Creeping everyone out no matter what I do.

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Post by Autumnflame on Mon Mar 16, 2015 12:37 pm

You're working on an all-or-nothing assumption again. "A little offended" is not equal to "pissed off," and "one person" is not equal to "everyone." If I actually wanted you to go away, I would say so, and I wouldn't engage in answering your questions.

I repeat:
...it's probably the anxiety speaking and not to be trusted as the actual truth; most things have much more nuance than that.

While I don't have direct experience with anxiety, and someone who has can probably speak better to this or have more helpful strategies, I find when I /am/ getting emotional, it helps to not react (or type, etc.) until I've had some time (even several days to a week, sometimes) to sleep on it, get out of the brain /emotional funk and look at it from a different perspective.

(On that note I should probably stop posting, too, since I /am/ getting annoyed and not in a mood to be warm, which is probably needed.)
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Post by Enail on Mon Mar 16, 2015 1:11 pm

Seconding Autumnflame - communication misfires and scrapes happen to everyone sometimes, they aren't disasters, and you definitely don't need to go away! Even if you screw up badly or say something hurtful, people can be quite forgiving as long as you're making a good-faith effort and pay attention to what bothered them, apologize if needed and try to do better next time.
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Post by reboot on Mon Mar 16, 2015 2:09 pm

And trust me, most posters here have pretty thick skins and are outspoken. If someone wants you to stop talking to them, you will hear about it directly from them or from one of the mods. Thus far, you are well within the bounds of normal conversational back and forth, so relax Smile
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Post by kath on Mon Mar 16, 2015 4:04 pm

Hey AtlachNacha - this is supposed to be helpful, so if you aren't finding it so, feel free to ignore it. I certainly am not struggling with anxiety to the extent that it seems like you are, but I certainly do struggle with some of the same social things, possibly simply to a different degree. I consider myself a "shy extrovert," so I like people and get antsy if I haven't been out to social things in a while ... but I also find it very difficult to strike up conversation with strangers and tend to avoid eye contact if I don't have a reason to make eye contact with people. So I feel, to some degree, some of the ways you do, sometimes.

AtlachNacha wrote:What would YOU do for a Klonopin bar?

(I lol'd Razz)

AtlachNacha wrote:And as for flirting, is there a way to do it without sexual innuendo? What even IS flirting, can I get a decent definition? ughgdsfdfglh.
Unfortunately no. Everyone does it their own way, so as others have said, yes, you could do it without sexual innuendo, but there's not a nice, specific definition that everyone will agree on. Which does make it more difficult. Maybe flirting is trying to figure out how attracted two people are and figuring out whether there's romantic potential there?

AtlachNacha wrote:
so part of it was realizing that if people gave me weird looks wearing a floor length coat covered in chains and rivets (ahh, memories... haven't worn that monstrosity in years) I could easily chalk it up to a fairly obvious factor, then dismiss it, and it rather helped my anxiety when out in public, because most of it was 'oh god people are looking at me why are they looking at me' and with that it was like 'yeah, I knew I was gonna get weird looks the moment I put this on, everything within expected parameters, moving right along...' so there might be a little bit to this part, but once again, I dress the way I do because I like it.
I just want to say that this is exactly the reason I like to dress (including makeup) in conversation-starting ways. I don't have an awesome-sounding coat like that, and my goth-y eye makeup got colourful pretty quickly, but I HATE having people look at me and wondering what they are thinking. Even though it's totally reasonable for people to be looking at other people out in the world. They may not be thinking anything much. But if, when I notice someone looking at me, I can think "must be the chartreuse eyeshadow", that's so much more comforting, even though all I'm doing is tricking myself into giving them plausible deniability in my head. I don't have as much time to put on makeup anymore and I miss it for that reason.

I do think Kleenestar herself would be a great candidate for continuing the context-rules in a way that might be easier. I personally prefer to try to practice my reading-nuance skills, because I find rules trigger my scrupulosity. So sort of embracing the uncertainty from the outset makes it a little easier for me to deal with it - and deal with messing up or encountering people who don't follow they "rules" or whatever, rather than trying to force it into behavior rules that aren't really that strict. You may not find that to be the case - wanting some rules you can just make up and know they are made up but help make the decisions is a totally valid way to approach this - I just don't have good advice for what rules to use because my head doesn't that work that way.

AtlachNacha wrote:
(Also, I'm not sure if context sensitivity would be difficult for me, because... I'm not even sure exactly what we're talking about there.)

Context sensitivity would be, being able to look at a situation with another person and thinking about all the factors that might come to bear in how you and the other person are feeling. So, things like, the time of day, where you guys are, what their body-language is telling you, anything else you know about them, other factors like the weather or recent current events that might impact how an interaction would go, etc. You won't always be able to tell what all of the impacts will be - and they will be different for different people - but context sensitivity would be noting those things, and then being flexible with how you negotiate the interaction  given those factors.

For example, I work in a science centre. When I'm on the floor, I'm in a vest that says STAFF. In that case, I can pretty much walk up to any kid and start talking to them, singing with them, dancing with them, and the context is that I'm at work and I'm safe. If I'm not at work, though, it's not super normal to go talk to strange kids, so I tend not to do it. If i really wanted to - like a kid in the grocery line was singing a song and I thought it would be fun to join in - I'd probably try to make eye contact and say hello to their adult first, to signal to the adult "I just want to sing along with your kid for a few minutes."
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Post by jcorozza on Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:13 pm



AtlachNacha wrote:And as for flirting, is there a way to do it without sexual innuendo? What even IS flirting, can I get a decent definition? ughgdsfdfglh.
Unfortunately no. Everyone does it their own way, so as others have said, yes, you could do it without sexual innuendo, but there's not a nice, specific definition that everyone will agree on. Which does make it more difficult. Maybe flirting is trying to figure out how attracted two people are and figuring out whether there's romantic potential there?



