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  #1  
Old 13th July 2019, 20:10
Genetically_Inferior Genetically_Inferior is offline
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Default Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

I posted this on another forum but would like to hear your thoughts.

So, basically, I had this thought. I suffer from SA but when I have to interact with my family members I can do it at ease, no problem at all. I can even make jokes sometimes and impersonate some artists etc. It indicates that I have so called "social skills" but it all disappears when I'm in public, around strangers or in groups.

So, what is the point of this statement? I believe that such a thing as "learning social skills" does not exist. We all have it naturally but SA blocks it. I'm having a go basically at those people who say that if you learn social skills you won't be anxious. For me it's nonsense. Most of the time it's even whether you want to interact at all in first place. Is the topic interesting or not to you etc.

How is it that I can interact freely with my family members but I can't do the same with strangers/other people? It's not lack of social skills it's just anxiety.

Do you get what I mean?
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  #2  
Old 13th July 2019, 20:18
anewyear anewyear is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

I'm 100% with you on that. Similarly, being more relaxed with alcohol etc can also lift the block.

I do think though that if you end up in a situation where your lack of confidence / pervading SA has made you retreat further into yourself then you can end up with rusty skills that need more coaxing to bring to life.

But I tell you what.. I've always noticed that the vast majority of people on this forum seem to come across as being relaxed and at ease. Now, whether that is because there is a familiarity between us as a group, whether it is because people are writing and not having to consider body language, or whether it is something totally different, I'm not sure.

I've always wondered what percentage of members here regularly contribute to the forums and how many sit back as passive observers. Those who sit back.. is it a confidence thing, an "I signed up and never came back" thing, or something else..
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  #3  
Old 13th July 2019, 21:05
firemonkey firemonkey is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

As someone who's been described as having 'very poor social skills' I'd have to disagree that it comes naturally to everyone .
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  #4  
Old 13th July 2019, 22:50
Mr. Nobody Mr. Nobody is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

That's an important observation G.I. (that in certain situations, or with certain people, you don't appear to 'have' SA)
but don't you feel compelled to find out what's behind this, as SA is (possibly ) affecting /ruining your life?

I found this odd fact a long time ago, but I also found it compelling, and I had to work it out, as it could be a lead to a possible cure?

What I found is that for me, SA didn't exist as much amongst people I wasn't trying to, or felt the need to impress,
If I didn't have any concern or worry over how I came across, or,
If I didn't feel I was being judged and was accepted, then I wasn't SA.

surely an insight such as that is a valuable tool for dismantling the machinery of SA?

why not work out for yourself why you don't have SA in certain situations and then go from there, with that insight?
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  #5  
Old 14th July 2019, 01:39
Purplesnarf Purplesnarf is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

I get what you mean.
More often than not my fight or flight instinct kicks in and I don't seem to be able to control it.
It doesn't make sense what I'm perceiving the danger to be about being myself in front of certain people.
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  #6  
Old 14th July 2019, 06:39
Laurel Laurel is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

Anxiety does rob your 'higher' brain
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  #7  
Old 14th July 2019, 20:52
CoastalJam CoastalJam is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

I totally agree that you can have social skills, but SA gets in the way. I think I have social skills, some rustier than others, but if I go into a situation where SA kicks in, then all bets are off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anewyear

I've always wondered what percentage of members here regularly contribute to the forums and how many sit back as passive observers. Those who sit back.. is it a confidence thing, an "I signed up and never came back" thing, or something else..

anewyear- Iíve only recently joined the forum, and have managed to do a few posts, but I find that itís more often than not that I want to reply on a thread, but think no ones going to be interested or whatever, because this is how I respond in face to face social situations. I then end up not saying anything/joining in etc.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  #8  
Old 14th July 2019, 21:11
anewyear anewyear is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

^ I can understand that. Having said that, I think with a forum it's a bit different. If I felt "aired" at work then I'd find that awkward, but on a forum, less so. I put up something yesterday about "Hermit Life", I'd just read an article on the BBC. I don't think anyone has responded, but that's fine. It only took a few seconds to post and was just posted on the off chance someone might find it interesting. I don't even remember the detail of it to be honest lol

Generally speaking posts that express an opinion and therefore invite discussion usually get a response. Your own post above just did
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  #9  
Old 17th July 2019, 09:24
Tonkin Tonkin is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Genetically_Inferior
I believe that such a thing as "learning social skills" does not exist. We all have it naturally but SA blocks it.
I think you meant "I have it naturally but SA blocks it."

