How to reply to common questions [adv]

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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:07 am

I don't think there's a great risk of getting questions about him/her, but being awkward when someone does something inapropriate is a very good idea... But how does one change the subject? That's a conversational skill I, well, probably know, but not one I'm close to mastering.
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Caffeinated on Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:11 am

For changing the subject, I might prepare a list of conversation topics ahead of time (not a bad idea in general actually), and ask a question about something on that list as a subject change, or just start talking about something else.

For example, I might have a list of neutral topics like:
-the Muppets coming back to TV
-the new Star Wars film in December
-Bloom County is back
-Bernie Sanders as candidate
-local con I went to recently and interesting panel at the con
-cute thing my preschooler did recently

And I'd have those topics in mind for not only subject changes, but also in case the conversation started to lag, I'd feel like I had something to fall back on to say.

So for a subject change, I might say, "I'm so excited about the Muppets coming back on TV. Have you seen any of their promos? The hilarious one with Nathan Fillion and Kermit the Frog?"

Or I might say, "So Star Wars. Are you going to be there opening night? How do you think Disney will handle the franchise?"

Or I might say, "The cutest thing happened the other day. I was taking my kid to preschool and [blah blah blah etc etc]."
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:45 pm

Him: Long time. I'm afraid I missed you party this year, but I... don't think I got an invitation?

Me: Erm, mumblefum decided to do differently mumble year.

Him: Oh, so there was no party.

Me: Mumble mumble eerm fum mæææ*.

And that was it... I was satisfied with the conclusion he reached, although worry about if he finds out there was one, finds out he's not invited next year either, etc., because he demonstrated that the question might come up. But that's for another time, maybe my conversational skill will improve before then.

As for changing the topic, topic list is a good idea. I still have some problems with execution, though, something about the beat-for-beat conversational timing that makes me feel weird when I introduce topics... something I'll think more about on my own, perhaps.


*Letter from the Norwegian alphabet, combination of a and e, pronounced as in English "hat" only with a long vowel instead of a short one.
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Mon Oct 26, 2015 3:31 pm

This thread is kind of coming full circle now, because the one I talked about in the first post made contact again, explained why she'd stopped messaging before (she'd been busy with moving and work), and asked if I wanted to join her in exploring coffe shops in my area. So we did that, yesterday. She was fun talking to, with interesting interests and a cool job, and when she left she said she'd have stayed longer if she hadn't been behind on some work. She said she'd like to see me again and told me I could give her a nudge if I didn't hear from her, because she could be a bit absent-minded with things like that. It was a very nice meeting.

It was not presented as a date, and I didn't pick up any flirtiness about it. But I don't always pick up on these things... I did leave with a feeling that usually corresponds with some attraction having been present...

So the first thing I'm asking about is, does the meeting I've described have any legible subtext about what might be in the cards or not? From my side, I think it would be "get to know each other, and if something happens, cool". And if platonic friendship happens instead, that's also cool.

(Question 1.5: for how long into getting to know someone would that attitude be a good idea?)

The second thing I'm asking about is... the schedule, timeframe, frequency of contact when you're out to get to know someone you've met... I've absolutely no idea about that, and with the other people I've tried to get to know this year, the lack of any framework has left me a little paralyzed and things have peetered out. So any suggestions?
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Caffeinated on Mon Oct 26, 2015 4:26 pm

For the first thing, I think your read on the subtext sounds right. For question 1.5, I'd say that would be valid either forever or until one or the other of you decides one way or another which way is wanted and communicates that decision.

For the second thing, it sounds like creating a framework for yourself would leave you with more energy and less paralysis. For me personally, when I'm getting to know someone I've found that seeing each other once a week is my sweet spot. It's not so much that I feel overwhelmed, but not so little that I lose the feeling of comfort with that person that I've started to build up. As for contact between seeing each other, for me it's most comfortable to keep that to a minimum, mostly just what's necessary to make arrangements.

I'd expect you have your own comfort zone for frequency of contact, and you can use that to create a framework for yourself. So the first step would be to identify your comfort zone. The next step would be to use that as the outline for your framework.

The person you're getting to know will have her own comfort zone, as will anyone. If your comfort zones align well, that can make the whole process very smooth.
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Tue Oct 27, 2015 9:58 am

Hmh. I don't have much experience to build on in identifying that comfort zone... or with the process of getting to know people at all, really. I mean, there are people I know, I just haven't been conscious about the process. And I'm realizing now exactly how inexperienced I am, and why it's no wonder I haven't connected with that many people yet.

I've been afraid of thinking of myself as an agent in it, in most kinds of one-on-one relations. Still am to some extent, an outgrowth of some deep social anxiety/self esteem issues I've got...

If I were to guess, I'd say... maybe once every second week, for now, and when I get more used to making connections, maybe more often.

But that fear of being an agent kicks in, tells me that asking someone to meet that frequently would be unbearably imposing of me. With the people I'm already seeing regularly (except family), we have a frequency of once every four-to-six weeks, and even that makes me feel like I'm imposing. Any stern words I could tell my jerkbrain on this?
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:05 am

Same person. Towards the end of last week, I suggests an activity, and she said what about Sunday. On Saturday though she said she had work that needed to be done, and suggested we move it to Monday, and I said Monday I had something else to do, but I'd be available most of the rest of the week, and in the weekend. She hasn't replied to that yet.

