Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense? - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?


So, basically, I had this thought. I suffer from SA but when I have to interact with my family members I can do it at ease, no problem at all. I can even make jokes sometimes and impersonate some artists etc. It indicates that I have so called "social skills" but it all disappears when I'm in public, around strangers or in groups.

So, what is the point of this statement? I believe that such a thing as "learning social skills" does not exist. We all have it naturally but SA blocks it. I'm having a go basically at those people who say that if you learn social skills you won't be anxious. For me it's nonsense. Most of the time it's even whether you want to interact at all in first place. Is the topic interesting or not to you etc.

How is it that I can interact freely with my family members but I can't do the same with strangers/other people? It's not lack of social skills it's just anxiety.

Do you get what I mean?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 01:53 PM
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There are people with neurological deficits that make it harder for them to socialize, and there certainly are social skills (etiquette, tact) that some people are more proficient in than others, but I don't think "lack of social skills" and "social anxiety" are connected.

Ever watched other people socialize? A lot of them are terrible at it. They're rude, obnoxious, annoying, offensive, combative, etc.; but they don't have social anxiety. My sisters are terrifically bad at interacting with other people and utterly fearless socializers. Their fearlessness is part of what makes them so terrible. They still manage to get jobs, bfs, friends, etc., despite making every other person they meet angry at them. I happen to have pretty good social skills but you'd never know it because I go out of my way to avoid interacting with people.

Anxiety has nothing to do with whether or not you know what to say or do in a social situation. You can know exactly what to say and be afraid to say it. You can say the worst thing possible and not care how many people you're offending. Anxiety can distress you to the point where you can't think of what to say or do even though you know it, and it can lead you to self-isolate and therefore remain ignorant of proper etiquette in various social situations, but the anxiety comes first. At least, imo. Like you say, in non-stressful situations, you generally don't have any problem. If you hadn't been anxious, you would have picked up those skills; and even if you hadn't, you wouldn't care (like my sisters).

In science, ideology tends to corrupt; absolute ideology [corrupts] absolutely" - Robert Nisbet
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 02:15 PM
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No matter who I am with, I am anxious in one way or another. With family for example I can't show affection, I can't say" I love you" or I can't give a hug or I can't tell a joke. I can't even go to the bathroom with family members in proximity. I can't rip a fart while they all blast away. Other than that I'm good, I feel very at ease.
With my best friends I can't do any of these things either but I can joke around and be silly among them although I do need to be a bit drunk usually. With strangers... well let's not even talk about that.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 02:38 PM
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If it's like a mental block, a subconscious fear. Maybe it's worth talking to someone about it, where you can find/identify/and look at working on the problem. I used to be like this years ago but due to my circumstances was forced to talk to other people on a daily basis. It was hell at first but after a few years of working on it, I've gained much more confidence around random people.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 02:46 PM
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I'm insecure about my social skills. It's not the main source of my social anxiety, but it's a factor.

I have a really crappy memory, so I feel stupid when I can't remember something essential to what I'm trying to say, which generates anxiety. I also say things that are misconstrued. People think I'm being a jerk sometimes when I'm making a joke. I also get self-conscious sometimes about my appearance. I feel inferior to other people. I just don't feel comfortable around anybody--not even my wife.

Some people can socialize with people they feel comfortable with and not feel any anxiety, so they have perfectly good social skills in those situations. But when they're with other people, they might feel out of their league, so to speak, and their social skills aren't adequate in those contexts, so they get anxious.

I used to hang out with a bunch of drunks and druggies, and my social skills were just fine around them--most of the time, anyway. I didn't really talk much. But when I had to present myself in a professional manor after I went to college, that was a different story. People expected more of me, and I became more insecure.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maslow View Post
I'm insecure about my social skills. It's not the main source of my social anxiety, but it's a factor.

I have a really crappy memory, so I feel stupid when I can't remember something essential to what I'm trying to say, which generates anxiety. I also say things that are misconstrued. People think I'm being a jerk sometimes when I'm making a joke. I also get self-conscious sometimes about my appearance. I feel inferior to other people. I just don't feel comfortable around anybody--not even my wife.

Some people can socialize with people they feel comfortable with and not feel any anxiety, so they have perfectly good social skills in those situations. But when they're with other people, they might feel out of their league, so to speak, and their social skills aren't adequate in those contexts, so they get anxious.

I used to hang out with a bunch of drunks and druggies, and my social skills were just fine around them--most of the time, anyway. I didn't really talk much. But when I had to present myself in a professional manor after I went to college, that was a different story. People expected more of me, and I became more insecure.
This feels exactly like I am I think.
I was anxious and kind of weird already in school (mostly just towards the opposite sex) but I had friends in all kinds of cliques and while I didn't say much I felt at ease. I basically saw us all as one and the same so it's was all good. This stopped the day after I graduated. Suddenly it was not ok anymore to act like a kid, I saw people growing up, getting jobs , finding other interests etc. I felt inferior and now 12 years later It has only gotten worse. I can't handle expectations, I feel like an idiot when I'm talking to people my age or even much younger. I get anxious when I need to speak to someone in a suit, or a doctor, or a teacher etc

People also often don't know if what I say has to be taken seriously or not. They are not sure if I made a joke or they feel offended when I'm actually trying to give a compliment because it just comes out in an awkward manner.
I also have this irritating chuckle and smile after I said something, it comes up even when I need to share my condolences which is beyond rude even if I just do it because of anxiousness.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 06:51 PM
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SA often can have exception for own family... I think...

Even shy people can be sassy sometimes...
I'll put drunk raccoon in my signature as well, because I CAN...
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 11:47 AM
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The reason its helpful to learn social skills is because of what you said, you go blank. So you no longer have access to your social skills because something like the fight or flight response is active. So when you learn social skills you're basically learning how to be social when under pressure. Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you understand how you do it. It will come naturally to you when you're not anxious, but not so much when you feel like you're under attack. So having some social skills training to help you remember how to be social in those situations is helpful.

I don't think its what you should focus on though. You're still trying to impress people if you're using social skills, so that means you still care what they think. As long as you care about what people think of you, you're still going be trapped in SA. Unless you do two things. The one thing most people seem to do is blow up their ego so much that they are super confident. But that isn't real. So the best thing to do is to realize that someone's opinion about you isn't true, that it isn't a fact about you.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 11:57 AM
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I think I'd call them social talents since you can't really learn them. You're either good with people or you're not. You can "learn" to imitate the things people who are good with people do but that doesn't necessarily guarantee they won't be able to tell you're faking it. In fact, it is likely that they will be able to tell if you're just naturally not good with people because that's what it means when you say you're not good with people. It basically means you're a bad actor.

And I think you're probably at ease with your family (for the most part) because you've known them for as long as you've been alive. You don't HAVE TO act with them. You pretty much HAVE TO pretend to want to be around complete strangers that you don't know or (for example) people you work with who you might not even like. So. I think SA is the most obvious when we have to act and/or pretend or put on some kind of a nice face and try to impress or satisfy people. The consequences of making a bad impression can be fairly substantial in many cases so that creates the tension and anxiety.

/WYSD
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