This. People flirt in different ways. I can't think of a time I flirted with someone when innuendo was involved. And physical contact hasn't come into play until at least a few dates in for me, and I would feel a bit uncomfortable if I guy I just met tried to touch me - other than a handshake or high five. Basically, whatever you have in common with that person, and topics you find appealing/sexy, will be the center of flirtation. I'm pretty sure I've had a flirtatious debate about the few "uses" of Crocs before, so I think the topics can be pretty broad.

I agree with previous posters that being approachable=/=being extroverted at all times. This can be as simple as smiling, keeping open body language, and, if someone does initiate conversation, listening with interest, and answering with full thoughts, rather than curt one word answers.

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Post by AtlachNacha on Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:27 pm

Autumnflame wrote:I find when I /am/ getting emotional, it helps to not react (or type, etc.) until I've had some time (even several days to a week, sometimes) to sleep on it, get out of the brain /emotional funk and look at it from a different perspective.

This is good advice.


Autumnflame: I am sorry, I did not mean to twist your words or seem difficult or ungrateful, I just got overwhelmed a bit by this and a bunch of other things, and it all just blended together in my head and everything seemed hopeless and I just kind of... lost it, I'm sorry.
Everyone: I'm sorry for being all... dramatic. Once again, I didn't mean to seem entitled or demanding or ungrateful, I was just feeling overwhelmed, and I want to reiterate that I am VERY grateful to all of you.

Basically I keep reading DNL and other stuff and coming away with this general message that I have to be extroverted and outgoing and forward on command at all times, or nobody will ever be attracted to me, (even though rationally I know this is bullshit.) and I just end up panicking about trying to be something that I just... cannot be. I've pretty much decided to stop reading DNL altogether, because It's been a long time since I've gotten anything helpful out of it, it just keeps feeding my anxiety.

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Post by jcorozza on Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:37 pm

Definitely not! I'm an ambivert, but I find strong extroverts to be exhausting after awhile (my sister is one), and I would guess more introverted women may as well. I think as long as you're not "guy in the corner with headphones on" at all times, you can be approachable. The smiling part is huge for this. And not crossing your arms too much. Oh, and if you can meet women in situations where you have friends you are already comfortable with, that is a huge plus. This will signal that you are friendly and can hold a conversation, but doesn't mean that you need to be the center of attention.

Something else to think about is that if you prefer assertive, and potentially more extroverted, women, it could actually be a drawback to be very in-your-face extrovert-y all the time, because two people vying for all the attention often won't get along!
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Post by Caffeinated on Thu Mar 19, 2015 2:39 pm

As an introvert, I've always pretty much felt that (in our society anyway) extraverts have it easier in social things, dating or otherwise. But I realized that easier for some than others doesn't mean it's impossible for others, nor does it necessarily mean easy for the some.

Plus, pretending to be an extravert is just too exhausting, and eventually you can't do it anymore, and then what do you do with the people who you've been pretend-extraverting to all this time? Not worth it.

But introverts have our own strengths, and our own ways of interacting with people. I find that my relationships (friendship as well as romantic) tend to be very close, and our interactions can be very intense and very focused on just this one person, while relationships with extraverts can sometimes feel different, less satisfying (to me) in some ways.

I think that signalling approachability as an introvert is not so much faking extaversion as it is recognizing when I have enough social energy available to me that it would be enjoyable to meet or interact with someone. Sort of the opposite of the leave-me-alone vibe that I give out when I don't have the energy.

So, really, it's noticing when you'd be up for some social stuff, and kind of consciously making sure your demeanor and facial expression and body language show that feeling to the outside world instead of accidentally leaving the leave-me-alone vibe on. Like looking around the room, making eye contact with people, smiling a little, having uncrossed arms and open body language, not staring at a book or device, not staring at my feet, that kind of stuff.

The key thing, I think, is really in the becoming aware of your own internal feelings on whether you're up for some social time or not, and honoring those feelings. As an introvert, it feels rotten to force myself to interact when I just don't have the energy, but it feels great to interact when I do have the energy.
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Post by AtlachNacha on Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:12 pm

Does this article rub anyone else the wrong way?: http://www.doctornerdlove.com/2011/09/learn-from-swingers/
"Sweet does not make the panties come off." (I threw up in my mouth a little.)
"Trent is not sweet. Trent is cocky and kind of a dick. And yet Trent is getting sex and digits while Mike is going home alone. Mike is, in Trent’s words, “The PG-13 rated guy that everybody REALLY hopes that he make it happen”. Trent is the R-rated guy that you like even though you’re not sure about him yet. Be the R rated guy."
sdfsjhdf. I know I'm not the only person who consistently doesn't like that guy. I generally want to get as far away from that guy as possible, and I can't imagine women who feel the same way are all that rare. (I haven't seen the movie, though, so I might be getting an exaggerated image of this particular character: but going by the descriptions of 'cocky and kind of a dick' and etc. a particular personality type comes to mind.)


kath wrote:Hey AtlachNacha - this is supposed to be helpful, so if you aren't finding it so, feel free to ignore it. I certainly am not struggling with anxiety to the extent that it seems like you are, but I certainly do struggle with some of the same social things, possibly simply to a different degree. I consider myself a "shy extrovert," so I like people and get antsy if I haven't been out to social things in a while ... but I also find it very difficult to strike up conversation with strangers and tend to avoid eye contact if I don't have a reason to make eye contact with people. So I feel, to some degree, some of the ways you do, sometimes.

