T Nation

Lack of Social Stamina

I figured I would post this on T-Nation, since I’ve noticed a wealth of knowledgable, experienced people with helpful and insightful things to say, who are willing to help.

I lack social stamina. When I am in a social situation for a lengthy period of time (>6 hrs), my personality seems to fall apart.

This is extremely disconcerting and its time I take some steps to correct it. Cuz this shit is just plain weird. I figured there’s got to be at least 1 person here who knows what I’m talking about or can help me.

Take this weekend for instance. A buddy of mine invited me to a beer festival with some of his friends (none of which I knew). I’m always game for some beer, so I said sure.

I meet everyone, and things are totally cool. I usually leave a pretty good impression when meeting somebody for the first time, and come off as nice but confident person. A good guy, if you will. So, things are going well at the beer festival for 5-6 hours.

And then suddenly and uncontrollably, my personality will fall apart. I will go from outgoing, social guy whose down for a party, to this shy, insecure person, who is trying DESPREATELY to fit in. (This is what my personality was like throughout my life, before I developed a sort of social adeptness, albeit temporary).

This sounds so damn childish, and I am almost embarrassed to type this, but I will basically begin to feel that “nobody likes me.” I’ll become so socially awkward that I’ll stick out like a sore thumb. I don’t panic or anything and try to ride it out as best as I can, but on the inside, I am DYING to get out of the situation.

I seriously dont know how to correct this. I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone TIME AND TIME AGAIN, only to be met with this bullshit.

The worst part is that I feel like I am letting my friends down. This has happened before while in the company of CLOSE, TRUSTED friends, not just new people.

This even happened at work while on a business trip (that eventually led to my firing). Of course, my boss read my behavior and body language as a lack of interest. But it so wasn’t that. I literally had NO CONTROL over my personality at the time.

It’s seriously the strangest thing ever. And it happens while on extended social events. This is not good. I’ve noticed a pattern here, and its bothering me enough that I’m having trouble sleeping.

This sounds like the antithesis of a T-man, but fuck, I don’t know how to conquer this obstacle. Please advise.

Uh… Clinical depression?

“Greater than 6 hours”, huh? You bored me outta here in 45 seconds flat. Try wearing a funny hat, it should at least double your longevity.

[quote]DeterminedNate wrote:
… So, things are going well at the beer festival for 5-6 hours.

And then suddenly and uncontrollably, my personality will fall apart. …[/quote]

5 - 6 hours of beer drinking and then your personality falls apart?

Lets cover some basic things first…

-Are you actually eating real food during this period? If you’re just eating junk and drinking beer, it doesn’t surprise me at all that you’d begin to feel like you’re dragging after 5-6 hours.

  • Can you characterize, with a specific story, the difference between your “on” social personality and “off” personality, with actual things that were said, etc.

Sounds like you’re an introverted person who finds social situations tiring. Maybe taking 10 or 15 minute breaks to hear yourself think would help. Or look up the Myers-Briggs personality test to shed some light.

You started to sober up…Take in more drinks around 3-4 hours later. Don’t wait til 6.

(Kids this was just a joke don’t drink)

What did you do on the trip that led to your firing?

I am naturally introverted, but like you I can “turn” myself “on” to some extent and appear outgoing for a while. BUT it is very hard work and very exhausting, so it is nearly impossible to keep it up for a long period of time. AND when I am tired or don’t eat properly or am stressed in some other way it is even harder, and the older I get the more difficult it seems to be.

My advice would be to increase your strength and endurance (through exercise), take good care of your overall health (eat well especially when in stressful situations like travelling, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water…) and learn to relax(study yoga, meditation, martial arts…).

And getting fired over it, seems like enough motivation to seek professional help, starting with your doctor and then a mental health practitioner.

You are exhausted from trying to be someone else. It’s ok to be shy. You wont dazzle anybody, but wont wear yourself out either. If you are nice you will still be nice, even when shy.

see a doctor my friend, then let us all now how it goes.

[quote]nephorm wrote:
What did you do on the trip that led to your firing?[/quote]

We were speaking with some of the key management of a business. We were deciding whether we wanted to extend additional financing to them. This particular business was with one of the biggest farmers in California.

At the time, I was already depressed. My sister had just revealed to me that she had been raped. This sent me into a tail spin of sorts. So when we were at dinner at a steakhouse, I didn’t really give a shit about what the tomato yield was expected to be this year, even though I wanted to really badly.

I felt like I had nothing to contirbute to the conversation, almost like dead weight. And this is what my boss perceived me as. It really was a multitude of things, including me already hating the job.

[quote]Bane wrote:
Lets cover some basic things first…

-Are you actually eating real food during this period? If you’re just eating junk and drinking beer, it doesn’t surprise me at all that you’d begin to feel like you’re dragging after 5-6 hours.

  • Can you characterize, with a specific story, the difference between your “on” social personality and “off” personality, with actual things that were said, etc.[/quote]

The fact that this happened has nothing to do with me being at a beer festival. As I said in my original post, it has happened on a business trip, also, a trip to vegas, a class trip to Hong Kong, training for my job, snowboarding trips and a few other situations where you are expected to have your “on” personality.

