Social gathering…help!!

Hello my lovely bloggy friends,

I have not been feeling too great over the last few days. I have had my frantic thought loop take over ALL of my thinking, and to be quite honest I am absolutely sick of how it is making me feel.

I have been invited to a social gathering,

Not a big one just something small. It is with people I don’t really know but have regular contact with. I can’t get out of it, I have NO choice but to go.

For the whole of this week, the thought of this gathering of people and also thoughts of how in my past I have being the butt end of many jokes, that I haven’t got till replaying them days later.

The fact that I get spoken over all the time.

Also that I feel excluded from groups chatting and isolated by my limited amount of conversation material.

Has all started to affect my sleep, and in my day times it has also started to cause me to shutdown.

The thing is…

This type of event is supposed to be fun. People enjoy them, and look forward to meeting up, chatting and having a laugh.

I SO wish this was the case with me too.

Things I need to remember

1. I don’t always understand their body language, so even if they are smiling and agreeing it doesn’t mean they are interested in what I’m talking about. They are probably just being polite.

2. People usually are not open and will be uncomfortable if I am, most people only talk surface crap. So I need to only talk about the things that they talk about. Mentioning Church or my relationship with God is likely to start the joking off and I will feel very hurt and unable to stay in the room.

3. Try to maintain eye contact because I look shifty when I can’t focus…easier said than done.

4. Remember to not talk about any of my special interests because once I start I get so excited I don’t notice that the person I am talking to is bored of me, and is likely to talk about me to someone else in a condescending way.

5. Understand that even if I tell people I have Aspergers, they won’t have a clue and will probably say stupid things like, “Well you look normal to me!”

And the list goes on and on and on…I just have to laugh it off.

Now I know from past experience

That I will act in one of the following ways, according to the type of people I am….

now this sounds terrible but I’m going to write it (subjected to)

I should write WITH really but it’s not how I am feeling….sorry folks I’m just in one of those moods.

I will either…

Talk nonstop about blogging, poetry, abstract art and ASD’s, not realising I’m boring the crap out of everyone.

Share far too much of who I am with complete strangers, just because they seem nice. I will occasionally have to see them again, they will probably avoid me in shops, because I’m that annoying woman that talks too much.

Or, I may not speak at all and slowly get drunk up a corner, while desperately wishing I was somewhere else.

Now I did say past experience

What I am desperately trying to do at the moment is feed myself with some positive outlooks.

I now KNOW that I’m an Aspie.

I understand that I am wired differently and I also know that people don’t mean to push me out.

People don’t realise that I can’t cope with talking to more than one person at a time.

Also they don’t understand that I can’t maintain eye contact.

They also don’t realise that I am limited in what I can talk about.

Or, that negative conversation causes me upset and visual replays.

They don’t lose sleep themselves because of something they are talking about that they saw on the news.

I will though, so I must remember to excuse myself from these conversations. Or anything else of a negative nature.

It’s all about learning

I am learning about my own Aspie ways and I think that this event, as much as I’m dreading it, will be quite an eye opener for me.

Like I said I can’t get out of it, so maybe I can get “something” out of it.

I wonder what I will learn about myself through this, I’ll let you know!!

Even though I have babbled this out on my blog I still DON’T want to go.

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18 thoughts on “Social gathering…help!!

  1. I was just going to ask if you were close enough to anyone who would be there to talk to them about this ahead of time, but it looks like the first commenter answered my question. Maybe you can have a signal with her for when you feel stuck and need help or aren’t sure if you are doing okay.

    You could also take breaks when you need to – to the bathroom, to go check your phone or check on the kids (even if you don’t actually need to call them), stuff like that. Maybe make it a goal to find out one new and interesting thing about each of the people you talk to (or come up with some other small goal like using the person’s name).

    I don’t know if this is helpful to you or not. It’s my natural instinct to try to think of ideas but I don’t know if that’s what you want or need right now.

