The Crutches of Socializing & How to OvercomeThem
The Crutches of Socializing & How to OvercomeThem
WEDNESDAY,JUNE 13, 2012 AT 9:50PM
2012年7月13日 周三 下午9:50
Many people on the autism spectrum have a hugedesire to connect with and interact with people, but at the same time we alsohave intense fears that prohibit us from making these connections. Today, I amgoing to talk about what I feel are some social obstacles that us individualson the autism spectrum face and how to overcome those obstacles.
First thing is first, there are many reasons whysocializing can be a challenge to us. Sometimes, we just don't have the properknowledge of how to socialize with other people. What seems obvious to everyoneelse and common sense is often something that makes no sense at all to us.Often times, at least in my experiences, we don't even know that we are doingsomething socially wrong until years later. In these sorts of cases, the bestwe can do is to continue to educate ourselves on socializing by reading upbooks on body language, making friends, dating, and books on social skills.With time, we can cultivate an awareness and develop new social skills, buteven though lack of social knowledge is a major crux, it is not the only crux,and in my opinion there are more severe challenges that affect us socially.
Ultimately, I feel that our biggest challengecomes from within. I know from my own experiences that I felt unworthy tosocialize with other people. I was afraid of infringing on them and theirspace. I felt that they did not want me to say hi to them and strike aconversation. I saw them as better than me. For me, my observations have beenthrough my own life and witnessing other people on the spectrum try andsocialize, what I have I discovered is that a lack of confidence is often ourbiggest barrier to achieving success. I feel that this lack of confidence oftenresults in intense social anxiety and also a fear of rejection.
The ultimate goal then should be to conquer ourlack of confidence and fear of rejection. Yes, the social anxiety won't go awayover night. Yes, what I am asking us to do is a great challenge, but more thananything, it is our lack of confidence that holds us back and not lack ofsocial skills (please note that I am aiming this message with the idea that youare moderately affected by autism or have Asperger's and that autism does notaffect you severely). And, yes, I am very well aware that we can also improveour social skills.
Then, how do we overcome our lack of confidenceif we are not good at socializing? How do we not worry about what other peoplewill think of us that we want to be our friend, or if we are interested in thatperson romantically? Well, the answer is simple, you need to push yourselfoutside the comfort zone and believe in yourself. There are many ways to dothese two things.
First, you can visual yourself successfullycommunicating with other people. Initially, when I set my goal of someday beinga good communicator and being able to interact with people and making friends,what I did is that I imagined myself successfully engaging people withconversations. I continued these visualisations for months until I felt I hadachieved some level of mastery in actual communication with other people. Inaddition, after every conversation I had, I would make mental notes of whatwent right and also I would note what areas I could improve on and continued tostrive for excellence.
Now, don't get me wrong, I had some additionalhelp along the way. For instance, I had asked some of my friends to work on mysocial skills. I had them critique me and also engage in various scenarios. Onefriend was exceptionally good at this and she helped me with small talk and eyecontact and being aware of how I came across topeople I was meeting for the first time. So, if possible, ask a family memberor good friend to help you with your social skills and critique you. I know howscary this can be. You really have to put yourself out there and initially youwill feel embarrassed. At least, I did. But, think about the reward that willcome is being able to talk other people with confidence and make friends andeven find a romantic partner, if that is what you are looking for. If you neverwork on yourself, then you will never realize your goals and you will staystuck where you are right now for the rest of your life. So, ultimately, youhave no choice. You have to put yourself outside your comfort zone!
Okay, with that said, really the key is tocontinue to push yourself outside the comfort zone, but there are some otherthings that you can do along the way. For instance, try joining a speech clublike Toastmasters. From there, you will learn how to speak in front of otherpeople and this might alleviate some social anxiety. If you keep at it, youwill find it becomes easier to talk to people. Also, what really worked for mewas taking up social dancing. I recommend that you try something like Salsa orBallroom. When I first tried to dance I was so embarrassed with myself. I feltlike I failure, but I kept at it, and you know what, I got good at dancing, andfrom there I learned to better perceive nonverbal communication, and I also gotmore confident going up to girls. Now, when I go up to a girl that I'minterested in getting to know, I just pretend that I am going up to her to askfor a dance. Now, I used to be afraid to ask a girl to dance, but that is nowsuper easy and now because that is easy, it is a bit easier for me to approacha woman. Although, I will admit that I still get scared at times.
Now, don't get me wrong. None of this came easyfor me and chances are this won't come easy for you, but you have to stick withit and push yourself outside your comfort zone and continue to push yourselfoutside your comfort zone. Like I said, I was embarrassed at how much I suckedat dancing. If you go to Toastmaters, you might be embarrassed at yourpresenting abilities, but with them you will get better and your confidencewill soar. In addition, you can try other things aside from dancing andtoastmasters--The key is to try and find social events/functions/activitiesthat are a little outside your comfort zone. If you make an effort to pushyourself and refuse to give up then success is inevitable.
That is all I have to say for today. This is alengthy topic, and I just touched the surface. So, who knows, I might go morein-depth at a later time. With that said, I thank you for reading today's blogentry, and I wish all of you a most awesome day of awesomeness!