Conversation skills; what have you learnt?

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0_equals_true
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01 Jan 2016, 6:15 pm

I have a lateral mind, so if someone mentions something I either get nothing or a bunch of lateral connections spring up.

I have learnt to let some things go. I can't mention everything. The conversation moves on, you can't get everything in nor wouldn't be good for the conversation. However it is is useful if the conversation lags, then you have some material. It is also a good opportunity to make sure I'm including them. It is not that hard to do that. You just need a segue question, something at least loosely related to give then something to talk about. Even if this doesn't work there is usually followup questions you can use, but you can revert to non-questions if they are stuck. Not everyone responds to questions readily.

When multiple people are involved in the conversation it is important to take breaks, in fact it is like coming up for air. If you struggle with multiple people focus on the person next to you. If that goes well focus on the next nearest person an so on. One-on-one is easier so small groups are better. However if you get stuck or get anxious, than two might be easier as you can take breaks and to an extent chose when to join in. When you are prompted and you are not taken by it you can give a short answer.

I also self censor. Not always, I have to judge the situation, I think about how I say things. It it is more about the opportune moment, I'm not for permanently censuring of ideas. As I have a strong desire to share ideas, so this stops me talking self-censorship too far, however sometime less is more. You need to judge the intensity of the conversation at that point.

I have more ideas, but am following my advice.

What have you learnt?



AJisHere
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01 Jan 2016, 6:42 pm

Ask people about themselves. Really, it helps a lot.

My problem right now is that I'm not very receptive to people doing that to me. I tend to kind of freak out when people want to know anything about me. So that's what I'm working on right now.


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Fnord
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01 Jan 2016, 8:00 pm

Listen, listen, and listen some more. Don't dominate the conversation. Say something supportive or say nothing at all. Speak clearly, and use common words. Remember their names.


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cjay106
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01 Jan 2016, 8:02 pm

More and more nowadays, I have noticed that people seem to be speaking more rapidly and often seem to be talking AT one another. They don’t seem to be listening and responding to what the other person is saying so keen are they to say whatever it is they want to say whether it’s relevant to the conversation or not.

Recently, I took a short, free online course on Mindfulness (through Future Learn). One particular piece of advice was this:

Bring awareness to listening and talking. Can you listen attentively without agreeing or disagreeing, giving advice or planning what you will say when it’s your turn? When talking, can you just say what you need to say without the usual labels and judgements, and without overstating or understating things.

I have a group of friends and we meet once a week for coffee and chat. We all took this course. It made for some interesting discussions about what we were learning. Also, since we have completed the course, I have found the conversations more enjoyable as the talk has slowed down, people are listening more, not cutting across one another. Consequently, the conversations are more focused on one topic rather than jumping around and there will be a short pause before someone introduces a new topic.

I’m quite sensitive to noise, find it hard to shut out extraneous sound so it can be difficult when people talk across one another. In those situations, I usually end up tuning out until things quieten down.



0_equals_true
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02 Jan 2016, 9:31 am

Fnord wrote:
Listen, listen, and listen some more. Don't dominate the conversation. Say something supportive or say nothing at all. Speak clearly, and use common words. Remember their names.


I am really terrible at names, but I admit it. I at least try to remember names.

I agree with listening. There has to be a back an forth. I think if it is one way it is really bad.

The flip side is you need to judge whether people are comfortable, being the only one doing the talking can be quite burden especially if they don't welcome it.



0_equals_true
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02 Jan 2016, 9:35 am

I interrupt people because I'm bad at judging when the break happens. However I'm better at recongising when this happens and I apologise and let them talk.

However I think some people exploit those that find it difficult to join in.

One of the reasons why people talk fast is they don't want to be interrupted.

it is a stereotype by there is a definitely a degree truth to Spanish people speaking louder and faster. I have experienced it several time on the tube once get passed the International terminus of King Cross/St Pancras. It can literally be deafening. I experienced in on holiday in Greece, a group completely disrupted a restaurant, by loudness and excitability. They are literally the opposite of Greeks, who have a very soothing, and soft way of speaking yet with clarity. I have also experienced similar when I went to see relatives in Spain. However not all Spanish people are like that, not my relatives. There is just a culture of some Spanish people acting like they are the only people in the the room and the can talk across a train carriage as loud as they like.

