Menu

Any tips in how to solve communication problems?

HomeForumsTough TimesAny tips in how to solve communication problems?

New Reply
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 159 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #398663
    Eric
    Participant

    Hi everyone,

    So basically i have this communication issue with mostly people i’m not familiar with, like i’ll always try to analyze if that person if “friendly” or not and then make a move….

    Most of these days i went to the gym to practice with my trainer to fix my posture. The trainer there is very familiar with the people in the gym (although there arent many people in the gym)… and when i’m practicing with my trainer.. 2 of the people (a 40-50 year old man and a guy who’s about 2 years older than me) in the gym commented on “how difficult it is to have a scoliosis.. like they sympathize me… but because i’m not familiar with those guys… i just keep quiet and focus on my training… then after i’m done with my training i sit in the gym lobby… and after a few minutes one of those guys (the 40-50 year old man) who commented on my posture, sit next to my sofa. He’s eating eggs for his gym requirements and he ask me if i’d like one… and i said “no thank you.. with a smile”… and then i didnt initiate any conversation with him.

    Then on the next 2 days i came again to train with my trainer… and 2 of those guys sometimes look at my practice… and the guy who’s about 2 years older than me keep looking at me… even when im resting in a small chair in the gym… it’s like he wanted to initiate a conversation with me… But i never inititated… that guy keeps talking to my trainer while the trainer is training me.. but i just keep quiet without saying any words.

    Then on the next 2 days after that day… when i’m practicing with my trainer, those 2 guys didnt comment on my practice again but 2 of them keep talking to my trainer (while that trainer is training me)… but i also keep being silent and not saying any words… those 2 guys and my trainer talk about any stuffs… i really want to join that conversation but i’m not familiar with this kind of situation… i’m not a person who can just confidently spout anything to join that topic…. I feel really awkward. When i went back home i feel so disappointed in myself…. like what’s wrong with me… it’s like every time i need the other person who start the convo first… but at that time i get the advantage when that guy is offering me the egg but never initiate anything….

    It’s always this way for me…. even at that time in my uni days when i’m about to join one of my “close friend” for dinner with her friends.. one of her friends (we know each other but barely talk) told my close friend on how to talk with me… because he knew that im joining the dinner and he told my close friend that he felt awkward when talking to me….

    This even applies in the office where i work…. like i only talk with a person who i have to coordinate my task with… but i cant really talk with other people in the office, because i can’t random talk… let alone initiate a conversation….

    There is a barrier inside me that won’t let me random talk because i’m afraid of saying the wrong word or that person would ignore what i say….

    Is there any ways to program my mind to let go of this safety barrier? I really wanna fix this communication issue.

     

     

    #398665
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi Eric

    Personally, I like asking questions about other people when I’m feeling anxious. This takes all of the responsibility off me when it comes to conversation. People love to talk about themselves. Not to mention, it encourages other people to ask questions which are much easier to answer than spontaneously coming up with conversation.

    Also, letting people know that you are shy is helpful. Telling people your name is also helpful.

    Or ask how their weekend was (if it’s near the start of the week) ask what their plans for the weekend are (if it’s near the end of the week).

    The people at the gym seem really kind. Especially the guy who tried to share his food with you.

    You could also bring in gum or a snack and ask people if they want some?

    Maybe you could try setting yourself goals? Start out by picking one thing a week to say? You could pick something that you are most comfortable with. How do you feel about this idea?

    #398667
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Eric:

    You have no problems communicating with people in these online forums, by typing words, sentences and paragraphs into the computer screen, receiving a typed reply and having all the time in the world between reading a member’s reply and submitting your next post, all the time that you need to read and understand the reply you receive, and to form a response.

    Every time you started a thread on your various accounts, you initiated a conversation with members. When members replied to you, you responded to what the member said, answering questions and asking questions, and having back and forth conversations. With a few members, you had conversations for months.

    You have difficulties communicating with people in real life, people who are in your physical presence, having an ongoing spoken conversation. In people’s physical presence, you have very limited time to listen and understand what the other person is saying and to form a response. You are able to respond to people by saying thank you, or no, thank you, and otherwise answering their specific questions in a short form, but you are unable to elaborate or to initiate a conversation.