It seems like her communication style is to not write unless she has something say, and wait with making appointments until we're fairly close to the day in question, so I wouldn't be surprised if I heard from her closer to the weekend. What I'm wondering is where to go next if she doesn't...

as I said, she told me she might need a bit of nudging when it came to social activities, and I think I'm up for that, but I don't have a good sense of how and how often to nudge. What do I say when I nudge? Do I explicitly mention the nudging? Do I suggest the same activity or something else or something more general? And what's a good frequency of nudging, when do I know when I'm overnudgy, when lack of response from someone means they need space?

On a more general note... I'm beginning to learn how to initiate getting together with friends, up to the point where I'm usually the one who does it. Which is a nice skill to have... And with established friends I'm not afraid of doing it to often. But when it comes to new people... should there be some balance there, or should I just go ahead and initiate? How do I know when someone is leaning back and leaving the initiative to me, and when their not initiating means they're not that interested?
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by reboot on Wed Nov 04, 2015 9:02 am

You can suggest another day and see if it works for her. Right now all the scheduling is on her plate, which can make people feel like you do not really want to get together unless they do the work.

So yes, definitely initiate
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:06 am

Done. Thanks (once again).

I've been meaning to get better with suggesting specific times and activities, rather than my standard "maybe we should have coffee some day". Because I'm coming to understand what you're saying here, that this sort of thing is work. (I still have a lot to learn about things other do for me being work.)

As with the thing a couple of posts above, I have a hard time understanding how it's not so terribly imposing of me to be specific about things like that. How it might, in fact, be the opposite – imposing of me to leave those decisions to others.

I have some (possibly autism-related) problems with the difference between suggestions and commands. It goes both ways – when someone says "maybe I'll call you next week", I sit more or less waiting by the phone. My previous therapist, years ago, compared it to the Magritte piece, "this is not a pipe". Something about the difference between the sign and the thing itself. I have a feeling it's a relevant metaphor, but don't really understand what it means.

But I think that suggesting an activity with someone, in my head, feels like I'm demanding that they show up.
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by reboot on Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:37 pm

Maybe you can counter that by offering two activities or two times? That way it will feel more like a choice than a command?
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Sun Nov 08, 2015 12:38 pm

Something like that could help... One phrasing that sounds like it would fit in my mouth : "Want to go for coffee later this week, for example Thursday or some other day?" Is that... too unspecific, or does it work?

On the other hand... I'd also like to ask if suggesting specific activities or days is actually a little imposing, or if it's that way in my head. Because if it's the latter, I should probably train my head to be fine with it.
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Caffeinated on Sun Nov 08, 2015 1:27 pm

I think that phrasing is good. I find that when someone sets out a specific activity and day, it makes it easier for me to quickly figure out if it'll work with my schedule, whereas I find that more generalized questions that leave me to do the work of figuring out a day and activity are more stressful because then I have to go through my entire schedule and not just that one day, plus try to think up an activity. But by leaving it open to another day as well, you're telling the other person that you're not demanding that they conform to your schedule but are willing to work with their schedule if that specific day is no good for them.
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Mon Nov 09, 2015 9:22 am

Yeah, that makes sense. Picking one specific option as an anchor usually makes my own decision-making easier, too...

One heuristic for figuring out what's work for others is probably to look at the things that take or save effort for me... then, maybe as I get to know people, we'll get a grasp of each others' strengths and weaknesses, and can use that for better division of work?

One of my strengths, it looks like, is that if I find the right framework for myself, a lot of this work actually comes pretty easy.

But one thing that's been nagging at me a little, is that the formula I use when I suggest getting together feels.. repetitive to me. (Which, well, it's a formula, so yeah...) Is there some subtext I'm vaguely aware of to using the same or similar phrases each time I make contact, or is this something I don't have to worry much about?
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by reboot on Mon Nov 09, 2015 9:32 am

Something you do not need to worry much about. I probably have 3 ways of saying it, "Want to do Xon Y at ZX?", " Let's do X on Y at Z, you up for it?", and "Let's get together on Y at Z,. Want to do X?"
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Thu Nov 12, 2015 2:29 pm

When I translate my usual phrasing into English, it becomes something like "hi, would you consider getting together sometime?", or occasionally "sometime next week"... while the Norwegian version of "would you consider getting together" doesn't sound quite so formal as it does in English, I'm realizing how it doesn't make the message less vague... so I'll change the phrasing, and maybe I'll be less worried about repeating myself too.

***

On another note: Someone responded to an OLD profile where I call myself Blue-footed Booby (does not sound like a part of the body in Norwegian), and where I have a drawn picture of a blue-footed booby as my avatar. And that someone commented my picture, saying "cute penguin". And I'm not sure...

Do I say "actually, it's a [Norwegian word for booby]. But I like penguins too"? Correcting someone I hardly know on a detail that hardly matters doesn't taste right.

