Social Question

SatouKimu's avatar

How do you teach someone to be more socially able?

Asked by SatouKimu (121points) June 2nd, 2011

My boyfriend’s a gamer, and he seems to not understand things that we should’ve learnt before.
For example, he stands in front of the door as people are getting off the bus, and says that they can just ‘walk from the side.’ and I think we should understand it really isn’t that they can’t walk from the side, but that its rude?
Another example is that he doesn’t attempt to strike a coversation when he comes to my house, and just games on the computer. After dinner, or after he finishes, he just says he is full and goes back to the PC, rather than stay, and strike a conversation.
My mom has a really bad impression of him already, and me and my sister have no idea how to solve it. Help. please?

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39 Answers

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Welcome to Fluther!

Being a ‘gamer’ has nothing to with the boyfriend’s anti-social skills, other than a possible effect. Yes, he can be taught, but it is up to him to want to learn. He would first need to understand how his behavior is perceived by others. If he doesn’t understand the reason, or worse, doesn’t see the benefit, then there is little that you can do.

Plucky's avatar

Welcome :)

I’m thinking he has more of an issue with too much gaming than being socially able. Unless he games because he’s not socially able.

I am very much an introvert. Shy and socially awkward ..all that good stuff. But I have manners, consideration and respect of others. I also game a lot. However, if I have something more important needing my attention then that takes priority.

SatouKimu's avatar

I think that the reason for him not being ‘social’ as I put it, is more because he’s uncomfortable? Because both of us and our friends are chinese, but we go to a English speaking school. He’s very social with English friends but can’t seem to do so with people like a waitress, a guard, an adult, a teacher…..... or my mother.
It might also be because his mother never really allowed people into their house, and didn’t like it when he goes to other houses. And his mother…. well. she is not the most polite person in the world?
I really have no idea, but I really don’t want my mother to have the impression of him being ‘rude’ and ‘socially inept’. I do plan on being with him for a long time.

Hibernate's avatar

First things first :) If there’s only a bus door and not a double door then he’s wrong. If there’s a double door one is for getting off the bus and another to walk inside ..[ at least in the world I live since it takes a lot of time to wait for all to come out then to start going in ].

Then you said he does not conversate .. maybe he doesn’t know what to talk about…

What do you talk about with him ? Because you could start not wait for him to start talking.
Why do you stay friends if he’s like that ?

Social skills are teachable but it takes a lot of time and patience.
Good luck.

Plucky's avatar

The best you can do is to help him understand why it’s considered rude.

You could start conversations with him, to get things going. I am horrible for starting conversation; I usually need to be asked/invited first. But the people that know me understand this.

If he is that uncomfortable dealing with certain people, you could try to help him along and involve him in your conversations with those people (when he’s with you).

As @Hibernate stated takes time and patience. But your boyfriend has to be willing to put in the effort as well. He won’t learn these skills if he doesn’t see it as an issue to begin with.

Luiveton's avatar

Put him around alot of people all the time. This will make him more socially interactive. Hide the computer, or try telling him not to use it at all. And, teach him some manners, or break up with him.

SatouKimu's avatar

Wait. Are you saying just because someone is rude, that I breakup with them?
How utterly shallow.
Just because my mother doesn’t like that he doesn’t understand what is considered rude, doesn’t mean that I breakup with him. I love him. I’m dating him. Not my mother.
I just don’t think that it’d be nice if my mother doesn’t like him a lot.

SatouKimu's avatar

@Hibernate and, it wasn’t a double door. D:

and, well, he’s my boyfriend :)
he just isn’t very social when it comes to people that aren’t near his age, or just don’t talk about gaming D:
and, with me, we talk about everything really.
That’s why i think it’s odd, that he’s socially inept around adults? not sure.

Plucky's avatar

@SatouKimu Have you tried explaining to your mother what he’s like ..and maybe that he’s working on it?

If it is mainly adults that he is uncomfortable with ..then it may be authority figures. A lot of people are uncomfortable around authority. He just needs to learn, maybe on his own time, how to interact with them.

BarnacleBill's avatar

You cannot change him unless he wants to change. Does he want to change?

aprilsimnel's avatar

He needs to learn empathy, which is the basis of what makes someone socially able.

zenvelo's avatar

You said My mom has a really bad impression of him already. Reading what you have said I have a bad impression of him too. He seems like a jerk. And his being rude is grounds for breaking up with him. Why do you tolerate his behavior? Why do you consider it okay for him to sit down at the computer instead of visiting with you?

From what you have written, it bothers you too! You don’t need a boy friend who acts like that.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

People project. He has low self esteem. He doesn’t think he has much to offer. He assumes he is not valuable and does not think people want him around, or want to talk to him. I agree with aprilsimnel. He has no idea what other people are feeling, and just assumes a sort of negativity.

