Anyone plan answers to likely questions, before socialising?

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Gizalba
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03 Feb 2014, 10:30 am

I know socialising is meant to be spontaneous and I don't mean making a detailed script of what to say in advance as that wouldn't work as I obviously can't control what people say back to me, or whether they bring up a topic I didn't foresee. However, since I struggle with formulating answers to questions on the spot when under social pressure, and also then worry about how I worded something or whether I accidentally gave a wrong impression of the truth as I panicked, I wondered if I could reduce my anxiety a bit by making a list of the general small-talk questions that I know come up time and time again. Or judge by the context of the event I am going to, what questions people may be likely to ask. So then at least with those questions I may be more confident in my response and not worry so much.

Does anyone else do this or anything similar?



Sona_21
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03 Feb 2014, 10:43 am

I sometimes think of topics I would like to talk about with people before seeing them or entering a social setting, also try to guess their reactions on occasion -reminding myself they probably wont act that way.



BirdInFlight
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03 Feb 2014, 2:40 pm

Yes, I plan and rehearse the optimal way I want to say something or tell about something quite a bit. Especially now that everyone in my life now is a new person because I've relocated, so I've "got a lot of 'splainin' to do" even just about ordinary facts about myself or my life. I have failed in the past to say things precisely, so I practice the best way to say things just in case the topics come up.



Fortran77
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03 Feb 2014, 3:26 pm

Yes, I do this all the time. I'm 40, so I've developed a list of canned responses that I use. Some more successful than others. If all else fails, people are always willing to discuss the weather and how much they either like or hate it. You just have to agree with them. It's an ice breaker anyway.



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03 Feb 2014, 4:23 pm

I tend to rehearse if at all possible before a social setting, but it's more to help with awkward silences. Having a few interesting things I've come across or to ask about allows a sense of control and predictability. I feel comfortable playing off things like saying the wrong word or forgetting a word, which happens often.



Billw1628
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03 Feb 2014, 8:10 pm

For me, I used to think of the questions I should ask. It felt really unnatural. So, I decided to observe my former NT classmates in OT school and whoever I meet at OT conferences. Now, I am just relaxed and ready for whatever conversation come my way. All I really prepared for was knowing what environment I would be stepping in.

I think coaching can help with this issue a lot. After all, if you are confident in your social skills, I believe that more people would be willing to talk to you. At times, showing passion (or whatever appropriate feelings) can make you really look smart socially.



Gizalba
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03 Feb 2014, 8:15 pm

Thanks for your responses! Hearing them at least makes me feel like it is okay to do this, to make life easier for myself, it's reassuring to hear I wouldn't be the only one.

Fortran77 - Lol at the weather comment, that is very true. I always cringe internally when I hear myself attempting to respond about the weather, as I feel like I sound really boring and silly. but then I remember they were the ones who initiated a weather interaction so they must be fine with me replying with an equally pointless comment. So then I also feel cringey when I myself try making a weather comment to someone to try to be sociable, but I guess you are right that it is a good ice breaker and it probably doesn't sound odd to most people.



Billw1628
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03 Feb 2014, 8:21 pm

Gizalba wrote:
Thanks for your responses! Hearing them at least makes me feel like it is okay to do this, to make life easier for myself, it's reassuring to hear I wouldn't be the only one.

Fortran77 - Lol at the weather comment, that is very true. I always cringe internally when I hear myself attempting to respond about the weather, as I feel like I sound really boring and silly. but then I remember they were the ones who initiated a weather interaction so they must be fine with me replying with an equally pointless comment. So then I also feel cringey when I myself try making a weather comment to someone to try to be sociable, but I guess you are right that it is a good ice breaker and it probably doesn't sound odd to most people.


What I have learned is this- when you walk into a social environment, think about the top 5 topics that people might talk about. Then, out of the top 5, rank the ones that you are comfortable with talking about to the least. I do that all the time when I go to OT conferences when I socialize with my NT peers. That way, I am not nervous at all... the only signs of nervousness I might show are my accent (which can get a bit more when I am nervous) or faster speed of talking.



Gizalba
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03 Feb 2014, 8:27 pm

Billw1628 wrote:
For me, I used to think of the questions I should ask. It felt really unnatural. So, I decided to observe my former NT classmates in OT school and whoever I meet at OT conferences. Now, I am just relaxed and ready for whatever conversation come my way. All I really prepared for was knowing what environment I would be stepping in.

I think coaching can help with this issue a lot. After all, if you are confident in your social skills, I believe that more people would be willing to talk to you. At times, showing passion (or whatever appropriate feelings) can make you really look smart socially.


That is interesting, thanks for your insight regarding the possible cons of doing this. I used to do it when I was younger and indeed it did feel unnatural and I then ended up worrying just as much about it sounding unnatural. However that was when I was struggling to talk to people at all - now I am much better at talking compared to then, so I wondered if going back to the pre-planning would help my current anxiety now that perhaps I could use the pre-plan as a guideline to know the gist of how I want to respond to common questions, rather than relying on it too much. Coaching sounds like a good idea.



Billw1628
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03 Feb 2014, 8:32 pm

Gizalba wrote:
Billw1628 wrote:
For me, I used to think of the questions I should ask. It felt really unnatural. So, I decided to observe my former NT classmates in OT school and whoever I meet at OT conferences. Now, I am just relaxed and ready for whatever conversation come my way. All I really prepared for was knowing what environment I would be stepping in.

I think coaching can help with this issue a lot. After all, if you are confident in your social skills, I believe that more people would be willing to talk to you. At times, showing passion (or whatever appropriate feelings) can make you really look smart socially.


That is interesting, thanks for your insight regarding the possible cons of doing this. I used to do it when I was younger and indeed it did feel unnatural and I then ended up worrying just as much about it sounding unnatural. However that was when I was struggling to talk to people at all - now I am much better at talking compared to then, so I wondered if going back to the pre-planning would help my current anxiety now that perhaps I could use the pre-plan as a guideline to know the gist of how I want to respond to common questions, rather than relying on it too much. Coaching sounds like a good idea.


When I had coaching in the past, I realized I didn't need to tweak that much in my social style. The thing I just needed to change more was being mindful of my bad habits socially. Sure, my eye contact is still a weakness from time to time. But now, I have been much better in showing interest in the other person as well, as my friends are patient and happy that I made these gradual changes over time.