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I often have difficulties taking space in casual group conversations, like when I go to the pub after work with a couple of friends or similar, even though I'm completely comfortable with the company.

Background

I do generally find casual social interactions challenging, maybe both due to a little bit of autism (but I have no problem reading people) and a lack of experience during upbringing. I'm doing fine with professional, technical communication though, and I'm fine with talking in front of groups people.

I do have issues with small talk one-on-one as well as I never really gotten much stimulation of that kind of superficial chit-chat, humor displays or nerdy discussions that usually goes on. On the other hand I do have a talent of steering the conversations I do engage in to more intimate discussions about life or things that really matter to me or the other person. I can find real stimulation in digging down into people to find the things that make them tick, to see what goals and problems they have in life.

It's not unusual with comments about this like "Wow, I've newer told anyone this", or "Hey, have you guys started a philosophy club or what?" etc. This is where I'm most comfortable, but I've noticed that other people aren't used to this, and that some are as lost and uncomfortable here as I am with the more superficial chit-chat. Even the ones that at the moment earnestly engage with me in this seem to almost get physically tired after a while, and almost lets out a sigh of exhaustion before going back to chit-chating again.

I also think a lot during conversations, and place weight on my words. I like to think and analyze, I like to understand things. This all most often works in my benefit at for example dates, but...

Problem

I'd like to function well in the common social situations, like to engage in common fun and lightweight group interactions. This is challenging since these are often fast-paced chit-chatty in nature, with a required dose of humor and nerdiness. I really don't get the dynamics of this, where others seem to fluently navigate in finding and changing topics, inserting jokes every now and then, etc. This leads to me often zooming out, and I feel like Bambi on ice when I try to force my way back into it.

Sometimes I think that the best way to describe me is simply that I'm quite boring.

Goal

I want to learn how to engage in chit-chatty group conversations in a natural way. I need to learn to appreciate it, and I need to learn how to take space instead of just zooming out.

Can you give me some recommendations for strategies for how to go about this? Where do I start? What are the key points to focus on here?

closed as too broad by ElizB, Ælis, avazula, Xander, Meg Jan 7 at 14:20

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Hey there, welcome on IPS! Unfortunately, this question is likely to get closed, as it's asking for general advice whereas we prefer questions that ask for help in a specific, actual situation. I tried to see how we could make your question on topic but unless you can reword it and depict a situation in which you wanted to chit-chat with someone without having to go into philosophical debates or becoming the person's confidant, I'm unsure we can salvage it. Maybe could you try doing so, if you have such an example of conversation? – avazula Jan 7 at 11:01
  • What we can do to help you, otherwise, is to invite you to come visit our chat, The Awkward Silence. Some of the users there are on the autistic spectrum as well (I'm myself an aspie), surely we can give you some advice in a less formal context than the main site. We'd be happy to help :) – avazula Jan 7 at 11:04