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Nesf

How social are you?

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Nesf

How social are you? Do you go out and make an effort to be social, to fit in, make friends, etc, or so you prefer to be on your own? And if you are quite social, how much do you feel that you are affected by ASD and what coping stategies do you have to overcome the difficulties?

 

I used to be more social and tried to fit in even though it caused me problems and anxiety. It used to upset me that I didn't have a social life and close friends, but since being diagnosed I don't feel I need so much to try to socialise and don't go out nearly as often. I don't know whether this is due to my being older or due to my diagnosis affecting me psychologically. I'm now content to stay at home and don't often seek contact with others. I occasionally go out for a coffee or for a meal with a friend or family, but I have no close friends, most of my friendships are online ones these days.

 

For me it's not always the problem that I don't want to socialise and if asked out to go out for a meal, for example, I'm happy that they thought to invite me and provided it's a quiet restaurant I may well go, but the problems are when I arrive as I can easily be affected by the music, conversations going on around me, noises and smells from the kitchen, etc, and I find groups difficult because I can't join in, get bored and switch off, and if there's just one person it's tiring to talk and keep the conversation going... socialising means talking, and talking is exhausting! It's supposed to get easier as you get older but for me it's getting harder if anything, so I now find myself staying in nearly all the time and I'm not particularly social.

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Sofi

I feel like the basic answer for me, is no I'm not at all social. I don't make an effort to be social - one reason, is because it's difficult with where I live, but also I don't want to be. I love being on my own and I don't really like the thought of having friends to see. 

 

I used to be more social too, when I was a teenager and a bit over 20. I had a couple of friends and I would go out occasionally to social situations, even nightclubs. Not often at all, by a 'normal' persons standards but it never ever went well for me. I feel awful and really anxious in really social situations, I think I was just trying hard to fit in. I learnt that I don't do well in those situations, so now I know not to put myself into those situations and I could try other, quieter socializing for me. I had a bit of a breakdown around age 21, and after that I haven't been able to go out and do anything remotely social since then, so I guess it's got harder for me as I've got older too!

 

All of my friendships are now online too, but I find that works better for me. Then, there's no pressure to go out and socialise if it's not geographically possible! Also, I find it easier with friends who are also on the spectrum.

I spend 95% of my time alone inside, despite living with two people, I can often go for 18 hours without seeing or speaking to them. So, I'm just a recluse, with my own company... but I'm really happy that way (that'll be because I'm autistic though!!!!), so that's okay?

I would want to try to become a little more social in my life, depending how things in my life go. I have an upcoming event which is very social for me, so I'll feel good when I'm able to do that. 

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Xmas

I find it extremely difficult to socialise. When I was younger I used to wonder why it was so difficult for me to socialise. I would go out with a group of friends and everyone would be enjoying themselves and I would pretend that I was enjoying myself but would be feeling awkward and longing for the time to go home.

 

As I got a bit older I would still force myself to socialise, be it a pub, club or restaurant but the result was always the same and I thought that maybe it was because I did not have much in common with the circle of people I was meeting. But of course that was not true either.

 

Then a few years ago, I found I would be getting ready to go out and would look ahead and realise how excruciating it was going to be and would change my mind and just stay at home.

 

I work in an office and I've been there for about eight years, but not once have I gone to the various functions and parties that they have from time to time. I just can't do it.

 

These days I don't go out much, I have one close friend who will take me to a restaurant or for a pub lunch but that is as near as I get to socialising. I live on the coast and we will often just go to the beach and walk by the sea as long as there are not too many people around.

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Bruce

I've got some social life - since I do go to church, see my parents & some other people. Then, there's work but that's not really very similar! I think I envy those of you who have been able to just give up on almost all of it....

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Mike_GX101

Work is the source of most of my social network (during coffee break times, etc).  But not being in work has been quite hard on that note.  I think some times I almost hope there are ghosts where I live just for the company!!  Any company is better than none at all.  I have a face on my wall and he keeps me company with his shadowy hooded eyes!