Btw I don't include South/Central Americans or other Latin countrie in that. They aren't even on the same scale generally in my experience as the Castilians.

I'm not a fan of this. You need to accept that you may be interrupted and this is normal not bad. If someone is constantly rudely interrupting that is is of course equally bad.



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02 Jan 2016, 10:04 am

• Don't try to debate rationally. It won't work and you'll come across as a smartass. The more you try to reason, the more they'll accuse you of wanting to impose your views.

• Never argue against their views. You'll come across as irrational and intolerant. The more irrational and intolerant the more you try to reason, in fact.

• Never expect any rule to work in your favor; only against you.

• If someone starts attacking you with fallacies, putting words in your mouth and the like, you're screwed. There's no possible defence. You'll only look even worse the more you try. Don't try to counterattack them with the same technique, though---they'll either beat you soundly with their experience or resort to some kind of power they have over you outside the realm of the conversation, such as physically beating the s**t out of you.

• Just because others can do something doesn't mean you can.

• Just because you can't do something doesn't mean others can't.

• If you're talking to another autistic in a position of power or authority, prepare to listen stoically to at least half-hour-long tirades which shall be gospel truth to you (can't be any other way, since you won't be allowed time to reply) and you'd better not interrupt or all hell will break loose, while you'll speak only on demad and be interrupted before you can finish the first syllable. Prepare to be blamed for every ensuing misunderstanding. Expect them to give free rein to the nastiest autistic traits you're so very aware you always need to suppress. Expect them to reign freely in the conversation.

• Expect them to systematically waste your time. Don't you dare complain. You're always at fault if you want others to stop wasting your time and need to put up with it. Don't you dare waste their time. Their time is precious and they have better things to do than waste it on you.

• Expect any incorrect or debatable use of language of yours to completely invalidate your point and you as a person. For example, this post is worthless because I've just used a split infinitive. Oh, wait ...

• Never criticize the way anyone else speaks or writes. You'll come across as a smartass and they'll hate you and feel justified to beat the crap out of you. Besides, their mistakes don't matter if you understand them. It doesn't matter if you have to work ten times harder to decipher what they say. Remember: their time and energy are important; yours aren't. And, if you don't understand them, their mistakes don't matter, either---it's you who has to be less obtuse and understand them.

• Expect any real or fancied inconsistency in your discourse, fundamental or due to having to speak hastily (remember they have better things to do with their time than waste it listening to you), to completely invalidate your point and you as a person.

• Remember others don't have to be consistent. They don't even have to pretend they are---it'd be beneath them. Don't you dare point out their inconsistencies or you'll come across as a smartass, with the aforementioned consequences.


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Last edited by Spiderpig on 02 Jan 2016, 10:55 am, edited 6 times in total.

Yigeren
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02 Jan 2016, 10:05 am

These are things I have only just learnt in the past 3 years (or less):

1. Ask people about themselves
I had always thought it rude to ask people questions and assumed that if they wanted me to know something, they'd tell me. And honestly, I just didn't think to ask or care either.

2. Not talk so fast

3. Make small talk
I do this even though I hate it.

4. Not blurt out whatever comes to mind
I still am terrible at this.

5. Keep the nerdy talk to a minimum, because other people look at you like you're crazy



Yigeren
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02 Jan 2016, 10:14 am

Spiderpig wrote:
• If you're talking to another autistic in a position of power or authority, prepare to listen stoically to at least half-hour-long tirades which shall be gospel truth to you (can't be other way, since you won't be allowed time to reply) and you'd better not interrupt or all hell will break loose, while you'll speak only on demad and be interrupted before you can finish the first syllable. Prepare to be blamed for every ensuing misunderstanding. Expect them to give free rein to the nastiest autistic traits you're so very aware you always need to suppress. Expect them to reign freely in the conversation.


I've noticed this in a couple of people here. I see a lot of hostility when one doesn't agree immediately with whatever certain people say as if there is no right to disagree.

I don't get it.



0_equals_true
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02 Jan 2016, 10:42 am

Yigeren wrote:
3. Make small talk
I do this even though I hate it.


My impression is small talk is kind of like warming up for the brain, which is one of the reasons why people tend to ask question they already know the answer to, it is sort of a confirmation like a printer test page or screen test. However it doesn't have to be boring, it can be topical which leads to other things.