    “I really want to join that conversation but I’m not familiar with this kind of situation. I’m not a person who can just confidently spout anything to join that topic. I feel really awkward…  There is a barrier inside me that won’t let me random talk because I’m afraid of saying the wrong word or that person would ignore what I say”-

    – The barrier is your anxiety.

    Are there any ways to program my mind to let go of this safety barrier? I really wanna fix this communication issue” –

    Here are a couple online sources regarding the connection between anxiety and the difficulty with having a spoken communication with people, and ways that can help you (I hope that you take a long time reading and understanding what follows):

    calm clinic. com/ How anxiety can impair communication: “Communication between two or more people involves a lot of different mental mechanisms. One part of your brain is controlling your listening ability… Another part is formulating what to respond with… it should come as little surprise that when your mind is overwhelmed with anxiety it can impair your ability to communicate… One of the main issues caused by anxiety may be distracted thinking. You may find yourself anxiously thinking about numerous things… or find yourself stuck on a particular thought… distracted thinking makes it very hard to listen and hold a conversation, and your ability to communicate is impaired as a result.

    “Being nervous can create problems with overthinking. When you’re nervous while talking to someone else, it’s not uncommon to overthink each and every word you’re about to say in an effort to make sure that you say the right thing…

    “Because different issues are at play, there are also different methods that you can use to help ensure that you communicate a bit better… Consider the following:

    “- When something is keeping you from focusing, be open about it with the person you’re communicating with. While most people don’t like their anxiety to be known, the truth is that people can tell when you’re anxious…  It may be better to tell the other person (that you are anxious) … rather than trying to pretend that you’re okay and struggle through the conversation.

    “- If you are struggling to focus on the conversation, take a moment and ask them to repeat themselves… simply requesting them to repeat it gives you another opportunity to listen.

    “- Of course, telling someone not to overthink is easier said than done. It makes sense that you want to make sure you don’t say anything silly or embarrassing, but if overthinking is causing you to say things in an odd way, then what value did overthinking have? Try to talk as you think, and if you say something embarrassing so be it.

    “- The more often you engage in conversation with people, the easier you may find it to be. Try practicing conversing with someone you feel comfortable with. You can also try to practice holding a conversation when you are alone. Make sure to speak aloud, not just in your mind, since this is what you will have to do when speaking with another person…

    “The above tips may help but they won’t completely fix the problem. Only by addressing the reason for your anxiety will you find relief and become truly comfortable with communicating with others”.

    very well mind. com/ How to socialize when you have social anxiety disorder: “There are some tips that may help… Below are a variety of techniques to try that can help… Try coming up with a mantra, or a word or phrase, that you can repeat to yourself when you feel stressed. Maybe you repeat to yourself, ‘I am at ease,’ or ‘I can relax.’ You can say anything that reminds you that you’re not in any real, physical danger. Take some deep breaths. Deep breathing calms down your nervous system… Try taking a deep breath, holding it for a few seconds, and releasing it…

    “Conversing is a skill, just like riding a bike; the more you do it, the better you will get. You can start conversations almost anywhere- waiting in line at the grocery store, walking in a park… It’s a good idea to have some conversation starters in mind. For instance, a lot of people make casual conversation about the weather, especially if the weather has been unusual or unpredictable. You might start up a conversation based on an observation on your surroundings. If you’re in a park you might say, ‘I’ve never seen the park this crowded before!’… While you might have some small talk topics in your head, don’t be afraid to express honest and real opinions. People tend to prefer genuine interactions… Be yourself! Being your authentic self will create more authentic conversations. When they feel like they know you better, they will likely feel safer and freer to be themselves, too.

    Ask questions– … Maybe you base your question off a common interest. For instance, if you’re both in the same coffee shop, you might ask them what their favorite drink is to order… Here again, body language is key. Face the person when you speak to them, as much as possible, while still respecting their personal space. Make eye contact. You might add in a nod or a smile here and there as you listen and respond to what they’re saying.

    “Avoid overthinking- … Try not to overthink it. If you find you have thoughts like, ‘I don’t think they like me,’ or ‘I feel like I sound so stupid right now,’ try to let go of the negativity, take a breath, and refocus on what the other person is saying. Be in the moment. View each conversation you have as practice… not every conversation needs to be long or in-depth. Allow the experience to be whatever it is—however big or small—and look forward to your next opportunity to talk to someone”.

    Back to your original post: the atmosphere in the gym you go to, according to your descriptions, is friendly. When the older guy offered you an egg, you said “no thank you”, with a smile. Following that neither one of you said anything to the other. Next time you see him eating an egg in the same circumstance… what will you say or do differently, based on the information I quoted above?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by anita.
    #398771
    anita
    Participant

    How are you, Eric?

    anita

    #398951
    Eric
    Participant

    Thank you anita, for asking on how i’m doing

     

    In the previous post you asked:

    Back to your original post: the atmosphere in the gym you go to, according to your descriptions, is friendly. When the older guy offered you an egg, you said “no thank you”, with a smile. Following that neither one of you said anything to the other. Next time you see him eating an egg in the same circumstance… what will you say or do differently, based on the information I quoted above?

    = I haven’t seen him eating an egg these days, but if he offers me an again… i’d answer him differently. Yes i’d still reject the egg and smile. But i’d continue our conversation by asking him “do you bring this egg from home”? or “do u bring eggs everytime you workout”?

    Yesterday i went to the gym and the situation is still the same… after i finish my exercise with my trainer, he talks with those 2 guys while i’m sitting in the corner of the gym playing with my phone.. They were talking about the recent news in my city and about politics. Tbh i can talk about those topics, but the barrier is still there…I tried to force my mouth to speak, but the feeling of unsafe is too big… like i feel that i’m not me if i just jump into their conversation, i’m not that kind of person. I keep waiting for one of those guys to open a conversation with me… but it never came…. I guess the only way is for me to jump in their conversations….

    I’ve seen most people do that normally, like jump into any conversation, but i still find it hard…. because i never get to know people using this way, while most people get to know strangers by doing this method. Mostly in my life, i get to know new people by planning on how to approach them (so i feel safe), or because we have the same purpose (in uni, in my office).

    Those skills of jumping into conversation… i feel like i need to learn it, cause imo it’s essential in networking with people.

    I won’t give up on this… i’ll try another attempt the next time i go to the gym.

    #398954
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi Eric

    If you say “Hi!” in passing usually when you first see someone that day that is a very suitable interaction. You would not need to continue the conversation afterwards. Perhaps try consistently saying hello since you are having difficulty with conversation?

    I appreciate that you have severe anxiety. Unfortunately, when you avoid a situation due to anxiety it reinforces the fear of the situation. This happens because you feel relieved and safe after avoiding the situation triggering difficult feelings which confirms in your mind that there was indeed something to fear and avoid in that scenario.

    Stage 2 is moving onto saying “Hey how are you doing?”.

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by Helcat.
    #398957
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Eric:

    You are welcome.

    If he offers me an (egg) again… I’d answer him differently. Yes, I’d still reject the egg and smile” – rejecting the egg with a smile is effective communication because (1) you don’t do something that you don’t want to do (eating the egg), and so, you are being fair to yourself, and (2) you do not reject his offer rudely, you reject it in a friendly way. By rejecting his offer in a friendly way, (with a thank-you) and a smile, you are being fair to him.

    “But I’d continue our conversation by asking him ‘do you bring this egg from home?’ or ‘do u bring eggs every time you workout?‘” – regarding the first question, if there is a possibility where you live to buy boiled eggs in a market then it makes sense to ask him if he brings a boiled egg it from home (or buys it in a market). If boiled eggs are not sold and the only way for a person to have a boiled egg is if he/ she boils it at home, then there is no point in asking him if he brought the egg from home.

    Regarding the second question, it’s an okay question. You can also ask him what is it about eating an egg that helps with his workout/ health, and depending on his answer, you can ask him about what he eats and what he avoids eating for the sake of his health.

    If you intend to talk about his food choices, be prepared for him to ask you about your food choices. Prepare in advance what to share with him and what not to share with him, so that you will not get stuck in the moment when he asks you.

    Yesterday I went to the gym… They were talking about the recent news in my city and about politics. Tbh I can talk about those topics, but the barrier is still there…I tried to force my mouth to speak, but the feeling of unsafe is too big…  Those skills of jumping into conversation… I feel like I need to learn it” – jumping into a conversation requires courage, not just skill. Courage is the ability to do something that you are afraid doing. Sometimes the fear is too great, that a person feels unable to do what he/ she is so afraid of doing. It may help you to visualize the situation you described, the trainer talking with the other two guys, and in your imagining, see/ hear yourself jumping into the conversation. It would be a mental, visualization practice for the real-life situation.

    I won’t give up on this… I’ll try another attempt the next time I go to the gym” – please let me know how it works out, will you?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by anita.
    #399562
    Eric
    Participant

    Thank you helcat and anita for the responses,

    So few days ago i went to the gym, the situation is still the same… i felt that i still cant approach them because they didnt show any signs of interest to talk to me anymore…. And i felt that if i initiated any topics with them, i’d feel like im forcing myself…. Moreover my trainer doesnt talk to me casually anymore, like he also seems to lose interest in me… and only talks about our exercise (even when im the one paying him)… but with those 2 guys he still talks casually… I guess i’ll have to accept that i failed my first impression with them. This isnt the first time i failed in this kind of situation.

    Is this something wrong with me? I always end up this way, people getting less interested with me… but i guess this is my nature, sometimes i’m too tired to talk with anyone and i prefer to stay quiet playing with my phone. I also dont have any specialization, so i cant really initiated any of my hobbies other than watching tv shows.

    Is this really how the adult world works? Or it’s just me creating awkward situations.

    Due to this, my past regrets is filling up my head again and i’m trying my best to control it.. because i also have similar situations in the past which ends up this way. I can say 70% of acquaintances i met feel awkward around me….

    #399565
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi Eric

    Thank you for replying!

    They probably stopped because you showed no interest in talking. If you initiate they may resume interest.

    Have you tried the small steps of saying hello to the people you don’t speak to?

    What is your favourite thing to talk about to friends that you are more comfortable with?

    It can be difficult to talk about Tv shows unless you find common interests.

    Shyness can come across as lack of interest or rudeness sometimes. This is why it’s helpful to tell people that you are shy and enjoy talking to them. They will forgive a lot if you give them a good reason for your behaviour.

    #399692
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Eric:

    I wasn’t aware that you posted two days ago, until now. “Is this something wrong with me?” you asked. It is painful for any person to think that there is something wrong, something terribly unacceptable about oneself. I used to feel this way about myself. It was a painful way of existing.

    Can you imagine coming to a realization that you are okay, that you’ve been okay all along?

    anita

    #399699
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Eric:

    I decided to reply further. First, I appreciate that you have been successfully exercising self-control- no longer presenting your mental itches (the regret obsessional theme, in this case) to be scratched by members on your thread. Thank you!

    Second, you asked in your recent post: “Is this really how the adult world works? Or it’s just me creating awkward situations” – you asked this as if you are a child who is asking about the adult world. You are an adult now, a young adult. Adults who feel as awkward as you feel are part of the adult world. In other words, there are many adults like you, adults in their 30s and older who feel like you do.

    Third, in your recent post, you asked: “Is this something wrong with me?” –

    – Here is what The Mayo Clinic says about social anxiety disorder (social phobia): “it’s normal to feel nervous in some social situations. For example, going on a date or giving a presentation may cause that feeling of butterflies in your stomach. But in social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, everyday interactions cause significant anxiety, self-consciousness and embarrassment because you fear being scrutinized or judged negatively by others. In social anxiety disorder, fear and anxiety lead to avoidance that can disrupt your life…

    “Signs and symptoms of social anxiety disorder can include constant: Fear of situations in which you may be judged negatively, Worry about embarrassing or humiliating yourself, Intense fear of interacting or talking with strangers, Fear that others will notice that you look anxious, Fear of physical symptoms that may cause you embarrassment, such as blushing, sweating, trembling or having a shaky voice, Avoidance of doing things or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment, Avoidance of situations where you might be the center of attention, Anxiety in anticipation of a feared activity or event, Intense fear or anxiety during social situations…

    “Common, everyday experiences may be hard to endure when you have social anxiety disorder, including: Interacting with unfamiliar people or strangers, Attending parties or social gatherings, Going to work or school, Starting conversations, Making eye contact, Dating, Entering a room in which people are already seated, Returning items to a store, Eating in front of others, Using a public restroom, Analysis of your performance and identification of flaws in your interactions after a social situation, Expectation of the worst possible consequences from a negative experience during a social situation” –

    –  it seems to me that everything in the quotes above is a perfect fit, or very close to a perfect fit with what you shared at length and repeatedly over the years in your many threads (under different accounts). Do you agree?

    Back to The Mayo Clinic entry: “Complications: Left untreated, social anxiety disorder can control your life. Anxieties can interfere with work, school, relationships or enjoyment of life. This disorder can cause: Low self-esteem, Trouble being assertive, Negative self-talk, Hypersensitivity to criticism, Poor social skills, Isolation and difficult social relationships, Low academic and employment achievement” – still a perfect fit, isn’t it?

    Back to The Mayo Clinic: “Social anxiety disorder can be a chronic mental health condition but learning coping skills in psychotherapy and taking medications can help you gain confidence and improve your ability to interact with others.”

    anita

    #399976
    Eric
    Participant

    Dear Helcat, thank you for your response..

     

    They probably stopped because you showed no interest in talking. If you initiate they may resume interest.

    Have you tried the small steps of saying hello to the people you don’t speak to?

    = Nope i havent tried saying hello to them because i still find it awkward as i feel it isn’t “me”…. i’d like to initiate them with a more less awkward situation…. one of those guys usually watches tv in the gym lobby after a tiring workout and i’m planning to talk about “television stuffs” with him…

    What is your favourite thing to talk about to friends that you are more comfortable with?

    = I usually adapt with their topics, and if i understand the topic…. then i’ve solved the problem,

    Once i’ve solved the problem… cracking a joke is a piece of cake for me.

    But then, both of those guys topics are usually about intellectual stuffs like business and finances…. the only topic that i communicate with is about the country’s recent news…. Does this mean i’ve to improve my knowledge so that i can talk to people easier?

     

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by Eric.
    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by Eric.
    #399982
    Eric
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    Thank you for the response.

    First of all, i wanna share my recent experience on successfully exercising self-control. So few days ago i went to have my immunization along with my mom, sister and one of my mom’s friend. I went for the immunization wearing my thick sandals as usual. Long story short, that person (one of my mom’s friend) ask how tall am i? I’m pretty sure she asked me because she notice my small body and her children are both tall (a boy and a girl)…. Then i said my height… she was kinda surprised on how short i am… and said to me “wow you’re short (but not in a mocking way, like she’s genuinely shocked)”…..

    I replied with a smile,

    Well ofc i feel hurt and angry when she said that, i’d be lying if i don’t because i still dont like my height,…. but surprisingly idk why i’m not too stressed like in the past…..

    But i still hope less people in the future will ask me that kind of question…. because who knows my self-control might crumble….

    At that time i feel to tired to overthink about it, usually i’ll analyze on why she said that, does she think she’s superior because her son is tall, does it mean she looks down on me? Now i look at this situation as something that i can improve on… like i’ll try to “fake” my height more intelligently…..

     

    Idk if this is me subconsciously trying to be more positive or me being tired of always stressing about this issue….

     

    Also i really appreciate on your research regarding social anxiety…. most of the examples mentioned there are basically me…. I still find it hard to communicate because sometimes i feel lazy to talk… maybe this is the result of always staying quiet all the time….

    My method on solving this issue is that i want to learn from my mistake everyday… so i can gain more confidence….. because there is something that i notice as i grow up… it’s that we became wiser as we learn from our mistakes….

    #399986
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Eric:

    You are welcome. I like it that you wanted to share with me about successfully exercising self-control. I like it that you share about any progress that you make!

    Long story short, that person (one of my mom’s friends) ask how tall am I? … and said to me ‘wow you’re short (but not in a mocking way, like she’s genuinely shocked)’” – she didn’t intend to hurt your feelings, but she should have been aware that her question was likely to hurt your feelings. And with that awareness, she should have exercised self-control and not ask you how tall you are.

    I still don’t like my height” -it is unfortunate that short men suffer discrimination in a variety of contexts. I wish it wasn’t so.

    My method on solving this issue is that I want to learn from my mistake everyday… so I can gain more confidence” – I already noticed you making progress, and I am delighted about it. Keep making progress and keep working toward solutions. Remember: all the overthinking in the world never added a single millimeter to your height, nor did it help in any other way.

    anita

    #400006
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi Eric!

    Perhaps it is important to consider why you feel awkward saying “hello”? Not saying hello and other polite things can be interpreted as rudeness. You might have difficulty making friends if you refuse to say hello to people.

    It’s entirely possible that you may feel more comfortable communicating with them if you learn about these topics. Good luck with your chosen method.

    My concern is that you are thinking a lot about speaking to people. Which makes you feel better without actually doing it.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 159 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Please log in OR register.