Sunday, December 7, 2008

Inside the mind of an Aspie: Social Experiences and Appropriateness

I love having Asperger's, but some aspects of it can make life more difficult. Even though I love having heightened senses, being able to focus on something for extended periods of time, and being so passionate about something that others may ignore, there are still issues that go along with this condition.

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.


Fleecy said...

It's good, in a blog setting like this, to mention some of the not so good things as well as the good things about being autistic, I think. It gives a more realistic view of the reality: autistic people are neither perfect lollipop angels, nor living nightmares. Just people. Good stuff and bad stuff and neutral stuff, it's all there.

I think usually it's also appropriate to talk about a negative thing if someone else brought it up first. Depends on the situation, though. Tricky stuff.

Oh, snow. Did it snow where you are? I like snow, I think my favorite thing about it is somehow it has a dampening quality on everything. Makes the outside seem really quiet. It's very cool (pun not intended, sorry).

There's no snow here yet, but a bird bath in the back yard is now more of a bird skating-rink. There's a bunch of leaves stuck in it, which looks cool.

pink said...

Fleecy - this is exactly why I created this blog. I wanted there to be a place where I could discuss what I was going through, to connect with others experiencing similar situations and those who are just curious to learn what Autism is all about.

And that's true, you can discuss a negative thing if someone else brought it up first. If a lot of people are around, though, you need to be more careful of what you say to not offend anybody, unless you have a very strong opinion on the matter and you are going to blurt it out no matter what.

And it did snow yesterday. I was so excited, even though it didn't stick. Snow is my favorite, espescially when it is white and pristine. Unfortunately here it doesn't stay that way very long since I live in a city, but once it gets cold enough we get a ton of snow.

Thanks for reading, by the way!

Fleecy said...

Oh, I see. I made my blog because I have lots of things I think about and I kinda wanted to do... anything to get things out of my head a little. If that makes sense. Things go bing-bing-bing around the walls of my head too much.

There's a lot of tricky subjects to talk about, usually I avoid talking much unless I'm just with people I'm relatively comfortable with. It's at least a little different online, there's enough time to think about whether it's a good idea to say some thing or other.

That's cool. I like snow, though rainy weather is my favorite kind (it's easier to play in without getting, uh, frozen fingers and stuff, plus it makes nice sounds and things like that).

No problem about the reading, I spend a good chunk of my free time looking for new blogs to read so I'm usually happy to find one that I like reading.

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