A new problem I noticed these past weeks is that I really don’t know how to do small talk or have conversations like ‘normal people’. When people say hi to me, it is easy for me to parrot back or wave at them. But oftentimes it is difficult for me to continue any talking. I don’t know what my friends want me to answer when they ask “how are you?”. I feel clueless and uncomfortable with purposeless conversations. They make me feel left out and lonely. This problem has always existed, but it has been even more prevalent this school year as there is too much anxiety that I battle within. My mind is so full of thoughts that my talking with friends has decreased significantly.
I cannot handle conversations with more than one person at a time. The presence of two people overwhelms me and I get very confused and rather leave.
Another reason that I cannot connect and form relationships with others is that I don’t seem to have any common interests to talk about. When girls care only about TV shows which I never watch, gossip, and boys care only about sports and games, I feel very left out and unable to talk to them about my interests – numbers, code-breaking, music theory, patterns, beautiful details of music or art… Forcing small talk on the topics I know nothing about is tormenting.
When I was talking to my counselor about this yesterday, he told me that to fit in, sometimes I have to force small talk, whether I am interested or not. He said that it is okay to fake interests to fit in because many people do that. I don’t have the skills to do that; I never had those small talk skills. Conversation is such hard work for me, and I really need a script for the “set-pattern” small talks, even though they seem to have no pattern at all. I couldn’t help envying all those people who speak without even trying. People usually talk too much and too loudly. It is as if I am hopelessly drowning in a flood of words.
Do you have any ways to improve this condition? What are your views of special interests?