Social interaction idea

I have a hypothesis that in the UK we don't have a very sociable culture and that this contributes to the number of people in UK society with anxiety disorders... I am generalising ofcourse and to make this kind of assertion I have to but this is untested so please hear me out. I am quite prepared to admit I might be wrong.

I lived in mainland Europe for a long time and as someone who's really into their sociology, I observed so much that I observe here in the UK and I can't help but make comparisons...

In the UK, I find people are quite socially awquard when compared to the Spanish, Italians and French. That a lot of interaction depends on the consumption of alcohol. That people talk at others, rather than actually conversing. I find the culture here has become very show-offy and we are, as a country, getting further and further away from our authentic selves. This is on top of the fact that being in the Western world, we are also individualist and quite selfish when compared to say, traditional Asian mind-sets for example.

Does anyone else on here feel this way? Does anyone else think that teaching school children the art of conversation, social rules and self-esteem, we might pave the way for less anxiety in the future?

I am British and lived for 7 years on the continent. As a bit of background. I am proud to be English and would rather not go down the race path in this discussion. These are my honest thoughts.

19 Replies

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  • i dont know much but i think we live in a high paced lifestyle these days and for the most part people keep then self to them self.

    And most people have their own social group and tend not to look into other cultures as much.

    i dont think their is a direct link to anxiety and how we communicate because i have had a healthy social life and still suffered form panic attacks ect

  • Hi stewartmays1,

    Thanks so much for responding. So did I when I had my first lot of panic attacks... in fact I have never been surrounded by so many people, been out so much etc., But if I look back (and even at the time) I realised that I was surrounded by people but felt isolated at the same time. I didn't feel I was getting much out of my social interactions. I didn't feel nourished by them. I was hankering for more of a connection.

    I am guessing this wouldn't be true of your experience?

  • Interesting view, are you referring though to a lack of socialising, conversation or how we live as a western society i.e, less extended family more nuclear? I'd be interested to know how rates of anxiety compare in those two family structures. I do think you may have a slightly idealistic view of other European countries, anxiety disorders and comorbidities are highly prevalent in France for example. Teaching schoolchildren the art of conversation, social rules and self-esteeming would be good regardless.

  • i know what you meen the more people around me the more severe the attacks can be i am at a stage in my life where i lead a very lonely and isolated life due to unemployment ect and have no network of friends this can be very hard to deal with at times.

    having a connection with some one is a nice thing to have i agree but i have found a all round point of view on things pays of and a good look at your self also.

  • Hi Hollow!

    I agree that I might be idealising this.. I just think there might be a grain of truth. I spend half my time around French people (even here in the UK) and half around English (some of whom live in France) and I've found a bit of support for this idea among this (highly restricted) group.

    I am principally referring to how much 'juice' how much substance and emotional and intellectual nourishment we get out of social interactions in this country.

    I feel that it's certainly a lot less than what we could be getting. I would like to find out, from sample groups in England and France.

    Hmmm...

  • I wonder if it's more to do with the kind of people you/we associate with, I don't think what you are referring to is lacking in this country or is greater in another. If there is very little difference in anxiety rates then the depth or richness of conversation surely puts doubts on it being a significant contributor.

  • Or we have equal anxiety but can put it down to different things... OK I'm just being stubborn now :)

  • like the fulfillment or lack of through conversation?

  • StewartMays1,

    How come you no longer have people around you? Is it 'just' because you're unemployed? I mean were your friends before also your colleagues?

    Unemployment is so complex. I went through it for 5 months about 5 years ago and I remember it was really stressful and demanded all of my personal resources and coping mechanisms. It would be good if people realised actually what it's like to be unemployed. It would be good if someone trained people at the job centre on this from an unemployed person's perspective.

    I hope you find something soon. I hope you soon have good people around you.

  • well being out of work for so long led me to having mental health issues some serious some the standard and i lost all contact with people around me but it has also done me a big faver in the long run getting things turned around now

  • That's good. Having relationships with mental health stuff going on is one of the more humbling experiences of my life... having people around, holding onto them (the ones you WANT to hold onto...) and then the worry you haven't lost credibility forever. Well that's how I felt.

