How Do Adults Navigate Life with Social Dysfunction?

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In summary, the socially dysfunctional person has difficulty making and maintaining relationships with others. They are uncomfortable in social situations and have difficulty talking about personal matters. They are hopeful for the future, although they are unsure of what they want to get out of social interactions.
  • #36
Have you heard about exposure therapy?
For example, for people with arachnophobia they first show videos of spiders, then progress to watching spiders in a glass from far away. Then closer, then even closer. Eventually they may even catch the spider on hand as if never had the phobia in the first place.

Perharps the same can be done with social phobia:
you can go to a street near where you live, sit down on the ground and just watch people as they move around. Imagine yourself as a biologist studying rats behaviour or something like that. Is very unlikely someone will talk to you because most of the time people don't start conversations with random strangers sitting on the ground. And if you're tired, scared or sometthing, you can just go back home, since it is nearby.

When you're confortable with that, you can go to a cafeteria. Order something and just sit there watching people like a biologist watching rats. Once again most people won't start conversations with you. They will however look at you. But don't feel threatened by that, after all you yourself are watching them, why can't them?

Be sure to listen to their conversations, observe differences between this and that group. Try to deduce what people do for living, or what is their personality like just by observing. Eventually you're going to overhear their conversations and confirm or not your guesses.
Really, treat this like a game.

Then you can move on to harder stuff like going to bars or something.

Also, if you are VERY, VERY uncomfortable in any of these stages you can ask the company of your parents or relatives or anyone you really trust. Just make sure to explain to them and they will surely help you.
 
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  • #37
OP:
What do you want to achieve? The direction you're heading depends on what you believe to be true about your dysfunction - is it like an amputated limb or is it a sickness? You can't grow back an arm once it's lost (or maybe never existed). There's so much you could do, or atleast things I would do if I were you, but you are you and I
am me and it will be an endless debate whether any of us has the best / close to optimal solution. So, you have to go with the flow and learn what you can on the way.

Pills and medications of all sorts always felt a waste to me, though I have never had problems with such things hence never needed the pills anyway. I understand it is brain chemistry that is different, that's all I can understand, though - socialphobias and anxieties that you suffer from are baseless in my opinion, I just cannot comprehend the fear.

So we're back to square one, what is it you look to achieve?
 
  • #38
Some of the belated posts make me wonder if there's more 'lurkers' following , too shy to chime in.

As a world class nerd let me share something.
I took the Dale Carnegie speaking course about 30 years ago in my mid-thirties.
I signed up because of intense social anxiety, and in my job i was expected to speak before groups.
I'd actually not remember the talks afterward.

Carnegie started out teaching public speaking in public school adult education evening classes.
In his book Carnegie describes noticing profound personality changes among quite a few of his students.
He decided he was on to something and changed the thrust of his course to building confidence and interacting better with people.

This is NOT a commercial for that course. It's just sharing my experience.

Like that old Greek orator Demosthenes who overcame his speech impediment by putting pebbles in his mouth and forcing himself to speak, we grow by pushing ourselves where we're weak.

I'd suggest you try an evening course in public speaking at a local community college. You'll be surrounded by other folks who are trying to improve themselves, and that's a lot healthier than the bar scene.
especially for us 'socially challenged' types. Like the old R&R song says - "..No place for beginners, or sensitive hearts..."

You will see the class members gain self confidence and they'll see same in you.
What happens is you find out you're not so bad after all.

old jim
 
  • #39
Public speaking is incredibly stressful for many people. Even worse is karaoke. Just remember, hardly anyone cares if you come off as clarence darrow, or taylor swift. They will mostly remember you had the kahunas to get up there and give it a shot. Its a confidence booster.
 

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