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I've wanted to write about this for quite a while, as it is the one aspect of overcoming SA that stumps me. So I'm hoping my fellow SA'rs out there might have some insight into this. Particularly those of you who have overcome a good chunk of their SA.

Ok, so here's what I see as a dilemna. Let's say you're 35 or so like me, you've had SA you're entire life. Which means, throughout your entire life, your development years, your grade school and perhaps college years, you haven't been involved in the day to day activities and conversations that most people have. Basically, you haven't experienced life. You haven't played sports, gone to concerts, gone on lots of dates, parties, vacations, etc. You haven't had the thousands of conversations that most people have had. You haven't had this ENORMOUS mountain of a lifetime of experience from which to draw on to be able to jump right in to most conversations.

In other words, even when I'm NOT feeling socially anxious, even when I'm comfortable around a certain group of people, I just don't feel I have the life experience to be able to add anything to the conversation. It's not that I feel my contribution is not valid, it's that I just don't have any stories or experiences to share, literally!

For example. Let's take a dinner between yourself and maybe 5 other people. All sitting around having a good time. Inevitably, multiple topics of conversation will come up during that 2 or 3 hours. Now, it seems like the typical socially balanced person in the world is able to contribute 'something' (a similar experience or story) to whatever the topic happens to be. It's SO rare for me to have any story to share in this type of situation. Unless they just happen to be talking about something I know a lot about.

So, to be constructive about this problem, I've tried to figure out how to improve my personal 'stockpile of experiences' to draw from. To try and figure out how to play catch up in this world. The best I can come up with is to just try to experience more, try to live my life more to its fullest. Through things like travel, activities, music, concerts, reading, finding friends to go out with and try various restaurants/bars, anything that is most likely to come up in common conversations. And hope that over time, I'll get better at this.

Anyhow, just curious to know if anyone else out there has thought about this and what they are doing about it or plan to do about it.
 

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I get what you mean. Recently I've been making decent progress in terms of my SA and really want to try and get back in the game before it's too late. But... if I do go out and meet people/date I have almost NOTHING to talk about from avoiding everything my whole life. While everyone else was living life and collecting all these great stories I was playing MarioKart64 and eating General Tso's. I get around this by asking a lot of questions until I find something I can talk about with the person. Even then it's still difficult because I just haven't had as much practice at conversating as most people. It really sucks. SA is the worst.
 

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Oh, I also keep a little memo pad on me at all times and jot down anything I hear that might make good conversation. Then when I go out, I skim through and pull out a few that I think the people I'm with might find interesting. But usually I'm nervous and drink and I don't remember what I was supposed to talk about. From now on I should write convo topics in my phone because you can always play with your phone when you're out but people would find you mighty weird you brought out a little pad.
 

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You can ask questions about what the people are talking about (i.e. If the people are talking about a basketball team , you can ask "What do you like best about that certain team".). You can also try and get involved in activities that will give you something to talk about. If people are talking about how much they love basketball, you can get tickets to watch a basketball game or join a local basketball team.

You can also find out about what you are interested in. Say you always wanted to be a writer- you can take a writing class at a local community college. If you always wanted to run a local race, you can start training for it (or join a running club). This will give you plenty of things to talk about with people. Also by being involved in activities such as the ones listed above (or any others you can think of), you will meet people with similar interests as you.
 

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I totally understand you, I've probably overcome like 90% of my SA. Luckily, I do have a lot of strange and funny experiences and stories to tell to people because I've always had a core group of people I hung around with who were really crazy.

The problem for me is....its like I don't know how to...act like a normal person. I don't feel anxious...but, its like I never learned how to socialize correctly, more like in the getting to know someone way- I do fine once we know each other, and people tend to like me then....but I have no friggin clue how to act toward someone I don't know. The times where I've tried acting like I see other people acting toward new people....its just off and I think I come across as creepy or unsettling, like my body language is unnatural so they think I'm off.

Whatever....
 

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Now I do kind of agree with you, but I also disagree at the same time. I think life as a SA person is full to the brim of experiences, experiences that the normal kinda guy, cannot even begin to understand, they may not always be good experiences, but there is so much to learn upon, to see what you done, and think how it could make you better. Its just too different from their experiences to be good for conversation.

