Too late to learn new social skills?

I am 32 years old and I feel like it’s too late for me to learn new social skills. It doesn’t help that most people my age have established friendship networks and aren’t interested in making new friends. It makes me unable to practice new social skills and someone my age struggling to socialize is either considered “weird” or even a potential serial killer. 

Comments

  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    Even though I am not your age, and am technically still developing mentally, I used to worry about this in my later teens. I missed out on a lot of socialization and social development in childhood + my adolescence, and was worried I wouldn't be able to compensate and be able to be "normal" socially for the rest of my life.

    I've found out that, even though I am not "normal" now, by just putting effort in to socialize with other autistic people on forums that my social skills have improved a lot, and those skills and confidence have somewhat translated into real life. I don't get as many weird looks from people and my interactions with them turn out a lot better now. I was in a place before this though where I had intense enough social anxiety that I couldn't handle even replying to threads or responding directly to people.

    I think if you could find a way to socialize with people online, in a space you are comfortable enough to talk about your interests and other things, it could let you practice your social skills. I know you've already used forums for quite awhile, but you've mentioned before that you find it hard to get involved in threads that interest you. Maybe you could start by pushing yourself to do that, and see if you get used to it and if that boost of confidence helps you?

    It took me quite awhile to get used to not being in my "comfort zone" on forums, but it did work, and now I have a lot more topics to talk about and people to talk to + practice my social skills with. I think that's worth trying.
  • edited May 15
    My parents honestly denied me a lot of social opportunities. If it wasn’t church or the parties thrown by the people they were trying to impress, they would make me stay in my room most of the time. They also didn’t want me to date and would rip me apart emotionally by saying “You don’t need a girlfriend!” or “I know you’re interested in girls but you need to focus on your grades!” as if they wanted me to become an emotionless robot. I’ve managed to get back at them in the sense that I’ve told them I was hurt by what they said to me and will not ever let them again decide how to live my life or tell me how I should feel. This is partly why I don’t like being told I don’t need a relationship. I want someone special in my life before I die.

    As I said before, I used to be part of an Autism/Aspergers support group. In some ways, it helped me but not always. Most of the people in it were indoctrinated with Bible Belt ideals such as Christianity being the only way to be a moral person, Darwinian evolution is a “lie” or even “Satanic”, and Barack Obama was a “Muslim” or bad simply because he was a Democrat. It was honestly sad seeing other people on the spectrum taking on the values of the people who bullied them. I initially masked but stopped because I grew sick of not being authentic. Unfortunately, being an individual doesn’t pay off in the Bible Belt unless you manage to be a part of the underground social club that I occasionally see glimpses of but I don’t know how to get in because my invitation got lost in the mail. 

    I’ve actually lost interest in the things I used to be passionate for. For example, I haven’t played any of my video game consoles for nearly two months now. I was hoping to finally become a Zelda fan but my motivation got ripped apart. I am still not very far in Breath of the Wild but I will probably not ever see the ending, even on a casual play through and my Switch is collecting dust. 

    I think if I actually succeeded in the things I wanted to be talented at, even talking online would be easier for me but I can’t even excel at things I had passion for. 
  • I honestly think I should just cease with online forums completely. Similarly to social media, they cause me to feel the pain of missing out. 
  • I went out yesterday but people had company with them and didn’t want to talk to me. This keeps me from learning new social skills. 
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