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  #1  
Old 4th October 2017, 20:25
Nick Nick is offline
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Default Never knowing what to say

Hi all

So I never know what to say in conversation with anyone, whether it's at work or at home with friends or family. It's like the anxious thoughts have gotten so bad that I can't actually begin to think coherently about what I'm going to say. It's all muddled up like a jigsaw puzzle.

Even on the Internet, such as WhatsApp, this is actually one of the worst times, because I feel pressure to write something back after reading the message I can't detract myself from these paranoid, anxious thoughts so sometimes the other person is waiting for ages whilst I'm having a mind battle trying to write a simple sentence. It's like having an internal dialogue, telling you that you should be entertaining and interesting at all times.

Basically conversations never flow, whether it's in real life or via messaging, there's too much analysing going on, it makes for awkward social interactions and thoughts of losing one's mind. Not connecting with people just gets to the point where it's unbearable.

Is there anybody that can relate to this? Would you have any suggestions, even if it's medication that helped you, would be interested to know. Just anything that might help calm things down a little.

Thanks for reading
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  #2  
Old 4th October 2017, 20:44
biscuits biscuits is offline
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Default Re: Never knowing what to say

Story of my life, Nick!
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  #3  
Old 4th October 2017, 21:06
Nick Nick is offline
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Default Re: Never knowing what to say

Haha thanks biscuits
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  #4  
Old 4th October 2017, 21:42
wez wez is offline
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Default Re: Never knowing what to say

You have just summed me up too, unfortunately i cant offer any advice, When i do get stuck having to talk with somebody what usually comes out of my mouth isnt a sentence but rather a mumbled Huh, like a polite laugh or yeah i know or something on those lines. So not much to offer when it comes to having much of a personality, nothing pops in for something to say and its annoying ha.
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  #5  
Old 4th October 2017, 21:57
Aelwyn Aelwyn is offline
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Default Re: Never knowing what to say

Maybe this comes from a combination of anxiety plus the perfectionism that often goes with SA.

I know someone who did amateur dramatics and when it came to improvisation he was told:

1. Never block the other person, always try to give them something to work with. You need to focus more on helping them than on what you say yourself. E.g. if they say I’m a Martian, don’t say no you’re not, or how exciting, say something like how did you get here, what’s it like there.

2. Never try to be clever or original. Once you relax and just go with the flow then maybe something interesting will emerge in a natural way. (Or maybe not, as in most conversations).

I know this advice wasn’t for normal conversation but hope maybe it will help.
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  #6  
Old 5th October 2017, 07:59
LoubyLou LoubyLou is offline
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Default Re: Never knowing what to say

Yes, I'm the same never know what to say, over think it too much and then if I do speak end up speaking a load of jumbled gobbldigook. Sorry I can't offer any advice, it's just one of the many things I'm trying to work through myself. Just know you aren't the only one.
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  #7  
Old 5th October 2017, 08:30
gregarious_introvert gregarious_introvert is offline
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Default Re: Never knowing what to say

I spent most of my life giving brief, one-word answers to questions, I had no idea about the dynamics of conversation; Aelwyn's point about giving the other party something to work with is a good one - if in doubt, ask questions and let the other party talk.

Most conversation is pretty mundane, the world isn't full of witty raconteurs; I overhear so many conversations on the bus or in pubs and cafes which, although I am sure they are interesting to the participants, are not riveting to the third party ear - things like the best bus routes to get from X to Y, opening times of various establishments, what was on television last night, why Aunty Ethel couldn't come to bingo, Tesco's latest special offers (ok, that one might be interesting - I do love a special offer!)... you get the idea.

I know it isn't easy, but try not to overthink what you're going to say, often the first thing which comes into your head is the best response (as long is it's filtered for decency etc.); non-verbal communication is just as important as what you say, so if you look interested and make "listening noises", others are usually happy to do most of the talking. You can chip in with whatever relates to you (for instance, if you were to ask someone what they did at the weekend and they replied that they'd been to Scarborough, your response might be that you'd never been there and then ask what it was like, or that you were there [whenever] and liked/hated it, what did the other person think?) and finish with a question, which pretty soon develops into a natural conversation.

