There are many branches to the tree of social situations to me. Some of these situations can become difficult for me to interpret in a similar way to others. I am going to take some time to talk about this… As it’s something that’s often on my mind.
One thing I’m not going to do is apologize for maybe not being the stereotypical extrovert in situations or not understanding what social “norms” are.
It’s funny that. When I say “norms”, this word could mean anything. Any person has their own set of norms. I might see having ice hockey as one of my favourite sports as one of my norms. Someone else might be in a position to say “I’m not really on board with ice hockey.” This is absolutely fine of course it is.
However, to me some social situations I have to somewhat put a mask on and pretend to be a different person. This is one of the number 1 things I hate doing is myself or anyone else pretending to be a person that isn’t true to what they believe in.
Since the latter part of 2018, I’ve been to a club a couple of times. People will joke and make a big deal that I’ve been to a club because they know I’m not especially known for being accustomed to that sort of environment. But that doesn’t mean that I’ll never go and experience it to “test the waters”. It just means that I have to go out of my comfort zone in a situation which I wouldn’t feel the same amount of positive energy back that say your stereotypical extrovert would.
Some may say it’s all about confidence. Well, I think this may partly be the case. However, to me it’s so much more than that. I have Dyspraxia and ASD which means I find it difficult to interact with people and understand people’s actions and words. To me, I have to really analyse what is going on. I have to analyse what sort of feeling is going on inside of me and whether I feel like I’m comfortable enough to within certain environments. It becomes easier when I have a trustworthy person by my side. If this wasn’t the case, referring to the analogy of being in a nightclub setting… I wouldn’t know where to start.
My understanding of this sort of situation I’m sure would differ from many people. The way I like to fit into an environment like this is to just be myself. By being mature and responsible for my actions, I’m able to still have fun, but also feel good the next day for example and be in my happy place. I’d rather be like this than to wake up the next morning with a hangover and then being a complete mess.
I have enough overthinking patterns in my mind each day being the analytical and curious person that I am without having the extras on top.
So there also comes a point where I think about what is socially acceptable. Again this is another thing where I’d be inclined to say “acceptable” rather than acceptable. This is because I think there are 2 different kinds of acceptable (my kind and your kind). My kind of acceptable is having to constantly communicate with those around you if you want to know the answer to a question. Rather than always going on Google to find your “average” answer, I would rather ask somebody a question if it’s something I think people will have knowledge about.
Someone else’s kind of acceptable might be using their phone to find answers they want to questions rather than interacting with someone in the moment. This could be applied to different situations. I’ll go back to the nightclub analogy again.
So picture yourself in a nightclub. People dancing and you are with your friend. Your friend is on the dance floor and sees a couple of people who perhaps make the non verbal communication to signal they are open to dancing with your friend. The next thing, your friend is dancing with one of 2 people and the other person seems lonely.
Now, if this was me, I wouldn’t know what to do. For me, reading non verbal communication is quite challenging and therefore picking up on social queues is somewhat mind boggling. So I’d just be dancing alone and still enjoying myself because I know I’m happy. And I feel that in an environment like this, my happiness is of mass importance because it’s not an environment I find that perfectly fits my happy criteria.
So said person might still be with their friend and my friend and thinking “I feel let down and embarrassed”. Perhaps they could feel like me? It definitely poses the question I think. Because then again, the nightclub scene maybe not be something they find incredibly stimulating. But whereas my friend may have the confidence to approach a person who seems open to the interaction, I don’t have the confidence. But this isn’t just the issue of confidence for me though. This is my differing perception of what is to me… Socially acceptable.
In order for me to feel like I’m being socially acceptable, before interacting with someone I don’t know a lot about, I would ask them questions to get to know more about them first rather than interacting in an environment where the emphasis isn’t on talking.
The thing is, this is still coming from a person like me who admittedly, would still not always be confident to even say “break the ice”. To begin the process of interacting with a person… Whether it’s someone I know off the back of my hand or whether it’s someone who’s not been a part of my life for very long. This again all boils down to the fact that I have a different perception of social situations. Sometimes I may turn to technology to give me the distraction where I won’t be put under pressure to speak to someone. That isn’t saying I would get so engrossed in scrolling through Instagram, Facebook or Twitter 24/7 but more like, I could put my phone away in an instant and not look at it at all when I’m confident enough to interact in some way.
I’m not going to exactly change my perception of how I see situations because this is what I believe in. But what I also won’t do is allow my difficulties to get the better of me and prevent me from creating new and meaningful connections. The criteria just have to be right for me. Essentially, the environment has to tick boxes for me, rather than me ticking boxes to please “societal norms”.