 

I have always had difficulty striking up conversation especially in pubs.  I'm not one of these who can go out and just do it.  I enjoy a party atmosphere when I've had one or two drinks but initially I'm too overwhelmed by the experience to get anything from it.  If I don't get to drink I usually leave before the party gets started.

 

Some times driving home from work on a Friday night I'm the only one driving out of town while huge traffic jams are packing in the other direction towards town.  That's how I've always been.

Edited by Mike_GX101
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iggy

How social I am can change dramatically within a 24 hour period. Sometimes I will talk endlessly to people, even feel like I'm doing fine and there isn't too much awkwardness, other times ill just want to avoid people and can't stand to think of an hour "socialising". I don't make that much of an effort, really.

That's probably why my real friends are the ones who I only see a couple of times per year, since a text or Facebook message can be replied to in length, at any time with thought. I used to go to the cinema and into town with people nearby, but it isn't very fun for me. I find the whole time I'm slightly on edge in case something goes wrong, so I am completely exhausted by the end of it all! However, just sometimes I will go to a social meeting of some sort, enjoy myself and not come home tired, so I think it depends on my mood at the time as well.

I do go to most family gatherings, although they do tend to understand if I remain at home for a "disco" type event where people just drink and dance to loud music. To be honest, I'm probably not missed ;)

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Sofi
How social I am can change dramatically within a 24 hour period. Sometimes I will talk endlessly to people, even feel like I'm doing fine and there isn't too much awkwardness, other times ill just want to avoid people and can't stand to think of an hour "socialising". I don't make that much of an effort, really.

That's probably why my real friends are the ones who I only see a couple of times per year, since a text or Facebook message can be replied to in length, at any time with thought. I used to go to the cinema and into town with people nearby, but it isn't very fun for me. I find the whole time I'm slightly on edge in case something goes wrong, so I am completely exhausted by the end of it all! However, just sometimes I will go to a social meeting of some sort, enjoy myself and not come home tired, so I think it depends on my mood at the time as well.

I do go to most family gatherings, although they do tend to understand if I remain at home for a "disco" type event where people just drink and dance to loud music. To be honest, I'm probably not missed ;)

 

Where do your real friends live, who you see a couple of times per year? That sounds like a good friendship, so you don't have pressure to have to go out and socialise with them very often. What do you do with these friends, when do meet up those couple of times a year?

Do you have friends at school, but don't see them outside of school hours? 

 

When I was at school, I didn't have friends in school because they were all very different to really be friends with. My friends were all from outside of school and I would see them only on a Saturday or sometimes a weekday evening they would come to my house. I wouldn't be very good at going to their house though, so that didn't happen. Sometimes, we'd go to the cinema or go to a youth cafe. I was always worried something would go wrong too. I never truly enjoyed it. 

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Nesf

Thanks for your replies. Many of your experiences are similar to mine. Like Sofi I had a break down, mine was last year, and since then I don't feel like socializing much any more, on retrospect I think that affected me more than the diagnosis, and it was that which lead to the diagnosis anyway. I always tried but was rejected by others without knowing what was behind it, and it weighed on me. I used to go out and pretend to be enjoying myself too, as Xmas describes but at some time the bubble had to burst - deep down  knew it wasn't me. At Uni I was more social as I had some friends from the computing an engineering departments (I was studying German with International Studies!) and a couple of oversees students and with whom I fitted in better. Those were better times. At school I had friends but one at a time and they were people like me who didn't fit in or belong to one of the cliques. I didn't socialize much beyond school, and didn't go to parties and things like that. I once went to a night club and hated it, so didn't repeat it.  Two is company, three's a crowd!!

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iggy
Where do your real friends live, who you see a couple of times per year? That sounds like a good friendship, so you don't have pressure to have to go out and socialise with them very often. What do you do with these friends, when do meet up those couple of times a year?

Do you have friends at school, but don't see them outside of school hours? 