Lots of people don't have social skills.

And there are levels to this sh1t.

Being able to chat with close friends and family is level 1 basic social skills.

Sounds like you need to improve your social skills so you can socialize with people outside of your comfort zone.

SA will make this difficult, but it sounds like you do need to learn some more social skills theory and practice, as I do too.
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  #10  
Old 18th July 2019, 03:25
Reformation Reformation is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

I completely agree and for years have thought that's it's a very obvious concept.

Social skills and SA are not mutually exclusive. But it's difficult to realise sometimes. When suffering with SA we both observe in ourselves, and others observe in us, poor social skills. However, displaying poor social skills is a symptom of SA. SA isn't necessarily a symptom of poor skills.

So we tell ourselves we have poor skills and also society mistakes people suffering with SA as having poor skills.

But when you observe yourself being socially "normal" in situations where you aren't suffering SA symptoms you realise you do have skills.

SA clouds the mind and puts our bodies under immense stress. We become self conscious and we want to hide our physical symptoms. Because of the distractions we also can't necessarily think clearly and think as we would under normal conditions. The result is displaying, to people who don't know better, poor social skills.

SA affects me articulating, speaking fluently and expressing myself the way I do when I'm in a comfortable setting. People may think I'm very inarticulate at times. That may still be the case overall but I'm exponentially more articulate when I'm not suffering with SA. And that's how I'd like to measure myself, as this SA thing certainly isn't "me". It's a disease that's attacking me.
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  #11  
Old 18th July 2019, 09:04
Tonkin Tonkin is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

Very well put Reformation.

Yes, with my partner who I feel ery comfortable with I can talk all day and even sound reasonably knowledgable and intellegent.

Put me in a room with some other people I don't know that well, and I ball up.

I'd can't help but feel though, if I had next level social skills, I'd be less flustered when SA kicks in.

I'd say when I'm comfortable and not feeling anxious, I'm maybe 6 out of 10 social skills.

But then when I get into an uncomfortable social situaiton, I drop to maybe 2 out of 10.

So perhaps, if I got my social skills up to 10 out of 10, they might only drop to 5 out of 10, when I'm anxious, allowing me to function much better than I do now.

Just a thought...

But then, a lot of it comes down to who I'm talking to.

Some people give me nothing when I try an chat to them, while others are much better at chatting, and that makes the whole thing eaiser.
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  #12  
Old 18th July 2019, 09:55
Marco Marco is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

This is so true, Reformation, and it's a reason why I find SA so frustrating because it shackles my social skills in socially challenging situations and I can't be my true self. I also suffer performance anxiety and find nearly all my skills and even intelligence drop significantly if I think I'm being scrutinised. I think the problem with SA and social skills is that while they are not mutually exclusive, the former can stunt the development of the latter. That's not to say that those of us with SA can't develop our social skills, because we do with those we're comfortable around, but if you do suffer social isolation because of anxiety, social skills will almost certainly atrophy. What I'm trying to say is that those of us with SA are not necessarily inherently inferior at picking up social skills, but I think we are susceptible to poor development of these skills.
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  #13  
Old 19th July 2019, 19:39
Genetically_Inferior Genetically_Inferior is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Nobody
That's an important observation G.I. but don't you feel compelled to find out what's behind this, as SA is (possibly ) affecting /ruining your life?

I found this odd fact a long time ago, but I also found it compelling, and I had to work it out, as it could be a lead to a possible cure?

What I found is that for me, SA didn't exist as much amongst people I wasn't trying to, or felt the need to impress,
If I didn't have any concern or worry over how I came across, or,
If I didn't feel I was being judged and was accepted, then I wasn't SA.

surely an insight such as that is a valuable tool for dismantling the machinery of SA?

why not work out for yourself why you don't have SA in certain situations and then go from there, with that insight?
My SA is a combination of genetics, social setting and early childhood events. My mom is always stressed out and has been suffering from insomnia for more than 30 years. It clearly has had an effect on me. I could elaborate but I'm not in a mood.