SatouKimu's avatar

… again. I am not about to break up with a guy because he isn’t the most polite with other people, because he is absolutely fine with me, @zenvelo. You seem to not understand love and take then term ‘couple’ very lightly. If you don’t understand him, you don’t have to write an answer. And let me point out that you haven’t help with my question at all.

belakyre's avatar

With all due respect, you are judging who I am and labeling me as a jerk with a sentence. I wouldn’t mind if it was a sentence that actually did point me out as a jerk but it was a sentence that basically was another person’s perception of who I am. Furthermore, I admit I am uncomfortable with adults and other authority figures and so her opinion of me wouldn’t really hold much merit. Not everyone has been taught the same mannerisms and I assure you that none of the problems I have that were listed in @SatouKimu‘s question were taught to me as wrong. In fact, it was always okay for me to run off straight after dinner without waiting for the others to finish.
In a nutshell, I am pretty sure I am not a jerk.

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought I assure you my self-esteem is healthy and is in no need of being “treated”.
@aprilsimnel I would like to be modest here but I am empathetic and compassionate. It’s just that in terms of social etiquette and such I am more lacking. Instead of helping her answer this question you questioned me and my empathy. ._.
@Luiveton I am socially interactive, but you have to understand that there is a language barrier between her parents and I. If there was no language barrier, I would actually get off the computer and start talking.

@PluckyDog and @Pied_Pfeffer Thank you very much for answering the question.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@belakyre, I was responding to the original question. My comments were not directed to you in any manner.

belakyre's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought You were referring to me. But what I was saying is that you somehow got the impression that I was a person with low self-esteem from the question. I have re-read this question several times and I have yet to come to the conclusion that you arrived at.

Can you please explain?

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

“Another example is that he doesn’t attempt to strike a coversation when he comes to my house, and just games on the computer. After dinner, or after he finishes, he just says he is full and goes back to the PC, rather than stay, and strike a conversation.”

The asker does not say that this person is gaming too much. Rather, this person is not attempting to interact with those around him. My sense is this person is not getting satisfaction from his dealings with people.

I am introverted, but I have noticed I am happy with myself, I make a point to check in with those around me and confirm that they are happy, I want to spread that contentment before I go back into my head.

When I am not happy, when I am feeling negative, I avoid folks, thinking that they don’t want to talk to me.

The question seems to be driven out of the author’s long term observation of her boyfriend.

SatouKimu's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought Well, I suppose that does make sense, but I’m afraid that this might not the case…. actually…. is there such a thing as selectively-introverted?
I do agree that there may be things that apply in your response. Thank you very much for your answer it’s very well thought out. :)

belakyre's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought I respect your own take on this, however I assure you that my lack of interaction with her parents does not stem from me having low self-esteem or negative thoughts but rather me being unable to strike up a conversation.

Thank you for your answer, and I honestly admit that I enjoyed reading it.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@belakyre You are welcome, and thank you for providing additional information from your perspective. It is rare that we get to hear both sides of a scenario.

Have you heard of The Golden Rule? I am not a big fan of it. I prefer The Platinum Rule, which is, “Do unto others as they want done unto them.” There are thresholds, of course, that I am not willing to cross when it comes to this, just like there are for anyone. Sometimes though, we need to step out of the comfort zone in order to appease others. In a perfect world, this wouldn’t be an issue, but in reality it often is.

Cultural differences are fascinating. This includes family dynamics, as they create their own culture. When introducing a newcomer, it is much like having them step onto a speeding train. Even joining a site, such as Fluther, is a perfect example. The new members are clueless about the culture unless educated or they learn on their own.

@SatouKimu As the mediator, you play an important role. If your SO is open to learning how to adapt, then you can help him learn. You also need to be willing to let go of your mother’s judgement and not let it bother you.

belakyre's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I am very fond of the Golden Rule, and try to apply it to my life everyday. However as I do not know what her parents would want me to do (ie. staying behind after dinner for a bit of chat and conversation), I move on unconscious of the fact that what I did was rude.
The same goes for standing in front of the door really, as I have always found it but an extremely minor inconvenience to have to detour around someone blocking my exit and I thought that other people wouldn’t mind as well. My last statement was in accordance to the Golden Rule but not your “Platinum Rule”. I find it an interesting and intriguing concept and I will consider it as my next motto to live by.

SatouKimu's avatar

What I mean is, my boyfriend isn’t trying to be rude, but he doesn’t know why is rude, or considered ‘odd’ (as my mom put it). And look at his immaculate writing style (he talks like this sometimes. orz) he isn’t rude. Honest. Maybe nervous. Hasn’t been taught the way we expect him to be taught. You know?