 

When I was at school, I didn't have friends in school because they were all very different to really be friends with. My friends were all from outside of school and I would see them only on a Saturday or sometimes a weekday evening they would come to my house. I wouldn't be very good at going to their house though, so that didn't happen. Sometimes, we'd go to the cinema or go to a youth cafe. I was always worried something would go wrong too. I never truly enjoyed it. 

They live in the city I used to live in, which is a little over an hour away from me.it is a good friendship, and when we do see each other we get along well. We tend to go ice skating, or play games.

I also have friends in school I don't really see out of school. I did see them out of school sometimes, but it's tapered off since I haven't invited them back as I've been busy and things. There doesn't seem to be hard feelings though, everyone is busy anyway so it's more understandable! I don't mind the cinema, since "full" in our cinema is one family per row :P

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Sofi
Thanks for your replies. Many of your experiences are similar to mine. Like Sofi I had a break down, mine was last year, and since then I don't feel like socializing much any more, on retrospect I think that affected me more than the diagnosis, and it was that which lead to the diagnosis anyway. I always tried but was rejected by others without knowing what was behind it, and it weighed on me. I used to go out and pretend to be enjoying myself too, as Xmas describes but at some time the bubble had to burst - deep down  knew it wasn't me. At Uni I was more social as I had some friends from the computing an engineering departments (I was studying German with International Studies!) and a couple of oversees students and with whom I fitted in better. Those were better times. At school I had friends but one at a time and they were people like me who didn't fit in or belong to one of the cliques. I didn't socialize much beyond school, and didn't go to parties and things like that. I once went to a night club and hated it, so didn't repeat it.  Two is company, three's a crowd!!

 

I think I had tried to do too much socialising and fitting in and I was getting in a really bad way over it and I was getting in trouble, which caused the break down which just started one day with a meltdown, which I remember very vividly. It was horrible. I tried to pick myself up from it, but it wasn't working and it led to the bad time. Ugh!

 

I didn't know you studied German with International Studies! That's quite interesting. I really liked German. 

 

 

They live in the city I used to live in, which is a little over an hour away from me.it is a good friendship, and when we do see each other we get along well. We tend to go ice skating, or play games. I also have friends in school I don't really see out of school. I did see them out of school sometimes, but it's tapered off since I haven't invited them back as I've been busy and things. There doesn't seem to be hard feelings though, everyone is busy anyway so it's more understandable! I don't mind the cinema, since "full" in our cinema is one family per row :P

That's good that you are still able to be friends with those where you used to live  :) I prefer that sort of friendship too, where you don't have to see them so often. It's nicer that way. 

And it's okay you don't see the school friends outside of school, you've got other things to do. 

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Nesf
I think I had tried to do too much socialising and fitting in and I was getting in a really bad way over it and I was getting in trouble, which caused the break down which just started one day with a meltdown, which I remember very vividly. It was horrible. I tried to pick myself up from it, but it wasn't working and it led to the bad time. Ugh!

 

I didn't know you studied German with International Studies! That's quite interesting. I really liked German. 

 

 

That's good that you are still able to be friends with those where you used to live  :) I prefer that sort of friendship too, where you don't have to see them so often. It's nicer that way. 

And it's okay you don't see the school friends outside of school, you've got other things to do. 

That sounds horrific, Sofi! I can understand how you want to avoid social situations. Mine was caused by my inability to cope with work - I didn't really have a social life - and i had two incidents, the first where I had a meltdown followed by a day of constantly being sick and being unable to face work, so I stayed at home in bed. The second was when I couldn't face work and started feeling extremely sick and took almost a week off, and I eventually told them I couldn't do it any more and resigned. Again, the job I was doing, being a teacher, demands good people/social skills, as well as the ability to react quickly to challenges, and I was no good at this - I caved under the pressure, I guess. Anyway, that's in the past, these things are awful when they happen, but it's in the past and we have to somehow find the strength to pick up the pieces and continue with our lifes, trying to get the best out of them.

