How Do I Talk to People Who Aren't Like Me?

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  • IncenjucarIncenjucar Audio Game Developer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited October 2018
    Being up for events and being able to focus on the social part helps a lot. I hate sports, but I once into some family in their way to a game and went along and now we have a story.

    And rest assured, people love to find out that thing things with them is inherently fun.

    Which brings to mind: consider spending time with people doing super mundane tasks like shopping or washing a car. I've had some great bonding experiences with people just sharing jokes about ugly clothes and weird grocery items.

    Incenjucar on
    Smrtnik
  • SwashbucklerXXSwashbucklerXX Swashbucklin' Canuck Registered User regular
    edited October 2018
    Get curious and learn to ask questions. This is something I've had to work on myself, because it's not necessarily easy or natural. But the good thing is that people like to talk, so you can feel free to practice! I've been practicing by going to social events at my condo, where most of the other residents are older than I am and we don't share many interests. We can always talk about life, however. What do you do for work, for fun? Oh neat, I don't know a lot about that, what do you enjoy about it? Where'd you meet your spouse? Have you always lived here, or did you move from somewhere else? Do you like to travel? Oh, I've never been there, what's it like?

    And when it comes time to talk about yourself, with a bit of practice it's not too hard to talk about geeky stuff in a way that's accessible to non-geeky people. Especially these days, most people know at least a bit about video games and superheroes, etc. I'm currently writing/developing a visual novel and people find that super interesting. I've learned how to describe it in a way they understand and not go too deep into the nitty-gritty, guided by the kinds of questions they ask. You might even find that you can help people understand a bit more about the interests and hobbies of their geeky relatives, or you'll meet a casual fan who enjoys chatting about their corner of the geekoverse. I'm a woman, and when I mention my interests and hobbies I find that a lot of other women have at least a casual interest in gaming and/or fantasy/sci-fi. They (and even some male casual fans) may be less likely to open up to a man about these interests because of negative prior experiences. That's where it really helps to be mindful of your negativity and open to focusing on what they dig instead of trying to re-focus the conversation on something you think is better. Not that it's bad to give suggestions, it's just good to make sure to do so sparingly and with a positive attitude. "You might also like blah because it's like [thing they already dig] in this way!"

    SwashbucklerXX on
    Want to find me on a gaming service? I'm SwashbucklerXX everywhere.
  • Humousboy962Humousboy962 Registered User regular
    I recommend that you try to look for groups of people who you have a lot in common with, and build up your ability to talk with people and work on it with people you have less and less in common with.

    Also, People love to talk about themselves so ask questions about them specifically if you want to learn more about them, and as a bonus they'll think you're a great friend/listener

  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    A guy whose blog I follow just posted this:

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    I feel personally attacked (kidding...kind of).

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  • SmrtnikSmrtnik job boli zub Registered User regular
    Don't dating profiles go inactive if you don't log in after a while?

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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited November 2018
    Update: Normally I feel like my dad doesn't take me seriously when I talk to him about my issues, but tonight he intentionally went out of his way to try and help me.

    We went out to get a pizza at a place that just so happened to not have any customers at the time. Whenever our waitress came around my dad would make some kind of observation and ask the waitress about it, and when she would walk off he'd say to me "see what I'm doing, just make an observation and ask about it". First he noticed that she was wearing a t-shirt with the name of a church on it and asked her about the church. Later he asked her if she had any kids, which to me seemed super invasive and random and not something I would ever ask a waitress for fear of creeping her out, but she immediately pulled her phone out and showed my dad and I photos of her three-year-old son, who in one picture was wearing a dinosaur Halloween costume. My dad commented first on the cracks on her phone's screen and then said something along the lines of "your phone looks like my son's; tell her how you cracked the screen on your's, son" to which I replied by telling her how I accidentally got my phone sucked out the window of my car (I felt kinda nervous being put on the spot like this). After that he said something to the waitress about the photo of her son in the dinosaur costume, which led to her telling stories about her son, which led to her commenting on how she can't hold her son as much as she'd like to anymore because of her carpal tunnel, which led to her relating a story about how she told her son she was too old to play rough with him only for him to start telling people that he was too old for different things, etc. She stayed over and kept talking with us (mostly my dad, honestly, because even though she seemed comfortable I was still a bit on edge despite having a beer in me) until the kitchen set our pizzas out for her to bring to us.

    I bring this up because there were a lot of points where I felt like my dad's questions seemed too invasive for a stranger to be asking or too random, and several times early on where I was worrying "is she comfortable with this, is she just acting nice for costumers and would really rather leave, etc", but she quickly started talking very enthusiastically and was eager to volunteer information that my dad didn't even ask about, like her family, her goal of saving money to go back to school, the details of how her hand felt before getting carpal tunnel surgery, the phases her son was in before getting excited about dinosaurs, etc.

    Honestly it makes me wonder if another facet of my social anxiety is that spending more time talking to people on message boards rather than in person and reading how people generally seem to react to each other online has primed me to expect that most people are as cynical and prone to being harsh towards others in real life as the people I see online. Even on these forums, which generally seem better than most of the rest of the internet, I've had situations were I felt like people were being surprisingly harsh on me for something I wrote that I didn't expect a negative response from, to the point that I remember specific incidents years later. It makes me wonder if I should take a hiatus from social media in general for a while.

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    WearingglassesIncenjucar
  • PowerpuppiesPowerpuppies Registered User regular
    Hmmm, you've updated twice without mentioning therapy one way or the other - have you looked any further into iruka's suggestions or anything?

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    ArcanisTheImpotent
  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited November 2018
    Hmmm, you've updated twice without mentioning therapy one way or the other - have you looked any further into iruka's suggestions or anything?

    If I had any means to do it I would. I wish I could just put everything else on hold and focus on this. I'm hoping I'll be able to move to a nearby city within the next three months where I'll probably be able to find something. Right now I work 5 AM to 3:30 PM six days a week at least an hour away from any place that might have therapy options and don't really have a lot of spare cash because part of the reason I'm looking to move is that my place of employment is going out of business.

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