Ideally I'd work alone always.



Valkyrie2012
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19 Jun 2012, 3:56 pm

I work in a hotel seasonally... and I have such a hard time that this season they almost didn't hire me back because I was coming off "too mental" and it was inappropriate to "rock while standing" talking to customers.

I suppress my stims now and do my best to fake it at work.. but I feel like I am beginning to lose it and the involuntary limb lurches are beginning to annoy me so bad...

As far as focusing on inner thoughts.. yeah it happens.. and I also get the indignant "That isn't funny" sometimes... but what else to do?

No clue... Tired of struggling though...



azzazinator
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19 Jun 2012, 4:09 pm

Valkyrie2012 wrote:
I work in a hotel seasonally... and I have such a hard time that this season they almost didn't hire me back because I was coming off "too mental" and it was inappropriate to "rock while standing" talking to customers.


I'm impressed, that you can work within the service industry. I'm just too anxious to meet new people all the time. Especially eye-contact is difficult. Most of the time I have to think about where to look, and for how long.

Even though I've got an education as a Computer programmer, I've never been able to hold a job for long. Usually because it's required most places to attend meetings and workgroups. And getting the right job is difficult, as most medium to large firms use personality tests when hirering. And - of course - social skills almost always comes first ...


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Valkyrie2012
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19 Jun 2012, 4:14 pm

well.. this is where I am grateful it is four months out of the year.. just can't sustain it for long. Between hearing the crickets chirp after being asked a question, understanding wrongly, flipping numbers about... it gets to be too much after awhile.

Face blindness causes me to panic too - then I have to cover that I am panicking.... but I need to work.. I just never can do it long enough to move out of my mothers home... **sigh**

Though I have hijacked your original topic.. sorry



azzazinator
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19 Jun 2012, 4:24 pm

Valkyrie2012 wrote:
Though I have hijacked your original topic.. sorry


Don't be :)
Actually, I hijacked my own topic, by responding to your post.


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Valkyrie2012
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19 Jun 2012, 4:28 pm

:))

Hope someone can give you (us) some advice that is helpful!



lostmyself
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19 Jun 2012, 4:33 pm

hyksos55 wrote:
I know what you mean I hate conversations with multiple people.


Me too. I cannot handle talking to more than 3 or 4 people maybe. If I am in a large group of people I tend to withdraw and sit quietly or look for comfort people [People I am comfortable talking with. I talk only when this person/people has/have expressed an opinion]. I am usually quiet however if I have nothing to offer on current topic. I also don't talk much when I meet people for the first time.



Callista
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19 Jun 2012, 4:38 pm

In large groups, I usually give up and listen instead. Not having to formulate my own responses helps.

However, there are large groups where I can contribute fairly well. If there's some sort of structure, I can use it to help me figure out what to say and when. Meetings are one example. Working on homework with others is another (though I don't prefer it; I work best alone). I learned a lot of my group-talking skills while playing D&D and other tabletop role-playing games, because when things get really chaotic, turn-taking is enforced by the rules. I annoyed some people before I got the hang of it, but thankfully they're rather nice people who don't hate me overmuch for tending to interrupt or lecture too much. I had to explain to them that I'm autistic and it's hard for me, and assure them that it's okay for them to tell me to shut up or that I'm going off topic, interrupting, or talking about something that makes them uncomfortable. They've been pretty good about doing that. (Pro tip: Don't talk about Nazi concentration camps when you're supposed to be having a relaxing evening with friends. Especially, don't talk about the lack of situational homosexuality due to malnutrition. That sort of thing tends to be very disturbing to most people.)

Anyway, if you like stories, acting, RPGs, or general geekery, and you can get into a group that plays tabletop RPGs, I highly recommend it. I've learned a lot there, more than I ever have in an AS support group. And a lot of the others will be nerdy people too, which means they'll be a little more okay with your weirdness than most people are. Nerdy doesn't necessarily mean they'll be socially awkward--most of the people in my group aren't--but it does mean that they're used to having interests outside the norm.

Have you been tested for auditory processing disorder? It's a little like the auditory version of needing glasses (except there aren't any "glasses" for your ears)--your brain has trouble filtering and interpreting auditory input, so that it's "blurred" and you need really clear, distinct sounds to make head or tail of them. That's why one-on-one conversations are easier. I first realized I had auditory processing issues when I was looking over my neuropsych eval report, and I saw that when it came to understanding words, I was 55 percentile points higher than my skill at understanding nonsense syllables. Percentile points--that is, compared to other people. Of course most people find words easier; but for me, it's likely I use my knowledge about meanings to fill in gaps when my ability to interpret the sounds isn't up to the job. At least, that's my theory--that I use my ability with words to cover up for my problems with interpreting sounds. The doctors agreed that I probably have auditory processing issues.

Conversations with more than two people are harder for everybody; but they are much harder if you have problems with information overload (from having to process all that social and auditory information), or are just bad at auditory processing. When you can, choose one-on-one interaction; when you can't, choose structured conversations over unstructured ones.


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hyksos55
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19 Jun 2012, 4:42 pm

It is sad how many people get treated badly in the workplace just because of who they are or their traits. I am not in the service industry but I can see where there might be problems because you are interacting with customers more, regardless it’s still sad. I am in operations so I don’t deal with customers usually and since I am in charge of any meetings I just don’t call very many. My coworkers and the few customers I deal with seem to find me amusing and never openly judge my peculiar ways. I am at a loss as to why they are amused because when I take a crack at being funny nobody laughs. I am told that I say things very deadpan or matter of fact. That’s fine whatever makes them happy at least I not being persecuted...


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Atomsk
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19 Jun 2012, 5:06 pm

I also have difficulty with with formulating my responses while keeping track of the conversation with group talking. I do this often:

Callista wrote:
In large groups, I usually give up and listen instead. Not having to formulate my own responses helps.


Often when talking in groups I end up never being able to figure out when it's OK for me to speak, and every time I try talking someone else starts talking and makes me stop. Then there's times where there are multiple people talking, and then I often can't understand anything.

But if it's structured, like a language class, or just a class in general, it is much easier for me to contribute and participate.



azzazinator
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19 Jun 2012, 5:14 pm

Callista wrote:
Anyway, if you like stories, acting, RPGs, or general geekery, and you can get into a group that plays tabletop RPGs, I highly recommend it. I've learned a lot there, more than I ever have in an AS support group. And a lot of the others will be nerdy people too, which means they'll be a little more okay with your weirdness than most people are. Nerdy doesn't necessarily mean they'll be socially awkward--most of the people in my group aren't--but it does mean that they're used to having interests outside the norm.


That's a good advice i think. My imagination is not very good, and I tend to avoid fiction (books etc).
But I guess that if ti works, I could put my mind into it.

Callista wrote:
Pro tip: Don't talk about Nazi concentration camps when you're supposed to be having a relaxing evening with friends. Especially, don't talk about the lack of situational homosexuality due to malnutrition. That sort of thing tends to be very disturbing to most people.


oh yeah! Been there, done that
It's just, that it is so tempting to initiate a conversation about something meaningful. Really hate smalltalk. Only got NT-friends unfortunately.

Callista wrote:
Have you been tested for auditory processing disorder?


I'm in the process of beeing diagnosed, so I'll most certainly ask the doctor. Even though I didn't wan't to play with the other kids in school, and had some very strange interests, nobody ever suggested getting a diagnose. Maybe beacuse my grades were good, and I didn't course any trouble :(


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Your Aspie score: 168 of 200
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You are very likely an Aspie
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