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Feel extremely awkward meeting strangers!

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by jo11y, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. jo11y

    jo11y Well-Known Member

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    I just got home from the printing shop, and while I was paying at the counter, this man who was beside me randomly talked to me.
    He said ' in college now?' (he was really friendly and nice)
    I replied ' yeah'
    he said ' oh, art school?' (cuz he saw me printing some artwork)
    I replied ' nah,just printing some stuff for some event'
    then he nodded his head with a huge smile and said 'good' ...
    and i nervously dropped my change on the floor, he picked it up and gave it to me. I said thanks and he said 'your welcome' with a huge smile on his face.

    I know this seems like a very normal situation but as I was walking home, my mind couldnt stop rewinding the whole scenario. And i felt so nervous, awkward, embarrassed with a little 'oh my god, what the hell was that. I could've done better' kinda thing. Is this some sort of social disorder? And my voice gets blurry (not sharp) whenever Im stuck in situations like this. It was so obvious that i was nervous.

    what can i do to avoid such situations again?
     
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  2. rhubarbo

    rhubarbo Well-Known Member

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    This is very common in AS and Social Phobia (often caused by, by not necessary indicative of AS). This happens rather often. I think the best thing I could recommend is to attempt (and find ways) to limit the time reviewing the scenario. It's add stress to, IMHO, tends to amplify the difficultly of the situation. Accept yourself and accept that, at time, you may flub a regular conversation - and, when you find a time you do well in that type of situation, let that particular event rewind in your head reminding you of what you did well.

    I hope that helps you may consider investigating AS or social phobia with a professional. CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), a way to sort-of govern your thought environment is effective, even without a professional, may help.
     
  3. Arashi222

    Arashi222 Cuddling Vampires V.I.P Member

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    That is really normal for situation like that. I often replay what happens in conversations especially if I don't understand at all what happened. I often feel very awkward with strangers especailly touchy strangers. I get very uncomfy. While I am at work I usually do ok with strangers because I use my scripts I think it might be good for you to use your scripts to help you in situations like that again. I often cannot order my own food at fast food places with my friends they usually have to do it for me for this reason.
     
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  4. Athena

    Athena Well-Known Member

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    I often replay situations like that in my mind and think about what I could've done better. So your reaction makes sense to me. I guess it'd be best to limit the time thinking about it, however I'm not quite sure how to do this myself, so I'm not sure if I could be of any help. I try to think to myself, you did okay, even if not so what if he/she has their own thoughts on you, what does it matter in a while (ie. a year from now), is it worth my energy, etc. It doesn't always help but sometimes it does. I used to re-think situations all the time when I was a teenager, gladly these days I do it a bit less often. I think because I'm not in as many situations as back then, but also because I'm more confident now than I used to be. I know the social rules better than I did back then (back then, part of my aim was to learn the social rules by dissecting situations). I do notice I do it more when I'm stressed.

    I understand you feel nervous and awkward, however keep in mind that while we with autism sometimes feel this way, it happens many times that the other person or people don't notice. So you don't have to worry that much I think (much easier said than done, though, I worry a lot myself so..)
     
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  5. Peace

    Peace Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Perhaps you could identify why you felt this way, and then look for a comfort zone. I used to do the same thing, now I just delight in my differences. I make sure my words are polite, and I don't worry about the rest. I expect that I am perceived as different, but I think to myself "It Is Good For People To See Something Different. I just flutter along, confident that I am OK because I have not done anything to harm anyone.
    Believe! You sound very nice as well, or you would not be concerned about what other people think. I am sure you do just fine. and remember, the perception we have of ourselves is ours alone. Nobody else sees us in the same way.
     
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  6. Lector Tiberius

    Lector Tiberius Well-Known Member

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    Jolly ,

    You might not be able to avoid that type of conversation from happening again and I think it's actually somewhat "normal" to reflect on any conversation with a stranger. I definatly do not like or even feel comfortable with discussions with strangers, wow and don't touch me ! lol. What still gets me is; even though I try and send out body language in public that "I'd rather not be social" , it usally happens. Since I started wear dark sun glasses people don't engage with me as much because they can't read my eyes. I'm not sure if that's the right way to learn to deal with the public but "it works" .. Thank you for posting this, I totally can relate to your experiance.