I think its a major disadvantage for him that in because my mother is a teacher, she has very strict rules about politeness and respect for others. I suppose the fact that he is Asian-looking, but doesn’t understand the rules of ‘Chinese society’ seems odd.

I am giving him pointers on general manners and whatnot, so if any has any suggestions, please tell me.


or should I make a new question?

zenvelo's avatar

@SatouKimu @belakyre The original question was posed by someone who framed the question in terms of her boyfriend’s rudeness. I stand by my original posting.

@belakyre I would advise you to get a guide to manners, such as Miss Manners book. And when you need advice, ask it yourself instead of having your girlfriend post it.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@belakyre Yes, it is crystal clear that you live by The Golden Rule. This is why I suggested reading up on The Platinum Rule. The book I read regarding it was one of the most enlightening experiences I’ve ever had when it comes to social dynamics.

It taught me that, as a manager, I needed to communicate differently with the co-workers that reported to me. Person A wanted to chat, Person B communicated by e-mail, and Person C didn’t communicate at all unless there was an emergency. I had to step out of my personal comfort zone of social interaction in order to effectively support them.

There is another saying: When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Again, a line can be drawn, but to me this is more about accepting the culture of the environment one is in. For example, my SO and I recently spent a week in Morocco where public displays of affection are taboo. We typically hold hands when we walk, but for this week, we didn’t.

@SatouKimu Your mother is just being judgmental. All people are. If you want this relationship to be successful, it is only a matter of standing by his side when you feel he is right, and privately discussing any issues when you feel he is in the wrong.

SatouKimu's avatar

@zenvelo Have you considered that you are being rude by standing by your posting when I already said it’s completely wrong?
I suggest that you should get some manners as well.

The question is (in case you can’t read large font) ‘How do you teach someone to be more socially able?’
You have read the details without any regard to the actual question whatsoever.
If you’ve followed the question properly and attempted to read, which I believe you have not, my boyfriend and I have already cleared that he was unaware of his rudeness, and is more than willing to change to fit my comfort.
He was unaware that I had this question posted, or that I even had a Fluther account until I told him about it about 2–3 hours ago.
Bottom line? You are being rude, and not trying to understand or put any thought in your answers.

@Pied_Pfeffer Yes, thank you. I do see that she’s being judgmental, and I do sort things such as right and wrong with lack of attachment, so I assure you my judgement on both of them will be entirly fair.
I have actually discussed this with him before, but I might not have been firm or tolerate enough.
He’s going to listen to my ‘Manner tutoring’ for a bit, and I promised to remind him when we’re hanging out together :)

SatouKimu's avatar

@zenvelo you might want to read over that short response and check your typing. I think you meant ‘posted’ rather than ‘posed’.

belakyre's avatar

@zenvelo Thank you for your advice, though the title Miss Manners is a little embarrassing I will try to get one that will help me out. xD

I do not blame you for standing by your original posting, as it is only expected that someone would get the impression that I was a jerk from the way the question was worded… especially that sentence that you highlighted in your original post.

zenvelo's avatar

@SatouKimu Questions are “posed”; when a question is posed on Fluther it is done by “posting”.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@SatouKimu The same way you teach anything else: Books and example are a great way to start.

Both my son & my husband have Asperger’s, and social ability does not come naturally to them, nor can they learn it easily from “just being around more people”...They have to be taught through re-enactment, visuals and with situational reminders.

For example: My husband recently learned from our psychologist that there are elevator & urinal “social rules”...he didn’t have a clue that you do not use a urinal directly next to another guy (unless there’s a jam in the bathroom), or that you do not stand in the middle of the elevator when others are present (fill the corners first).

Here are some book recommendations: The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships

Social Skills Training

You could ask your local librarian for ideas. What you need to understand is that if your boyfriend is a gamer, he is most likely a visual learner. He will need visual examples to learn from and to help trigger a response when in an actual social situation. It is best to assist through all sensory learning methods whenever possible. This may take some ingenuity on your part, and a willingness to act out some situations. Other things like social etiquette, may just need to be told to him and he will need to come to terms with the fact that it’s just how the world works (like elevators, urinals, and bus doorways). Another books that comes to mind for good examples is Be Different

If this behavior is hindering him in the real world, you may want to encourage him to talk with a psychologist or therapist well versed in social anxiety, social skills, or Asperger’s syndrome.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

SatouKimu I just realized that I did not respond to your question:

” is there such a thing as selectively-introverted?”

My understanding is not really. Introversion is when you get mental energy by spending time alone, extroversion is when you feel better spending time with others.

Introverted people tend to form strong attachments when they do make them, however. That includes to ideas and to a few people. So while somebody may argue with you for hours about an idea and want to see you all the time, around most others they will be absolutely silent.

