Mini post: That weird question, "How are you doing?"

I feel kind of shitty now, plus I'm at work so I don't have time to blog. I'll write a fuller post later.

I think it's funny. People ask you all day, "How are you?" The answer you must give is "Fine, thanks." You're not allowed to say, "I'm an almost-30-year-old virgin with poor social skills, and I've been thinking about suicide much more than I like lately."

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Well, that's more detail than the initial question deserves but I usually annoyed people by actually answering truthfully even if generalizing my answer. But then I tend to be more literal since I'm bad at understanding social cues and clues. (I have Asperger's - a type of high-functioning autism.) Plus, I figure why are they asking the question if they don't want to know and I'll say something along those lines if they whine about not wanting to know that "I'm not doing too well today." or "Physically I'm fine but I'm not doing too well psychologically."

Have you talked with a psychologist or psychiatrist to find out if there is anything a professional can do to help you? The poor social skills could be due to having high-functioning autism (which wasn't recognized very well until only recently), or anxiety or even something else I can't name off the top of my head. A professional might be able to help with the suicidal ideation too.

As for still being a virgin: is that really a concern for you? or is that a concern only because society keeps hammering at you that you shouldn't be one? Some people are asexual so if you have no desire to have sex, stop fretting over it.

Society throws a lot of crap at us, expecting everyone to fit into a nice neat box. But we don't fit. Some people fit well enough and/or are oblivious enough that they aren't troubled by societal pressures. Then there are the rest of us.

I want to say something more witty and supportive but I'm a bit foggy mentally due to a bad cold. Hopefully what I've said makes sense and helps.

I probably shouldn't have said that about being a virgin. Nobody likes hearing somebody whine about their sex life. Makes you sound like an entitled asshole. I don't want anybody to think I'm that.

But yes, I think sex is one component of a relationship that I'd really like to experience. I wouldn't bring it up if I was asexual and didn't really miss it. I think I'd lean more towards polyamorous...though I could be wrong, since I have no experimental data.

More than all that whining...I see all my friends getting married and having babies while I remain alone, and yes, that does bother me. Even though I know it shouldn't. I can't help but feel I've wasted the best years of my life, even though again, I'm sure that's not really the case.

Thank you. I am getting better at social cues, but sometimes I'm still totally clueless, and make myself look like an idiot. I appreciate the support.

A single line about your situation is very far from whining.

As for mentioning the idea of asexuality, I did so since not everyone knows about it.

If you're not paralyzed by anxiety like me during such situations, you could ask your friends to help you with times when you miss clues.

If you have a good friend who is decent at hooking people up, maybe they could help you with finding someone?

Man, culture is not your friend. I don't know why not having a wife and kids bothers you, but we're the same age, it doesn't bother me, and it doesn't bother a lot of people older than us (awesome, more successful people). Just gotta control the examples on which you dwell, yeah?

Suicide's... I mean, life's default is crap and death, right? Your mother squats you out and you decompose. Toothaches and kidney stones. Lot of pain and suffering. But after that, it's what you make it. Just gotta get making.

I guess it'd be the same with sex. It's your journey, do it on your own terms. If you really want it (hey, why not right? Evolution), troubleshoot it and practice the same way you do with social cues (especially if that's from anxiety-- exposure therapy). I suppose you might watch porn, develop a solid mode, then find a trusty working girl and say you've been in a year-long hermitage and you need to get yourself back up to form. Which is a lie, but that's okay, she's there to help. Next time maybe take a girl home from the bar. You'll prolly be ready to incorporate this into dating by that point, then... well, who knows?

From a female perspective (as your friend) it's actually VERY cool that you're a virgin. I know "society" doesn't make you feel that way, but it's something I would be proud of. I wish I was a virgin and only was with someone who I loved and who loved me back. Not for religious reasons (obviously) but because I've never had a healthy sexual relationship. So I guess being on this end of the spectrum, I think your situation is and will be a turn on for a lot of girls....you'll see :)

You can give such a detailed answer to a person you are close to.

Others I think ask how you are doing as a conversation starter

When I was a teenager I went through a phase/experiment of only using communication that conveyed information to the other person. So, for example, if you walk into a room and everyone looks up and notices you are now here, there is no need to say "Hello". It is redundant. Equally, please and thank-yous fall by the wayside in this experiment. I found my utterances to be greatly improved from an efficiency point of view but unfortunately I did not endear myself to many people.

I guess my point is - there is a social game we all play and those who choose not to do it are ostracised. The phrase-pairs "How are you", "Fine, thanks." are part of this game. Once this initial gambit has been played one can proceed to the more useful parts of conversational intercourse.

I know what you mean - it's annoying.

You would go totally insane in Spain where calling a colleague you barely know one floor below to find out a statistic will go like this:

A: Hey John how are you?

B: I'm great and you...long time since we spoke!

A: Yeah...busy times. How is everything in Finance?

B: Good...we have a new system so we are so busy.

A: I heard about that...good luck with it!

B: Thanks. You're still getting used to your new system in HR no?

A: Yeah...one day at a time hahahaha. 

B: Hahahaha

(this goes on for about a minute)

A: Anyways...I had a question for you.

B: Yeah...what is it?

A: I need to have a range of payroll tax rates.

B: I can only give you a median range

A: Yeah that's fine. Just email it to me.

B: Okay I'll do it as soon as possible (Spanish for sometime in the next couple of days)

A: That would be great.

B: My pleasure.

A: It was cool talking to you ... join the HR team for lunch one day

B: Yeah I will. You should come have drinks with us after work on a Friday

A: We haven't had drinks for a long time.

B: How is your house on the coast coming along? Is it finished yet?

A: Oh we had to sell the land because of the economic crisis.

B: What a pity!

A: Well...it's okay. How's your chalet in the Sierra?

B: Good good. You should come visit in the summer.

A: Sounds great. Well I gotta run.

B: Yeah me too. 

A: Thanks a lot for the help.

B: Yeah any time no problem. You'll have the info soon.

A: Great. Talk to you soon then.

B: See you later.

A: Bye. Ciao

B: Ciao ciao.

A: Bye.

B: Adios

The same conversation in Canada:

A: Hi it's Dave from HR

B: Hey.

A: Could you tell me a range of tax rates.

B: No.

A: What can you give me.

B: A median. You can come down and get a list at the end of the day.

A: Email me it please. I'm in a rush.

B: Okay. Bye (click).

A: ... bye.

Ha ha, I've worked in an office where most people were like that. I lasted 6 months.

The same conversation in Greece:

A: Hi it’s Dave from HR

B: Hey

A: Could you tell about tax rates.

B: Huh?

Geez, I like to overshare when I'm depressed, don't I? :O Thanks for being understanding in your responses.

It's ok, I think we've all been there; when I was 16 it was like that to me as well, suicidal thoughts, depressed, lusty as hell and guilt ridden about it (I was a non-religious religious nut), and serious issues relating to others. Luckily, I could finally leave everything behind when I moved out to another town for college and could leave everything, including my religious beliefs, behind.

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