This sounds a lot like me. I do get kind of frustrated if I don't get out among people often enough, but then I get anxious when I finally do get out. Ugh, maybe I'm not technically an introvert? I guess I really just need to go ahead and take that damned test, it seems to be de rigeur on OKC to have your little... letter code... thing in your profile, anyway.

kath wrote:Maybe flirting is trying to figure out how attracted two people are and figuring out whether there's romantic potential there?

This sounds workable, let's just go with this.

kath wrote:"must be the chartreuse eyeshadow"

Oh god, do you have pictures? That sounds awesome.

kath wrote:I do think Kleenestar herself would be a great candidate for continuing the context-rules in a way that might be easier. I personally prefer to try to practice my reading-nuance skills, because I find rules trigger my scrupulosity. So sort of embracing the uncertainty from the outset makes it a little easier for me to deal with it - and deal with messing up or encountering people who don't follow they "rules" or whatever, rather than trying to force it into behavior rules that aren't really that strict. You may not find that to be the case - wanting some rules you can just make up and know they are made up but help make the decisions is a totally valid way to approach this - I just don't have good advice for what rules to use because my head doesn't that work that way.

I think I'm running into a conflict between my desire to understand everything logically in reliable rules and... the fact that that doesn't seem to work at all in this context. Jazz, not classical, I guess? IDK.

kath wrote:Context sensitivity would be, being able to look at a situation with another person and thinking about all the factors that might come to bear in how you and the other person are feeling. So, things like, the time of day, where you guys are, what their body-language is telling you, anything else you know about them, other factors like the weather or recent current events that might impact how an interaction would go, etc. You won't always be able to tell what all of the impacts will be - and they will be different for different people - but context sensitivity would be noting those things, and then being flexible with how you negotiate the interaction  given those factors.

The idea of sitting there tabulating hundreds of interconnected factors before trying to talk to someone sounds exhausting. And I don't think I look enough like Benedict Cumberbatch. I'm guessing this is more something that's easier done subconsciously/intuitively rather than consciously ? Or I'm overestimating how detailed the analysis needs to be?



OK, thinking about times women have actually approached me in public, hopefully actually writing it out will prevent my stupid malfunctioning brain from making me forget they ever happened again, and perhaps the accounts can be autopsied:

1. A few times in high school (well, in the coffee shop where I was homeschooled) where I didn't realize what was happening at all until years later, and my memory is still a bit fuzzy on them. I do remember that it was almost always when I was sitting in a corner relatively closed off. A friend I met around that time recently admitted to having had a crush on me, and said something about it being because I was 'mysterious' or something (I didn't talk a lot, sat in corners and read). (Apparently she was going to ask me out until someone warned her off on the basis of age difference. We are the same age. *sigh*)

Next two times were both at a particular... bar/club thing that closed down recently, both times a year apart at their annual halloween party.

2. Kept glancing at me from across the room. Eventually came up to me and announced that she had weed, asked if I had a pipe or papers or anything. Then came up to me later and grabbed me by the shoulders, said "I like you, you're pretty". I... had no idea how to react to this. As I recall, my response was "uh, thanks, so are you!".  We ran into each other again when the place cleared out, and I mostly just stood there smiling and not knowing what to say while she kept telling me I was cute ("I'm sorry, I still think you're really cute so I'm just going to stand here and stare at you some more"). She asked who I was dressed as, I put my mask back on for a second and gave a very brief explanation of slender man, to which she didn't respond, but kept closing her eyes one at a time, alternating. She also at some point started touching her foot to mine, which I reflexively returned without really knowing what was going on. (I'm not sure what that was. Was that a flirty thing? It seems like a flirty thing.) I eventually asked for her contact info, and she gave me a name and told me to add her on facebook. I never found her profile and suspect I got a fake name. I also suspect, and I might be going out on a limb here, that she was a little bit high.

3. This one was when I actually smiled, she told me I looked like Leonardo DiCaprio, adding "you should take advantage of that." we never had any kind of actual conversation, but: at some point I waved at her as she walked past, and she held up her hand for a high five, I obliged, and she did that... interlaced... fingers... thing. Then later she walked up to me and started playing with my hair out of nowhere, kept walking past me and calling me 'leo' at various times through the night over and over again and saying "I'm sorry but you really do look like him!" and etc., and when I finally did ask her name she said: "what? why? just... make something up, it's halloween." and then walked off. The rest of the night was one of the times I actually managed to smile regularly, and I at least had a few conversations with people. Most of whom were too drunk for me to really know how to talk to them.
There was the girl who kept asking me to stab her though, that was funny. (I was, uh, dressed as jack the ripper. Because I already had the clothes for it.) I'd smiled at her earlier and she stopped walking, looked at me, laughed, then rolled her eyes and walked away. Not sure what happened there. She was definitely really drunk by the time she was asking me to stab her though, obviously.

4. Not even sure whether to count this or not, but:  Same place, not a halloween party this time. I was talking to a friend about... the very topic of this thread, actually, (So I was already a bit emotional when this happened, and I'd already had a panic attack earlier that night...) and she walked up next to me, pointed to the gloves sticking out of my jacket pocket (the ones I'm wearing in that picture in the rate my style thread) and said "Those look like rapist gloves". I... didn't really take this well, kind of had half a panic attack, asked why everyone thinks I'm a rapist and actually started crying... Her response: "Oh god I'm so sorry, I actually have a rape fetish, I was actually, like, half hitting on you, you should not be crying right now, I'm so sorry." Back and forth apologies, her getting defensive ("It's really common! It's not that weird!"), me assuring her that I wasn't judging her, all very awkward and stammery on both sides, then she walked away. (And then the friend I was talking to turned to me and said "Dude, you totally blew that!") I actually think this story is hilarious in retrospect, personally...