    {{{HUGS}}}

    • Thank you A.M.
      You gave me some really useful advice.
      I’m not good with groups, I think because my Dad is Autistic when I was growing up we didn’t do much socialising at all. The only groups of people I actually sort of feel comfortable around are in Churches.
      I always feel at home in a church, even if no-one talks to me.
      That makes me sound really unrelatable doesn’t it…LOL
      Oh well…I’m just being me.
      Love and hugs. xx πŸ™‚

  2. Hello Lisa,

    I could so relate to everything you said. You must have been reading my mind!

    I wish I had a quick fix but I don’t.

    I’m glad to see you will know someone there (LH).

    I think AM’s idea to take lots of breaks is a good plan.

    And don’t feel bad about taking the breaks – reward yourself with some deep breaths in the fresh air! Feel good about taking good care of yourself. πŸ™‚

    Even having said that I feel butterflies/nausea in my stomach just thinking about these situations.

    Anyway you know you are not alone.

    There are lots of us out here who really feel for you.

    Take care,

    God bless,
    Love and hugs,
    Bruce πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Bruce,
      It’s good to know I’m not alone.
      I don’t know about you but when I try to explain all this to those who know me personally I feel like a complete idiot. The looks they give me are enough.
      I have been going along to these things all my life and never saying how I feel. Well I’ve had enough of that. I see the look on my daughters face, and she makes me speak up. No-longer is this Aspie locked in a box. I’m out and I’m shouting.
      Love and hugs my friend. xx πŸ™‚

  3. Lisa,
    I love AM’s ideas too and I am so glad you have someone going with you. Remember how brave Cal had been about her fears lately, and be brave my friend. One of my brothers has always said, “If you don’t like me for who I am, then the heck with you.” Sending you love and hugs and lots of positive thoughts and prayers to help you through this one.
    Sue

    • Thank you Sue,
      Your comment reminded me of something Laura’s lovely little daughter Julia said, when I first found Laura’s blog. I loved it that much I took it on as a personal challenge.
      “I’m just being me!!”
      I will go to this social event, as myself and stuff anyone who doesn’t like me.
      My blog is a place where I can be me. I have found many others like me here. Also I have found loving and accepting friends.
      I am NOT going to put Lisa back in a box and undo all the work I have put into the last 9 months. I had am emotional day and I let it out on my blog.
      AND…thank you JESUS, for ALL my lovely bloggy friends.
      Love and hugs my friend. xx πŸ™‚

  4. {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

    I don’t have any advice, because you know I have the exact same experiences. But I love you, and hope you get to have fun!

    • {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}
      I love you too, and YES,YES,YES I’m going to have fun.
      Even if it just means getting some REALLY interesting blog post material.
      ALWAYS learning, and passing it on.
      Love you. xxx πŸ™‚

  5. I don’t know if it is possible for you to do this, but could you use your openness to help you? Say something like, ‘Hi. Let me explain that I have Aspergers and if I don’t maintain eye contact with you, it’s nothing personal; it’s because I can’t.’

    As for people laughing at you: shame on them. They are not the kind of people you need in your life so why worry about them?

    I’m glad you will have someone with you; I bet every one of your readers (including me) would join you if we could.

    The suggestion about taking breaks is a good idea; and I would say leave as soon as you can. You’ve turned up; done your duty; but you have a life.

    With you in spirit.

    • Thank you Tilly,
      Wouldn’t it just be SO wonderful if I could take ALL my readers with me.
      The conversation would be FAN-BLOODY-TASTIC.
      I wouldn’t have to cope with the, “So, what do you do?” question.
      Or “How long have you known so and so?”
      It would be such a blast,
      poets and artist and comedians and the whole Autistic community.
      WOW….that given me such a great visual and a nice little film too.
      Hey Laura, Bruce, A.M….if you’re reading this can you picture it my friends.
      Are you all having a little party in ya heads, like me…..giggle
      Love and hugs. xx πŸ™‚

  6. Pingback: I catch you when you fall « Alienhippy's Blog

  7. I have only once said hello here, terrible at keeping up, but I want to add encouragement.

    It does take courage. Don’t feel that ‘clumsiness’ matters much; don’t think that you have to enjoy it to have succeeded.