 

 

They live in the city I used to live in, which is a little over an hour away from me.it is a good friendship, and when we do see each other we get along well. We tend to go ice skating, or play games. I also have friends in school I don't really see out of school. I did see them out of school sometimes, but it's tapered off since I haven't invited them back as I've been busy and things. There doesn't seem to be hard feelings though, everyone is busy anyway so it's more understandable! I don't mind the cinema, since "full" in our cinema is one family per row :P

I agree with Sofi that this kind of friendship is easier to manage. My mum, for example, has three or four very intense friendships where she's on the phone for hours at a time talking to the same person, and if for some reason she doesn't call, her friend gets upset. I had a friend who did this to me for a brief period and I really couldn't cope with it, I found it suffocating and very tiring. I never phone anyone to chat, only when I need to make arrangements or for business. I hate using the phone anyway, it's my mortal enemy :) I have a friend who i see occasionally, and I get on well with her.

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Sofi
That sounds horrific, Sofi! I can understand how you want to avoid social situations. Mine was caused by my inability to cope with work - I didn't really have a social life - and i had two incidents, the first where I had a meltdown followed by a day of constantly being sick and being unable to face work, so I stayed at home in bed. The second was when I couldn't face work and started feeling extremely sick and took almost a week off, and I eventually told them I couldn't do it any more and resigned. Again, the job I was doing, being a teacher, demands good people/social skills, as well as the ability to react quickly to challenges, and I was no good at this - I caved under the pressure, I guess. Anyway, that's in the past, these things are awful when they happen, but it's in the past and we have to somehow find the strength to pick up the pieces and continue with our lifes, trying to get the best out of them.

 

 

I agree with Sofi that this kind of friendship is easier to manage. My mum, for example, has three or four very intense friendships where she's on the phone for hours at a time talking to the same person, and if for some reason she doesn't call, her friend gets upset. I had a friend who did this to me for a brief period and I really couldn't cope with it, I found it suffocating and very tiring. I never phone anyone to chat, only when I need to make arrangements or for business. I hate using the phone anyway, it's my mortal enemy :) I have a friend who i see occasionally, and I get on well with her.

 

I can imagine a demanding job, particularly one like yours was which was even more stressful for someone with ASD, would cause a reaction like that. I remember just going to bed one day and I didn't leave it for a long time, despite my Mum insisting I did. I usually eventually get up but that time, I couldn't and so I knew something was wrong with me. I ended up feeling like that for the best part of the year, although I got out of bed but I just developed bad habits and a bad routine. After feeling like that, it's near impossible to try to imagine going out and socialising. It becomes even more difficult the longer you go without doing things like that. I can just see all the things which could go wrong. I feel ashamed of how I was when I felt like that. I still am like that to an extent, but not as bad. 

Nowadays, I have no opportunities to go out and be social anyway, even if I wanted to! Well, I have this one event upcoming. That'll be the most social thing I've done since then.

 

I prefer online friendships where you don't need to see them, such as these friendships we've made on this forum. I have had other online friendships before too, from other websites and games. I started making friends online when I was 10, and I didn't have any in real life then. I still know of some of them online too, but we don't talk often at all. I like how you can have a friendship online but there's not the expectation to talk so much but can just talk whenever you want. And yes, typing is easier than talking on the phone. I've rarely spoken to any friend on the phone. I think I did with one friend and I remember just putting the phone up to my speakers playing music and walked away and forgot about it  :lol:

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Peridot

I think I'm about a 6 on a scale from 0 to 10. I have a relatively small number of friends and aquaintances.

 

I don't really struggle socially. Groups I don't have a problem with unless it's the kind of thing where you just feel that people become all rowdy and dangerous after a while. :lol: It's something that happens. But when it's just a number of people spending time together in a pleasant way, it's just fun. A mature environment where people aren't pressured into acting one way or the other but where everyone just remains themselves and everyone is having a good time.

