In my attempt to start to chip away at my SA, I've become much more aware about certain things I do/don't do in social interactions. The topic for today is playful teasing. I have a predictable reaction to playful teasing from all but my very closest family. I'm talking my wife and my kids - I never tease or are teased by my parents. And by teasing, I don't mean anything negative. I'm really just referring to the playful banter that most people engage in day in and day out, and which I find myself at an utter loss to do myself or respond to.
For an example, yesterday my wife introduced me to someone she knows that has the same name as me. As I shook his hand, he said, "That's a great name!" All I could do is issue a low, nervous giggle. Whenever something like this happens, my mind goes blank and I'm an utter loss as to what to say next. As I dissect the situation afterwards, I realize that I could have said something like "You better believe it!" but at the time my mind is completely blank. It makes me feel utterly stupid and slow-witted, although I have an Ivy League PhD. I'm aware that I have this problem but I can't do anything to prevent it from happening. It's like I get punched in the gut...
Another example from yesterday was that a nurse had something in my way as I exited the exam room. She said, "I'm trying to trip you and put you in ortho." Instead of saying, "yeah, that's all I need" (which I thought of only 30 seconds later), all I could muster is the same nervous giggle. Arg!
So, can anyone relate to this? Anyone worked through it and have any kind of solution, like CBT or something else that will stop me from reacting like this? I want to appear to be a normal person able to engage in playful banter. I talked to my wife about this today, and asked her how many times she'd find herself stunned like me throughout the day if she were me, and she said probably a dozen or so times at least. And when she's not receiving it, she's dishing it out continually with her patients and coworkers. People seem to enjoy it, and she couldn't imagine not engaging in this sort of very social behavior. For me it's a total mystery!