So, yeah, I don't know what to make of most of this, other than that I really have a difficult time thinking of things to say in this context, no matter how many conversation starts I practice in my head beforehand.

Also, another recurring problem; when someone looks at me, I often can't seem to smile fast enough before they look away.


Caffeinated: That's really helpful, thank you.

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Post by kath on Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:10 am

AtlachNacha wrote:Does this article rub anyone else the wrong way?: http://www.doctornerdlove.com/2011/09/learn-from-swingers/
"Sweet does not make the panties come off." (I threw up in my mouth a little.)
"Trent is not sweet. Trent is cocky and kind of a dick. And yet Trent is getting sex and digits while Mike is going home alone. Mike is, in Trent’s words, “The PG-13 rated guy that everybody REALLY hopes that he make it happen”. Trent is the R-rated guy that you like even though you’re not sure about him yet. Be the R rated guy."
sdfsjhdf. I know I'm not the only person who consistently doesn't like that guy. I generally want to get as far away from that guy as possible, and I can't imagine women who feel the same way are all that rare. (I haven't seen the movie, though, so I might be getting an exaggerated image of this particular character: but going by the descriptions of 'cocky and kind of a dick' and etc. a particular personality type comes to mind.)

Yes, that is super irritating. I don't think he phrased very helpfully. If that's going to be a ridiculous task for you, ignore that advice. I think what's useful in that is, own what you want. I think what he's using "sweet" as code for "is hoping people will magically figure out they are interested in romantic or sexual activity without communicating that in any way." I don't think that's actually what "sweet" means, and you don't have to be difficult / abrasive / rude / overtly sexualizing every interaction to be able to be clear about what you'd like and open to any response.


AtlachNacha wrote:
This sounds a lot like me. I do get kind of frustrated if I don't get out among people often enough, but then I get anxious when I finally do get out. Ugh, maybe I'm not technically an introvert? I guess I really just need to go ahead and take that damned test, it seems to be de rigeur on OKC to have your little... letter code... thing in your profile, anyway.
Eh, you just pick whichever letter you find feels more authentic to identify with / will be more useful for others in dealing with you. The utility of the letter is in helping you understand how your brain works, and possibly to a much lesser degree telling others how you want to behave / how to treat you. You could even try each one out and see which feels better, or just forget about it and not specify. Introversion-Extroversion is a spectrum, not two binaries, so all of us just fall somewhere on that spectrum.

AtlachNacha wrote:Oh god, do you have pictures? That sounds awesome.
Yeah, probably! Maybe I'll post some in Fashion and Beauty. I broke out my chartreuse yesterday for St. Patrick's Day and that was super fun. I like being able to do eye makeup on auto-pilot most days right now (and I've got a pallet I'm trying to use up colour by colour), which has cramped my creativity.

AtlachNacha wrote:
I think I'm running into a conflict between my desire to understand everything logically in reliable rules and... the fact that that doesn't seem to work at all in this context. Jazz, not classical, I guess? IDK.

That might be a useful way to think about it! And jazz does have rules, too, they're just rules you have to be able to apply to a varied and changing situation helped along by a lot of intuition / feel.

AtlachNacha wrote:The idea of sitting there tabulating hundreds of interconnected factors before trying to talk to someone sounds exhausting. And I don't think I look enough like Benedict Cumberbatch. I'm guessing this is more something that's easier done subconsciously/intuitively rather than consciously ? Or I'm overestimating how detailed the analysis needs to be?
Well, you develop the ability to thin-slice (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thin-slicing) situations accurately by practicing. So you aren't consciously thinking about all of them at once, and you could develop that skill by consciously considering one factor each time you have an interaction until those evaluations can be made without having to think about them. Then you could move on to another. Oh, this article (which I have not actually read, maybe I should not link it) is exactly about social thin-slicing and how it takes a long time to develop: http://web.mit.edu/bcs/nklab/media/pdfs/BalasKanwisherSaxe_2012_JECP.pdf


AtlachNacha wrote:
1. A few times in high school (well, in the coffee shop where I was homeschooled) where I didn't realize what was happening at all until years later, and my memory is still a bit fuzzy on them. I do remember that it was almost always when I was sitting in a corner relatively closed off. A friend I met around that time recently admitted to having had a crush on me, and said something about it being because I was 'mysterious' or something (I didn't talk a lot, sat in corners and read). (Apparently she was going to ask me out until someone warned her off on the basis of age difference. We are the same age. *sigh*)

Tat last bit is frustrating! And the other items are difficult to autopsy without specifics. Sometimes, if you're not realising what's happening, just assuming "nothing" is a good way to go. Instead of trying to be able to perfect your ability to read all the signals all the time, if she's seeming friendly and talkative, asking someone out will make it pretty clear whether the signals are friend-signals or romance-signals.