My “on” personality it very confident and socially engaging. I can navigate the ebb and flow of a conversation. I am funny. I am outgoing. I have interesting, fascinating things to talk about… etc. You want to be my friend, afterwards.

My ‘off’ personality is characterized by shyness, contributing nothing to the conversation socially, contributing nothing to the group dynamic, all the while there is inner turmoil raging through my mind. Basically a lot of insecurities and fear that translates into timidity and ultimately what seems to be a marked personality change.

[quote]dswithers wrote:
I am naturally introverted, but like you I can “turn” myself “on” to some extent and appear outgoing for a while. BUT it is very hard work and very exhausting, so it is nearly impossible to keep it up for a long period of time. AND when I am tired or don’t eat properly or am stressed in some other way it is even harder, and the older I get the more difficult it seems to be.

My advice would be to increase your strength and endurance (through exercise), take good care of your overall health (eat well especially when in stressful situations like travelling, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water…) and learn to relax(study yoga, meditation, martial arts…).

And getting fired over it, seems like enough motivation to seek professional help, starting with your doctor and then a mental health practitioner. [/quote]

Thanks for the advice brotha. My training and diet is already on point. But I will try to see a doctor/therapist about this.

You sound like a classic introvert. I have had the same problem. People bore me. I have no interest in small talk. I would much rather read a book than talk to people. If you have a high IQ, your life will be even more complicated, as you will met few people in life you can have meaningful conversations with.

Most people want to talk about sports, cars, TV shows, or video games. Oh, and about their mediocre “lives” and “goals.”

There is a good book called “The Introvert Advantage.” Lots of helpful tips in there.

What I do when I have to socialize is drug myself. I drink a lot of coffee (just measure it out so you can keep pace), take Spike tabs or Spike shooters. Then some more caffeine. This keeps me “chatty” and lets me forget that I’m having a conversation with a really stupid person about his car, or how “bad ass” the latest TV show or video game is. I also read People Magazine so I can know the names of these women they lust over and masturbate to.

Also, read some books on communicating with people. Larry King has a good book out there called “How to Talk to Anyone, Anyplace, Anytime.” What I do is skim the headlines (even sports) and then pop a question to let the other person give his dumb-ass opinion about it. “Do you think Kobe should be MVP?” is one example of question you can ask. Or, “Which Jessica is hottest?” They will go on and on as if this is fucking literary interpretation. Whatever works.

Also, something I do to entertain myself is focus in on a facial feature and imagine the person’s head morphing. I was able to talk to a boring and stupid person for three hours because he had big ears and a big nose. I keep thinking, “Man, this guy is teen wolf!” I just kept following-up with questions.

People lead horribly boring lives, but they think they are the protagonist in the Great American Novel. Humor them by asking them questions. .

Remember, though, it’s an art. You can’t let the person feel like you are condescending. You also can’t make them feel like it’s the 3d degree. You have to really show interest. Don’t ask disjointed questions. Follow-up based on what they’ve already said. “Dude, that’s so interesting that you played high school football. Did you ever consider playing in college?”

Go buy those books today. And good luck.

Let me follow-up by saying social skills can be learned. Treat it like anything else: Focus on what you’ve done wrong, and ask yourself how you could have done better. Develop skills. Read about communication for, a minimum, 30 minutes each day. Practice talking in front of the mirror. Your face gives a lot away!

Read books aloud. Focus on voice inflection. Practice different tones. If something has a question mark around it, focus on making it sound like you are asking the question. “Really?”

You have lots of trial and error - with the focus on error! This is no problem. That’s life. Focus on your errors so you do not repeat them.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Most people want to talk about sports, cars, TV shows, or video games. Oh, and about their mediocre “lives” and “goals.”
[/quote]

As opposed to what, bitching about dietary fads or newbies on internet fora?

You often have some interesting things to say, but every time this topic comes up you come across like a megalomaniac.

Most human beings, regardless of IQ, are pretty boring pretty much all of the time. If someone has goals (or even “goals”), I am surprised and glad to hear it.

Take up acting. Learn the fakest cheesiest smile, and a few catch phrases. Say these when you least want to, even if it feels fake to you.

You can’t force yourself to like something, but you can understand that you have to do it. If you let your job rely on what you like then you will always lose a job. Nobody is on a 100% high, but you can always utilize your skills. Such as the ultra fake smile.

Nobody believes GB’s smile, but it still works.

On a Side note 6 hours is a long ass time to be socializing, damn take a break or something. I thought you were going to say after 15 minutes. I’m surprised you were the first person to get sick of that.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
…[/quote]

You make it sound like your introversion is caused by a world full of idiots. I’m not saying that it isn’t, but I’m fairly introverted and I have some bright, entertaining friends. However, I still need alone time after a few hours. It might be the same with this guy. Just how he’s put together.

[quote]nephorm wrote:
You often have some interesting things to say, but every time this topic comes up you come across like a megalomaniac.[/quote]

You’re welcome to start a “This guy sucks!” post about me. But can we keep this thread on topic, viz., finding solutions to the OP’s problem?