Schizophrenia.com

Small talk

An ongoing chronic problem . Here is a post I made on alt.support.schizophrenia back in 2000. Things haven’t changed much.

Tim Gatty t.j....@btinternet.com wrote in message
news:871m86$sd9$1@neptunium.btinternet.com

Do any of you have difficulty in making small talk? Initiating
conversations
with other people and developing relationships from conversations. Do you
have difficulty with the processes involved and find it difficult to know
which is the right way to interact with others.As if you are questioning
your emotional responses and are not sure whether your emotional
responses
are adequate/relevant to the situation in hand.As if you find it difficult
to know how to react to a given situation or to other people.
. I find it difficult to initiate conversations and have always found it
difficult to form relationships even platonic ones. Sometimes i find it
difficult to know how to respond to a given situation -it is though i have
difficulty reading the signals and it is not always easy to give an
appropriate emotional response. I often feel that i am different from
other
people that somehow i am lacking in some way that i find it difficult to
identify with them- it is as if i am a stranger looking in on an
environment
that he is not used to and does not know how to respond to. However i
would
not say that my emotions are flattened -It is just that i find the whole
emotional process a little hard to fathom a fair ammount of the time. A
lot
of the time i think i am emotionally retarded and have been for more years
than i can remember.

Tim

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Did you have a quiet, not very stimulating childhood @firemonkey?..

I had such an engaged and thoroughly enjoyable childhood with my 2 brothers and sisters, that now, I can talk a blue streak on any topic imaginable. I just have so many memory ‘shots in the bank’ so to speak. I’m comfortable talking to Kings or Paupers…makes no diff to me.

My wife on the other hand was an only child and had a miserable, boring youth. She finds it hard to socialize…she’s socially awkward. But I suppose opposites really do attract because we’ve been together for 26 years now.

I was very much a loner as a child. Had one friend between ages of 8-13 that I lost when moving from prep to public school. I did not interact much with others. My brother and sister were closer to each other than they were to me although now I am closer to my brother if not my sister.
I wouldn’t say it was non stimulating but it certainly wasn’t ultra stimulating.

Hmm…

The reason I asked, is because I believe one’s social skills develop in the brain at a very young age…all of those wires, circuits and synapses all clicking and forming new programs…etc.

You’re obviously intelligent…I’ve followed many of your posts for months. I just think ‘social skills’ in adults, or lack thereof is a reflection of childhood environment.

You may be correct to some extent but I also think things like having aspergers/non verbal learning disorder(traits) come into play.
For the most part I was definitely a quiet child . I was the one that got included if a regular was unavailable and there was no one else to fill the place. Most of the time I was excluded.

You’re social interaction with me on this thread is completely normal…if not above average in tone and thoughtfulness. Are you telling me you are only socially awkward in person…face to face with other individuals?

My interaction on this thread is probably ok because it is very much ‘fact’ based as opposed to a casual exchange of words. I think for most people online social interaction can to a large extent mask social awkwardness that occurs in meatspace.

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Amen to that. If it wasn’t for the internet, I would have no social life at all.

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@firemonkey

It’s funny. I have viewed our discussion on this thread as a casual exchange of words. But you have interpreted it as just being ‘fact’ based. We have different perceptions in regards to our little chit chat.

I think you’re an excellent raconteur…you just need a little more self confidence! :wink:

I have a large family and so got plenty of stimulation. There were lots of us and then there were my sibling’s friends, etc. I have always been quiet. I have never known what to say or felt comfortable with the script of what others say. My mom and dad were social and even brought me to functions as I got older. I was overstimulated if anything, and taught, encouraged and exposed enough to make me completely withdraw. As Lady Gaga would say, I was born this way. :blush:

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Hmmm, sometimes, I can’t speak at all. It seems pointless and almost as if my mind won’t allow it. Other times, I apparently (according to friends and family members) will rant on and on about some random thing I read and ask a ton of questions.

Sadly though, when I swing back to quiet, I avoid people and wish not to speak with them. Talking to people is really hard and annoying if you are required to do so, because you just come off as aloof and an a-hole. Few understand that you don’t want to seem like that though it seems.

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I also think confidence in one’s appearance can play into social relations…

If you aren’t happy with the way you look, you can tend to avoid situations that require face-to-face contact…or become so overwhelmed with the thought of how you are presenting yourself that the words become lost.

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there’s a data file in my brain full of small talk responses and concentration skills and social interaction skills that I lost the password for some time ago. It is all encrypted information now and I don’t know how to read discourse at places like work I can’t inject myself into the conversation and I can barely follow what people are saying, it sounds like a different language. This also happens in places like shops when I buy something I don’t understand the shop assistant. here I have time to just read carefully and not worry about whether something I say is right or not. I just have to follow the posting guidelines.

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This started with me during the prodromal phase and I’ve been this way since. Schizophrenia has been described before with autism.

I listen more than I talk now. I used to be very outgoing and social. Could talk about anything and nothing. But today I am silent and listen to people before I talk. I think that is good.

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Yeah I like to listen to people. On the other hand, when I am meeting new people I have to inject myself into conversations by starting a new one because I can never understand what the current one is without being the awkward guy who just stands there.

I have, through intensive outpatient daycare group therapy, learned how to do small talk for a small period of time. It’s draining. How normals do this thing every day a hundred times is a curiosity to me.

It’s so much intense work, such intensive staring at their face mixed with not staring directly at their face…such a delicate ballet of facial expressions. A little twitch in the corner of their eyes and it haunts me!! --> what could this twitch mean? What could it meeeeean? It’s like a million interpretations of this one eye-corner twitch goes through my mind…maybe it was his microexpression…maybe it held the key to understanding this person’s feelings about me…or maybe there was an eyelash in his eye, who knows!!!

I can’t listen to people, catch something that interests me to respond to. On a trial of taking less zyprexa I was doing that some, but the dose was too small otherwise. I’d like to try that again. I wonder what - who- I’d be minus unwanted effects from medicines.

@Comatose I have it totally opposite. I used to be very withdrawn and quiet, afraid to open my mouth not to make a fool of myself. After recovery I became very outspoken but I think “destructively” outspoken. Many things make me angry, I lack patience, cannot accept sb’s behaviour when gets on my nerves. It’s like “I have had enough already, I can’t take this crap anymore…” with the small talk I have never been good, it bores me quickly and lose interest after short time like “what is the point?”. That is why I think I come across as quite arrogant…

@HQuinn I used to have that. Everything was “a sign” I overanalised everything. The good news is it passes. At least it did with me. Now I am just very sensitive to sb’s expressions in terms of recognizing what they are really thinking when they are talking to me. Is there congruence or lack of congruence with the verbal message? This constant interpretation process is quite exhausting though. But this is very normal I think. Facial expressions give us a huge amount of info about sb’s real intentions… but of course I also sometimes take it wrong. Like you said: “it can be just an eyelash in his eye…” balance is difficult…

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