How to deal with future fiance's not so great general conversation skills?

posted 2 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 2
Member
1542 posts
Bumble bee

Haha he sounds like fun. I personally enjoy talking to quirky people.

Post # 3
Member
231 posts
Helper bee

My SO is also very awkward except instead of talking to much he doesn’t talk at all. We have been dating for 3 years and my friends were teasing him this summer saying that it was the first time they heard him talk. He is better in small groups though so he’s not always shy, just in bigger groups.

At first it would frustrate me because I am the type of person to talk to anyone about anything, I just like to hear myself speak.  I learned the worst I can do is try and help him by giving hints etc because that made him more nervous.

If you have mentioned once that people can take it that he is self centered I am sure he remembers but is just too nervous to focus. If I were you I would say something to turn the convo to other people in the group instead of trying to tell him he spoke too much afterwards. 

Post # 4
Member
1287 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

msunderstood:  Coming from a place of sort of understanding your position (bc DH is also socially awkward), I have to offer my tough love advice, which is who really cares.  I think you may be telling yourself you want to ‘fix it’ because you want him to be a better communicator, but I have to wonder if it is because you are embarrassed by it?!  You are embarrassed that perhaps people will not like him, or will talk about him when he is not there, or will ‘not understand’ why you two are even together, and that is OK, because it is normal to worry what other people are thinking, but my take is that his sometimes odd communication skills are really not hindering him in life.  He has a job (assumingly, a good one), which he earned via interviewing/talking to people.  He has a great relationship, which he achieved by talking with you, and making you comfortable.  I have to assume he has friends, and family too, that adore him!!!

How he interacts with ‘others’, albeit sometimes uncomfortable may not matter to him all that much.  Shyness does funny things to people, so at the very least at least he goes with you to places, and meets new people!!  And, I think that if I am struggling to make conversation with someone, then I try to change how that person is communicating with me – in general.  Or, I walk away.  Communication is 2-way street, even if the other person is a ‘never let’s you get a say’ type of person?!

This is not meant to be mean.  This is just my personal opinion.  My DH is shy, and admist new people tends to tell very very long-winded stories, or let’s me do the talking.  People have asked if he and I have had long back and forth conversations together.  Of course we do, or else we would not be together!  I find his social awkwardness to be a part of him, especially because it has not hindered his life – at all 🙂  

Post # 5
Member
3366 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

OUgal0004:  This.

 

You can’t do anything to change him in that respect. If he wants to learn better social skills, then he has to make the effort to do so, but this tends to be something that I’ve found very hard to change. I’m socially awkward as well and as much as I tell myself the “right” things to do, it doesn’t seem to come out “right” in the end. 

Post # 6
Member
8670 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

You can’t change the way he talks to people. If it bothers you, fine, but it’s an aspect of who he is and how he approaches the world. I would let him worry about how he comes off, it’s not your job, your responsibility, and there is literally nothing you can do about it. He’s quirky. People like quirky.

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Post # 7
Member
406 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

msunderstood:  You’re just going to have to realize that this is just one of his quirks. I get like this sometimes, but unlike your bf I am painfully aware of my social awkwardness. This causes me to not talk sometimes for fear of sounding stupid or talking about things people don’t care about. My FI also has this bad habbit of talking about himself a bit too much, but he’s just excited to share with others. Don’t make him feel bad for being who he is. If he wants to chatter away; let him! He has you and I’m sure he has his own friends who care about him. He doesn’t need to be fixed. Second hand embarassment is no fun, but down the road you will be able to laugh about it. Also, if he ever does commit a serious social faux pas, just swoop in for damage control. Change the subject or try to bring up something that everyone can chime in on. This is not one of your SO’s strengths, so practice and make it yours if you can. 🙂

Yesterday FI and I went to get his ring size and he got nervous and forgot which hand to give her, and then he forgot which finger. I got a little embarassed, but I could just see the panic on his face so I stepped in and helped, and we had a huge laugh about it as we were leaving. Stuff like that happens to me all the time. Literally. All. The. Time. I am the queen of social awkwardness (his and our friends’ affectionate nickname for me is herp derp hahaha), so when it happens to him the last thing I’m going to do is try to make him feel bad.

 It’s very comforting to know that FI doesn’t view my social anxiety and social awkwardness as a drag or something that’s really annoying. I think it’s much more important to let your SO know that you love him unconditionally than it is to be worried about how he handles social situations. If he isn’t hurting feelings or being rude, well, you just have to take the good with the bad. 🙂

 

SithLady:  Oh god. It’s always WORSE when you try to not be awkward isn’t it hahaha

  • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  MrsRoberts52.
Post # 8
Member
1202 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

I think it’s very natural for women to look at their SO and think “He’d be so much happier if only he did ___”.  We truly want to help.  

But I think people are much happier when they are simply loved and accepted, with all their flaws.     

If he complains or asks for your help, then give it.  If it hurts you to see him struggle, then tell him how it affects you.  But unsolicited advice or subtle-not-so-suble pushes could just make him feel more anxious.

Post # 9
Member
2151 posts
Buzzing bee

msunderstood:  This is a hard thing to change as an adult, and I think he really has to want to change it for anything to happen. I think it will take a lot of work but it is possible to change it, assuming there’s no developmental explanation (asbergers, autism, etc.).