    Also on a side note , it is good to be careful as well- which is more confusing because obviously there are some people that one should not talk too:) I guess the way I look at that as my AS has probably helped me in some situations in avoidence of potentionally dangerous strangers ..
     
  7. Ste11aeres

    Ste11aeres Moderator Staff Member

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    A lot of NTs are bad at that sort of conversation. Because it's awkward to talk to a stranger, no matter who you are. It sounds like you did fine.
     
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  8. Mellotron

    Mellotron Well-Known Member

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    I do this all the time when talking to strangers or people that I don't usually talk to. I always replay the conversation in my head and think "oh man did I screw up?" or "what could I have said better?". But realistically most of the time the other person probably isn't thinking anything of the conversation out of the normal and its just me completely over analyzing the situation. I try to just let it go and move on, easier said than done of course.

    Sounds like your conversation went well from your description, jo11y. I know its hard not to over analyze it but it sounds like you handled your encounter well.
     
  9. Loomis

    Loomis Well-Known Member

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    Accept who you are. Do not try to play the NT games. Learn how to enjoy quiet lags in conversations. There is no rule that says you must talk and be sociable. Do whatever is natural for you and become comfortable with your self.
     
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  10. 76054Pluto

    76054Pluto Well-Known Member

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    I totally agree. In the past I've been in work situations where I've kind of felt that other people expected me to join in the conversation or even entertain them when I just felt like getting on with the work and not saying anything. Now I am older and a bit wiser I have often found that a lot of everyday neurotypical conversations are actually quite dull and meaningless.
     
  11. jimited

    jimited Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Story of my life, its like my mind goes into lock down if some random person tries to engage a conversation with me, for me its the unexpectedness of the chit chat and I feel as though I am put on the spot and end up giving really quick replies or start sounding like a bumbling idiot and I just have the urge to get away from the situation. When I have got away from the situation I then go into deep analysis of what went wrong.
     
  12. jimited

    jimited Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I also have formulated little scripts, its when I have to deviate from these is when it all goes wrong. I wont go to our local shop because the shop keeper is very friendly and I'm ok with the general greetings but when he starts asking different questions I start to get all sweaty and anxious so now I completely avoid that shop. I much prefer going to big super markets when its quiet as I know I won't have friendly people trying to interact with me. Writing this out sounds completely crazy lol!
     
  13. KcSpot

    KcSpot Well-Known Member

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    This is me. I can not go along with social functions because im NO GOOD at small talk and yet if I go alone to a place say like a bowling alley or movie theatre... I just feel wierd.... I feel like THAT ONE GUY whos just TRYING TOO HARD. I'd rather not go into public alone thanks.
     
  14. jaws

    jaws Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    That reminds me of a similar situation with a stranger at a restaurant I use to go to several times a week. I later found out from the bartenders that the person thought I did not like him, and I reviewed what our conversation had been over and over to figure out why he would think that. I can't say I figured that conversation out, but I did try the next time I saw this person by being first to start the conversation and asking about his day, etc. We are now friends.
     
  15. Cyanide Lollipop

    Cyanide Lollipop Well-Known Member

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    A lot of NTs don't do well at making small talk with strangers either. Don't let this encounter upset you. It isn't necessary to converse with anyone in such a short term situation. I can certainly understand the dilemma when you find yourself at a function for a few hours with people you don't know though. If you're trying to meet new friends or improve your social skills, the easiest way is to aim for a group where you all have a common interest so you have something to talk about even if you're struggling to think of anything else to say. Meetup is good for this (Find Meetup groups near you - Meetup) and if you're lucky you may also find a good social anxiety group in your area too.
     
  16. nervy

    nervy Well-Known Member

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    Small talk and chit chat is so hard when there's no simple go-to area of the mind that will spit it out for you, there's no simple answer IMO. As long as the reaction isn't hostile or depressive, I think you can get away with simple comments you'd thought about earlier.