To put it simply, I don't have SA when I don't feel inferior to others. When I do feel inferior to others, I suffer from SA.
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  #14  
Old 19th July 2019, 19:54
Genetically_Inferior Genetically_Inferior is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonkin
I think you meant "I have it naturally but SA blocks it."

Lots of people don't have social skills.

And there are levels to this sh1t.

Being able to chat with close friends and family is level 1 basic social skills.

Sounds like you need to improve your social skills so you can socialize with people outside of your comfort zone.

SA will make this difficult, but it sounds like you do need to learn some more social skills theory and practice, as I do too.
Nonsense. I studied abroad 3 times (I'm not British btw) and interacted with many people of different nationalities. There were 2 Portuguese guys with whom I could talk to easily. Why? Because I didn't feel inferior to them. A feeling of inferiority is a part of SA.

At the same time, there was an American girl. It was a torture for me to talk to her because she was the most extroverted person I've ever met and I felt inferior to her.

So using your nonsensical logic, my social skills with the Portuguese guys were 7-8 out of 10. My social skills with the American girl were 2-3 out of 10.

Nonsense.

Communication comes naturally to everyone (it's human nature) but stuff like SA blocks it. Unless you have some serious trauma or speech disability.
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  #15  
Old 20th July 2019, 10:09
Tonkin Tonkin is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

Are you seriously suggesting that everyone just naturally picks up good social skills?

And those who can't use these skills they naturally picked up are suffering from SA or some other mental condition?

What about the loud obnoxious people you hear on the train?

Or the boring people at work who drone on and on....

Or the people who constantly put their foot in their mouth when talking about certain topics to certain people?

Or the indiscrete people who can't keep a secret?

Or the aggressive people who rant and rage instead of calmly state their case?

Or the people who overshare when it's inappropriate?

Quote:
So using your nonsensical logic, my social skills with the Portuguese guys were 7-8 out of 10. My social skills with the American girl were 2-3 out of 10.

Nonsense.

Communication comes naturally to everyone (it's human nature) but stuff like SA blocks it. Unless you have some serious trauma or speech disability.
I can see why you struggled!

You just illustrated my point beautifully.

Social skills are definitely something we can all work on!
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  #16  
Old 20th July 2019, 11:34
Lone Dog Lone Dog is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

We can learn social skills from observing others, if we are of a mind to do that. But sometimes I find I know what to do or say, but am too anxious to carry it out in practice.
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  #17  
Old 20th July 2019, 12:54
Tonkin Tonkin is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

I think you can learn from observation, but sometimes it helps to know the underlying method.

Like you can watch someone play tennis and get some basic tips, but if you have a coach sit you down and tell you exactly what they are doing and why, then you would probably learn more. I know I do when I'm doing sports and other activities.

I think there is stigma around learning social skills as its something we are supposed to be naturally good at or naturally pick it up as we go (see how the previous poster got so angry and triggered when I suggested that it is something some people might need to learn).

Bit like dating, not being nervous, being productive, being good with money etc.
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  #18  
Old 20th July 2019, 19:03
Genetically_Inferior Genetically_Inferior is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonkin
Are you seriously suggesting that everyone just naturally picks up good social skills?

And those who can't use these skills they naturally picked up are suffering from SA or some other mental condition?

What about the loud obnoxious people you hear on the train?

Or the boring people at work who drone on and on....

Or the people who constantly put their foot in their mouth when talking about certain topics to certain people?

Or the indiscrete people who can't keep a secret?

Or the aggressive people who rant and rage instead of calmly state their case?

Or the people who overshare when it's inappropriate?



I can see why you struggled!

You just illustrated my point beautifully.

Social skills are definitely something we can all work on!
You clearly don't get what I mean. If I'm good at playing tennis in front of my parents, it means I'll be good at playing tennis in front of 50k crowd as well. But if I have social anxiety (or performance anxiety), it means playing in front of 50k crowd will make me anxious and my performance will deteriorate. So, what does that mean? It means I have the skill but mentally I'm blocked and can't perform at my best. If I didn't have the skill, I wouldn't even perform well in front of my parents. Do you get that?

If I didn't have "social skills", I wouldn't even be able to talk to my parents freely. I can talk to them freely, it means I have "social skills". Talking to strangers with SA is like performing in front of the 50k crowd in tennis with SA (performance anxiety). Your performance deteriorates. But it's NOT because you don't have the skill, it's because of the MENTAL BLOCK that prevents it.

