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Dealing with social anxiety about "new" family arrangements

My mother recently divorced my step-dad of 11 years and started dating a new guy about 6 months ago. Having a stranger in my family is causing my social anxiety to manifest when I go to visit on holidays and other times, and I don't know what is the best way to talk to my mom about this, and to what extent I should feel OK removing myself from these situations. I'm 26 years old but I have the feeling that the way I am acting is perceived as highly inappropriate and rude for an adult. She has been very understanding of my anxiety in the past but is now that it is related to her boyfriend, she's taking it personally and I'm not sure what to do. [more inside]
posted by supernaturelle on Dec 24, 2013 - 26 answers

Tips and Tricks for living in a shared house

If you've lived in a house with a lot of other people in it, what has helped keep the peace and made things run smoothly for the household, short and long term? [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Jul 20, 2013 - 14 answers

Stranger danger

Was I being creepy / out of line when I offered this girl a ride? [more inside]
posted by WhitenoisE on Mar 4, 2013 - 46 answers

How to make native small talk

Hi! I'm learning Spanish at the moment, using podcasts and LiveMocha, mostly. I try to speak it as much as possible when doing the LiveMocha exercises, listening to the podcast conversations, etc, but I realise that what's missing is real live conversation with others. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jun 15, 2012 - 8 answers

Laying Out the Unwelcome Mat

Are there good reasons to answer the door to strangers? [more inside]
posted by Edogy on Apr 12, 2012 - 76 answers

Meeting new people: I feel like some (women) see me as a child

Meeting a new person; why do I get so frustrated [more inside]
posted by Lotsofcoffee on Feb 28, 2012 - 27 answers

"Haven't I seen you before, like every morning at the same bus stop?"

Do you interact with the proverbial familiar stranger? In particular, have you felt compelled to interact when crossing paths outside of the "usual spot"? [more inside]
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing on Nov 18, 2011 - 21 answers

How do I refuse the kindness of these strangers that I'm related to?

Long Lost Relatives filter: Am I a bad person for only wanting to take them up on _part_ of their generous offer? If not, help me politely communicate this! [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Oct 5, 2011 - 12 answers

How do I ask a complete stranger out while she's at work?

How do I ask a complete stranger out while she's at work? Should I even consider doing this? [more inside]
posted by menschlich on Jun 1, 2011 - 68 answers

Talking to strangers but not smalltalk

I want to talk to strangers, but not make smalltalk. What are interesting questions that I can ask random strangers, questions that, with just the right mix of playfulness, sincerity, etc., might actually be possible to ask without freaking out myself or the other person? Adapting an example I came across in a random book: "Excuse me, Iknowthisisweirdbut, what's the most important thing you know?" [more inside]
posted by zeek321 on May 1, 2011 - 34 answers

Pen pals?

Is it possible to find pen pals in todays modern world? I find that I can go weeks without speaking to anyone in a meaningful way and my social anxiety is going through the roof. I think a pen pal would be a good way to start interacting with people again without having to worry about the social fears I have. Is there a site or place I could go to find pen pals? Especially ones gentle to shy people who would like to open up to others but take time to do so?
posted by kanata on Feb 22, 2011 - 14 answers

Is it that hard to just hit the "reply" button?!

A large part of my new job involves contacting various people and asking them for information. How can I convince them to get back to me quickly? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Nov 19, 2010 - 7 answers

So many options . . .

I live and work in midtown Manhattan and was walking home from work today when I was stopped by a woman. I'd guess she was somewhere between 50 and 70 - yes, I'm terrible at estimating age. She was dressed well and conservatively. She told me I reminded her of someone she used to know, that she lived nearby, and wondered if I'd like to get lunch or dinner with her sometime later during the week. [more inside]
posted by slide on Sep 17, 2010 - 42 answers

Help me keep it light and fun and make people smile

How do I become one of those people who makes everyone they talk to feel great? With bonus: how to manage the situation gracefully if this is taken as a come-on... [more inside]
posted by Chrysalis on Aug 14, 2010 - 24 answers

Were there safehouses for kids marked by blue handprints in the 80s?

