Socializing is a big issue for me. Though I'm capable of learning how to socialize, I feel like I'm learning all of this a few years later than most Neurotypical individuals. Though I'm in college, I feel like I have the same social experiences as a 16 year old, it's all just delayed. I've progressed through a lot so far, but there's still a lot for me to experience that most of my friends have already had.
Then again, it's unfair to put social standards on milestones in a person's life. Everybody is different, and experiences different things at different times. I'm still learning how to socialize appropriately, while most of my friends are there, or at clearly work with some sort of social understanding. I can tell by their facial expressions, and when they stumble for words (probably thinking "she shouldn't have said this, it makes me uncomfortable"). From reading these cues, I can tell when I've done something wrong. These little cues have helped me to tell when I've accidentally blurted out something inappropriate. If the thing I've said is really bad, I'll usually find a time when I can pull the person I've addressed it to aside and apologize for my inappropriateness. This will inform the person that I'm aware that I did something wrong and that I'm not completely soul-less, so that I may remain in their circle of friends.
Another thing that puzzles me is when is it appropriate to discuss difficult situations? I went through a lot of hard things last year, and I can never tell when I can discuss these things with people. I'm always afraid of blurting out something to an acquaintance, with other people overhearing, because I don't want them to base this negativity on who I actually am as a person. I can't tell when people discuss them with me, because I feel like I have different social standards than everybody around me - what I consider to be a "friend" may be different than whom someone else may consider a "friend", and our perceptions of the closeness of that friendship are most likely completely different. Therefore, I don't know when to discuss unhappy things with people. I am a very happy person, most of the time, but I can be extremely cynical, and never experience steady emotions. I may appear perfectly stable from the outside, but inside my mind is rushing and, most likely, panicking. Nervous thoughts tend to circulate through, mostly about worrying whether what I've said is appropriate or not. It's something I need to learn how to control.
I have learned, however, some sort of basis for when to mention negative things. Here it is.
When you're alone with a very close friend
When you're with a few close friends
When any acquaintances are not nearby
At a party, unless you pull a person aside
In a large social setting
At an event, fundraiser, dance, or anything of that kind
When a person you're going to say negative things about is nearby
Here is a short little list... I'm still working on it, and will be adding to it constantly. Let me know if you have anything to add to it!
NOTE: Let's talk about positive things... snow and gluten-free pancakes. Happy happy happy.