It isn't talking but listening which is the most important skill in conversation; with anxiety, we tend to have our own internal dialogue happening in our head, which makes it difficult to focus on what's being said around us. Try to stay "in the moment" so that you do pick up on the cues and can respond appropriately. There is no substitute for practice, the more time you spend having conversations, the more natural they (should) become.
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  #8  
Old 5th October 2017, 08:57
Nervous Wreck Nervous Wreck is offline
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Default Re: Never knowing what to say

^ very good advice. My trouble is I'm so stressed over what to say next that even when letting the other person talk I'm not fully concentrating on what they are saying. Then I will ask them something that they've just told me. Feeling so totally socially inept really is a pain in the bottom. I'm also great at asking stupid questions. I recently asked a young girl I know how many boyfriends she had! What???? What was I thinking of?! She incredulously replied 'only the one!' And I wished the floor would open up! I can't get past the stress of feeling I'm constantly being analysed for how I look and what I say and that I fail miserably in both departments. When asked to give an opinion on something my opinion is always vastly different to everyone else's and I'm made to feel like I should have kept my mouth shut. Gregarious is right, the more time spent having conversation the more natural it should become but all I've discovered is that it re-affirms my conviction that I shouldn't bother.
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  #9  
Old 5th October 2017, 10:25
gregarious_introvert gregarious_introvert is offline
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Default Re: Never knowing what to say

^I feel for you, Nervous Wreck; what you say about not concentrating is the point I was making about our own internal dialogue; in the past, all I could hear was the conversation in my head (What should I say? When should I speak? Will anybody listen? Do they even know I'm here? What if I sound stupid? etc.) that if anyone ever did ask my opinion, I wouldn't have a clue what they'd been talking about.

We all say silly things from time to time, the trick is to have a comeback line (although that's difficult, because we've now added embarrassment to anxiety), or just say "I'm sorry, that was such a stupid question, I'm test-driving this brain for an idiot" or something similar. There's no problem in having a different opinion to everyone else (unless it's a really extremist view), but remember that in expressing it, you may be asked to justify it - I'm getting a lot of practice in that at the moment, as I live in an area where it feels like I'm the only one who didn't vote for Brexit!

Remember, the one analysing you is most likely to be you! I can't do much about the way I look and if people don't like what I say, that's their problem (only yesterday, I was getting quizzed about why I don't work, until I challenged the other person to come out and say if he had a problem with people being on benefits - he then said that he was just trying to be helpful in getting me back into work and didn't have an issue with my situation at all) because there are others who will.

As I'm writing this, it has occurred to me that for some of us, at least, our anxieties might be exacerbated by spending time with the wrong people; what Nervous said about having a different opinion to everyone else reminded me of how much, back in the "old days" of this forum (by which I mean 2013, not the real old days), black_mamba used to advise people to seek out others of like mind, to mix with people who share our interests. Feeling that you have something in common with your peers will increase social confidence - but the flip-side of that is that we are often so scared that we will be unable to make new friends, we want to stay with those we have, even when they are making us feel inadequate or incompatible. These days, as long as you have access to a town or city with a reasonably-sized population, you are likely to be able to find others of similar interests to yourself and social media will help you to find it.

Still thinking as I write here (no wonder my posts get so long!), but SAUK meets (or SA meetup groups etc.) would be a good way to get conversational practice, because you know that everyone is in a similar situation and whilst it's no less embarrassing if you say something silly, you do know that others will be more relieved that it was you rather than them, than judging you! Most SAUK'ers don't indicate where they're based, but I have noticed a few "Leicestershire"s in the top right hand corner lately, so maybe we need more East Midlands meets (don't forget Nottingham on 22nd October - or Manchester on the same date if you're closer to the North West)? I spend so much time organising meetups in Nottingham, Derby, Mansfield, Chesterfield, Sheffield, Leeds, Doncaster, Loughborough, Stoke, Lincoln etc. that I'm sure I could host at least one SAUK meet a month - if anyone might be interested?
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  #10  
Old 5th October 2017, 10:44
Aelwyn Aelwyn is offline
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Default Re: Never knowing what to say

[QUOTE=gregarious_introvert;2338698]Most SAUK'ers don't indicate where they're based/QUOTE] Yes - I can never understand that - why not give at least some idea where you live - even just the county. It might encourage other people to suggest a meet-up etc.
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  #11  
Old 6th October 2017, 19:26
hollowone hollowone is offline
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Default Re: Never knowing what to say

Hi Nick, I relate to this very much
Quote:
It's like having an internal dialogue, telling you that you should be entertaining and interesting at all times.
It's this, it' that idea that everything you say has got to be witty and entertaining and the pressure to be so.

It looks like there's two things going on here. First the anxiety related to the above making your mind go blank and throwing you. Secondly, it's likely that you're falling into the pattern of giving one-word or limited answers.

I agree with Aelwyn, especially regarding giving people something to work with. If someone shares information with you or tells you about their day, what they do etc. ask them an open question about it. It's highly likely that you might find this difficult in situations where you feel anxious.