It sounds like the root of a lot of it is social anxiety (maybe therapy could help) and an inability to read body language. I’m sure there is some type of therapy that addresses this kind of thing. 

I understand why it bothers you so much. I have a cousin who is like this, and even though I really like him and he lives nearby, I have to say that I often don’t invite him to things for fear of him offending people or just taking over every single conversation and totally dragging down the room. My friend’s husband is similar, and I often don’t invite them as a couple to things because he so dominates the conversation that the few times I’ve invited them, everyone else has left pretty early and been visibly bored/uncomfortable the entire time. So, I think you do miss opportunities as a couple if you’re with someone who is really socially unaware and dominating (as oppossed to just shy and quiet, that’s easier to just sort of ignore). 

I think he needs to understand how important this is to you. Unfortunately there’s not much you can do other than tell him that you support him and maybe offer him some resources. I’d say if you’re getting married though, you need to be ok with the idea that this part of his personality might NEVER change.  

Best of luck! 

 

Post # 10
Member
41855 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

If he wants to improve his communication skills, and it’s not just your idea, I suggest Toastmasters. It’s not just about public speaking.

Post # 11
Member
3376 posts
Sugar bee

My FI doesn’t really talk much and when i am uncomfortable  i am the same way but I love him so I don’t care. We are more home bodies so we don’t really hang out with groups. When we do we don’t really hang out together. My best friend has not met my fiancé yet and keeps asking when she will and i told her soon. He is on deployment so he hasn’t been home. I already told her he has a different personality that she may find to be a little awkward but my bff is a social butterfly so i am sure she will find a way to make him comfortable. 

Post # 12
Member
1319 posts
Bumble bee

People who continually talking about themselves in my opinion are either nervous or self-centered. Sounds like your SO is nervous. He really needs to focus on the ask people about themselves and compliment people idea. Its pretty simple really, if you want people to enjoy conversation with you, get them talking. Most people either like to talk about themselves or feel most comfortable talking about themselves. If you think he’d be open to it get him a book such as, “how to win friends and influence people.”

It sounds like you don’t care either way and I’m not sure I would either because being a real social couple isn’t important to me but I had a friend who’s former SO was like this and for her it was a deal breaker. She ultimately couldn’t imagine having him at holidays and meeting family.

Post # 13
Member
3366 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

MrsRoberts52:  Oh yes! It feels so fake trying to not be awkward. I’m not every expressive about my emotions, especially to people I don’t know well, so people tend to think I don’t care or don’t like them. The resting bitch face doesn’t help either. But when I do try to act excited, or sad, or whatever emotion is appropriate, it comes off as fake or sarcastic. 

It does frustrate me, but less for myself and more for my FI. I don’t want him to be judged by his friends for my awkwardness, if that makes sense. I’m used to people thinking what they want to think about me, so whatever, I just don’t want it to negatively affect him. What helps most is that he doesn’t care what people think of him or me or us. God help his friends if they ever said anything bad about me. He accepts me awkwardness and all and doesn’t try to change it. 

Post # 14
Member
150 posts
Blushing bee

msunderstood:  I can relate to our SO because I am a tad awkward around big groups, especially people I really want to impress. Instead of talking too much, I basically clam up and talk very little. It’s funny, around my family or friends or FI I can chat up a storm but around people I don’t know well I can’t even think of anything to say!

My advice would be to support and encourage him and not call him out on his awkwardness. My FI is very talkative and social and has never met a stranger so we’ve had issues with this type of situation before. He used to make comments about how I was so quiet around his family and that made me about 1000x more nervous and also made me feel like he didn’t appreciate my personality/he was trying to change me. His family has called me out on it too — His mom has said things like “Do you even have any opinions?”. All of this hurt me because I always try so hard to be happy and smiley and friendly around his family and friends. When you feel like peopel are wathcing, analyzing and criticizing you it is so much worse. I’m not saying you’re doing anything wrong — I know it’s hard for FI to understand my awkwardness lol. Just saying that he’s probably trying his best!

To make things easier, maybe you could turn the conversation to other people. Or find a topic that your SO is interested in and bring that up. This might make it easier for him to speak more naturally and relax!

Post # 15
Member
406 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

SithLady:  My problem is I’m almost always bubbly and excited when I’m with friends, but I trip over my words a lot and sometimes have a hard time finding the right words. This is extra funny to everyone who knows me bc I graduated with honors with a degree in communication bahaha. FI always wonders how I pulled that one off, the jerk. But when we’re around people I’m not comfortable with I have that problem times 1000 so I tend to keep quiet or use as few words as possible, and I’ve also been accused of being bitchy/unfriendly because I’ve got a pretty natural resting bitch face as well and when I’m not comfortable I look like I want to kill someone I guess. But I can’t stand not being able to get a damn sentence out without tripping up, so I’m usually 😡 in big crowds. FI always says its a good thing I was forced to talk to him when we first met (we met at a coffee shop I used to work at and he kept coming in while I was working lol) otherwise I never would have spoken to him haha. Oh well. He thinks my horrible speaking skills are cute. Thank god. 

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