    Many if not most of the people who look as if they’re loving the event will in fact be dying for it to be over. Many will have dreaded it, worrying how they’ll come across, etc. Not for the same reasons, perhaps, but that doesn’t matter. And most of them had to learn techniques for making conversation with people in that situation.

    If you don’t ‘join in’, many of the People Who Know Nothing (PWKN) would simply think you’re shy. Shy people make less eye contact than others, too. In fact a lack of eye contact, with just the occasional glance up at the other person’s face, can be really attractive. πŸ™‚

    OR you may find you can watch the bridge of someone’s nose, or their mouth as they speak, which looks like looking at them but isn’t. (Works for me!)

    Some ‘escape’ sentences can be useful. One is ‘Don’t start me on that subject, I get really boring about it!’ That would make most PWKN swerve away from the subject so fast you have no chance to get stuck in it… and you never know, one may actually want to know more about why the subject is so interesting. I know a guy who always says, ‘I’m not allowed to talk about planes, I bore people…’ with a smile.

    If you’re introduced to someone and then left with them, obvious boring things like have they had to travel far to get here, how do they know the host (whatever applies to this particular gathering), are quite safe and prevent you appearing unfriendly. It’s ok to look awkward. Again, most will simply think it’s shyness and be pleased you’re trying.

    Or avoid the chit-chat altogether. I once sat through a gathering completely left out of it all, feeling guilty that I wasn’t taking part and animated and looking as if I was liking it. Afterwards my gran said how peaceful, and intelligent and ‘superior’ (her word) I had looked. That surprised me as I’d been feeling stressed, fed up and inadequate all at once! But others often don’t read those feelings.

    Since then I have practised watching other people. You don’t have to care about them or be interested in them as people, you could play guessing what kind of underwear they’re each wearing. Or try to spot which ones hated the thought of coming to this event and which looked forward to it. Guess which have pets at home, or imagine what poems they’d write and how good they’d be at it.

    This has turned out really long, but I’ve never put all these (years’ worth of) thoughts in one place before. Finally:

    By no means *all* PWKN find these things fun, for their own reasons or in some cases the same reasons as you. (And plenty of us, incidentally.)

    There is no commandment that you/we are supposed to like everything! Especially not purely because other people like something. No rule about being happy all the time, with everything.

    People who aren’t one of the crowd aren’t all inferior to the crowd: leaders aren’t one of the crowd, either.

    And if you can’t find anything else to think about, there’s always the cheery thought that by tomorrow morning it will be in the past. πŸ˜‰

    … I babbled most of this before realising your post is out of date and the social gathering in question may even be over now. Then I read ‘I catch you when you fall’ and was struck by the line ‘Just run to me arms opened wide’. It gave me a picture of you as a happy waggy dog running joyfully into welcoming arms (as my dog did this morning).

    I’m leaving all this burbling-on here, I’m glad to have got these thoughts in order for my own sake too. And there will be future gatherings, and other people who may use what’s worked for me, and if it’s too long then no one has to read it. Good luck with upcoming challenges, Lisa. {hugz}

