Aspies and Social Awkwardness v. Social Anxiety



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Do you experience social awkwardness or social anxiety?
I experience social awkwardness. 21%  21%  [ 14 ]
I experience social anxiety. 3%  3%  [ 2 ]
I experience both. 76%  76%  [ 50 ]
Total votes : 66

StonedMoonie
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24 Nov 2011, 5:49 pm

I think I have picked up two strains of social difficulties (not mutually exclusive) reading this board:

1) Social Awkwardness: Most Aspies talk and think differently, are interested in different things in a more involved way than even many professionals in the field, we often have odd speech and composition patterns; we're less inclined toward the chit-chat and preening than the NTs. This causes problems and distress primarily when dealing with people who don't understand or are annoyed by it, but is not directly a problem for Aspies. It's just like having a weird hobby or something.

2) Social Anxiety: These guys become extremely embarrassed or nervous in certain social situations, especially when making a mistake or some confusion in communication occurs. May be associated with panic attacks, etc.

I am wondering how many Aspies have one or both of these?

Personally, I definitely fall under #1. I basically have given up on conversing with anyone but nerds, it just goes nowhere.

But I don't really notice #2. I do not get nervous around large groups of people or strangers; I find most people boring or annoying but the idea of social interacting itself doesn't bother me. I can be strident, even with strangers, and have no problem arguing with people in public or speaking in front of a crowd.

Because of the stark difference between myself and others in #2 it makes me wonder if social anxiety is at all directly related to Aspergers. I mean, it does seem like having a lowered empathic response and some degree of indifference towards people would make you MORE able to deal with social stresses, if less successful at navigating social situations, because you just don't care.

I suppose social anxiety could be a learned response, due to past difficulties in social situations.



SammichEater
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24 Nov 2011, 8:48 pm

Mostly 1, but 2 exists because I'm aware of 1. Although my social awkwardness can be severe depending on the situation, my social anxiety isn't. It's mostly just a sense of discomfort, which expresses itself in the form of shyness. I don't have panic attacks or anything like that.


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lastnightilie
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25 Nov 2011, 11:45 am

I used to think I had social anxiety, and an old therapist I had even agreed. But now I realize that a) I have severe anxiety in many situations that are not social, and social situations are not particularly worse, so I think I have more of a generalized anxiety disorder; and b) in fact, I feel little to no anxiety in most social situations, even when I know I will perform badly or if I am already making mistakes. It doesn't bother me. I sort of put in effort to social situations sometimes, because I feel like I want a connection, but if it doesn't work out, I don't really care. I LOVE being alone and it took me a long time to realize that, instead of being some kind of fear/self-defense mechanism, I actually genuinely enjoy being alone and I don't see social situations the way other people do.

This is why I think I may have Asperger's and I'm pretty sure I don't have social anxiety disorder.

However, I would like to mention that people with Asperger's may very well feel anxious in social situations. Some don't desire social relationships, but many do, some more than others. And when you feel completely at sea when trying to make friends, yet you really want to learn how, that can lead to great feelings of anxiety. So, I think professionals would diagnose Asperger's more by the nature of the social difficulty, and not whether or not the person feels anxiety.



azureyoshi
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25 Nov 2011, 1:57 pm

It's both, but definitely more awkwardness than anxiety. I only get social anxiety when I am thrust into a bad social situation on the fly. But I'm almost always socially awkward no matter what.



YellowBanana
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25 Nov 2011, 5:53 pm

Both. The social anxiety causes more problems for me on a daily basis than the awkwardness.

Although the anxiety itself has arisen from past bad experiences as result of the awkwardness that cause me to overanalyse everything I say and do when I'm involved in a social interaction and for some considerable time afterwards.

If I could overcome the anxiety, I'd be a much happier socially awkward person :)


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Ai_Ling
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25 Nov 2011, 6:36 pm

My doc told me I dont have social anxiety even tho Im scard to death about what people think of me. I just face social awkwardness and thats about it and unfortunately I get adversely judged because of it in the dumbest ways.



Circle989898
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25 Nov 2011, 6:47 pm

i'd say more so of 1



Raza
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30 Nov 2011, 9:10 am

Just 1. I have plenty of social confidence, no problem with being in the spotlight or even on stage, so long as I don't have to make conversation-for-conversation's-sake.

When that happens, I've got nothing. The part of me that's supposed to gouge interest and motivate me to share what's on my mind is just absent. At best, I can soberly engage a subject brought up by someone else, reacting without taking initiatives.

