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Thread: My error

  1. #1
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Default My error

    I've been examining myself... and realize that I made some rather major errors in the way I lived my life. I always thought I was doing the best thing possible by just focusing on getting good grades, taking no risks in order to get my high school diploma, and not taking any time to involve myself with people. I thought that if I did that, I wouldn't have any regrets or embarrassments when I looked back later. Sure enough, I have no embarrassments, but I do have regrets.

    The thing is, I've realized that I'm trapped inside a maze that I unconsciously and unwittingly created. I've always tried to avoid asking other people for anything, and in the situations I dealt with before, I was always able to get by this way. The thing is, I'm now in a situation where I do absolutely nothing all day except sit around, go on the computer, and sleep... and I don't know how to get out of it. My mother doesn't seem to know how to help me, because all she really does is go to work and come home to watch television.

    I did try going to work for my father for a couple months... but that didn't help, because I basically just ended up falling into the same old routine I had there before, and ended up focusing on just getting work done all the time like I had in school there. I wasn't even learning how to do anything I didn't already know how to do. It didn't make me feel better at all, and if anything made me feel guilty because of the nepotism involved. So I ended up leaving to go back home... my father yelling at me for being in a "pissy" mood too early in the morning one day was the last straw.

    Every possibility I seem to be aware of for moving forward involves reaching out to other people for some kind of help, but there are three reasons I can't do that. The first one is that I don't know how to do that effectively because I never learned how, and the second one is that I never made any kind of connections to other people, so there's no one to reach out to. The third reason is that I missed the main opportunity I had to learn this (which was in high school), so I don't have it now.

    The most annoying thing about this, is that whenever I ask for help regarding a problem, people just tell me to do some kind of advanced process that involves other people without any kind of explanation, taking it for granted that I have this skill and people to use with it. They really don't seem to get that I don't have it, especially since I'm sometimes capable of coming off as more well-adjusted than I actually am.

    It explains how the other students survived school without paying as much attention or thinking as hard as I did... each of them knew how to do one or two things, and they all tapped into some kind of human network that allowed them to share those abilities with each other and be effective. Unfortunately, I never learned anything about that, but everyone expects that it's something I understand at this point in my life. Everyone else has evolved this skill to such a level that they make what I can do individually seem insignificant, even though earlier on it was less than what I could do individually. They evolved right past me, in other words.

    So, I guess what I'm saying is... it was a mistake for me shut other people out to the extent that I did, and it's very likely that I've screwed myself over for life because I didn't use the opportunity to learn how to connect to them when I had it, being certain that even though it looked like it would be interesting, I'd be rewarded for sacrificing it just to focus on my work in the end. Now I can't help myself, and there's no else to help me.

    So, my message is this... whatever you do, don't end up like me... a person who spends months inside just sitting in front of a computer feeling sorry for themselves. I kind of doubt many people would have ended up like me anyway, but if you see signs of it... just try not to.

  2. #2
    lab rat extraordinaire CrystalViolet's Avatar
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    Default

    If it helps at all, introverts tend to be late bloomers. I was similar to you through out my high school years, but in university, I began to move outside of myself, and reach out.
    I'm never going to be great shakes at being super social, but with age you beat your self up less for inherent flaws of personality. You just are the way are, however that said, are you depressed? Having battled with depression for years, I got to say this does inhibit the ability to move outside of yourself, and I personally get trapped in repeating, spiralling thought processes that are hard to stop.
    Forgive if I presume too much, but maybe to start off find a hobby or something that involves meeting with people, start with small steps. It gets easier.
    What about the job situation? Doing something that doesn't involve family?
    I would suggest all the trite suggestions, but you have to want to move outside of yourself first. I'm very guilty of not seeking help when I need it. I would say it is my great downfall, that and seeking it from the wrong people.
    The other thing I would suggest is do something, anything - Just get moving. That always helps me, if I'm in a psychological state of paralysis. Keep moving, small steps, eventually those steps become bigger steps.
    Currently submerged under an avalanche of books and paper work. I may come back up for air from time to time.
    Real life awaits and she is a demanding mistress.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  3. #3
    Diabolical Kasper's Avatar
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    Nah, you haven't screwed anything up for life. The skills that you think you're lacking are learnable. Just need to decide that's what you want to do, know that you can than go about creating non-threatening situations that allow you to socialise.