AtlachNacha wrote:
2. Kept glancing at me from across the room. Eventually came up to me and announced that she had weed, asked if I had a pipe or papers or anything. Then came up to me later and grabbed me by the shoulders, said "I like you, you're pretty". I... had no idea how to react to this. As I recall, my response was "uh, thanks, so are you!".  We ran into each other again when the place cleared out, and I mostly just stood there smiling and not knowing what to say while she kept telling me I was cute ("I'm sorry, I still think you're really cute so I'm just going to stand here and stare at you some more"). She asked who I was dressed as, I put my mask back on for a second and gave a very brief explanation of slender man, to which she didn't respond, but kept closing her eyes one at a time, alternating. She also at some point started touching her foot to mine, which I reflexively returned without really knowing what was going on. (I'm not sure what that was. Was that a flirty thing? It seems like a flirty thing.) I eventually asked for her contact info, and she gave me a name and told me to add her on facebook. I never found her profile and suspect I got a fake name. I also suspect, and I might be going out on a limb here, that she was a little bit high.

I think it is indeed likely that she was very high, and I would not read a lot more into this than what happened. Because whatever may have been going on in her head, it doesn't matter - you couldn't get in touch with her to pursue it any further. If you had thought you had gotten a real FB account, sending a message along the lines of "Met you last night, would love to talk more, let's do coffee" (if you actually liked her at all - in none of these situations do you talk about whether you were interested in these people) would have been totally appropriate as a way to move the relationship towards figuring out if there was romantic potential.


AtlachNacha wrote:3. This one was when I actually smiled, she told me I looked like Leonardo DiCaprio, adding "you should take advantage of that." we never had any kind of actual conversation, but: at some point I waved at her as she walked past, and she held up her hand for a high five, I obliged, and she did that... interlaced... fingers... thing. Then later she walked up to me and started playing with my hair out of nowhere, kept walking past me and calling me 'leo' at various times through the night over and over again and saying "I'm sorry but you really do look like him!" and etc., and when I finally did ask her name she said: "what? why? just... make something up, it's halloween." and then walked off. The rest of the night was one of the times I actually managed to smile regularly, and I at least had a few conversations with people. Most of whom were too drunk for me to really know how to talk to them.
Again, drunk people are inscrutable. She clearly liked the way you looked, but whether she was interested in romantic potential - well, I'd say probably not, or she would have given her name. Take the compliment, let it make you feel like the KING OF THE WORLD for the rest of the night, and that's that.

AtlachNacha wrote:
There was the girl who kept asking me to stab her though, that was funny. (I was, uh, dressed as jack the ripper. Because I already had the clothes for it.) I'd smiled at her earlier and she stopped walking, looked at me, laughed, then rolled her eyes and walked away. Not sure what happened there. She was definitely really drunk by the time she was asking me to stab her though, obviously.
Drunk people are pretty universally inscrutable, I wouldn't worry about what it meant.

AtlachNacha wrote:4. Not even sure whether to count this or not, but:  Same place, not a halloween party this time. I was talking to a friend about... the very topic of this thread, actually, (So I was already a bit emotional when this happened, and I'd already had a panic attack earlier that night...) and she walked up next to me, pointed to the gloves sticking out of my jacket pocket (the ones I'm wearing in that picture in the rate my style thread) and said "Those look like rapist gloves". I... didn't really take this well, kind of had half a panic attack, asked why everyone thinks I'm a rapist and actually started crying... Her response: "Oh god I'm so sorry, I actually have a rape fetish, I was actually, like, half hitting on you, you should not be crying right now, I'm so sorry." Back and forth apologies, her getting defensive ("It's really common! It's not that weird!"), me assuring her that I wasn't judging her, all very awkward and stammery on both sides, then she walked away. (And then the friend I was talking to turned to me and said "Dude, you totally blew that!") I actually think this story is hilarious in retrospect, personally...
I think she was trying to start a conversation and put her foot in it, realized it, and went ABORT ABORT ABORT. I have no idea if you were interested in her - to me, it seems like a random woman made a comment that rubbed you the wrong way. You're not required to go for it with any woman who speaks to you - if her opening remark (whether it was for a quick chat at the bar or for romantic purposes) rubbed you the wrong way and you didn't want to continue the interaction, that's fine. Doesn't matter what she was actually thinking, and you can't know.

I totally get how difficult it is to separate yourself from making assumptions about whether they were romantically interested. I find this REALLY hard, I get verklempt about all kinds of interactions and I have no idea if the guy in question was interested or not. And so I'm practicing my "it actually doesn't matter" thought processes. What matters is:

  1. Are you getting positive, "let's continue this interaction" "signals"*
  2. Are you interested in a romantic encounter with this person?


*This is what you're thin-slicing for. It's impossible and a dangerous prospect to thin-slice for "does this person want to have sex with me". But it's easy to get pretty safe practice for "is this person enjoying what's going on right now" in your day-to-day life. Then, if the answer to 2 is "yes", you can ask them if they would like to go on a date (or whatever a reasonable escalation is that would make you comfortable and increase intimacy). Then if they say "I'm loving our conversation but no, I don't want to date you" or even "no" and they just end the conversation, you know they are not romantically interested, and if they say yes, you know they are - no thin-slicing or sign-reading required!

I'm in a relationship, so for me, this means whenever I wonder if someone was trying to approach me romantically (which as I said, I wonder surprisingly often and get verklempt about, which is ridiculous), I have to think through the fact that whether or not they might have possibly initially wanted that / might hypothetically be interested or whatever, I'm not looking for it, and I act like I'm just interested in friendly-type conversation and new friends and acquaintances - which is what I am. So for me, it's best to assume they aren't interested until they ask directly, because my course of action will be essentially the same. The reality in which they are interested does not exist for me. It probably wouldn't actually make me feel a whole lot cooler if I knew I had X number of guys potentially interested in me (I would just be insecure about that, and it also seems like a vain thought path to go down), so instead, I'll just take their behavior at face value, treat them with the level of intimacy both of us seem comfortable with, and assume I've got a friendly acquaintance, which is what I actually have. I have not had a bunch of random declarations of love, so at least I am either communicating a lack of interest in new romantic relationships effectively, or no one is interested in them, and whatever the case is, it's making my social life conveniently not awkward.