I've oftern thought there must be a way of turning this to my advantage, but basically everyone else will have no experience in the matter, leaving them with nothing to talk about, which is almost as bad i guess. Still working on that one...:con
 

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No, I will not. Psychologists don't seem to understand that some people are painfully introverted and do not want to be that way.
 

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Well, until you have those experiences you won't have similar experiences.

I tell jokes to people when I don't have anything to say.

It might not be "honest" because I may not be saying everything I want to say. But they probably would think you were weird if you simply explained that you can't relate to their stories, not because you don't want to, just because you don't have anything similar to share.

Do you ever think that we're just taking ourselves too seriously and don't open up to life experience? Think of the people you're around; they were probably nervous during their first times doing anything, but instead of avoidance (our forte), they chose persistence. :idea
 

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I've wanted to write about this for quite a while, as it is the one aspect of overcoming SA that stumps me. So I'm hoping my fellow SA'rs out there might have some insight into this. Particularly those of you who have overcome a good chunk of their SA.

Ok, so here's what I see as a dilemna. Let's say you're 35 or so like me, you've had SA you're entire life. Which means, throughout your entire life, your development years, your grade school and perhaps college years, you haven't been involved in the day to day activities and conversations that most people have. Basically, you haven't experienced life. You haven't played sports, gone to concerts, gone on lots of dates, parties, vacations, etc. You haven't had the thousands of conversations that most people have had. You haven't had this ENORMOUS mountain of a lifetime of experience from which to draw on to be able to jump right in to most conversations.

In other words, even when I'm NOT feeling socially anxious, even when I'm comfortable around a certain group of people, I just don't feel I have the life experience to be able to add anything to the conversation. It's not that I feel my contribution is not valid, it's that I just don't have any stories or experiences to share, literally!

For example. Let's take a dinner between yourself and maybe 5 other people. All sitting around having a good time. Inevitably, multiple topics of conversation will come up during that 2 or 3 hours. Now, it seems like the typical socially balanced person in the world is able to contribute 'something' (a similar experience or story) to whatever the topic happens to be. It's SO rare for me to have any story to share in this type of situation. Unless they just happen to be talking about something I know a lot about.

So, to be constructive about this problem, I've tried to figure out how to improve my personal 'stockpile of experiences' to draw from. To try and figure out how to play catch up in this world. The best I can come up with is to just try to experience more, try to live my life more to its fullest. Through things like travel, activities, music, concerts, reading, finding friends to go out with and try various restaurants/bars, anything that is most likely to come up in common conversations. And hope that over time, I'll get better at this.

Anyhow, just curious to know if anyone else out there has thought about this and what they are doing about it or plan to do about it.
live in the present. focus on makin right now the best time of your life. the more you do in the present the more you will have to talk about in future conversations

it will take time to catch up, but you can catch up little by little if you keep doing doing things now
 

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Yes, your observations are spot on. I'm 33 and when I hang out with some people I am at a loss. I work for myself, I don't have the workplace social experience, I don't know what's trendy and and b/c my job is demanding, I haven't traveled like others. It sucks.

What can you do about? You have a great plan, I wish I could just do it.
 

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Yes, your observations are spot on. I'm 33 and when I hang out with some people I am at a loss. I work for myself, I don't have the workplace social experience, I don't know what's trendy and and b/c my job is demanding, I haven't traveled like others. It sucks.

What can you do about? You have a great plan, I wish I could just do it.
 

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Do you ever think that we're just taking ourselves too seriously and don't open up to life experience? Think of the people you're around; they were probably nervous during their first times doing anything, but instead of avoidance (our forte), they chose persistence. :idea
Good point
 

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I've wanted to write about this for quite a while, as it is the one aspect of overcoming SA that stumps me. So I'm hoping my fellow SA'rs out there might have some insight into this. Particularly those of you who have overcome a good chunk of their SA.

Ok, so here's what I see as a dilemna. Let's say you're 35 or so like me, you've had SA you're entire life. Which means, throughout your entire life, your development years, your grade school and perhaps college years, you haven't been involved in the day to day activities and conversations that most people have. Basically, you haven't experienced life. You haven't played sports, gone to concerts, gone on lots of dates, parties, vacations, etc. You haven't had the thousands of conversations that most people have had. You haven't had this ENORMOUS mountain of a lifetime of experience from which to draw on to be able to jump right in to most conversations.

