I understand. I struggle a lot with negative symptoms. If I was a neurotypical I probably would have made a hundred movies by now.
I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in my late twenties and I’ve had to practically find my identity again as a man and a schizophrenic.
Keep reaching out for help.
The best advice I can offer with socializing is that context is key. Like if someone ask you in the elevator how your day is going, they probably don’t want to hear a life story. That would be more appropriate if a family member or close friend asked about your day.
I hope all of this makes sense.
Thanks @ninjastar. Your post really made me think.
It feels like my whole life has been square peg, round hole. If the round peg is what’s typical, then that’s why so many round holes. It suits most people. I suppose that’s why it’s so important to have protected legal rights for those who are different, and why people need to recognize neurodiversity.
Here’s one more example. So I know that small talk is a very important social ritual for NTs and it serves an important social purpose. Small talk is actually quite a big deal. But I am terrible at it, and it gives me great anxiety. The problem is that it’s part of the meeting process at work. Sometimes it goes on for up to 10 minutes and it can be so disorienting to me that I lose focus during the rest of the meeting. It’s a barrier for me and I often think I cannot take a position where I have to be in those kinds of meetings all day. If everyone else were like me, we’d skip it or leave it until the end.
This is good advice. Context is something I’m working on. This may sound pretty basic, but it helps me to remember in a situation like that that I am a stranger to the person with whom I am speaking. It helps me to take on a little of their perspective, which does not come naturally to me.
I have a trick for small talk. Mr. Star taught it to me. Memorize like 4 or 5 short, funny stories about harmless topics. They dont even have to be real, as long as they sound believable. They should be stories that have a happy ending where nobody gets injured. They should not feature common triggers like bodily fluids, bugs etc. It should invite an obvious follow-up question that you can plan for in advance. If you have any small children in your family, think of a silly thing the kid has done.
For example, one of my favorites is about when Starlet was learning about the difference between sexual and asexual reproduction, and when asked for an example of asexual reproduction, he pointed to himself and said “adoption?”
It is short, cute, creates feelings of contentment, and is very difficult to be offended about. When someone asks me “how’s it going?” I will be like " Starlet did the cutest thing the other day" and then tell the memorized story. They will usually ask “oh, how is the adoption process going?” And I can say “we are just waiting on the paperwork to be finalized, should be soon! How is your [child, nephew, cousin, etc]” and then I listen to their response and see if they say something I can ask a follow up question about
This is more or less what my therapist suggested. To come up with a script and use material from that. Now I just need to do it.
And yup, your last paragraph is exactly how it sounds to me when I listen to other people make small talk in the break room, while I stand silently making a cup of coffee before awkwardly scurrying away lol.
Common topics for small talk:
- Funny things children do
- A nice bonding moment with a relative
- A recent accomplishment in school
- A mildly embarassing moment (think “told the waitress to enjoy her meal too” not “accidentally peed my pants in Target”)
- A way you misunderstood the slang kids are using
- a new recipe you tried and whether it went well
- a good restaurant you tried
- a popular movie or tv show (be CAREFUL if it is a hyperfixation. Only talk about surface level things and only for less than 2 minutes!)
Your Target example made me laugh but also reminded me of the fact that I’ve definitely tried my getting an enema in the hospital story as an anecdote on a couple of occasions lol.
Good small talk topics for making people go away when you want them to
- the technical details of a hobby you have
- historical facts
- the weather (this one is almost universally recognized NT code for “this conversation is boring, please go away” unless you live in a place with extreme weather or work in a weather-dependent field)
Talk about any of these for like 30 seconds and you’ll usually get them to say something along the lines of “oh that’s really interesting. Well, better get back to work”
I’ve got a story that might work for small talk. A guy asked me if I had an old man. I thought he meant my father so I said yes. Damn. Wondered why it was over.
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