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mary

I think as I got older I got better with the whole socialising thing.  I don't remember having a lot of friends, or even being interested in having a lot of friends, during my schooling, but I did have some friends.  There were friends that I had during school that I'd not even imagine going to hang out with afterwards, and then there were the friends I spent some time with after.

 

When I got to highschool I pretty much hung around with the same few people all the time after school.  There were 5 of us, a girl and her sisters (they were a year younger and twins) and then another girl.  Sometimes we'd all hang out together, and sometimes it'd be me, and both girls minus the sisters, and other times it'd be all the sisters and me.  It was rather funny as a lot of the time if we were all out together with her parents people thought I was one of the daughters as their father was dutch, although their mum was Malaysian / Indian.  Made for some interesting conversations.

 

Anyway, when I came over here we all kept in touch for a bit, but when I went home the year after for my grandad's funeral things went kind of bad because I said I wasn't coming back to live there and would be staying in the UK.  Things went from bad to worse and it seemed that my friend (and to a point her sisters) were very angry at me not going home.  I used to go around to their house most evenings after work and I'd ferry us around of a weekend in the car - looking back I can see that if I was to stay in Australia I'd have never gotten out of the cycle of 'being there' for them.

 

Most of the jobs I've had here haven't really been condusive to me making great friendships along the way, although I have had some really good friends, some through the most random of things, like going to gigs etc.

 

I then became very involved in the metal scene and was running my own site, running a UK fanclub for a Finnish band, photographing / interviewing bands etc.  That made me somewhat more social as I HAD to talk to these people, their management etc.  I forced myself to talk to people at festivals and such likes as I knew that was the only way I was going to make it in the industry.

 

I would go out many times a week at some points, and would spend a lot of time talking to fans of the bands, the bands themselves and people who worked at the venues.  I can't say that I was ever comfortable with this, not as comfortable as I should have probably been to be in the industry, but once I got into the photo pit none of that mattered as I was there to do a job.  Much the same as when I was doing the interviews... I cut myself off from it and just saw it as a 'job'.

 

I thew myself into it and got pretty far, even getting photos published in magazines and befriending many people, some of whom I still speak with now that I've not even been in the industry / scene for nearly two years.  Do I regret anything!?  Yes, and in fact I was thinking about this yesterday, I'd have gotten much further with my work had I been able to be even social and 'friendly' with people, but I found that I really had a hard time doing the whole sucking up thing that people do to get somewhere.

 

I don't do any of this now, and kind of miss it in some ways, but now I take Lottie out and am forced more often than not to talk to people as she'll try and 'talk' to them herself.  I force myself to talk to the people that serve in shops and stuff like that.

 

I have a couple of friends still, but some don't live here so it's hard to see them.  Thankfully the internet is here and I can communicate with them that way. 

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Nesf

^^i think most jobs involve a certain amount of social interracting at varying degrees, and it can get easier to socialise in time, though as you describe it, Oakers, it's forced and doesn't come naturally for us, and puts a lot of strain on us. I can't do the sucking up thing either! When I was working at the school I had to talk to the parents and this often involves a lot of diplomacy but I had to do it, even though I always disliked it and felt uncomfortable. When I went to Uni I was plunged right in at the deep end as I was fairly isolated socially at school, and then suddenly plunged into a very social environment. For me the biggest issue was naivity, as I didn't socialise much at school and didn't know all the rules, so I found myself getting set up for jokes and things like that.

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mary

^^i think most jobs involve a certain amount of social interracting at varying degrees, and it can get easier to socialise in time, though as you describe it, Oakers, it's forced and doesn't come naturally for us, and puts a lot of strain on us. I can't do the sucking up thing either! When I was working at the school I had to talk to the parents and this often involves a lot of diplomacy but I had to do it, even though I always disliked it and felt uncomfortable. When I went to Uni I was plunged right in at the deep end as I was fairly isolated socially at school, and then suddenly plunged into a very social environment. For me the biggest issue was naivity, as I didn't socialise much at school and didn't know all the rules, so I found myself getting set up for jokes and things like that.