In other words, even when I'm NOT feeling socially anxious, even when I'm comfortable around a certain group of people, I just don't feel I have the life experience to be able to add anything to the conversation. It's not that I feel my contribution is not valid, it's that I just don't have any stories or experiences to share, literally!

For example. Let's take a dinner between yourself and maybe 5 other people. All sitting around having a good time. Inevitably, multiple topics of conversation will come up during that 2 or 3 hours. Now, it seems like the typical socially balanced person in the world is able to contribute 'something' (a similar experience or story) to whatever the topic happens to be. It's SO rare for me to have any story to share in this type of situation. Unless they just happen to be talking about something I know a lot about.

So, to be constructive about this problem, I've tried to figure out how to improve my personal 'stockpile of experiences' to draw from. To try and figure out how to play catch up in this world. The best I can come up with is to just try to experience more, try to live my life more to its fullest. Through things like travel, activities, music, concerts, reading, finding friends to go out with and try various restaurants/bars, anything that is most likely to come up in common conversations. And hope that over time, I'll get better at this.

Anyhow, just curious to know if anyone else out there has thought about this and what they are doing about it or plan to do about it.
Oh, yeah I've definitely thought of this-thats why im so glad u posted this
I have no friends the fact that i have barely any life experience isnt exactly a good quality for me to have considering I do want to make friends-I mean how can I draw someone in without any fcuking life experience
 

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I share this dilettante, it's funny because I can talk to people on this forum about my experiences concerning, SA. But there's not a lot of things I can talk about, with people who don't have SA.

Some subjects that really interest me are politics, history, social change, questioning the status quo. But these are obviously taboo subjects which most people try to avoid.
 

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I share this dilettante, it's funny because I can talk to people on this forum about my experiences concerning, SA. But there's not a lot of things I can talk about, with people who don't have SA.

Some subjects that really interest me are politics, history, social change, questioning the status quo. But these are obviously taboo subjects which most people try to avoid.
I'm interested in the same things, I've found that when I try talking about these issues with most people, they do have something to say. Only the most prissy, anti-intellectual social parasite who immerses themselves in trivialities would probably be too scared to discuss anything that's actually relevant to the world, such as politics or social upheaval.

I have some experiences to draw upon, but not really that many, so I can relate to the author in this post. I don't feel like I have too much to say. Except when I'm writing in my online journal, or talking to friends online. That way I can think about what I want to say, and it's easy to put streams of thought into coherent chunks.
 

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I too lack in the life experiences department. Especially when at the university where I study they start to discuss their trips abroad and I've never been out of the country (Israel). At 28, this is embarrassing. So I usually shut up when they do or just leave the room.
There are however many other topics I do feel comfortable discussing and even arguing with others, such as sports, politics, science, history, news items etc. Everything that does not revolve around my personal life. I think in many cases this can be enough to carry a casual conversation. The real problem is when you want to get close to someone. Then you have to get personal and I have a big problem with that. That's why I always keep it skin deep.
 

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I think the best thing you can do now is to start going out and experiencing new and different things, every day. I find that the only way to have those "stockpile of experiences" is to GO OUT. Whenever you go out, even if it's just to the grocery store, observe your surroundings and do your best to interact with others since you never know what you'll see or what interesting conversations that can result from those interactions. Yeah, I know, it's easier said than done. I should even be more proactive with my own advice.

I notice that social people are very active in put themselves in situations where they could draw a story from. I remember reading a secret on postsecret.com where it said that he/she would purposefully sit next to the craziest looking person on the bus, JUST so he/she would have a story to tell. That's going a little far, but I think it shows that taking risks and putting yourself out there is the only way to develop that stockpile that you can draw from whenever you feel the urge to share your stories with others.
 

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I can really relate to this. When I do feel like I have something to contribute to the conversation, it's usually about travel. I'm lucky enough to have travelled quite a lot when I was young and seen a lot of interesting things, even if I was totally withdrawn and suffering from SA at the time. Recently I vowed to go to do one vacation every year to a country I've never been. It doesn't have to be anything exotic, another state or city would be fine. I've found that not only is this great fun, it really helps in conversation.

And on another note, I think the whole "life experience" thing is not as important as we tend to think. Some of the best conversationalists I have met (usually extroverts) are so good at storytelling they can make their bus ride to work sound fascinating. On the other hand, if you are feeling nervous even a great story can fall totally flat...
 
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