  4. #4
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireyPheonix View Post
    If it helps at all, introverts tend to be late bloomers. I was similar to you through out my high school years, but in university, I began to move outside of myself, and reach out.
    I don't really want to totally "bloom," or anything like that. I just want to move forward with my goals, and finding that skills I didn't develop are coming back to haunt me. Even worse, it seems like I'd need to already have some of the skills in order to get access to opportunities to improve them... which makes it something of a catch-22.
    I'm never going to be great shakes at being super social, but with age you beat your self up less for inherent flaws of personality. You just are the way are, however that said, are you depressed?
    I'm not beating myself up about it. In fact, if it weren't inhibiting my ability to do the things I want to do, it wouldn't bother me. I just feel like my behavior makes me trapped in a negative cycle. I don't hate myself, I just feel like I took a wrong turn in a maze that doesn't let you turn back.
    Forgive if I presume too much, but maybe to start off find a hobby or something that involves meeting with people, start with small steps. It gets easier.
    This is an example of what I'm talking about. You tell me to find a hobby and meet with people, assuming I know how to set up or involve myself in a situation like that. I don't. If I knew how to do something like that, I wouldn't have this problem, I'd have done it a long time ago.
    What about the job situation? Doing something that doesn't involve family?
    Oh, definitely. I just need to figure out how to apply, and I can't see how I'm going to transport myself anywhere anyway. It's a real mess, but this one I can work though, given some time.
    I would suggest all the trite suggestions, but you have to want to move outside of yourself first. I'm very guilty of not seeking help when I need it. I would say it is my great downfall, that and seeking it from the wrong people.
    This isn't about want. I definitely want to move outside of myself, I just quite literally don't know how to do that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trinity
    Nah, you haven't screwed anything up for life. The skills that you think you're lacking are learnable. Just need to decide that's what you want to do, know that you can than go about creating non-threatening situations that allow you to socialise.
    Sigh. You don't get it either. It's not about wanting to do it. I already want to. I know on an abstract level that there is a way to create non-threatening situations that allow me to socialize... I just can't get started on doing something like that if I don't know what I'm doing and have nothing to start with. I'm missing all the practical skills and the starting point in terms of socializing.

    Everyone insists that it's all about will or lack thereof and the skills are already there. They really don't get how someone could get through life without developing them, but I did. I think it must be so unconscious and obvious to most people that they can't even comprehend the idea of having to learn what I'm talking about learning.

    I just wish someone would explain it instead of expecting me to know it. I don't understand it at all, don't even see ways to move towards it.

    I know what I want... I'm just too blind to see a way through from where I am and lacking in knowledge of how to do anything about it or get any help doing something about it that it's trapping me.

    I have a vision in my mind of places where I'd like to be or things I'd like to do, I just don't see how I can reach them from where I am. I just feel as if I'm standing on one side of a deep and wide chasm, looking at what I want that's on the other side. And I don't know where to find or how to make any tools for crossing like a grappling hook or something on my side, and I'm too far away to get the attention of anyone on the other side so they can do something to help me across. Even if I could... I don't even know that they'd take the time and effort to help me.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bluebell's Avatar
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    IMO, it's not too late for you to learn social skills. I'll list a few concrete suggestions to see if this is the sort of thing you're after. (I was missing a lot of social skills up until a few years ago, but I ended up learning a lot from working in an open plan office and copying what other people said until it started to feel natural.)

    The aim of these suggestions is to start noticing and watching how other people interact with each other, then to start practising those skills, even if it feels very uncomfortable. Then once you know the basics, then you can work through a list of concrete steps to start meet people in more formal settings, such as in something like a cooking class or whatever. Is that the sort of information you're looking for?

    OK, some concrete suggestions to start with (apologies if they seem too basic - I'm not sure which skills you already have, and you do have some skills already, given that you talk to your parents):

    - Watch a few TV shows that are aimed at adults, such as sitcoms or family-friendly drama. You can watch how people say hello to each other etc. Once you're used to noticing what people say to each other, you can try to picture what it would be like to talk to people.

    - Do you live near any shopping malls or cafes etc? If so, make yourself go to these places on a regular basis. At the beginning, you don't need to make yourself talk to anyone. The aim is to just observe other people and how they interact with each other. Notice how people say hello to each other. Watch someone say 'thank you' when they buy something or get served a coffee. Imagine yourself saying these things to other people.

    - Go to a cafe and order something or buy something from a shop. To start with, just practice saying 'thank you' and smile when you get given the thing you're buying. Then you can move on to say 'hi, how are you?' when you're paying for the item, or practice making small talk by commenting about the weather.

    I'll leave it there in case I've misunderstood the type of information you're looking for. I can add more suggestions if you're interested.

    Edit: If you can explain more about your vision of where you'd like to end up, that would be useful.
    ...so much smoke pouring out of each chromosome.

  6. #6

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    What exactly do you want to do?

    In the mean time read this. The advice in this chapter seems to answer some of your questions.

  7. #7
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    The number of things I could suggest... limitless...
    The number of reasons not to do any of them... limitless..

    The number of solutions...limitless..
    The number of problems..limitless..