    Looks like you are going to make (if you haven't already) a fresh start then? :)

  • :)very interesting questions with too many different point of views, i am not English (soon will be British) came to England almost seven years ago, Lebanese/Greek background. i can honestly say that i yet to make English friends, i don't drink much and i don't sleep around, so people get bored from my company, in fact i was told one time that i am not fun (although i am soo funny) and people stopped inviting me to parties, people at work not interested in relationships outside work, neighbors just say hi and slam the door on my face, although i always make an effort but no one is interested, i have done/doing some volunteering work and although people are very nice but it doesn't go further. i don't have family in here and found it really difficult to cope sometimes,. Back home people just knock on the door and come inside for a chat, which is nice, friends are very committed and socializing does not include drinking all the time, just nice pub/restaurant with light meal/music and laughs.

    not sure what is the problem, living in the city maybe is different than in the country, maybe it is different but we need the input of people in here to try to understand.

    world is changing so fast and people cannot cope sometimes, maybe they just want to switch off on their break.

    I find it revolting how people get drunk and pass out on the floor, it makes me annoyed and wonder where are their parents. in England it is not that difficult to live if you have no job, i know it is frustrating but too many facilities from government that made young people not appreciate working hard. back home if you don't work you don't get paid simple as that, family helps each other in need, very few parents end up in caring home, normally children take care of their parents, do not move house unless married.

    I am not sure if this makes any difference, people on this site are lovely, sweet and support each other which is amazing, so i wonder why i never met those kind of people.

    hope people will interact now with this discussion.

    have a nice evening

  • Hello..... You sound a wonderful person rouri so if people are treating you that way then it is their loss x

  • I have noticed over the years the decrease of family commitment. When I was a child the whole family would get together and stick together in times of trouble. My teens as well...I remember the family feeling was there and we all helped each other. Friends were treat the same as family as well. Personally I think it's because we all were the same...we all lived the same..we all had the same. Mind you having said that, people like me were locked up then and given electric shocks. So we have 2 lives... 1 before anxiety and depression...and 1 after!!!!. Of course the life before seems to be a bed of roses lol! but it can't have been can it? xxxxxxxxxxx

  • Hi. downto earth. I would like to stick to the questions raised in your original blog. I do believe what you say about children being raised with more awareness. Something sadly lacking in our society. Now Carl Jung, the great psychologist of the twentieth century, held the belief that every country had it's 'Psyche' just as we have as individuals. Now in saying this he opened himself to a lot of misunderstanding. He suggested that part of the German Psyche is to always be on top. (He was Swiss). We saw this in 1914 and in 1939. We are seeing this assert itself in Europe at the present time. This time, not in aggressiveness but economically. (Which can be equally effective. See Greece, Spain and Italy). I worked with Germans and there was always this desire to be 'top dog'. Sad but, I believe, true. Very nice kind people but, assertive. Now the British have this culture of, what appears to others to be 'stand offishness'. The 'stiff upper lip' is part of our Psyche. As a nation we do not appear to be aggressive. (That seemed to disappear with the loss of the Empire!) Italians, Spanish and other 'Latin' cultures are much more 'outgoing' and do socialise a lot more than we do. I also believe you would get more help in an anxiety situation because they tend to be more emotional, and, therefore, more helpful. There is a story of two men at a level crossing where the lights had got suck on red. The German sat there for ever, waiting for them to change. Very rigid and unemotional.The Englishman had had enough after a while and said, "To hell with this" and went. Foolhardy? I am not sure what I would want to be other than English. But I am stuck with it anyway. Thanks for a most thought provoking blog. Regards. jonathan.

  • Hi Jonathan (downtoearth where you gone?) I'm yet to be convinced that who we are as a nation impacts on the prevalence of anxiety, as I mentioned there are comparable numbers of people who have anxiety disorders in France, Portugal and notably in Spain. The people of these said countries are often referred to as being more outgoing, sociable, more family orientated so where are they going wrong? If economics plays it part then Italy and Greece will soon follow if not already there.

  • Hi. hollow. Yes, where's he got to!!. I feel I was being too specific. Of course, it would be wrong to generalise. But I still feel that we are not an 'outgoing' society; that we tend to keep our feelings to ourselves far too long. It is a fact that Italian men, or most men in the Latin countries, are not afraid to be seen to cry. In this country I still find that if a man admits to shedding tears there is still a tendency to shy away. It's not manly!!! Best wishes. jonathan.

  • In my experience we have our priorities wrong in this country. We are obsessed with air headed celebrities whos`e only claim to fame is that they appeared on big brother or the x factor. We are much too shallow & only care about looks & money in this country.

  • what makes me wonder that people would pay money to make others rich, take the band One Direction for example, one of the guys is only 18 and managed to buy a flat worth £2millions??? so what is wrong is that people are idolising celebreties for what? at the end you will end up losing money/time and made someone else rich!!! i just don't get it.

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