Communication comes naturally to everyone because interaction is always spontaneous. Why is it spontaneous? Because you can't predict what the other person is going to say.

Why is this social skills theory bullshit? Because social interactions are spontaneous. You can't improve your spontaneity. It comes naturally and automatically. SA blocks it. SA blocks the ability to tell everything what you think. These so called "social skills" are basically telling everything what you think. With SA we can't do that because we're afraid of judgement.

Waiting for your argumentative response.
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  #19  
Old 21st July 2019, 09:56
Tonkin Tonkin is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

If you don't think that social skills can't be improved, learned, or developed, and are just aquired naturally then I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

Have a good weekend!
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  #20  
Old 21st July 2019, 17:45
Jimmy77 Jimmy77 is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

The older I get the more convinced I am that confidence is the only thing that matters. That is the key to everything. And I suspect it mostly comes down to genetics. Some people are naturally confident, assertive, high energy extroverts and some aren't. And no self-help book is ever going to change that.
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Old 25th July 2019, 23:40
Reformation Reformation is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

SA affects me in the exact way you describe Genetically_Inferior.

I obviously have a level of natural social "skill" (what level exactly and how this is judged subjectively isn't relevant I don't think) because in my life I have been able to freely interact with my friends and family.

Your sporting analogy is also true to me in real life. I'm able to play to a high skill level at a few sports. This is observed with friends, alone and at coaching lessons. Even in minor competitive events. But performance anxiety at most competitive levels reduces my skill and abilities drastically. To such an exact that my coach, me and my peers haven't recognised myself playing the game. I consistently fell apart. It's isn't a case that I'm playing at the same level but I'm discovering my level is not good enough when facing new players. I'm playing differently and I can't perform the same because of the anxiety.

This happens to me in social situations too. I'm not the same person, anxiety strips me of my abilities. I'm not performing the same as I do without any SA symptoms present.

So to me, even though it's nice to try and improve skills and it's important to continue, it's no good when anxiety does not enable you to use the skills when you need and want to.
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  #22  
Old 26th July 2019, 00:15
firemonkey firemonkey is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

I think we need to separate those with just SA who have underlying adequate social skills ,but anxiety gets in the way of using them to their best ability, from those of us who also have Asperger's/autism and for whom social skills difficulties are more pronounced.
Social skills come more naturally to some than others.
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  #23  
Old 26th July 2019, 09:45
Tonkin Tonkin is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy77
Some people are naturally confident, assertive, high energy extroverts and some aren't. And no self-help book is ever going to change that.
You can develop confidence though.

The more you practice at something, and the better you get at it, the more confident you become in it.

This confidence at a particular thing, rubs off on other parts of your life.

I think we naturally develop a certain amount of confidence as we are developing as a young child, but we can improve it.

But I agree you probably can't get more confident from reading a book about getting more confident, but if you go out and do things to imrpvoe yourself, that will make you more confident.

It has for me anyways.
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Old 11th September 2019, 00:52
Mountainstream Mountainstream is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

People with SA tend to fear judgment. A no brainer. I am not more relaxed with 'parents' but I am with one person I trust. Anxiety robs the higher brain.
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Old 12th September 2019, 23:28
Sunrise Sunrise is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Genetically_Inferior
You clearly don't get what I mean. If I'm good at playing tennis in front of my parents, it means I'll be good at playing tennis in front of 50k crowd as well. But if I have social anxiety (or performance anxiety), it means playing in front of 50k crowd will make me anxious and my performance will deteriorate. So, what does that mean? It means I have the skill but mentally I'm blocked and can't perform at my best. If I didn't have the skill, I wouldn't even perform well in front of my parents. Do you get that?
The tennis player analogy doesn't make any sense. If somebody is a good tennis player it's because they've put in an incredible amount of hard work and practice. They didn't come out of the womb holding a racket and wearing one of those silly headbands. They would have had to have learnt it from scratch. No matter how good they are presently there would have been a time when they were anything but. Even those Willams sisters would have been terrible when they first started playing. Years of dedication and hard work, combined with numerous other factors are the reason they're good at tennis. Performance anxiety is a seperate issue, the point is playing tennis didn't come naturally, they still had to learn it regardless of any anxiety.

