Page 1 of 1 [ 9 posts ] 

Sidereal
Emu Egg
Emu Egg

Joined: 20 Jul 2015
Age: 24
Posts: 7

01 Aug 2015, 9:31 pm

I was just wondering if social skills can be learned over time. I used to think I was just extremely introverted but had decent social skills. But the more experience I get in the "real world" outside of school, the more I realize I did not have 'skills' so much as I had become very good at imitating behavior patterns within very specific contexts. Outside those contexts, I literally don't know what to do.

I started college, and I try to get out and meet people at least. Freshman year I even joined a couple of clubs. The reason I did this is because I had a small group of friends in high school and I wanted to make friends in college. But I also had this ulterior motive of wanting to fit in or look normal. Trying to act normal pushed me to burnout-levels of stress and generally didn't work. I kept putting myself in these overwhelming situations that I had no desire to be in, just because I thought I should. And I kept talking to people, but I was still very socially awkward and it never seemed to improve.

It's dawning on me that I've never had the ability to spontaneously relate to people on an emotional level, and that's probably not something that can be learned. But that's not an excuse to just react in social situations without thinking about how your actions will affect others, right? Do you think that with age and experience you learn how to better predict how your actions will affect others, or do you just get better at imitating social norms, or what?



Waterfalls
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Jun 2013
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,075

01 Aug 2015, 9:38 pm

You can learn the patterns to use and what to expect in multiple specific contexts and then you know better, so yes, I think age and experience help in some ways.

Feeling pressured to keep track of all the rules and possibilities can feel overwhelming, though, especially if failure is unacceptable to you or others.



ToughDiamond
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 Sep 2008
Age: 67
Gender: Male
Posts: 7,611

01 Aug 2015, 10:07 pm

Yes I think they can be. I'm much more able to deal with people than I used to be. Though I can still make mistakes because of my autistic brain wiring and because I've not managed to learn everything. I don't think an autistic person can ever match a neurotypical in new, tricky social situations where the parameters are shifting quickly and it's necessary to think on the hoof. But by carefully learning about yourself, avoiding the kind of stuff that exposes your weaknesses and going for the stuff that brings out your strengths, I think it's perfectly possible to outperform many neurotypicals at their own game. NTs aren't completely free of making their own social blunders, and we can sometimes benefit from the "tortoise and hare" phenomenon. Though I don't recommend taking them on as if life was a competition, because it's important to be relaxed and to avoid too much of this "am I good enough?" thing. It's also worth remembering that NTs aren't usually as perfectionist as we tend to be, so they often overlook what seem to us like unforgivable social gaffes.

There's tons of valuable info for us out there about psychology and sociology. Observe and learn.



Ban-Dodger
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 2 Jun 2011
Age: 1022
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,820
Location: Возможно в будущее к Россию идти... можеть быть...

01 Aug 2015, 10:14 pm

ANYTHING factually CAN be learned. Just not everybody is necessarily ready to learn all of it YET.


_________________
Pay me for my signature. 私の署名ですか❓お前の買うなければなりません。Mon autographe nécessite un paiement. Которые хочет мою автографу, у тебя нужно есть деньги сюда. Bezahlst du mich, wenn du meine Unterschrift wollen.


Marky9
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 4 Mar 2013
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,625
Location: USA

01 Aug 2015, 10:57 pm

My experience has been that I can observe, learn, and apply patterns of social interaction within specific contexts.

Outside of such specific contexts, I have also been able to gain a degree of improvement. For me that has come through studying a lot about social skills, then consciously putting them into practice. Doing that places a lot of mental overhead to social interactions and makes them quite tiring, so I try not to overly stress myself. The amount of improvement has not been total healing, but has been sufficient to make the effort worthwhile.



ZombieBrideXD
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 26 Jan 2013
Age: 22
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,507
Location: Canada

02 Aug 2015, 12:56 am

yeah you can learn social skills, even become quite good, but it will never feel natural.

i have learned a lot of things in the past few years but it never feels natural, its a lot of work and constant communication between you and other people. it exhausts me but its what i need to do if i dont want to be lonely.


_________________
Obsessing over Sonic the Hedgehog since 2009
Diagnosed with Aspergers' syndrome in 2012.
Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder Level 1 severity without intellectual disability and without language impairment in 2015.

DA: http://mephilesdark123.deviantart.com

Your neurodiverse (Aspie) score: 170 of 200
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 43 of 200
You are very likely neurodiverse (Aspie)


ToughDiamond
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 Sep 2008
Age: 67
Gender: Male
Posts: 7,611

02 Aug 2015, 12:44 pm

Hopefully it'll get better in time. My best way of avoiding too much social fatigue is to get out of it when I start feeling tired. If the social situation is the kind that makes that difficult, I try to avoid it completely.



ASPartOfMe
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 63
Gender: Male
Posts: 23,037
Location: Long Island, New York

02 Aug 2015, 3:17 pm

ToughDiamond wrote:
Hopefully it'll get better in time. My best way of avoiding too much social fatigue is to get out of it when I start feeling tired. If the social situation is the kind that makes that difficult, I try to avoid it completely.


Many times it is forced on you and nearly impossible to avoid.


_________________
Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person. - Sara Luterman


ToughDiamond
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 Sep 2008
Age: 67
Gender: Male
Posts: 7,611

02 Aug 2015, 6:08 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:

Many times it is forced on you and nearly impossible to avoid.


Well, there's no law against opting out of social stuff, but I take your point, opting out can have consequences. Personally I've done quite well, though it's not been perfect for me. As soon as I was old enough to get away with it, I avoided most family gatherings. I was lucky that my family was quite small and reclusive anyway, so apart from a bit of disapproval here and there, I didn't get much flak. I got a job that didn't expect a lot from me socially, and just kept myself to myself. Now I'm retired and most family members are dead, social pressure is pretty rare. I do attend some things that give me some social anxiety and fatigue, but ultimately it's my own choice. For any particular event, I can opt out if I feel it's asking too much of me. I'd like to say that the people concerned would understand, but sadly most of them don't understand ASD, so they probably wouldn't. But that's not the end of the world. If they complain to me about my reclusiveness, I'm happy to explain.