 

Yes, I think some of these things are definitely difficult for many of us.  I guess, hopefully, it gets easier as we get older and put ourselves into these situations.  As with anything life experiences should be there to help us.  I guess this is the only way we can learn about these social etiquettes and such likes.  Either that or watch people.  People watching may be a useful tool... hadn't actually thought about it.

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Bruce

I'm thinking I'll have to stop almost all offline socialising, so any tips on how to make that enough? For some, it seems to be! *green with envy*!

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mary

I'm thinking I'll have to stop almost all offline socialising, so any tips on how to make that enough? For some, it seems to be! *green with envy*!

 

I don't quite understand why you'd have to stop all 'offline' socialising?  Why would that happen?  And what seems to be enough for some?

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Bruce

Doing almost all their socialising online seems to be enough for others here. Because my main social life is church & we keep banging into brick walls trying to make sense of all the stuff they insist on talking about! Can't both put it behind me AND carry on hearing it....

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mary

Doing almost all their socialising online seems to be enough for others here. Because my main social life is church & we keep banging into brick walls trying to make sense of all the stuff they insist on talking about! Can't both put it behind me AND carry on hearing it....

 

I guess that for some online interaction is enough because they are not as at ease with socialising offline / in person.  I am guessing that it's easier, as I find it to be, to put things into words and write them down, therefore being able to edit oneself in a sense and making sense of things before we say it.  In 'real life' it's harder as if you say something it's harder to get it back, than it would be if you hadn't quite pressed 'enter'.

 

If you are 'banging into brick walls' with the people at church have you thought about socialising in other places?  Could you take up a hobby that meant you'd meet with people that shared a common interest?

 

I think that I did so well for so many years in the music scene because we all shared a common interest or two.  I find it far easier to strike up a conversation if we share interests, other than having to talk about the 'usual' things like kids, husbands, that sort of thing.

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Sofi

All of my socialising is online, I do no offline socialising these days and that is completely fine for me, it is better this way for me anyway. If you don't want to put yourself in offline socialising situation for whatever reason, because it's difficult, then just don't. I have learnt not to put myself in a situation I know will be too stressful. 

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mary

All of my socialising is online, I do no offline socialising these days and that is completely fine for me, it is better this way for me anyway. If you don't want to put yourself in offline socialising situation for whatever reason, because it's difficult, then just don't. I have learnt not to put myself in a situation I know will be too stressful. 

 

I think this is valuable advice Sofi... if people aren't comfortable doing something they shouldn't necessarily feel they need to do it.  Although, if they want to gradually start more socialising that might work for them.  Gradually would probably be the key.

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Bruce

Yeah. There's just this cut off between inane chit chat, which isn't worth the effort & anything that seemed worth putting more effort into has hit too many brick walls. Since I'm supposed to put all that 'behind me', I can't carry on doing the same things & listening to them but there's no point going to such places, where they will keep talking about those things. It's such a shame, really! I think I'll have to do something drastic soon......

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mary

Yeah. There's just this cut off between inane chit chat, which isn't worth the effort & anything that seemed worth putting more effort into has hit too many brick walls. Since I'm supposed to put all that 'behind me', I can't carry on doing the same things & listening to them but there's no point going to such places, where they will keep talking about those things. It's such a shame, really! I think I'll have to do something drastic soon......

 

Ok, but what I said was why not try to socialise with people that have another shared interest?  Like maybe about a hobby you have?  There's all sorts of clubs / groups around for people to join in, and that way their 'inane chit chat' might be more interesting to you, if it's about something you enjoy.

 

 

I think that people enjoy the chit chat thing as it means they have something to talk about, and they feel happy that they've shared certain information with friends / people they know.  It's not their fault they're into all that sort of thing.

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Bruce

That's what I was doing, for the main 'interest' I have? That's where it's all gone wrong! Unfortunately, I don't want to go to any groups for any other interests I have, anyway. I couldn't imagine talking about films, for instance, all evening.

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