If you frequently finding yourself replying to to people's conversations with things such as 'how exciting', 'good' or anything like that, it might be an idea to look at alternative ways you could respond, what could you ask about the other person? Then practice in situations where the anxiety is most mild.
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  #12  
Old 6th October 2017, 20:21
Ajax Amsterdam Ajax Amsterdam is offline
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Default Re: Never knowing what to say

^
Agree regarding open questions. This was one of the first things we were taught in counselling. Asking questions that can be answered with a yes or no do not make for a flowing conversation, but open questions do. It's a small thing, but it can make a world of difference.
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  #13  
Old 11th October 2017, 00:27
alltimegreat alltimegreat is offline
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Default Re: Never knowing what to say

Nick, let‘s talk on the phone. It‘ll be the most awkward conversation you‘ve had.
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  #14  
Old 12th October 2017, 20:06
migster migster is offline
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Default Re: Never knowing what to say

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregarious_Introvert
(...) but SAUK meets (or SA meetup groups etc.) would be a good way to get conversational practice (...) (don't forget Nottingham on 22nd October - or Manchester on the same date if you're closer to the North West)?
Wow! I would very much like to meet on October 22 in Manchester. Who do I contact about this and where can I find information about SAUK-organised meet ups?
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  #15  
Old 13th October 2017, 00:36
kite kite is offline
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Default Re: Never knowing what to say

Story of my life! I actually have so much I could write about this but it will frustrate me just thinking about it. I have messed up in life and with potential friends so much because of this. My mind goes soo blank as soon as I have to talk to a human. It gets so difficult to even come up with a simple sentence. Even if I do have something to say, I stutter, really bad and my voice goes weird and I feel out of breath after 2-3 words.
There is a guy I recently met who is really sweet and he tried talking to me a few times, and I reallyyy wanted to have a good conversation with him but I just can't seem to I can just seem to say yes/no or one or two words. After the basic topics, it seems like there is nothing left to talk about. And I seem to end a topic so quickly with my pathetic extremely short responses. I feel even the most talkative person in the world will feel awkward talking to me.

Nothing has seemed to help me and I don't think anything ever will. I am defeated both ways - if I can somehow think of something to say I will stutter and find it physically so difficult to speak, and if not that, then my mind would be completely blank and I would have nothing to say.
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  #16  
Old 13th October 2017, 05:57
Rebka Rebka is offline
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Default Re: Never knowing what to say

I never know what to say either but I don’t think about it, I just talk about whatever I wanna talk about or whatever pops into my head instead of trying to know what to say, haha! It might seem rambling or inane, and it might not make for deep, meaningful or charming conversation, but talk is talk uhkay!

For me it’s just about talking, it’s about conversation, not about necassarily smart or witty or meaningful conversation or making a point all the time, just talk! Talk talk talk! Not about being interesting or funny or whatever, just talking! Speaking! Saying! Whether it’s me doing the talking, them doing the talking, all of us doing the talking, as long as there’s talking! If a dead end is met, then just talk about something else, anything... rainwater or jelly babies or SOMETHING! There’s always so much to talk about SOOOOO MUUUUCH!

Like, the first thing that comes to your head and go from there! I think a lot of people have lots to say but just hold back because they think it has no place in the current conversation or they think it’s irrelevant or weird or meaningless or something, or worry that they’ll come across as a boring nutter simply for talking about stuff that’s random - not that it’s random really. Or they worry that the other person just won’t be interested in anything they’re saying, like they have to think hard about conversations and be witty and all that instead of just talking freely about whatever. I dunno, ha! And of course being self conscious or socially anxious can come into it sometimes too. But chances are the person you’re talking to would actually totally be into talking about whatever, at least eventually anyway... maybe, haha!

BUT all of that’s easier in person I find, ha! Doesn’t work so well online, especially on omegle. Figures

It’s understandably easier said than done for some people though... um, well maybe not “easier said” what with the whole... not knowing what to say and stuff, so those people won’t be “easily saying” anything I guess and... nvm... ya know what I mean

If I wanna stay on topic or talk meaningfully in regards to what the person I’m talking to is talking about though, I do have to think about what I say, and it’s flipping hard! There seems to be plenty of people that effortlessly make and hold conversations without talking peoples’ ears off and also managing to stay on topic, and they also seem to know what to say straight away without it being unrelated to what’s being talked about!
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  #17  
Old 13th October 2017, 18:38
Boy Boy is offline
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Default Re: Never knowing what to say

^ I agree with you in some way, Rebka-chan.
However, for me it's often the case of not getting upset; when I am trying to speak about something really random, here's what often happens: The person completely quiet after I finish, the person just says: "Yes" or "No" and then quiet, the person just gives a one-second laugh and gone quiet, which shows me, that they are not interested and there's a time to speak about something else.

So I get upset eventually. But if you can speak about whatever you want without another person being involved much, then it's probably cool
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