And the same thing applies to social skills. Again you don't come out the womb and immediately engage in witty riposte with your mum and the midwife. You come out screaming because it's the only way you know how to communicate at that point. Social skills are developed throughout your life, with the most important stage being early childhood, and there are countless environmental, genetic and sociological factors that can effect your development. It's not really natural at all. It probably seems naturally as a lot of it is learned subconciously but it IS still learned.

Some people have very good social skills but anxiety holds them back. Others may feel anxious because they have poor social skills and trouble communicating. There are a million and one different variations. You can't come out with blanket statements about this as everyone is different. A cynical person might say that thinking in such a black and white way is an indication of poor social skills.

My social skills are mediocre at best, and they're the same in every situation, whether it be talking to a close family member or having a meeting with senior management at work. I probably feel anxious because I know my social skills are crap. And even when I'm not feeling anxious at all my social skills are just as poor as they when I'm nervous. I don't really feel inferior either. Some people see me as inferior because I'm so poor socially but I don't. Different yes but not inferior.

I would say quite a large percentage of society probably have room for improvement when it comes to social skills. Take a trip down your local pub, or a supermarket or anywhere with a large, varied amount of people and you'll see all different kinds of interaction and social behaviour.

Obviously learning social skills doesn't cure anxiety, but if you're someone who does actually have poor social skills it's very much an important part of your recovery.
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  #26  
Old 13th September 2019, 07:53
anxiouslondoner anxiouslondoner is online now
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

Just because something is spontaneous doesn't mean it isn't a learned skill. Driving is spontaneous once you've learned how to do it. Until then it's a slow process of checklists, forgetting where the clutch is, etc. Conversation needs to be spontaneous but that doesn't mean you can't learn the ability to respond quickly to something before it even reaches the anxiety part of your brain.
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  #27  
Old 13th September 2019, 10:56
Tonkin Tonkin is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

Very well put you two.
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  #28  
Old 20th September 2019, 13:15
Genetically_Inferior Genetically_Inferior is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunrise
The tennis player analogy doesn't make any sense. If somebody is a good tennis player it's because they've put in an incredible amount of hard work and practice. They didn't come out of the womb holding a racket and wearing one of those silly headbands. They would have had to have learnt it from scratch. No matter how good they are presently there would have been a time when they were anything but. Even those Willams sisters would have been terrible when they first started playing. Years of dedication and hard work, combined with numerous other factors are the reason they're good at tennis. Performance anxiety is a seperate issue, the point is playing tennis didn't come naturally, they still had to learn it regardless of any anxiety.

And the same thing applies to social skills. Again you don't come out the womb and immediately engage in witty riposte with your mum and the midwife. You come out screaming because it's the only way you know how to communicate at that point. Social skills are developed throughout your life, with the most important stage being early childhood, and there are countless environmental, genetic and sociological factors that can effect your development. It's not really natural at all. It probably seems naturally as a lot of it is learned subconciously but it IS still learned.

Some people have very good social skills but anxiety holds them back. Others may feel anxious because they have poor social skills and trouble communicating. There are a million and one different variations. You can't come out with blanket statements about this as everyone is different. A cynical person might say that thinking in such a black and white way is an indication of poor social skills.

My social skills are mediocre at best, and they're the same in every situation, whether it be talking to a close family member or having a meeting with senior management at work. I probably feel anxious because I know my social skills are crap. And even when I'm not feeling anxious at all my social skills are just as poor as they when I'm nervous. I don't really feel inferior either. Some people see me as inferior because I'm so poor socially but I don't. Different yes but not inferior.

I would say quite a large percentage of society probably have room for improvement when it comes to social skills. Take a trip down your local pub, or a supermarket or anywhere with a large, varied amount of people and you'll see all different kinds of interaction and social behaviour.

Obviously learning social skills doesn't cure anxiety, but if you're someone who does actually have poor social skills it's very much an important part of your recovery.
Oh my god, you clearly don't get it, do you. Since this is a British community, I believe there are quite a few football fans on here. Do you know Lionel Messi? Go on youtube and type in "Messi 9 years old". You'll find a video where he destroys literally everyone in his age group by dribbling past 7-8 players. So why nobody else could do that? Were they just lazy and Messi was the only hard working kid spending 24/7 on the football pitch since he was 4?
Even those Williams sisters were terrible. LOL LOL LOL. Yes, watch Messi's video once again, he also was terrible when he started LOL. Couldn't kick a football.

