I'm 30 years old, and am basically incapable of functioning in social settings. Can't make conversation. It's long since gone past awkward. It's embarrassing. I need to change. I don't know how.
posted by anawesomeguy to Society & Culture (21 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure how to post this in a short, coherent, and understandable story. There are so many random details, but I'll try:
I'm a 30 year old guy, and my social skills and communication skills are not what they should be. Now. I guess there are two parts: social skills, and my lack of self confidence. So first, social skills: I do have some good friends. But I struggle to make friends. I struggle to talk to people. I struggle to hold conversations with people I do know. I get along with most people. But I REALLY struggle to take things past surface acquaintances and form real friendships.
Here is my key issue (I believe): I just never have anything to say to people. Or know what to say. Or how to make conversation. Partly, I wonder if it is because I have a bad memory. Somewhere, years ago... I feel like I just lost the ability to think. And I feel like there isn't a lot going on in my head anymore.
Here are some examples: I just moved to go back to University. I get along fine with everyone in my class. However, like I say - it's all just surface stuff. Most of them have made really good friends with a few people in the class, and they go out and do stuff together; but not me. They're happy to talk to me there, but I never know how to take it further.
I have a tendancy to show up to things... and just sort of stand around on my own because I don't know how to make conversation. I can say hi. I can say how is it going. How did you go on that test. But other than that... I really, really, struggle. So often, we all show up for a class... we'll be waiting around together, people talking... and I'll be standing aloof in a corner. I can approach people; but for the most part I don't have anything to say or to ask... so I can't.
Another example: get togethers with people. Say, christmas time with the family: I just sit there, and say nothing. Because I don't know what to say. I don't have anything to contriute to most conversations. I don't know how to start them. I don't know how to join in on them.
I don't know how to joke around with people.
I live on campus at Uni... and I stop and have chats and stuff with the people I'm sharing with; but I often struggle to maintain the conversation.
One really awkward thing is that if I do ever manage to spend time with a person... it falls really flat. I don't have anything to say. Driving in my car... I'll sit there in silence, feeling awkward, because I have nothing to say.
I've noticed this and it's a key problem I have: other people usually make the conversation, and topics, and I respond. It's the same with good friends, close family members. I can't make communication. It's like... I speak if spoken to. Otherwise... I don't know what to say. Like... LITERALLY THERE IS NOTHING IN MY HEAD. NOTHING.
I used to have to go to work conferences and they were the worst. I'd end up standing there on my own.
I've noticed it may be a group things. If I am with a few friends I am close with, I can sit around and talk and laugh (though still less so than the others) but as soon as there are more than a few there... I just completely close up.
I also am developing an alcohol problem. Because after a few drinks, I can talk anyones ear off. And I wish I was like that all the time. It's amazing. I make friends with so many people when I've been drinking. I'm funny, I'm engaging, I'm confident, they like me, they respond to me.
Then when I'm sober... I'm this meek, self conscious guy that has nothing to say.
I don't know if this is all related to self confidence - because I used to have self confidence, say 10 years ago, but I still had poor social skills then. But if I think back... I remember when I was in school, I used to always get in trouble for talking too much in class. Now... in class, I sit there in silence... wishing I could make conversation with the person next to me... but I have nothing to offer.
I could go on and on, but onto the self confidence thing: I have basically, none whatsoever. I always think, "Why would that person care what I think" "Why would that person care what I have to say" "Why would that person care who I am". I don't think I'm capable of anything, I don't think anyone likes me, I can't think of any reason why they should, I don't think I have any charisma or personality that people would like, I don't feel like I have any use that can contribute to anything or anyone.
I basically feel like I'm nothing.
Sometimes I feel like if I had self confidence (ie, I'm a superstar when I get drunk) things might be different; but I think I used to have self confidence and I still couldn't make conversation.
It's also a phone thing as well. I literally cannot make conversations on phones. And I should because I moved away for University. But say, if called my brother who I love so much... I have nothing to say to him. "Hows things?" "Hows school?" "Cool".
And I wonder... if its because my memory is so bad? I never recall stories or anecdotes to tell people or to share, or to contribute to conversations .
I just don't know. But I do know that I'm sick of being in social situations where I stand around on my own looking like an idiot; or say a few boring, uninspired words to the people around, then nothing else. Sometimes I put off catching up with people I've met that are willing to catch up with me again, because I know I'm going to sit around in awkward silence and not say much anyway.
I really don't know what to do or where to start. Help, please?