Do I just refer to it as a booby, as if she'd never called it a penguin at all? That sounds even worse than the above.

Do I pretend that it was a penguin all along? I can kind of see how it would look like one, but pretending to believe something I don't hurts my autism a little bit.

Do I just ignore it? But then what do I say, "cute penguin" was almost the entire message...
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Thu Nov 12, 2015 4:57 pm

Found a solution to this myself, sort of... said something like "thanks. It was really supposed to be a blue-footed booby, but I can see how it looks like a penguin too." Then went on with a comparison between the two birds.

More generally, this is an example of a situation that frequently trips me up with shorter OLD messages... where I feel the proper response is to go with the flow, but then for some reason don't quite feel the flow. Then a number of different responses pop into my head, like they did now, and bump into each other so that none of them get out through my mouth.
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by sky on Tue Nov 17, 2015 2:10 am

Hirundo Bos wrote:More generally, this is an example of a situation that frequently trips me up with shorter OLD messages... where I feel the proper response is to go with the flow, but then for some reason don't quite feel the flow. Then a number of different responses pop into my head, like they did now, and bump into each other so that none of them get out through my mouth.

Wow, that's pretty much a perfect description of how I usually react to those sorts of situations too (awkward high-five!)

I think one good option would be to make it into a joke. Something like "Haha, it's supposed to be a blue footed booby... I guess I need to work on my drawing skills, huh?" And you could follow up by asking about her favorite bird, or if she likes to draw pictures, or anything else you can think of that's vaguely related to the previous sentence.
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Wed Nov 18, 2015 8:30 pm

Use it as pretext for a question... yes, that's something I could try to do more. Asking people questions is... still a bit difficult for me. It's like with proposing time and place for – it feels like I make too much of myself, while in reality, not asking questions/proposing times/etc. is the thing that makes me selfish.

Which is why this thread has turned out so useful to me. Having a framework for phrasing those things (and the permission of people on the internet to say them), gives me a place to start, which in turn gives me occasion to practice.
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Fri Dec 04, 2015 8:15 am

Not a question this time, more a sign I'm beginning to internalize this stuff... the person I've talked about before, the one I needed to initiate more with... we've had some problems finding a time to meet, so on the chance there was a soft no hidden in there, I asked: "do you want me to keep taking the initiative, or would you rather I passed the ball to you". And she said she did want me to, so now I know I'll just keep doing that Smile
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Enail on Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:34 pm

That sounds like an excellent way to handle that!
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:10 pm

How do I reply when I get someone's account number by instant message and pay my share of a shared meal and they answer with a :-* and I don't know if there's a subtext to that or not?
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by gaboz on Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:07 am

Hirundo Bos wrote:How do I reply when I get someone's account number by instant message and pay my share of a shared meal and they answer with a :-* and I don't know if there's a subtext to that or not?

i dont get it?

the :-* is a kiss.

and you got the accountnumber so you guys split the bill?

I say its nothing and just a way for her to text.

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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Sat Jan 30, 2016 2:42 pm

Yeah, that's what I went with too. A way of expression more than a way to flirt. Just not one I'm used to. And if it was supposed to be flirty, the person in question knows that I can be hilariously unreceptive to hints sometimes, because I told her quite a few hilarious stories about that...
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by Hirundo Bos on Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:06 pm

Another things are happening right now-question... I match with someone on Tinder and during the first few messages mention I pancake dish I once made and she says cool, can you make that for me, and I say yes, I also mention I'm a nerd and she says great she loves pancakes and nerds, and... I'm not used to things progressing this fast and don't know what I say next – do I suggest a time for dinner? Ask her out on coffee first? Assume it's just flirtation and chat a bit more? And there's also the thing where I can't quite tell the difference between actual plans and the shared fiction people create in flirting... It's past midnight here, so I answered something brief and have until tomorrow to come up with something more substantial.


Run in circles flail Run in circles flail and also Shiny/thrilled
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Re: How to reply to common questions [adv]

Post by gaboz on Fri Feb 19, 2016 5:17 am

Hirundo Bos wrote:Another things are happening right now-question... I match with someone on Tinder and during the first few messages mention I pancake dish I once made and she says cool, can you make that for me, and I say yes, I also mention I'm a nerd and she says great she loves pancakes and nerds, and... I'm not used to things progressing this fast and don't know what I say next – do I suggest a time for dinner? Ask her out on coffee first? Assume it's just flirtation and chat a bit more? And there's also the thing where I can't quite tell the difference between actual plans and the shared fiction people create in flirting... It's past midnight here, so I answered something brief and have until tomorrow to come up with something more substantial.


Run in circles flail Run in circles flail and also Shiny/thrilled

Sometimes it just works. Maybe this:

You: Awesome, I need some inspiration for pancakes, there (somewhere near the both of you) makes killer cakes and want to analyse it for world domination, (set date and time,) you want to help me?

Keep it short and fun, youre already have some points with pancakes and nerd and she kinda already says that you are cool.

so lets change from this Run in circles flail to cheers

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