Was there a system in the early 80s where kids who needed help were encouraged to go to any house with a blue handprint in the window? [more inside]
posted by samph on Jul 27, 2010 - 38 answers

LinkedIn valuable or not?

LinkedIn advises that I don't invite people into my network that I don't know. But isn't that what joining a business related social network is supposed to do - introduce me to opportunities from people I've never met? [more inside]
posted by CollectiveMind on Mar 14, 2010 - 7 answers

Stranger Danger

Looking for advice on how to teach my 6 year old about how to identify and avoid abduction that is based on real information about how abduction happens. [more inside]
posted by alcahofa on Feb 6, 2010 - 52 answers

A little distance, please, people!

Help me say, nicely, "Please don't touch my child". [more inside]
posted by lottie on Oct 1, 2009 - 54 answers

Help me break the ice with strangers!

I want to be more extroverted and confident and practice starting conversations with strangers... what are some good conversation openers? Tips? [more inside]
posted by Chrysalis on Jun 24, 2009 - 17 answers

I'm the stranger my parents warned me about!

How do I care for kids when I'm a stranger to them? [more inside]
posted by bitteroldman on Dec 17, 2008 - 16 answers

How do I stop judging people?

How do I stop judging people and relate to them as equals? [more inside]
posted by abdulf on Sep 27, 2008 - 30 answers

It's not seasonal allergies

On city sidewalks, when strangers pass each other, why do they sniffle? Walking toward each other, we size each other up at a distance of 25 ft, then avert eyes, then 10 ft, then avert eyes and as we pass *sniffle* or quick intake of air through the nose that makes a sound. What does this mean? It seems wholly subconscious. Are we tracking a scent? Are they sticking their nose in the air in an aristocratic air of disapproval? I've noticed this phenomenon, so I consciously avert my sniffling because I don't even know why it happens, or what it means. But now I hear it from passers-by all the time. It's definitely not allergies; it seems very focused.
posted by Jason and Laszlo on Sep 20, 2008 - 31 answers

Disciplining strangers' kids

What is an appropriate way to discipline strangers' kids? [more inside]
posted by crazy finger on Mar 29, 2008 - 34 answers

Approaching a stranger for whom you feel pity?

Approaching a stranger for whom you feel pity – good idea or lousy? [more inside]
posted by CunningLinguist on Jul 22, 2007 - 23 answers

Why did they make fun of me like that?

Strangers have mocked me twice in the last week in the same way. I'm wondering how pervasive this phenomenon is. [more inside]
posted by Kwine on Jun 20, 2007 - 41 answers

How to start a meaningful, interesting conversation?

How can I get friends and strangers to have a meaningful, intelligent conversation about something deeper than music or cars? Specifically what are some good thought provoking questions or topics to bring up that the average person could discuss? [more inside]
posted by JokingClown on Jun 10, 2006 - 20 answers

What gesture is equivalent to a week of free meals?

How do I show my appreciation for housemates who've cooked me several nice meals in a row, when I can't cook and I'm too poor to take them to dinner? [more inside]
posted by scarylarry on Jun 9, 2006 - 18 answers

What is the adult version of "Let's be friends"?

What's the adult version of "Let's be friends"? [more inside]
posted by questionmark on Feb 9, 2006 - 33 answers

Finding a roommate on craigslist?

Have you ever rented a room off of craigslist? [more inside]
posted by cmonkey on Nov 7, 2005 - 23 answers

What are the four degrees of foreignness?

A coworker is trying to think of a quote on the degrees of strangeness from a SF book. Its to do with some Scandinavian (maybe) concept of 4 kinds of strangers - totally unknown, of your species, of your tribe, of your family, or something along those lines. [MI] [more inside]
posted by gilgamesh on Feb 18, 2004 - 6 answers

Public photography laws

I see lots of photographers with candid photos of strangers from the park, on the street, etc., but I'm wary of getting sued just for taking some amateur photos. What laws, guidlines, rules of thumb, etc., should I use when taking photos of people in public?
posted by oissubke on Jan 22, 2004 - 16 answers

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