    The problem is not that there are problems or that the solutions seem ill suited, it is that you're not doing them but instead sitting back and analysing them.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  8. #8
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluebell View Post
    IMO, it's not too late for you to learn social skills. I'll list a few concrete suggestions to see if this is the sort of thing you're after. (I was missing a lot of social skills up until a few years ago, but I ended up learning a lot from working in an open plan office and copying what other people said until it started to feel natural.)

    The aim of these suggestions is to start noticing and watching how other people interact with each other, then to start practising those skills, even if it feels very uncomfortable. Then once you know the basics, then you can work through a list of concrete steps to start meet people in more formal settings, such as in something like a cooking class or whatever. Is that the sort of information you're looking for?

    OK, some concrete suggestions to start with (apologies if they seem too basic - I'm not sure which skills you already have, and you do have some skills already, given that you talk to your parents):

    - Watch a few TV shows that are aimed at adults, such as sitcoms or family-friendly drama. You can watch how people say hello to each other etc. Once you're used to noticing what people say to each other, you can try to picture what it would be like to talk to people.

    - Do you live near any shopping malls or cafes etc? If so, make yourself go to these places on a regular basis. At the beginning, you don't need to make yourself talk to anyone. The aim is to just observe other people and how they interact with each other. Notice how people say hello to each other. Watch someone say 'thank you' when they buy something or get served a coffee. Imagine yourself saying these things to other people.

    - Go to a cafe and order something or buy something from a shop. To start with, just practice saying 'thank you' and smile when you get given the thing you're buying. Then you can move on to say 'hi, how are you?' when you're paying for the item, or practice making small talk by commenting about the weather.

    Edit: If you can explain more about your vision of where you'd like to end up, that would be useful.
    Ah, those are pretty good. You're closer to my level... although you're right, most of that is too basic. That's exactly what I've been doing when stuck in such situations in order to "fake it" so that no one sees that I have no idea what I'm doing.

    One of those, though... go to a cafe and order something. This is how I see that situation.

    The one I'm supposed to talk to is the person taking orders, probably standing behind the counter. If there's a line, I stand in it. When I reach them, I offer my order and wait for a sign of acknowledgment and possible instructions about what to do before going to look for a seat. Then I wait at the seat for either a number to be called so I can pick up my food from the counter, or a waiter to bring the food to me, depending on their protocol. Then I check to see if it's time to pay for the food or not. If so, I pay then. If not, I consume my food first, and then call the waiter back to collect the cost plus a tip. Then I get up, dispose of any trash that may remain from my meal in the proper receptacle, and proceed to leave. Any instructions that happen to come from an employee or local authority may override any of this. If someone other than an employee engages me in conversation, ask if anything is wrong. If so, apologize and avoid continuing the annoying behavior, even if it means leaving early in order to avoid agitating them because it's an inherent trait. If not, answer any questions they ask and go along with anything they request, provided it doesn't seem dangerous, immoral, disgusting, or illegal.

    So the the thing is, when I go into that situation, I know that what I'm going to be doing is interacting with the staff towards our shared goal of getting my food ordered, eaten, and paid for in a polite manner. Which I know how to do. I know how to say thanks, answer questions, apologize, say hello, etc. So I wouldn't learn or gain a whole lot from going into a situation like that...

    The only time it might be helpful would be if I had a friend with me who wanted to introduce me to some of their friends in this context, or even just talk to me. Then I would likely go along with a lot of their suggestions, and possibly make a few friends and have an entertaining conversation. The thing is, since I don't already have friends who take me places who could introduce me to people... the only kind of interaction I can have is going to places of business to purchase services, and maybe the occasional apology if someone trips over my foot or something.

    In other words, I know how to interact with other people in a compliant way. I just don't know what to do with other people when there's nothing to comply with that pulls me into interacting with them. I don't know how to create situations, I just know how to go along with the ones other people create and pull me into.

  9. #9
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    The problem is not that there are problems or that the solutions seem ill suited, it is that you're not doing them but instead sitting back and analysing them.
    Umm... yes. Because that's all I know how to do. I'm analyzing them because I'm looking for a way to do them, and I don't see it. I thought we'd established that. I'd do any of them if someone would explain how on a level that didn't assume ridiculous levels of knowledge of how to set up situations involving other people.

    You can't do something without knowing how to do it or having the resources to start with... but no one understands that because they've known everything and had a reserve of resources for a long time.

  10. #10
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    Umm... yes. Because that's all I know how to do. I thought we'd established that. I'd do any of them if someone would explain how on a level that didn't assume ridiculous levels of knowledge of how to set up situations involving other people.

    You can't do something without knowing how to do it... but no one understands that because they've known everything for a long time.
    Absolutely and utterly wrong.

    What you mean is "you can't succeed at something without knowing how to do it". That's different.

    You're preoccupation with proficiency mires you in doubt.

    Go try, screw up, fall down, get picked up (whether you ask for it or not) and learn. It's how things progress. No mistakes means you've never tried to do anything.

    Go do. Then analyse and improve.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

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