S'a bit of a pain, because I really do have things I would like to say sometimes. Still, keeping my mouth shut and looking pretty gets me by well enough.



Djimbe
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30 Nov 2011, 1:39 pm

Raza wrote:
Still, keeping my mouth shut and looking pretty gets me by well enough.


Yeah but what do you do when youre a 6'6", 400 lb black guy?


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Dantac
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30 Nov 2011, 7:52 pm

#2 comes from a lifetime of issues caused by #1

Djimbe wrote:
Yeah but what do you do when youre a 6'6", 400 lb black guy?


... scowl and stare at them until THEY become quiet? :twisted:



Tiggurix
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30 Nov 2011, 7:53 pm

I can be extremely awkward, though I do not have the slightest hint of social anxiety. This has sometimes been a benefit to me, as I am not afraid of taking chances in a social context, and sometimes it works out for the better.



Djimbe
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01 Dec 2011, 12:22 am

Dantac wrote:
... scowl and stare at them until THEY become quiet? :twisted:


Unfortunately people watch too many Rocky/Bruce Lee movies and play too many Video Games

They all think they can climb the Man-Mountain - like Im going to move like the Mummy and stand still while they "run circles around" me. You almost always have to slap someone unconscious or just let it go.

And the problem with that is that its usually the same p**** that started the s**t talking that will call the cops on you first punch in the chops you give them, after he THOUGHT he was Chuck Norris like 5 sec ago.


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Raza
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01 Dec 2011, 8:07 am

Djimbe wrote:
Raza wrote:
Still, keeping my mouth shut and looking pretty gets me by well enough.


Yeah but what do you do when youre a 6'6", 400 lb black guy?


Keep your mouth shut and look imposing, instead. =P

Only half joking. An intimidating appearance is a fine line to walk - you want to tap into that 'be friends with the badass' instinct people have without personally making them feel threatened, which would invoke the ego-clash responses you mention - but it can have similar benefits to more ordinary good looks. Everybody likes a big gun that isn't pointed at them.

Certainly it gives you more to work with than mr-perfectly-average.



Circle989898
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01 Dec 2011, 8:33 am

Djimbe wrote:
Raza wrote:
Still, keeping my mouth shut and looking pretty gets me by well enough.


Yeah but what do you do when youre a 6'6", 400 lb black guy?


I knew a guy like that, he was very social.



1000Knives
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01 Dec 2011, 9:59 am

Djimbe wrote:
Raza wrote:
Still, keeping my mouth shut and looking pretty gets me by well enough.


Yeah but what do you do when youre a 6'6", 400 lb black guy?


You know, I was gonna post a Fist of the North Star clip, but then you brought up the good points of getting arrested. Ah, great fun that is.

Anyway, for me, it's more awkwardness. For me, I ended up getting incarcerated, so when I got out because I survived pretty unscathed all things considered, I basically was for a while, completely unafraid of anyone on the outside. Thus no anxiety anymore. However, I was still entirely as awkward. But, assertiveness learnt there solved lots of my problems, imo. Learning to say no really is quite helpful for anyone.

The main thing that kills me is really, interacting with people my age. I can talk to adults all day. From when I was a little kid, 99% of adults tolerated me or most of the time it seems, even thought I was cool or smart or whatever. I was extremely outgoing as a kid, my mom really didn't like me talking to strangers, but I always loved talking to strangers as I could learn all kinds of cool stuff from them. I don't know, I can't recall ever some random stranger ever really doing anything bad to me ever. It's pretty much always people I know that do something bad to me. Strangers are better friends than friends, haha. But, with adults, I more or less feel completely at home, but with people my age, I don't feel like I "fit in" at all, and I feel like they're usually...barbarians. Even in high school, when I was a freshman and sophomore, most of my friends were usually juniors. It was quite odd, as I'd hear most freshman complaining the seniors and juniors don't like them, and meanwhile it was the opposite situation for me, the juniors and seniors gave me pretty much the least trouble of any people in high school, and it was the freshman and sophomores who gave me the most.

So to put it shortly, my main social problem in social awkwardness AND anxiety is interacting with people my own age. I can talk to adults all day and be completely comfortable with it, but in groups of people my own age, I get anxious and I'm awkward, and with young adults like myself is the only time when I feel "Wrong Planet" about my existence. Weirdly too, compared to lots of "NTs" I know, my social anxiety with crowds, random people, etc, is pretty low, or even in some ways spectacularly good and people confuse my outgoingness with having social skills, haha.

Oh well.

PS StonedMoonie, please come back, too.



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