(and if I was looking for a relationship of whatever type, I would still be unable to read their minds to know what they want, and if I was interested in them, I would be well-advised to take steps to make that happen, like ask the person out)

(And believe me, I [think] I would really like to actually be able to read minds and KNOW. But I cannot, and I'm never going to be able to, and it would probably actually just make me MORE socially paranoid if I could, so I'm trying to embrace my lack of ind-reading ability wholeheartedly)
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Post by Autumnflame on Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:10 pm

AtlachNacha wrote:
Autumnflame: I am sorry, I did not mean to twist your words or seem difficult or ungrateful, I just got overwhelmed a bit by this and a bunch of other things, and it all just blended together in my head and everything seemed hopeless and I just kind of... lost it, I'm sorry.
Everyone: I'm sorry for being all... dramatic. Once again, I didn't mean to seem entitled or demanding or ungrateful, I was just feeling overwhelmed, and I want to reiterate that I am VERY grateful to all of you.

Basically I keep reading DNL and other stuff and coming away with this general message that I have to be extroverted and outgoing and forward on command at all times, or nobody will ever be attracted to me, (even though rationally I know this is bullshit.) and I just end up panicking about trying to be something that I just... cannot be. I've pretty much decided to stop reading DNL altogether, because It's been a long time since I've gotten anything helpful out of it, it just keeps feeding my anxiety.

I appreciate the apology, and I'm sorry for snapping back and probably exacerbating the reaction.
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Post by Herr R on Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:30 am

AtlachNacha wrote:Basically I keep reading DNL and other stuff and coming away with this general message that I have to be extroverted and outgoing and forward on command at all times, or nobody will ever be attracted to me, (even though rationally I know this is bullshit.) and I just end up panicking about trying to be something that I just... cannot be. I've pretty much decided to stop reading DNL altogether, because It's been a long time since I've gotten anything helpful out of it, it just keeps feeding my anxiety.

DNL stopped being any kind of helpful a long time ago. Now he's just a proselytizer for SJW's, whilst trying to peddle his upcoming book. In other words, I didn't like him all that much when I first found him a year ago and he's certainly more out of touch with his target audience now. Plus, he never really did get rid of his condescending PUA douche persona.

My advice? Just stick to his older, more practical stuff. Otherwise, you're just going to end up feeling sorry for even looking at a woman.

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Post by BasedBuzzed on Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:25 am

Herr R wrote:
AtlachNacha wrote:Basically I keep reading DNL and other stuff and coming away with this general message that I have to be extroverted and outgoing and forward on command at all times, or nobody will ever be attracted to me, (even though rationally I know this is bullshit.) and I just end up panicking about trying to be something that I just... cannot be. I've pretty much decided to stop reading DNL altogether, because It's been a long time since I've gotten anything helpful out of it, it just keeps feeding my anxiety.

DNL stopped being any kind of helpful a long time ago. Now he's just a proselytizer for SJW's, whilst trying to peddle his upcoming book. In other words, I didn't like him all that much when I first found him a year ago and he's certainly more out of touch with his target audience now. Plus, he never really did get rid of his condescending PUA douche persona.

My advice? Just stick to his older, more practical stuff. Otherwise, you're just going to end up feeling sorry for even looking at a woman.

DNL is useful, but never get all your advice from one source, and keep in mind that he's in a social circle in which nuance can get lost easily because a)advice columns are only so long and quibbling over details gets in the way of action and b)his social circle, like any social circle, self-selects for certain beliefs and will double down quicker, since their own bear the brunt of the Great Geek Wars(underpaid mid-level media personalities writing on social issues). Supplement it with SSC on its better days, Thing of Things, Ally Fogg, Mark Manson, and the Tumblrs of kazeherad and multiheaded.

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Post by AtlachNacha on Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:13 pm

So... I think I might be a sociopath.

The day after my birthday, my dog died, and a bunch of people blocked me on facebook, and a couple more people blocked me or just stopped responding to PMs on here. I have no idea what I did to all of these people to piss them off so badly that they just cut me out with no explanation all at the same time, at seemingly the exact time that I was guaranteed to already be the most stressed out, but this has happened before. It keeps happening, again and again, I just drive people away without ever knowing what it was, that's part of what this thread was about, and I've realized something. If I were actually capable of caring about any of these people and empathizing with them, I'd be able to see it from their perspective well enough to realize what I did wrong without having to have it explained to me. I think on some subconscious level I just act like I care because I'm afraid people will dislike me. I don't know what to do about this. I don't even know why I'm posting about it, I'm just kind of... at a loss right now. I can't find anything useful about treatment. Is there even a treatment? am i jsutne not yusing the right seach terms/ I don't even know what's happenign right now.

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Post by reboot on Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:31 pm

AtlachNacha wrote:So... I think I might be a sociopath.

The day after my birthday, my dog died, and a bunch of people blocked me on facebook, and a couple more people blocked me or just stopped responding to PMs on here. I have no idea what I did to all of these people to piss them off so badly that they just cut me out with no explanation all at the same time, at seemingly the exact time that I was guaranteed to already be the most stressed out, but this has happened before. It keeps happening, again and again, I just drive people away without ever knowing what it was, that's part of what this thread was about, and I've realized something. If I were actually capable of caring about any of these people and empathizing with them, I'd be able to see it from their perspective well enough to realize what I did wrong without having to have it explained to me. I think on some subconscious level I just act like I care because I'm afraid people will dislike me. I don't know what to do about this. I don't even know why I'm posting about it, I'm just kind of... at a loss right now. I can't find anything useful about treatment. Is there even a treatment? am i jsutne not yusing the right seach terms/ I don't even know what's happenign right now.

