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Social Isolation And How To Respond To It.

1. When a person has had very little contact with others for a while, how does it effect their interactions when they do?

It makes me hesitant about interacting. It makes me self conscious. I fear I will have nothing to talk about (which is often true) and I feel somewhat disconnected from their reports about the outside world.

Feel free to add more to this in the comments. Rant away!


2. What sort of interaction is easiest?

A few months back I was reading about recovery from psychotic episodes, and the writer (who has a psychotic illness) wrote that just being able to be around, and observe, was really helpful. (If one understand an episode as a giant break from normality, a profound challenge to a sense of self and a sense of how the world is, this makes good sense.) But I also think this works for me.

Although I prefer one-to-one interactions than group situations, they can also be more confronting when I'm like this, as they tend towards me having to communicate at a certain level.

The situations I am finding easiest to manage are ones in which roles are reasonably clear: my home carer, my gardener, my shopping helper - there is chat about bigger things, improvised chat about whatever, but also roles as regards who does what.

Am I getting warm? What do other people find most useful in this situation?

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 29th, 2014 04:21 am (UTC)
I fear I will have nothing to talk about (which is often true) and I feel somewhat disconnected from their reports about the outside world.

Sounds like when I go to work on a Monday, and everyone is talking about the football game. I'm not into sports, and I don't watch TV, so I really have no point of reference for conversation, except the weather.

I know that's not the same as you were talking about, but it's all I got.
Jun. 29th, 2014 08:41 am (UTC)
While it's not quite the same, it is of a similar nature in that it's about having common ground.

But as the week unfolds, you do have common ground in your work, whereas this sometimes feels like a never-ending Monday morning.
Jun. 29th, 2014 10:04 am (UTC)
It depends very much on the context in which the conversation takes place. If it is a casual in passing greeting, a few superficial quips is all you'll need.

If you are having a deeper conversation, like having tea or coffee with others and the aim is to actually engage in coherent dialogue, your experiences with MOOCs can really come in handy. Ask if they've ever taken one, then you'll likely have to explain what they are and marvel at the fact they're free and purely for the purpose of spreading knowledge via the internet (ain't life grand!)

Turning the focus on the other, asking questions about their health, work, experiences and not bringing it back to yourself often builds greater trust though it can also be challenging to remember everything discussed so you don't ask about it every time you meet.

Continue to take MOOCs. Learn new things, check out philosophy, take a climate science course. Be sure it is about something you take a great interest or joy in.

Just my two cents worth (although now that they have abolished the penny in Canada, I guess that should now be a nickel's worth.)
Jun. 29th, 2014 11:28 am (UTC)
I sometimes find social situations can be awkward and stilted, esp. on subjects i do not follow, or know nothing about. I am quite outgoing but each time i am in a new situation i have butterflies in the stomach.
Jun. 29th, 2014 07:05 pm (UTC)
I don't talk. Or I stick to facts. For example, I want to say that you've used 'effect' when you mean 'affect' because that's safe and it's not about emotion. But generally, I just don't join in conversations at all and I avoid any situation where I'm going to be around people I don't know really well. I would NOT ADVISE this approach - it sucks. But it's nevertheless what I tend to do. I also find that people think I'm looking down on them sometimes when in fact I'm thinking "oh no, they're going to think I'm such a crap person".

Interaction is easiest with people you feel most comfortable with. People who I trust to understand if I look blank when they talk about the 'in' thing; or will listen if I go into a dissertation of one of my specialist areas, and be nice because they know it matters to me so it matters to them. (Cats and Jay being current example of this.)

Failing that, interacting when there's Rules About It. So I find work things, where I'm able to say "gosh, isn't X work thing good?" not quite so awful as things where I have to think of the conversation from scratch. And when people approach ME rather than them having to approach me.

Meep. People. Meep.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


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