BarnacleBill's avatar

@belakyre, your girlfriend wants you to have better socialization skills. Do you want better socialization skills? Because if you do, then that’s half the situation solved. “I would like to make improvements for myself” is very different than “My girlfriend wants me to make improvements so I will, but only to keep her happy.”

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

This man could simply be inconsiderate. The clues to this could be rooted in the way he was brought up, in a non-affectionate family and parents, perhaps. He shows an inability for empathy, in other words, to put himself in another’s shoes. He may also be unable to show compassion for others which will be problematic in any relationship he has with others. Not sure what can be done about this other than letting him experience compassion from others, then withholding it to drive home how one feels when love is withheld. He could also be emotionally arrested, depending how long and when in his life he has buried himself in gaming during a period of development at an age when most kids are learning emotional coping mechanisms while interacting with others. While most kids were learning to interact with others, he was isolated in gaming.

He also could be suffering from Asperger’s syndrome, also refered to as “Autism Lite.” a mild form of Autism. This could be congenital, having to do with brain chemistry. The problem here is that this could lead to a life of dissatisfying emotional corespondence for himself and his significant others. To the extreme, the Asperger’s victim could easily hurt people, cause them emotional and physical pain without the pangs of conscience that others have ~a mechanism that prevents most of us from inflicting pain on others, including animals.

There are simple questionaires that lend clues to the diagnosis of Asperger’s, but by no means confirm it. They are only leads to the possibility that the subject may have it and, if they score high, then they should see the appropriate physician for suggestions in the spectrum of therapies available.

This would be a good question for Hawaii_Jake, an Asperger’s victim, and Dr_Dred, a physician who’s specialty is far from this specific medical discipline, but her years of exposure to medicine and various physicians could help her to lend an educated opinion on this subject. You might send them this question if any of the above rings a bell.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

He’s old enough to date? Skip him.

Plucky's avatar

Wow, I was not expecting so much traffic on this thread while I was away. I read through everything since my last post. I can not really give much more advice than what @Pied_Pfeffer has shared with both of you (which is excellent advice by the way).

@belakyre Thank you for coming to this thread and helping us understand the situation better. By your posts, you seem like an intelligent person who is willing to learn because of your empathy for those involved.

I think you will both be fine in the long run. Communication is key in understanding, and learning, the social skills needed to successfully function in society. Keep talking to one another ..openly and honestly. And try to have patience with all involved.

SatouKimu's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus ‘This man could simply be inconsiderate. The clues to this could be rooted in the way he was brought up, in a non-affectionate family and parents’ is actually very much correct from what I see. I won’t dwell into this manner much, but I think the lack of compassion or respect for, specifically, Chinese adults and Local Strangers are stemmed from his mother being over-protective of him as a child, but showing too little compassion. It does seem odd that a family would allow a child to go wondering off back to his room before everyone’s finished the family dinner. The interaction between his mother…. well… isn’t the healthiest/best. His lack of respect for his mother seems to reflect directly on to other people that are ‘similar’ (Adults, authority, chinese, strangers, etc)

To everyone:

I would like to clarify that, as I said, his lack of communication and nervousness is solely around Adults, authority, chinese, strangers, etc, and does not, in anyway, reflect how he treats me.
He is the best boyfriend and I am extremely lucky to have someone who is extremely understanding and tolerate of a girl that has suffered from Major depressive disorder. Do not judge my boyfriend from what you have solely read from this, and just don’t put an answer if it isn’t going to help our situation.

Thank you, Fluther is my new favorite site now :)

belakyre's avatar

@BarnacleBill I would actually like to learn this stuff, since I do not want my behavior to be mistaken for being rude rather than for what it really is. I have long ago realized that I normally don’t come across as who I really am.
That being said, I am eager to learn this stuff and I am already getting lessons from @SatouKimu :D.

@Neizvestnaya I certainly hope not! xD And I am pretty sure I’m old enough to date!

BarnacleBill's avatar

@belakyre, then you are on way. You are not alone; scores of young adults grew up eating dinner in the back of a minivan on the way to sports practices or camped out in front of video games because it made it easier for their parents to get things done around the house. Somehow, intergenerational socialization skills never really got passed along. A lot of it may feel really weird, but rest assured, it doesn’t look weird to others. You’re just going to have to take that on faith. It’s sort of like when you get up to talk in front of a group, if you talk slowly, it feels weird, but it doesn’t sound weird to the people who are listening.

One of the best ways is to have @SatouKimu prep you with what you need to do before you go over, and then run down the list in your head when you get there. Once you start getting positive responses, it starts feeling natural. You might want to start having random conversations with older people in stores—ask older women for food/grocery tips.

You may like this site

Coloma's avatar

I agree he has to be open to feedback, motivated, otherwise you are embarking on that well worn path to misery, the path of trying to change another.

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