    • Hello Mand,
      Thank you for stopping by and leaving me such a wonderful comment. I haven’t been to this social event yet . What you wrote and the advice and encouragement I got from my other bloggy friends too has really helped me to put all this in prospective.
      I lost track, I started my blog by complete accident and I decided that it was going to be a place where I can be me. Over the last 9 months I have been learning what it is to be me. Who I am here on my blog, is me. Through my blog I have been more confident and able to show who I am to the world and also in person to those around me. I have been able to do this because I wasn’t really thinking about what people thought of me. I was allowing myself to be me, the person I am created to be.
      For some reason and I don’t know what (YET) I’m sure it will surface after a little processing, but anyway… I lost Lisa.
      I started to conform again, trying to blend and not stand out. I lack confidence when I try to do this. Being myself I can also lack confidence in, but with prayer and help from those who love me, I am able to take control of that lack of confidence in self and push through it.
      I love the escape sentences you gave me, I can just imagine me saying, β€˜Don’t start me on that subject, I get really boring about it!’ and then giggling my head off.
      My most relatable topic being Harry Potter….as I know poetry, abstract art, blogging and God are a definite NO-NO at this gathering…..giggle. I suppose I could talk about all my many pets, there is the possibility of become the mad eccentric cat lady, but I can live with that.
      I just love how inventive your mind is, guess what colour undies? LMHO
      Who could write a poem???….actually that has given me an idea. I’ll take a pad and pen, there maybe a poem in this evening out after all.
      You see me as a wagging doggie, it’s a good job I love doggies and know exactly what you are talking about.
      Praying through all this, and reading through the poem I wrote really did help me. I believe God prepares us for these things. That poem was inspired in me just a few days ago. I believe also that I needed to write this post, so I could work through all that I have in the last few hours.
      Love and {{{hugs}}} right back at you my friend.
      Lisa, xx πŸ™‚

      • Your courage astounds me, deciding to be YOU and then being you. I have this little voice telling me MUSTN’T, whatever it is, so I’m even relieved not to have upset you with my super-long comment (my equivalent of talking too much when someone seems nice!) … Have learnt to ignore that little voice but can’t stop hearing it. But I have come across various tips, discarded those that didn’t work for me and held on tight to those that did – one of which is that behaving with fake confidence does eventually build improved *real* confidence.

        Like all learning, it isn’t a smooth straight climb, so don’t worry about losing Lisa for a while. Old habits (of thinking / acting) take time to erase. And the big change you’re making takes effort, and that tires, and when tired we revert to our defaults. That tail can stop wagging for a snooze now n then! πŸ˜‰ Over time it IS possible to learn new defaults.

        If there are children there, you may find Harry Potter a very useful topic… Anyway let us know how it goes. πŸ™‚

  8. Hi gorgeous;
    I know that you blogged this in order to get your thoughts out and understand them, and not just for the sake of it. This is really good material; down to earth, everyday issues and finding ways to overcome them. I am absolutely sure that so many people will relate to what you have written about, far more than you would think, and maybe one or two others that have been invited to the same party have been having the same thoughts, just would never let-on. I can relate to this so much, being an ‘outsider’ in a group and not being able to feel part of it all, keeping up with conversation or understanding their jokes.
    However, you know that you can’t be bullied by ‘what if’ thinking. You have told us your fear and that in truth you really don’t want to go; but you will face the challenge.
    Good on you !
    Love
    Aust

  9. I’m late in my reading – as usual – so I don’t know if you’ve been to your event yet. I absolutely understand where you are coming from. I just can’t relate to people who find these sorrts of things to be fun. (Also, I just learned that I have a wedding to attend in two months that will probably require me to stay over the weekend in close contact with people, and I am having to work very hard to not flip out about this already, because I can’t possibly live with that stress for two whole months.)

    One thought that has helped me when I worry about how I will seem at social gatherings is realizing that most people aren’t nearly as interested in me or anyone else as they are in themselves. If I can force myself to ask them a question or two – despite my probably not being all that interested in the answer – then I can spend less time talking and coming up with things to say. Plus they seem to have a positive impression that I’m taking an interest in them. I also take lots of bathroom breaks and move from room to room to give the appearance of being social while I’m actually partly avoiding people.

    When I’m in a really good frame of mind and want to feel less self-conscious, it sometimes helps for me to take the focus off myself and try and think of ways to be helpful to somebody else. If I can be busy helping with food or listening to someone else who seems to need to talk about something, then I spend less time focusing on myself and how I feel or how I seem to others.

    I hope things go or have already gone well for you. You are very brave, so I know this is something you can do.

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