So sorry to hear about your dog Sad Jedi hugs if wanted.

Not sure who you PMed here but some of us who have been here a while had our in boxes max out and cannot reply until we figure something out.

The fact that you care what people think of you pretty much rules out sociopathy, so if you were worried about that, do not be.
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Post by AtlachNacha on Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:49 pm

reboot wrote:So sorry to hear about your dog Sad Jedi hugs if wanted.

Not sure who you PMed here but some of us who have been here a while had our in boxes max out and cannot reply until we figure something out.

The fact that you care what people think of you pretty much rules out sociopathy, so if you were worried about that, do not be.

thanks.

pm issues are irrelevant, nonresponses and outright blocking extend to email and facebook.

it doesn't rule that out at all. people thinking i'me a terribel person is also a practical hindrance to having success in my own life, and a potential wound to my ego, so it's not out of the realm of possibility at all.

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Post by reboot on Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:01 pm

AtlachNacha wrote:
reboot wrote:So sorry to hear about your dog Sad Jedi hugs if wanted.

Not sure who you PMed here but some of us who have been here a while had our in boxes max out and cannot reply until we figure something out.

The fact that you care what people think of you pretty much rules out sociopathy, so if you were worried about that, do not be.

thanks.

pm issues are irrelevant, nonresponses and outright blocking extend to email and facebook.

it doesn't rule that out at all. people thinking i'me a terribel person is also a practical hindrance to having success in my own life, and a potential wound to my ego, so it's not out of the realm of possibility at all.

Well, I for one, do not think you are a terrible person based on what you have shared in this forum.

As for people blocking you on FB, I do not use it, but have friends that do. Sometimes they block people not because they do not like them but because they are not in an emotionally good position themselves and cannot handle the other person's feelings at that time. Sometimes they even block upbeat and positive people because the relentless happys make them feel worse. And then, of course, sometimes someone pisses them off.

If it is not too personal, what were you writing about when the blocking happened? And how close of friends were these? Are they people you know IRL?
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Post by AtlachNacha on Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:09 pm

reboot wrote:Well, I for one, do not think you are a terrible person based on what you have shared in this forum.

As for people blocking you on FB, I do not use it, but have friends that do. Sometimes they block people not because they do not like them but because they are not in an emotionally good position themselves and cannot handle the other person's feelings at that time. Sometimes they even block upbeat and positive people because the relentless happys make them feel worse. And then, of course, sometimes someone pisses them off.

If it is not too personal, what were you writing about when the blocking happened? And how close of friends were these? Are they people you know IRL?

I appreciate the vote of confidence, but I think I'm looking more for who the hell do I talk to about diagnosis.

Facebook: nothing, I rarely post publicly, and at least one of these people I had not said one word to in months. Others: I'm actually thtoo afradi to share thright now maybe i'll get my courage up laetr and it can be autopsied.


Apologies ofrh the typos ahdns won't stop shaking andf spasming and every time i tryo to corerct them i jsut make it worse so levaing asthey are

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Post by reboot on Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:15 pm

No worries on the spelling. It happens sometimes.

Try to take care of yourself and get to a calmer place. We are here when you need us in this thread.
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Post by StrangePanda on Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:20 pm

AtlachNacha wrote:
If I were actually capable of caring about any of these people and empathizing with them, I'd be able to see it from their perspective well enough to realize what I did wrong without having to have it explained to me.

Woah I don't agree with it! Sometimes I really have no idea what I did wrong and sometimes I do have an idea but it turns out it was something else. Can you remember the last time you saw these people and /or what you said to them? If you didn't do anything obviously wrong, didn't say anything hurtful, it can be hard to figure out why someone is angry. Especially for folks who don't have good social skills...

And let's not forget the possibility that those people could be not good people...

I think right now you're too stressed and panicked to think clearly if you really did something wrong or not. Right now it's better to try to calm down and distract yourself with something. Once you're feeling more calm, try to do a list of why those people can be angry (objectively, your actions, words, etc.).

Aaaand giant Jedi hugs because of you dog.

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Post by Enail on Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:40 pm

Sorry about your dog, and that you're having such a stressful time.

I don't think not being able to figure out what's going wrong with interactions with others is a sign of sociopathy - it's just a sign of not being psychic. That said, if you're worried about it, bring it up with your therapist.

If you do want to talk more generally about the non-sociopath issue, a few thoughts. I've put them under spoiler tags so you can just skip them if that's not something you want to discuss now.  (And ETA if you're getting shaky and anxious trying to talk about this, definitely take a break and look after yourself. We'll still be here later!)

thoughts about social connection problems:


One thought: People have all kinds of different things going on in their lives. And especially on a site like this one, different people are here for different reasons. They might not have a lot of time to devote to maintaining connections here, they might have a lot of stresses of their own that affect how much they can help others with their stress, or they might have different preferences about how they'd like to communicate. I don't think it's uncommon  for PMs to die out or for someone to need to take a step back and stop contact. You're not doing anything wrong by not knowing what others are looking for here or what they're up for in terms of personal connections, but it might be a good idea to keep in mind that people can have other reasons for not wanting to communicate, ones that have nothing to do with who you are.  