What about the great mathematicians? They were all stupid but because they spent 24/7 reading all the maths books they became genius?

What about the great opera singers, all the great artists? They were all terrible when they started but because they put an effort for 24/7 they suddenly became amazing?

The answer to all of the above is NO. THEY ALL HAD A PREDISPOSED GENETIC COMPONENT that made them better already even before taking up that activity and they didn't even know about it before they tried. IT HAPPENED NATURALLY TO THEM.

Why there are so few footballers who can replicate Messi's running technique with the ball? Because it comes natural.

But of course they had to put a massive effort to improve even further but HARD WORK AND PRACTICE CAN ONLY TAKE YOU THIS FAR. If you don't have a genetically predisposed condition that gives you an advantage in something, you're only going to be mediocre at best just by putting an effort.

Communication is a given to everyone just like walking, reaching, grabbing etc. if you don't have any PREDISPOSED DEFICIENCIES.

You didn't spent 5 years in the gym trying to learn how to walk, it happened naturally to you.

When somebody asks you a question, you respond to it using a natural context. Communication is not learning how to build a spaceship because building a spaceship isn't naturally predisposed to us. Communicating is.

Why do babies start speaking automatically? You're not putting some sort of a device into their mouth that stimulates the process, it happens NATURALLY TO THEM.
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  #29  
Old 20th September 2019, 13:18
Jen. Jen. is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Genetically_Inferior
Go on youtube and type in "Messi 9 years old".
Then sit back, relax and await a knock at the door.
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Old 20th September 2019, 15:52
gregarious_introvert gregarious_introvert is offline
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Default Re: Social skills theory - is it a bunch of nonsense?

Social skills do not come naturally, they are learned - usually at a very early age, by observation (as has been mentioned more than once above); some have a greater disposition towards acquiring social skills than others, just as in the examples of sporting prowess (Messi, the sisters Williams etc.), those mentioned have a natural talent which they have maximised by learning their skills - Cristiano Ronaldo, for instance, is known for being the first player on the training ground and spending time alone practising dead ball situations after the end of sessions.

Someone raised in relative isolation will not develop social skills at the same rate as those who are more widely socialised; those of us living with certain conditions (autism in my case) will find developing such skills many times more difficult and the increased isolation to which that leads can make it virtually impossible. When I started school, other children noticed that I was "different" and I was ostracised, with the result that I had almost zero social interaction outside my family. However, I never had any difficulty in communicating within the family, as they do not require the same levels of social aptitude.

It has also been mentioned above that social anxiety is linked to a feeling of inferiority; I have noticed, thanks to the years I have spent on this forum, that for many, there is a strong link between low self-esteem and social anxiety disorder, however this is not always the case, to which I can attest as I have never felt inferior to anyone. My social anxiety stems from the external rejection I have experienced, which I know now (after being diagnosed at the tender age of 54) was the result of my autism.

I had to start learning social skills (and etiquette) in my fifties, at which point I discovered that non-verbal communication is at least as, if not more, important as verbal communication; this is something which normally would be learned in early childhood, in interactions with peers, but which my isolation prevented. It is something which can be learned in later life, but it has to be conscious (whereas in one's early years it is an unconscious thing and barely perceptible) and requires hard work and practice (although it does become more natural eventually - my body language, for instance, is now a lot less hostile even when I am not thinking about it), just like learning any other language - I'm noticing that the foreign languages I am studying now require more effort than the French and German I learned so effortlessly at school!

In my case, acquiring social skills has increased my confidence in social situations and I no longer have the fear of rejection when meeting new people (having said that, I still get rejected sometimes - I am still learning, I'm still a bit weird and anyway, nobody is accepted universally) which has resulted in me being able to control my anxieties instead of being controlled by them. I would conclude, therefore, that there is some merit in the "social skills theory" - that those of us who have an adequate degree of social skills have the means by which to socialise; however, in itself it does reduce anxiety to levels which enable us to function - that comes only with practice and positive reinforcement.
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