Personally I transition from small talk pretty fast it i can (otherwise move on to the next person). However I judge the intensity needed. I don't think it s a good idea to be too detailed or intense if you barely know someone.

I made that mistake at a wedding once and it didn't end well. I don't enjoy weddings anyway, so I took an opportunity to attach myself to a conversation and it backfired.

I think mingling in a group of complete strangers is something is something I just really don't enjoy, especially when you only have a single connection to anyone there any they being the bride means their time is occupied.

I pick scenarios which are more suited. I have become better at it, and even broadened what I can do.

Not really a conversion tip persay, but I think you need your might to be sharp as possible, which mean I make sure I balance time alone with social. I don't need too much social, just enough not to loose touch with reality.



0_equals_true
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02 Jan 2016, 10:48 am

Yigeren wrote:
I've noticed this in a couple of people here. I see a lot of hostility when one doesn't agree immediately with whatever certain people say as if there is no right to disagree.

I don't get it.


This can sometimes be the case, but actually I don't think of it is a general thread. We are no better then anyone else but, there is a lot of scrutinising of ideas which is great. Some people have never seriously had their ideas challenged directly than this is a bad thing. However there is a time an place for this type of discussion.

In person, you really have to get to know other person, before you go full throttle. I like that people on the spectrum, can be more frank. However even this can be a stereotype. It is not always the case.

The most important thing is being open to the possibility that you could be wrong, and wording thing civilly.



AJisHere
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02 Jan 2016, 12:35 pm

@Spiderpig: I really, really hope that's a joke.


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Spiderpig
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02 Jan 2016, 2:26 pm

Not really. The moment I stop following those rules, I know I'm about to get in trouble. Needless to say, I usually talk to people as little as possible in real life.


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hurtloam
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02 Jan 2016, 5:22 pm

Yes, I've learned to let things go. No one cares about debating points in real life or on Facebook. They want to state their perspective and if you don't agree, just move the conversation on to something else. Only very close friends will want to discuss something in depth.

Ask questions. It's not rude to ask someone about themselves or their family. Most people actually like to talk about themselves and will want to tell you about their family. They feel that you have an interest in them and will feel more connected to you... ok I know this intellectually, but I'm actually not very good at remembering to ask questions. I make statements that I hope will prompt them to converse (this isn't the best way of bonding). Shrug smiley.



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02 Jan 2016, 6:40 pm

0_equals_true wrote:
Yigeren wrote:
I've noticed this in a couple of people here. I see a lot of hostility when one doesn't agree immediately with whatever certain people say as if there is no right to disagree.

I don't get it.


This can sometimes be the case, but actually I don't think of it is a general thread. We are no better then anyone else but, there is a lot of scrutinising of ideas which is great. Some people have never seriously had their ideas challenged directly than this is a bad thing. However there is a time an place for this type of discussion.

In person, you really have to get to know other person, before you go full throttle. I like that people on the spectrum, can be more frank. However even this can be a stereotype. It is not always the case.

The most important thing is being open to the possibility that you could be wrong, and wording thing civilly.


Yes, there are really only a very few people here like that. I think in general I come into contact with people that way in real life.

But it drives me crazy when it happens. I state my opinion in a respectful manner. It enrages someone that I disagree, and then they become hostile. They will insist that I should agree with them, and if I don't, then it's insinuated (or directly stated) that I'm stupid, or a horrible person, or ridiculously stubborn for not agreeing. Like I'm supposed to take everything they say as the "gospel truth" and not use my brain to make my own decisions.

I feel that as long as a person is respectful, they have a right to state their opinion no matter who agrees or disagrees. If there is to be debate, it should be done in a mutually respectful manner. And one can't expect that just because one presents evidence that one personally finds convincing, doesn't mean that other people will also be convinced!

Sometimes it's just best to agree to disagree and move on.



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02 Jan 2016, 6:51 pm

People, will, inevitably, have opinions. Some run counter to other opinions.

But variety is the spice of life--and we have to acknowledge that there are viewpoints other than our own.

Virtuous discussions lead to learning; arguments lead to people becoming too stubborn to learn. I don't like things shoved down my throat.

I like where you're coming from, Yigeren!