Awkward and tongue-tied in conversation

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bee33
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15 Apr 2024, 9:37 pm

Even when having conversations with people you know quite well, do you feel awkward and tongue-tied and are constantly trying to think of things to say? I think that for me the most awkward are weird silences or non-sequiturs, because I feel pressure to say something and if I can't think of something relevant I might blurt out something that is not on topic. This makes it so getting together with friends is often a fraught event, even though I want to see them and spend time with them. And the more I feel awkward and self-conscious the worse it is. So ideally I should try to relax and not care if there are awkward silences, I guess? Does anyone have this experience?



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15 Apr 2024, 9:39 pm

Always. ^

When I try to speak I feel like a bug in a jar.


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Raleigh
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15 Apr 2024, 10:01 pm

If the silence is too awkward I tell them I can't think of anything to say so it's all up to them now.
It takes 2 to have an awkward silence.
Often they laugh at the bluntness and it breaks the ice.


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bee33
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15 Apr 2024, 10:32 pm

Raleigh wrote:
If the silence is too awkward I tell them I can't think of anything to say so it's all up to them now.
It takes 2 to have an awkward silence.
Often they laugh at the bluntness and it breaks the ice.
It's true that it takes two, but with me the other person is generally doing most of the heavy lifting. Fortunately most people like to talk and to have a chance to express their thoughts and opinions. If I can, I try to ask questions to keep them going. But sometimes I don't know what to ask. Your solution is funny and interesting. I'm afraid I would use it too much. :)



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16 Apr 2024, 8:29 am

Unfortunately, everyone runs out of things to say eventually. Then, they'll ask something like, "What's going on in your life?" which, everyone knows, is way too broad a question. NT's seem to dislike specificity.


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autisticelders
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16 Apr 2024, 12:14 pm

a lot of the awkwardness goes away if there is a shared activity involved. If there is shared activity or shared interests to begin with, focus will be on those subjects without having to venture out into "weather" "politics" or other uncomfortable and less easy topics to navigate. If you know ahead of time that you will be called on to socialize with people, carrying "props" such as a book you are reading, a drawing pad, (and you can play paper games, word games, etc using this tool), you can bring a hand craft to do, or a couple magazines, adult coloring pages, hand held video games, string ( do you know how to do cats cradle and Jacob's ladder puzzles with string, for example). You can bring chalk and do chalk art.... lots of things can be used to share an activity with another person.

Of course some of these things depend on the social situations involved. Drs offices or funerals, for example...would not be good places to try this. But a family reunion, a group get-together, and many other situations may be fine.

I have a series of scripted responses for basic qusetions others ask "how are you" ?, "whats new"? and that sort of thing... there is also something called selective mutism that takes over for many of us when suddenly faced with questions or demands (even polite demands) to respond when we are not prepared to. For those times you can carry a little card that explains what is happening. All OK.

Everybody feels awkward and tongue tied when interacting with some others. Its OK, and its OK to tell others you are anxious or feeling awkward, etc. the other person might be feeling awkward too, and might agree with relief.... yes this is awkward! I find I do better now near the end of my lifetime than I did when I was younger. Practice and experience have helped over the years.


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DuckHairback
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16 Apr 2024, 2:55 pm

I'm usually alright if i feel like there's a purpose to the conversation. For example I can talk to work people about work just fine. I can talk to a doctor if i have a problem. I've done interviews with people for work and that went okay.

But a casual conversation? What have you been up to? How's it going? I often freeze up and have no idea how to answer these things. Or I try and end up saying something weird or out of context.


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16 Apr 2024, 9:29 pm

DuckHairback wrote:
I'm usually alright if i feel like there's a purpose to the conversation. For example I can talk to work people about work just fine. I can talk to a doctor if i have a problem. I've done interviews with people for work and that went okay.

But a casual conversation? What have you been up to? How's it going? I often freeze up and have no idea how to answer these things. Or I try and end up saying something weird or out of context.


Same here. If I'm asked specific questions where a factual answer is expected, I'm fine. If I have a script and I've rehearsed it enough times, fine. If they go off script or say something even tangentially related to a special interest I've been fixating on, that conversation is dead.


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16 Apr 2024, 11:19 pm

These days I'm more likely to say too much, but there was a time when I'd often go mute if I didn't feel confident about my ability to cope in the presence of the people I'd got landed with. Finding the middle ground has always been the hardest thing, but I'm getting better at that in real time.