That said, it does also sound like maybe there is also a pattern going on in your relationships. That doesn't mean you're terrible or unlikeable, and not knowing what that pattern is doesn't mean that you're uncaring or have no empathy. But it does mean that there might be something in  what kinds of people you try to connect with or how you behave with them that tends to cause the same problems with different people. That's very common, and it's something you can work to figure out! I think that's something a lot of people use therapy to sort out, so I'm guessing your therapist will be a good resource for that.

I looked through Captain Awkward and pulled out a couple of posts that touch on possible patterns that I think are pretty common ones for people with anxiety or who have friends cutting them off or general social stuff for people who have a hard time with connections: About attachment styles and boundaries, a general one about developing social skills, loneliness patterns, Friendship-fixing advice, handling friendship conflicts. Maybe take a look at some of these and see if any of them ping as possibilities - but if you find it flaring up your anxiety and making you feel like everything you read is definitely your problem and you have to do everything to solve it, stop, because that's probably not terribly helpful. If any of them seem useful, I highly recommend reading the comments, as there's often good advice there too.
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Post by AtlachNacha on Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:42 pm

I have been trying to get to a calmer place for most of the past week, and have instead been stuck in what feels like a prolonged panic attack, i've been taking double the dose on the label of klonopin and still been feeling like my heart's going to explode. I have been unable to sleep because I keep jolting awake suddenly panicekd andf afraid. I feel like i own't bea ble ot calm down until i figure out what's actually happening, but that keeps seeming less and less likely. and i think i'm having auditory hallucinations now, because i keep hearing my phone ring or facebook chat notification bloops, but no missed calls or messages.

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Post by Enail on Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:45 pm

Please be careful with medications and don't take more than your doctor has okayed, AtlachNacha! If the anxiety's so severe you can't handle it, please get in touch with your therapist or other healthcare professionals and get help, alright? Go to emerg if you need to to stay safe.

You can't figure this stuff out while you're panicking, that's just not a reasonable thing to ask of yourself, so try to give yourself permission to set it aside until you're in a place to deal with it.
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Post by AtlachNacha on Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:55 pm

Enail wrote:Sorry about your dog, and that you're having such a stressful time.

I don't think not being able to figure out what's going wrong with interactions with others is a sign of sociopathy - it's just a sign of not being psychic. That said, if you're worried about it, bring it up with your therapist.

If you do want to talk more generally about the non-sociopath issue, a few thoughts. I've put them under spoiler tags so you can just skip them if that's not something you want to discuss now.  (And ETA if you're getting shaky and anxious trying to talk about this, definitely take a break and look after yourself. We'll still be here later!)

thoughts about social connection problems:


One thought: People have all kinds of different things going on in their lives. And especially on a site like this one, different people are here for different reasons. They might not have a lot of time to devote to maintaining connections here, they might have a lot of stresses of their own that affect how much they can help others with their stress, or they might have different preferences about how they'd like to communicate. I don't think it's uncommon  for PMs to die out or for someone to need to take a step back and stop contact. You're not doing anything wrong by not knowing what others are looking for here or what they're up for in terms of personal connections, but it might be a good idea to keep in mind that people can have other reasons for not wanting to communicate, ones that have nothing to do with who you are.  

That said, it does also sound like maybe there is also a pattern going on in your relationships. That doesn't mean you're terrible or unlikeable, and not knowing what that pattern is doesn't mean that you're uncaring or have no empathy. But it does mean that there might be something in  what kinds of people you try to connect with or how you behave with them that tends to cause the same problems with different people. That's very common, and it's something you can work to figure out! I think that's something a lot of people use therapy to sort out, so I'm guessing your therapist will be a good resource for that.

I looked through Captain Awkward and pulled out a couple of posts that touch on possible patterns that I think are pretty common ones for people with anxiety or who have friends cutting them off or general social stuff for people who have a hard time with connections: About attachment styles and boundaries, a general one about developing social skills, loneliness patterns, Friendship-fixing advice, handling friendship conflicts. Maybe take a look at some of these and see if any of them ping as possibilities - but if you find it flaring up your anxiety and making you feel like everything you read is definitely your problem and you have to do everything to solve it, stop, because that's probably not terribly helpful. If any of them seem useful, I highly recommend reading the comments, as there's often good advice there too.

I feel like if I hadn't done something actually wrong they would have explained, or they would have said they needed a break, or they would have said goodbye at least. I did something to them to make them no longer care about me in any way, to make them just want out. I did something awful to deserve that, and I have to find out what so that i don't do it ever again, or i have to find some other soltuion to keep from beignaround poepl so that i dstop hurting them.

Captain awkward thinks men with the problem that started this thred are mysoginists, incapable of seeing women as human beings, that they should just 'get a grip', and that their anxiety is a good thing that keeps them from bothering people unduly. http://captainawkward.com/2013/04/20/476-i-have-anxiety-that-women-will-have-anxiety-about-me-approaching-them/  their advice to practically any man with dating issues, as has been noted elsewhere on the forums, is to seek out art by women so that they become capable of acknowledging women as people, because that's the only possible source of the issues apparently. i sstoped reading logn ago. that you recommend this source to me simpleis that you don't  thinkvery highely  of me.

EDIT oh look they posted a follrowup where they make a fake apology and blame the LW for not wording his leteer properly.

EDIT2: and one of the articles you specifically linked says that people who are lonely think that it's walys other'people's fault and that they're a victim and i'm SITTING HER ACKNOWLEDGING FAUlt why didyou


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Post by The Wisp on Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:59 pm

I'm worried you've become addicted to klonopin Atlach. You're taking a double dose yet not feeling to effects, possibly hallucinating. I'd call your therapist or psychiatrist right away if that is case, don't wait until you see them. You might not be, but I'm very worried about you and it sounds like you need to talk to somebody.
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