#22 Imitation

Written by SAPL on September 17th, 2008 in Socialization.


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The Asperger will often imitate to get through various social situations when they are unsure of how to navigate¬†them using their regular social skills and personalities. This can take on several forms from imitating social gestures, professional and business mannerisms, party talk, or even entire characters, such as “The girl pretending to laugh at the stupid boy’s jokes.”

Do you remember the fast food commercial (it may have been McDonald’s) where a business man walks into the eatery and finds one of his co-workers and says something like, “Oh, hi person at work I don’t really know or care about and I’m just here to get my coffee, but I’m still pretending to be friendly because I need to get promoted,” or something of that nature. There is no better explanation for the Aspie’s need to imitate. Situations call for social behaviors and the Aspie must perform them on cue whether it feels natural or not.

In most cases, imitation is good. If you really told the co-worker at McDonald’s, “I was really¬†hoping you’d call in today. I’m going to have to find another McDonald’s or perhaps a Starbucks so I can avoid running into you,” your unemployment claims would outnumber breast implants in Hollywood.

But imitation can have a very dark side. Adolescent Aspies who imitate, “the bad kids,” will not only find themselves in trouble at school, but looking damn ridiculous as well. Imagine your coke bottled glasses, pocket protector wearing, ant-farmed carrying kid grabbing his crotch (held up by suspenders) and telling the teacher, “I don’t do homework #$%@*, I do your mom.” Point taken?

Bad imitation is scary and even an adult Asperger can succumb to it. Adult Aspies may find themselves imitating people they really don’t like or admire, pretending to take on values they really don’t have, faking emotions that are exactly the opposite of what they’re feeling, and having to recite too many scripted and phony responses.

When this happens, it’s tragic, but all is not lost. The yellow pages can sometimes be all the resources one needs for help and a few phone calls to some great divorce attorneys can quickly help the Aspie regain him or herself and snap out of that generic fog.

One Response to “#22 Imitation”

  1. Regulus Says:

    This is so very annoying, It feels so very weird to emulate social cues, I do not like it.

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