You probably have met one or two persons who act apparently normally, but somehow are just unable to form and maintain social and romantic relationships. Or you may even be that person!
I used to be like that until quite recently. (Shhh, don’t tell other readers of this blog!) I tried reading up on social skills, I practiced tips from these websites, I even had mentors… With limited success. Anyway, the focus is on you, Dear Reader!
There are several reasons why a person has an apparent inability to form or maintain relationships. In psychology, these people are said to have personality disorders, but as Hailey Brown, I like looking past the surface to see the human being, not a walking textbook of mental disorders.
Some of these people are said to be on the Autism spectrum, whatever that means. This is not to discount the fact that autism exists, but I think the way autism and Asperger’s syndrome are treated makes the sufferers identify so closely with the health condition and see it as a part of their person, as their property, as their identity. And the difference between their personality and the illness gets blurred.
I remember meeting a guy on Facebook whose profile picture was I am proud of my Asperger’s. And in my mind, I was like really? isn’t it like saying I am proud of my breast cancer, of my cut off breasts due to the mastectomy? I’m just not a fan of Asperger’s pride. Or Bipolar pride. Or Tourettes’ pride. Or of anything that limits you and makes it hard for you to live safely and optimally.
Before I digress… I think that social skills boil down to two things:
Your brain functioning, precisely your amygdala
Your social skills and the way you select things in your environment.
If any of you has ever read or studied anything on neuroscience, you will see that the amygdala is that part of the brain responsible for social & emotional intelligence, body language, decoding facial expressions, the tone of voice, and so on. I have read some articles that say health conditions like Bipolar disorder, and Autism spectrum disorders come with glitches in the amygdala functioning. or in the amygdala-prefrontal cortex pathway functioning.
What does this mean for you? It means that a person whose brain isn’t functioning optimally will have issues with social and emotional intelligence! Sad, isn’t it?
Surely, something can be done, right? It all depends. I’ll give you an example of how I revamped my social life. (Please don’t try this at home without the directive of a licensed healthcare provider!)
For as long as I remember, I was a person who had her foot in the mouth. Somehow, I usually said the wrongest things that aggravated people and escalated discussions with them into arguments. I felt sad at this because I tried so hard to be polite, to avoid the words that would upset those I discussed with, but there was little improvement.
I had intense associations with people, and my mind was constantly on a loop, replaying the encounters with these people. It was until this month things started to look up!
What happened? I realized that an association didn’t need to be intense for it to be memorable. I also did something very unusual: I threw out all my herbs, supplements, alternative remedies, corticosteroid acne cream, and cosmetic products containing essential oils in them, and took my favourite rosemary essential oil (which raises progesterone levels and handles estrogen dominance, unlike most other essential oils.)
I wrote of rosemary essential oil in forgiveness
When I started noticing that I was having far fewer altercations with Mum at home, and outside, I puzzled over the cause of this strange coincidence. Then it hit me: These substances were causing hormonal imbalance, and were probably affecting my amygdala negatively!
I have read that hormonal imbalance can either cause or aggravate personality disorders, but why the psychopharmaceutical companies don’t wish to look further into hormonal remedies for these problems is because hormones can’t be patented! They prefer to make psychiatric patients down their drugs, which sometimes cause hormonal imbalances like hyperprolactinemia!
If you notice that you have problems forming and maintaining associations with people, I’d suggest you scan your cosmetic and alternative remedies strictly, just in case it’s causing hormonal imbalance for you. Sometimes, a person may have borderline test results, in that the test will detect your hormonal (e.g. thyroid levels) are normal but are on the upper or lower limit of normal!
Sometimes, prescribed medications, e.g. typical antipsychotics, even when combined with a mood stabilizer or an atypical antipsychotic make some people hypersensitive, easily insulted, irritable, and less tolerant of people. Take a time out to observe how the quality of your interpersonal interactions was before you started using a particular medication, and how they are after being placed on the medication.
Now to the way you choose your environment…
I have observed that certain ways of interacting with people socially can either help or mar the quality of your interpersonal interactions. For instance, I’ve met ladies who complain that it’s mostly married men who hit on them. Or men in relationships. If you are into New Age stuff, you’d probably say it’s the aura of these ladies that’s the cause.
And you’d try reading some foolish book on personal magnetism, cleansing the aura and all whatnot.
I doubt if those things work because the people I’ve met who do such things have lots of interpersonal issues with other human beings. Or are broke ass fellas!
For these ladies, I’ve observed that in all the cases I’ve seen, they spend a lot of time around married men, or with guys on a one-on-one basis, instead of in a group comprising of both sexes. By time, I also mean spending time with someone on Instant messenger or on Social media.
Maybe it’s a cultural thing (I live in Nigeria), but most men seldom volunteer their relationship status to a woman they spend time with on a one-on-one basis. If they do, it’s mostly to diss their date and make it seem like they are trapped in the relationship. Added to the fact that proximity will make this man start falling for you too and/or use you to leave the other lady he’s dating!
But there’s something called being a selectrician! It refers to the conscious choosing of the things in your environment that will make it easier for you to achieve your goals. No relying on willpower or on any Law of Attraction nonsense, as if you are at the mercy of higher powers and lack the power to choose what you consciously gravitate to!
Why should you care? It is because the combination of the two points I mentioned in the bullets above make or mar your social interactions! It is not about telling you Do this, or don’t do that! If you live that way, it will perpetuate whatever Autism spectrum disorder you have that makes it hard to navigate your way through the social world.
I have read that an Aspie can remember do this or don’t do that, but fails woefully if circumstances necessitate a deviation from what he was told. Kind of A + B= C; X + Y= Z, but fails woefully when told M + N=?
Whereas an intelligent person might reason out that M + N will entail slight modification of the methods used to solve A + B and X + Y!
I think I can safely end this blog post by saying that improvement of your social skills depends on both your amygdala function and on what you expose yourself to in your environment!
Here’s to a peaceful and memorable interpersonal interaction with humanity: we are all useful in one way or the other and you need human beings, hate it or love it!
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