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How do I stop myself from disrupting conversations?

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Aneka, Dec 17, 2021.

  1. Aneka

    Aneka Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    So, this has become a real problem in my internship. Especially during lunch break with several people holding a conversation (actually, even the break is work for me.) On the phone I also experience this more than usual.
    I want to participate and say something and when I manage to get a word in they have already reached a different topic. It's like a river flowing by. I either dominate a conversation or remain mostly silent.
    People have misjudged me as 'dominant' and 'arrogant' because of this.
    The problem is I can't really explain this to anyone. Are there any methods and techniques? Can you learn how to properly hold a conversation in groups?
     
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  2. SimonSays

    SimonSays Time is an illusion I seem to have a lot of V.I.P Member

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    Surely not from remaining mostly silent?

    I would say less is more. Listening rather than speaking.

    You say you want to participate and say something, but there's nothing wrong with staying silent. Perhaps not having an opinion, or not expressing it if you do, will allow you to observe something you wouldn't otherwise notice, because you were too busy telling them what you think you know.

    IDK. I've always found that not having to talk allows me to learn something about other people I wouldn't otherwise learn, which seems far more important then me telling them something they may or may not be interested in.
     
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  3. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Yes go with listening. It's a skill in it's own right. In terms of not being able to judge when to speak, this sounds like a processing difference or delay, and if you don't know you have it, they certainly won't, so then they wonder why you talked over someone.

    Practice nodding, smiling, and listening with interest.
     
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  4. Aneka

    Aneka Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I mean, I can not really tell them what is different about me. This is a job in the social sector after all.
     
  5. unperson

    unperson Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    If people are ok with you not speaking, that's not so bad - it can be smart to keep one's opinions to oneself.

    I can see why it's frustrating for you but it takes some practice to read how and when to enter a conversation. A LOT of it is eye contact based, so maybe work on the eye contact interpretation and/or study what micro expressions/gaze are in play when people enter into the discourse.
     
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  6. Matthias

    Matthias Well-Known Member

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    How do you keep track of everyone's eyes when there are several people in the group or do you only focus on the person talking?
     
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  7. Skittlebisquit

    Skittlebisquit Just keep trying, victory brings glory V.I.P Member

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    I struggle with the same thing.i think it is a inner dialogue issue, like an echo, I also repeat myself a good deal and need to complete thoughts in speech as though the other person doesnt understand me.
     
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  8. unperson

    unperson Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    uh, mainly the speaker, their gaze and microexpressions may indicate they want some input, but also glance at the other participants to see how they are signalling they want to speak. you can't stare at one person for too long anyway (except when they're speaking) so maybe just switch around.
     
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  9. Suzette

    Suzette Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Just a suggestion, since you are an intern no one is expecting to hear your ideas and opinions. If these discussions are part of meetings, listen, then, if need be, wait to the end to ask questions or seek clarification. That strategy works on the phone too.

    On the social end, being quiet but smiling, nodding, agreeing etc will make you seem agreeable and others may wish to include you more. I hate to say it but work is often a place of cliques and heirarchies, and as a new person, you are at the bottom.
     
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  10. watersprite

    watersprite inadvertent vagabond V.I.P Member

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    Someone (?) said that a comversation is not a person talking & the other person listening. It is a person talking and the other person(s) holding their silence.
    I probably mangled that a bit.

    Interrupting was is the number one complaint my 2 kids have about me. Then, it’s me advising them - while they’re cooking me scrambled eggs - to take the pan off the heat. :oops::rolleyes:
     
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  11. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    Typically in long-term social situations, remaining quiet will result in people considering you to be intelligent and eventually becoming curious about you and asking you questions. I've had this happen to me probably close to a dozen times.
     
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  12. unperson

    unperson Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Forgot to mention we typically watch people's mouths when they're talking, so that may be why you're missing the subtle signals...not looking where you need to look.
     
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  13. Hypnalis

    Hypnalis Member

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    The underlying cause(s) of the issues you describe can't be addressed briefly, but some simple techniques.

    Business meetings:

    In general, just having something to say doesn't mean you should say it. It's a group activity with a specific purpose (or, if you're working in an ineffective organization, you pretend that's the case) - if you're not definitely contributing to the objective, say nothing.
    So you don't track the sentences or sub-topics. You track what's happening against the meeting objective. As a junior, if it's moving forward, or they're just wasting time "flexing", say nothing.
    • If you expect to provide necessary information, or ask a specific necessary question, write down the things you need to address (limit each point to one to four words - it's just a reminder & checklist).
    • Remember it's a group activity. Unless you own the project/activity, you speak when you add business value. That's not the same as not agreeing with something, or adding a minor detail, or another angle on a topic.
    Online business meetings:
    • Turn off your mike. Don't turn it on unless you're sure you should be saying something (see above for some guidelines). This provides an automatic break in the "rush to say what just came into your head" process, where you can review the context.
    Informally, with people (lunch breaks etc):

    I'd need a lot more contextual information, but something to consider: the process isn't all that different from business meetings, except the tangible objectives vary (the topic of conversation will jump around).

    One thing that might help (though it doesn't actually address your specific question(s) - try to track the two key things that don't require you to "read" the group:
    • What is the current speaker trying to achieve?
    • How are they using the conversation to do that?
    The answers to both may be trivial BTW - e.g. it might just be someone who likes to talk and to dominate conversations describing something trivial. But in that case at least you know that they don't want to be interrupted :)

    Note that this doesn't directly help you know what to say. when, or how. It's equivalent to your "meeting prep" notes, or turning your microphone off, but with a different upside: it will help identify places in the flow where your input would be welcome.
     
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  14. Gift2humanity

    Gift2humanity Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I've had different struggles with this, I have borderline personality disorder.
    I used to be a right chatterbox, until recently.
    Sometimes I want to be heard.
    My BPD part wants me to be heard and tells me to tell people I feel left out, bored, excluded etc.
    I find, in reality, I am not a natural talker.
    Group conversations can be almost a "game" where people put their two pennies in, or quiet people feel forced to talk so as not to bring attention to themselves by not speaking.
    Anyroad, I started just staying quiet, yet engaged with the conversation, sometimes it's hard to concentrate if it's small talk.
    I try to talk when I have something to say and obviously when I am asked a question or someone wants to tell me something.
    I hope that helps.
    This has come up lately as my BPD has been playing up, telling me I am boring and easy to talk over.
     
  15. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Same. I have no idea. I've been struggling with this for decades and at this point I don't think I can do better. I've tried. :confused: