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Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group
Posted on Monday, December 10 @ 21:21:25 EST by
WrongPlanet Audio
Alex Plank Learns how to join a social circle
In the second installment of Autism Talk TV's social skills series filmed at the UCLA PEERS center, Alex learns how to approach a group, find something common to talk about, and be accepted into a group. Hopefully this will show you guys how social skills are actually very easy once you know the language.

Making friends can seem hard but these tips will help you succeed. There are a lot of variations in body language that you can easily learn in order to join conversations. Dr. Liz Laugeson, the director of PEERS, walks Alex through these various topics in an easy to follow step-by-step tutorial.

Enjoy!




By Alex Plank


               


 
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Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by managertina Thursday, January 03 @ 21:31:48 EST
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I really like how you stated that it is okay and expected to not always be just right away included in the conversation successfully. I also really liked how you discussed ending a conversation. Really wished I had this info last year!



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by ablomov Saturday, December 29 @ 03:05:31 EST
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As if !!!!!! nice idea but in the real world it just will not work. I hope some unwitting naive person is not encouraged to make a fool of themselves in this way .... and imagine you have to spend the rest of the day there and all the days following because its the only job you've got. my advice is be busy, focused on yr work, keep it light and breezy (ie any conversation or mere brief verbal exchange) .... you will find the power of cliques, minute gradations of status, bitching and pecking order, the role people play to be overwhelming, so my suggestion is don't get involved in the first place, deliberately refuse to acknowledge such 'un-spoken systems' and status. I always found the unseen but heavily felt pressure of having to conform to their particular 'cultural' level to be profound and not one that I wished to join, my knowledge and preferred viewpoint on so many subjects and artistic and cultural endeavour in most instances meant i was among philistines, cavemen ... ppl I had no wish to associate with and I may have well spoken Swahili. I used to have a dream when I was a kid that there was no longer any ppl left on the planet and that to me would be an ideal situation.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by Logicalmom Thursday, December 27 @ 10:43:40 EST
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Thank you Alex and Dr. Liz. I am 46 and I wish I had this so many years ago. I need it, too - not just teens. I am diagnosed late. I just learned, through the years, to become more and more isolated. I am both sad and relieved to view this instructional video. Thank you. Thank you for Wrong Planet and all your work.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by evo Monday, December 17 @ 13:53:07 EST
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OK. I have a tendency to go on. There is a lot more to this subject and developing techniques on how to go about doing this. It's a good place to start. Things to remember: 1. Show interest in the person and what THEY know or do. 2. Don't overwhelm them with too much detail until you are sure they are at the same level of interest. 3. Don't monopolize the conversation. 4. Use words to acknowledge that you hear what they are saying, are interested in what they are saying. 5. Don't interrupt. Let them finish a thought. 6. Try not to argue if you disagree with something someone said. You can express that you disagree. Know how to distinguish between thoughts and feelings and the words associated with each. 7. Allow people their opinions even if you don't agree. Try not to tell people they are wrong directly. Acknowledge a person's opinions and likes and realize that you are not likely to change them even by supplying valid contrary information. If they are open to it, you can express your own opinions about it. 8. Learn to use filler words that are conversational. Listen to women/girls of your own approximate age in their conversations at say a coffee shop and listen to how they insert these words into sentences. Learn how they use a rising tone to make things sound like you are not certain at times of something...this elicits the other person to offer more information rather than answer in single words like yes or no. Formulate questions that can't be answered easily by a simple yes or no. Females are more communicative verbally as a general rule. 9. Broaden your interests learn a little about many things that way you can intelligently add something to a conversation about current events. Questions keep another person talking. As long as the other person is talking you know they have interest in you. When you are talking you have to observe the other person and determine their interest level by their nonverbal behavior, whether they acknowledge that they are listening, maintaining eye contact, etc. If eye contact makes you uncomfortable don't look right into their eyes: pick a point on their face a small distance from their eyes to look at most of the time but try to look them in the eyes frequently, smile even if its not normal for you (think of something that makes you smile...for me kittens/lolcats). Enough of me pontificating. My biggest problems are low self esteem and anticipating that people will not like me/judge me before I can even open my mouth aka fear of rejection and lack of strong interpersonal boundaries that let people know right away its not o.k. to call me names and such and to be firm but assertive in a polite way up front. This information comes from studying psychology, small group communication, leadership classes, personal observation and trial and error for over 30 years (am in my 40s). Still working on these skills just like everyone else I think. I'm much better at meeting people if I choose to, assuming I know of mutual interests. My success rate is not as high as I would like it but much better than 5%.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by Prince_of_Dorkness Tuesday, December 18 @ 03:09:37 EST
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Very, very good. I would love to see a series of these videos.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by HermanaQuien Friday, December 14 @ 23:52:44 EST
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I'm glad she addressed how you can tell when people don't want you in their circle, and how you may be perceived as annoying if you stay in those situations. I was oblivious to that until pretty recently. The subtle body language cues? Really good too.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by PseudointellectualHorse Tuesday, December 25 @ 15:13:17 EST
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Alex offers some helpful advice here. The tough part is the hovering on the periphery, waiting for the group conversation to pause so one can get a foot in the door. It the delay gets tedious, it's possible to induce an artificial pause; this can be accomplished by loudly breaking wind, after which there will generally be a moment of silence. This provides an excellent opportunity not only to step into the center of the circle, but also to change the topic to something more of interest to you, such as tertiary recovery methods of petroleum extraction, or how to properly dispose of belly button lint.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by GreenShadow Thursday, December 13 @ 08:14:30 EST
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Everything is sooo simple in the movie... unfortunately not in REAL life. I "joined" many groups, with practically the same end - "go away man, you are much too strange"...



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by mysassyself Saturday, February 23 @ 05:30:16 EST
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Thanks. That was awesome I was like "ARE you serious?!!" for a lot of this. Wow. Only drawback - I can't always imagine putting that much effort into joining a conversation (like, I wouldn't bother ;-) ) But now I feel so much better. I can stop apologising so much when I join conversations, for one thing!



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 2, Interesting)
by 1062651stAvenue Tuesday, December 11 @ 06:21:55 EST
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I found this video really helpful. The best bit was when Dr Liz said that if they don't want to bring you into the circle, it's not a big deal as this happens to everyone. But the body language things were things I never intuited myself, I'm so pleased I know what they are now.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by Mleventhal Tuesday, December 11 @ 09:56:25 EST
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Wonderful in content and execution.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by Evinceo Tuesday, December 11 @ 01:54:43 EST
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Watching this with no sound is highly disturbing. Maybe it's the camera angles?



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 2, Informative)
by moomoosnake Tuesday, December 11 @ 04:26:40 EST
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I really enjoyed this video. Interacting with groups is something that I find really difficult and haven't been able to find much help on. Thank you! One of the things that I find really difficult about groups is determining the protocol for group interaction when you've been invited into a group by a friend. I'd love to see a video in which you talk about dealing with conversations where you're stuck (because of your social relationship(s) to a person/people in the group, or because of the circumstance - e.g. you're in a lift, or on a long car journey) and can't leave but don't have anything to really say on a topic. In these cases, I often find myself making completely inane comments, abruptly changing the topic of the conversation, or telling an anecdote that is only very tangentially related to the topic under discussion. I think one option might be to withdraw from the conversation, but that can often feel awkward for other people in it because they feel they're being exclusive - is there a way in which to do this without upsetting the other people in the group?



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by managertina Thursday, January 03 @ 21:31:42 EST
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I really like how you stated that it is okay and expected to not always be just right away included in the conversation successfully. I also really liked how you discussed ending a conversation. Really wished I had this info last year!



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by CaptainTrips222 Tuesday, December 11 @ 18:07:40 EST
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I really like this edition. It touched on some really good points. This professional seems to be one of the people who GETS it, and knows what they're talking about.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by Samian Tuesday, December 11 @ 19:50:28 EST
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Well done Alex - this could be your best work so far! Keep it up!



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by rosinalove20 Wednesday, March 20 @ 21:27:38 EDT
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Hi Dear, How are you today Um, i am miss ROSINA by name, i wish to have you as my friend so shall we be good friends ? I want us to base on mutual friendship because A 'Hello' today can mean a friendship tomorrow. Friendship is a word, the very sight of which in print makes the heart warm. A stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet; we got to take time to be friendly because it's the road to happiness so reach me at ( rosinaedward11@hotmail.com) i will send you my photo thanks. My best regards, ROSINA



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by SEV3 Saturday, December 15 @ 08:14:20 EST
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Thanks for making this Alex. I work with high school students and plan to show them this video. Please make more like this! I like the topics I see on Empower Autism, but like the style and format of your videos better, perhaps you could use some of Arman's topics to make more videos, especially about dating, independence, work relationships. Also, the kids I work with often have difficulty because they don't want to do something they are being asked to do, think there is only one way or one opinion that is right, do all of the work on group projects because they don't think the other group members are doing their part right, either obsess about or do not care about their grade etc. I would love to see more videos especially regarding the social issues. Thanks.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by Rass Saturday, December 15 @ 08:24:46 EST
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Interesting. Well made. Well-intentioned. You'd almost think it could be done. But NT people are not at all as clear about their intentions as they are made out to be. They do it all so casually. How long do you wait if no-one pays attention? What constitutes a pause in a conversation that was always halting at best? (Me, I leave real pauses.) At what point does a movement become 'turning away'? What is germane to a subject that everybody is just circling around? (I could not really focus on the laptop smalltalk.) Generally, I think I manage o.k. by being very patient and dipping into my set of stock phrases (and then getting out of there as quickly as I can while trying to remain patient at the same time.) I have been studying NT conversation my whole life. I've got the theory. As for the execution, ...



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by Ai_Ling Friday, December 14 @ 17:37:37 EST
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Its interesting how she said that NTs have a social rejection rate of 50%. So I am guessing that aspies have a social rejection rate of 95%? I've been thinking about video lately as I go about my normal life. When I think about wanting to break into a conversation, I hesitate and over-analysis.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by Colega Wednesday, December 12 @ 12:20:55 EST
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This video makes me want to cry. The young man is so terribly uncomfortable doing his best to perform for this video. I showed this video to a friend of mine who understands the internal experiences of an Aspie, particularly as it relates to the coping mechanisms they develop when their uneven development in childhood causes people around them to do all sorts of negative things to them when they're still very little. I'm quoting this friend here: This is the behavioral coaching stuff that seems benign and helpful on the surface. They softened it by using language like "it's helpful to know what works rather than what you should do" But then they go right into what they should do to be accepted. Aspies are desperate to succeed in social situations (because they are social and value social connection) and so they eat this stuff up. Aspies learn to follow procedure as a child when asked to perform at an inappropriate developmental level. Artificial social mechanics (think about getting a robot to be a suitable friend) are so complicated that we can always add more data to crunch: Eye contact, personal space, analyzing the other's response. This video makes me sad and angry. because the internal processes and REASON (feeling valued and connected for who they are) for wanting to succeed in a social situation is neglected and maladaptive mechanisms learned in childhood (following procedure keeps you out of trouble but doesn't make you feel connected) are refined. After watching this with Chris (he had the same reaction to it I did) , we did an experiment together where I played the role of the coach and he the Aspie looking for success in social situations: Jen: So why would you tend to talk about your special interest when entering a conversation rather than the topics that the people are already talking about? Chris: I don't relate to their topics very well. I find them boring and I am competent in my special interests. Jen: Do you feel anxiety about not relating to their topics? Chris: Yes definitely! I think that not relating to their topics would be judged as inappropriate, weird or just not right. Jen: Can you think of times early in your childhood where not relating to someone was judged as inappropriate, weird or just not right? Chris: Yes, for much of my childhood I did not relate to others in my interactions. I was called out a lot on knowing how other people feel or think in response to my words or actions. I was often instructed on how to react to people's feelings and thoughts that I could not relate to at the time. Jen: Do you feel that those childhood experiences inform your decision making in social situations today? Chris: Yes. I think I avoid many conversations or try to steer them into more comfortable territory where I can get recognition for my abilities in my special interests. Jen: I wonder what would happen today if you honestly asked others questions about why they find their topics interesting. What if you were magically (medicated) not anxious and were able to be honest about not relating well to their topic? Do you think the consequences would be as bad as they were in childhood? Do you think that there would be mixed results of some successes and some failures? ... and so on. This conversation demonstrates how addressing the internal processes can open the door to more genuine interactions, connectedness and intimacy.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by Ai_Ling Thursday, December 13 @ 22:31:16 EST
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Wow, I like how they really break the steps down. I notice that NTs often will just do this without thinking about it at all. Yeah I have had a lot of issues in the past with finding that "timing" to get in. I used to complain about it a lot that I couldn't keep up. And that storming off thing is so relevant to me. For me its often fustration, its like "ok you don't want to talk to me so I am walking off". With the last strategy, they discussed "gaze adversion", thats just plain complicated for me. Though it seems like a often socially useful skill in slowly breaking the ice over time.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by Amberly222 Tuesday, December 11 @ 23:03:32 EST
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I have Aspergers and I work in a church. I am 43 so I have been around awhile, and I have a sure-fire tip for those of you who struggle to find a way to keep a conversation going (I have to be very social in my work, so I have learned this the hard way). Whenever there is a lag, and you don't know what to say, always ask the "main" person you are talking with how they feel about the topic (or a carefully chosen new topic that you know they enjoy talking about). In the Macbook example, the guy could ask the girl what she likes about Macs and what she likes about this new one. Keep asking questions until you reach a statement that you agree with or can add something interesting about. And if this person talks long enough, you will find something about them to be interested in (this requires patience). Always defer control of the topic to the other person, and they will eventually find you interesting because you are both interested in one of their favorite topics - THEMSELVES. They may even defer to you and honestly ask how YOU feel about something - but you should always let others go first. Works (almost) every time.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by Rhiannon0828 Sunday, January 13 @ 00:41:54 EST
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This is the first one of these I feel like I've benefitted from! Great job. But I still feel like it's almost insurmountably difficult, or at least so difficult that it would take all the pleasure out of succeeding. I have a hard time convincing myself that it's worth all the effort to talk to people. I have a career that requires networking; I know that I have to learn to talk to people. But I'm not sure I'll ever get all this.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by caramateo Tuesday, January 08 @ 14:58:42 EST
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Ok, talking about the same subject is the logical thing to do in such situation. We aspies already know that. What do we do when there's background noise?, say after a class and you wanna stay chatting with fellow students but you can't concentrate with all that noise. I always had that problem.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by ShadowAspie Monday, January 07 @ 21:39:09 EST
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y is it every time yall say ur talking to real people lik in the flirtn one and this one u hav the same girl? -Shad Aspie



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by infilove Tuesday, March 12 @ 22:59:04 EDT
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I think this is excellent advice on joining a conversation. However, my struggle is trying to keep a conversation going. I struggle with trying to think of aditional things to talk about and keep the engagement going....usually I find myself then getting separated from the group once I said my thing and can't' think of other things to say.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by PlecoBill Wednesday, January 23 @ 06:10:09 EST
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I need some help here....my IE9 is not playing anything. All I get is a blank white space! suggestions?



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by PlecoBill Thursday, January 24 @ 05:56:05 EST
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Awesome video. Thanks for putting this into words. I 've learned to do most of these things through uncomfortable trial and error. But I did not know there was a reason or pattern, so it was hit or miss. Wow, thanks again!



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by circular Tuesday, December 11 @ 15:17:30 EST
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Cool, I'm gonna try that.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by Sheldon Tuesday, December 11 @ 15:25:20 EST
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The more difficult practice I experience is knowing what exactly to say in contributing to an ongoing conversation. Take the Mac discussion example from the video, I am more likely to interject a comment about the tech specs of the MacBook Air in comparison with other Macs or computers in general. Or ask a series of questions about their use of the MacBook Air. How does one gauge that their contribution is apropos for the participants in the conversation? The reason anyone wants to join a conversation is because the current topic is of interest. If they were, say for example, talking about a topic of which I had no interest, then I am not likely in wanting to participate. Unless there is some ulterior motive in wanting to join in a conversation with an uninteresting topic.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by mabambosmith Monday, February 18 @ 10:03:00 EST
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I tried this and people all looked at me and accused me of being a "stalker." Neurotypicals are weird...



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by namaste Thursday, April 11 @ 05:53:54 EDT
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Good effort to help the Aspie's thank you for the initiative to start this website and this video. But its like i never learned to swim and i am told to do a deep dive. I will always prefer talking with a single person since from childhood i never had access to social circles. Small, baby steps makes things easier...and in groups i would never barge in.. If i am already sitting there i would listen carefully and then do include my opinion. But yes huge chances many people in the group would avoid me next time and many wouldnt like me.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by mikie Tuesday, May 07 @ 18:49:25 EDT
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i find the info & tips in this video could be very useful.I'll keep them in mind in future.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by Francis91 Tuesday, May 14 @ 11:09:23 EDT
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I think this video is a good summary of group conversation. Howerver as it was previously stated group conversation are more complex than this. Indeed, once you have entered the conversation you also have to stay in it (wich is sometimes more complicated considering our more often than not narrow interests). Also, you have to think about what kind of circle you are trying to be part of (not all circles are made of open minded people and some of your social inaptitudes might surface with very bad consequences for you, universities/college contain less of theese cicles but in high school those can be thick so think twice before using the method in this video if you are still in high school)...



A really good book about making conversation. (Score: 1)
by GrantRobertson Saturday, November 02 @ 11:37:42 EDT
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In all my decades of trying to learn this stuff, one book I found very helpful was How To Start A Conversation And Make Friends by Don Gabor. Now, the second half of that title is total BS. There is literally only one sentence on the "making friends" part. However, the conversation advice is invaluable. He takes you step by step (something people with Asperger's often need) through what kinds of questions to ask, what things to take note of, and how to use their answers to generate more questions to ask. It doesn't take you all the way through everything you need to get a date or make friends. But it is a really, really good first step.



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by Katniss Saturday, December 21 @ 16:41:53 EST
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Axex, thank you! This is such a great movie! I have a lot of trouble being acknowledged. I don't get any reply to my comments, and I feel really stupid afterward. It's like I never even said anything! Maybe my comment is off-topic? I was going to write so much more, but then I realized I was off-topic. Again. (I'm not even kidding).



Re: Autism Talk TV 23 - How to Join a Social Circle & Make Friends in a Group (Score: 1)
by binaryodes Tuesday, December 24 @ 20:23:03 EST
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Is it just me or is the PEERS lady ridiculously patronising. Im rating the vid 4 stars as I actually found it really informative but I thought that Alex was meant to be interviewing Ms. PEERS she sounds as if she's talking down to a child imo.


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