Sunday, September 15, 2013
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
The Selene Yacht pulled up anchor at 11:45. I was more than glad to be getting out of Phukett, Thailand. The town was overrun with prostitution, seedy bars, and old white men trolling for lady boys and teenage Thai girls. No, Phuket was definitely not my kind of town.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
My best intentions of keeping this blog updated fell woefully by the wayside. Of course there were reasons, there always are. But the fact is that I have a short attention span and short-term memory loss. This leads to something I like to refer to as the Look Shiny Complex.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
As always I am energized and inspired by the thrill of discovery, learning, meeting new people, and new experiences. I look forward to sharing all of my travels and experiences and being better-able to help through them.
I will do my best to keep up the blog through this next month of travels, but wanted to keep you updated as to why I am straying from the connection series. Never fear, I will return to that in the near future....
Sunday, September 6, 2009
It isn’t just about meeting people. Meeting people is easy. It’s about building lasting relationships.
We’ve been through the easy formulaic ways of starting conversations:
- Pay a compliment
- Make a comment
- Ask questions
- Keep it light
After you have established first contact things can get a little harder. It is often harder for survivors to pick up on signals and cues, it definitely is for me, but it is important to try. Don’t push too hard, suggest meeting up, or doing something. See if a few people in the group want to go out. If they can make it then fantastic, if they can’t, then no worries.
There is unquestionably such a thing as instant connections, but building lasting, sustainable relationships takes time. Brain injury often makes it harder to think on your feet and come up with off the cuff topics. Often survivors are focused on recovery and their entire lives have started to revolve around recovery. To keep things easy breezy the first few meetings and start building a relationship make a list of topics to talk about to give yourself ideas. The weather, TV shows, books, movies, animals, sports, or that sort of thing; just think about it a little before you meet up with your potential new friends. Just try not to let the conversation get too heavy or soul-searching. I have made the mistake of jumping into things too fast too many times. Let me tell you, deep life-and-death conversations are interesting, but don’t necessarily make for the best starter topics.
Easy breezy – you want to be able to relax and have fun with your new friends. Just let things flow naturally. The more people you talk to, the more practice you’ll have, and the easier it will become. Before you know it you’ll be a pro at initiating conversations and building relationships.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
The ins and outs of starting a conversation, establishing a report, and basic human interaction is an art that is quickly fading into oblivion. Thankfully the ideas are ingrained in us all – we just need a few reminders. While survivors are relearning social skills is a perfect time to brush up on this as well. Survivors do however, face several additional challenges in this area as well.
In my experience, one of the biggest stumbling blocks for moving past the initial meeting and developing friendships is that of concrete thinking. It limits the brain’s ability to think “outside the box” Where to meet people, new things to do, places to go, the list is endless. I hope that previous entries have helped give a few ideas for places to meet people such as therapy or support groups.
Volunteering is another wonderful place to meet people with similar interests and outlooks, and the same can be said for any number of organized groups. Really you can meet people anywhere: at concerts or other events, I have even made fast friends on a train.
Still, it is best to start slow with groups you frequent, and branch out once you’ve found your networking “feet,” so to speak. The “where” is the easy part. The “how,” on the other hand, now that may take a little more guidance. How to start conversations, what to say when you do….
Approaching group members or people in therapy after class is a good time to do it. If something someone else said made an impression, compliment him or her on his or her insight or let him or her know what you thought about it. Another good way is to make a comment about class, "Wow, I had so much trouble understanding X, what did you think of it?"
Compliments are another great way to start a conversation. There’s no reason to approach people you don’t find interesting in some way. Don’t give empty compliments, but mention what it was that piqued your interest and if you can follow it up with a question. It can be as simple as, “those are great shoes, where did you get them?" People respond to flattery, especially when it is sincere. However you start it is always a good idea to ask their opinion, or some sort of question. Questions really get the conversation going.
While you are getting started, especially with your first few tries it may be good to take things slow. Plant the seeds - keep first contact quick and light. Talk to a few people after class, maybe exchange emails and suggest maybe getting a group together to grab coffee or lunch next time. You’re just putting feelers out, first contact. No rush, no worries….
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Facebook, myspace, twitter, dating sites are a multi-million dollar industry; it seems people are constantly reaching out. We live in a culture of networking. All it takes is a quick search and you can be in instant in contact with 100 people who have similar hopes, dreams, goals, or interests. However this easy access does not ease loneliness; instead it seems to increase the isolation. Cyber-relationships and social networking sites are making us lazy and depriving us of human contact. Basic interaction is rapidly becoming a lost art.
Brain injury often destroys long-standing relationships and networks. Not only has the survivor lost social skills, and friendships, but also even those without brain injury have problems forming relationships. It seems hopeless – everybody is lonely.
This pervasive lack of human contact in society is indeed tragic. However, this gaping hole in our culture works to your advantage. There is already a need. It is up to you to fill it.
Though there are countless negatives about brain injury it can help you approach life in new ways. It does take initiative, practice, and a little effort but meeting people really is easy. You just need to follow a few simple guidelines and you will find friends in no time!