Archive for the 'Socialization' Category

#28 Brutal Honesty (a.k.a. rudeness)

Written by SAPL on Sunday, November 30th, 2008 in Communication, Socialization.


Shioshvili on Flickr

“Wow, they’ve a got nice place,” says Jack as he and the wife drive by a luxury condo community. “If anything ever happens to you and the kids, I’m moving there.”

There’s honesty. And then there’s brutal honesty. Too often the Aspie possesses the latter.

Since Asperger people would rather be truthful, it never fails that sometimes that truth hurts. Or just pisses someone off. The Aspie is so focused on stating what is true, that he or she cannot foresee how the truth might affect the other person’s feelings. Like equating the loss of the wife and kids to an opportunity to live in luxury, for example.

Yes, if you ever are interested in knowing if your butt really is too big, just ask Asperger people. And then you will learn never to ask again.

Brutal honesty, known to neurotypicals as rudeness, often crops its head in personal conversation, but it can manifest itself in various situations.

Political discussions are never sparing, but the Asperger might appear as the Nazi, rather than just radical, making his views known about not feeding the hungry, so “they will starve to death and we’ll have less people to worry about feeding.”

Brutal honesty can be direct, as the examples above, but also indirect, as in the form of an insulting compliment like, “Wow, you look so much prettier than the last time I saw you,” or “I’m really surprised your boobs are still full, considering most big ones like yours get flat at your age. I wonder when yours will start to go south” to “just wait until we have our children. You’re going to have stretch marks to map the entire state. You may be lucky enough to avoid them with the first child, but by the second…no way.”

Brutal honesty rears its head in both public and private conversation, small settings and large. “Should you really be wearing white considering everything I know you did in college,” the Asperger asks the bride during the reception in front of the groom and the bride and groom’s parents and a dozen other guests.

In summary, Asperger people remind us that if you really don’t want to know, don’t ask.

“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” is a popular television series on Fox involving a robot that displays many Asperger traits. The whole gist of the story is this: Sarah Connor (Lena Headey) has a son, John (Thomas Dekker). John is being pursued by a Terminator that wants to destroy him. They recruit Cameron, a Terminator played by actress Summer Glau, who has been reprogrammed to help instead of hurt John (Good Terminator) and off they go running from the Bad Terminator and trying to figure out how to stop him. In between plots, there are love stories, adolescent angst, and plenty of robots getting blown up, shredded, burned, then putting themselves back together in a strange Humpty-Dumpty fashion and reactivating themselves to chase after John again. Pretty typical life for a teenage boy.

Cameron, the Good Terminator, follows John wherever he goes, including school. Although she is beautiful, it’s not long before John and everyone else who interacts with her realizes that she is a little bit “different.” She is supposed to be able to blend in and interact with real humans better than the other robots, but she has her, um, moments.

The following examples may not have been discussed yet, but all traits you’ll eventually see dissected on this site:

Telling the truth with brutal honesty without regarding the feelings of others:
High school bathroom with lots of teenager girls. One girl asks Cameron if she looks fat in the outfit. Cameron says of course she does and her reply results in a string of profanity from the girl seeking advice. Obviously surprised by the girl’s anger, Cameron reminds her, “You asked.”

Literal Interpretation or Misinterpretation of Phrases/Not Understanding pop culture or slang phrases:
Sarah, John, and Cameron are all getting into a vehicle. “I call shotgun,” John says, while getting in the front passenger seat. To which Cameron says, “I call nine millimeter.” (Which is probably what she’ll use to disable a Bad Terminator within the next 10 minutes of the scene.)

Using appropriate social skills or phrases, but not doing so smoothly. Timing is off, phrase is somewhat incorrect, or the social skill is right mannerism/wrong time:
Cameron is conducting a bank heist to access a special vault that will take them to another time. “Everybody on the ground,” she yells, brandishing a firearm. But remembering her programmed manners, she follows it up with (after a brief pause), “Please.”

Picks up a small boy by the collar, lifting him from the ground and tells him very sternly that there’s a chance the Bad Robots will kill him and his parents. (After all, he needs honesty.) When Sarah gives her the “What the hell are you doing,” reprimand, Cameron quickly remembers proper social rituals and asks the young boy, “Would you like a bedtime story?” Yeah, he’d probably like that. Along with being put back on the ground and dry pants, now that the ones he’s wearing are soaked with urine.

Needs to be reminded of personal space:
John (to Cameron): “When you talk to people, don’t stand so close.” Of course, there’s a practical explanation for this. Cameron (to John): “I’m assessing the threat level.” (Obviously. She needs to determine if it’s time to call nine millimeter.)

Image: William Hook on Flickr

#24 Dating Themselves

Written by SAPL on Wednesday, October 15th, 2008 in Marriage and Dating, Socialization.


Image: badjonni on Flickr

Someone once said “Love Thyself.” This motto is good for anyone to live by, but Asperger people take the advice one step further: Love thyself and date thyself.

How would you describe a person who dates themselves? Narcissistic? Strange? Nonsense! It’s simply relationship heaven for Asperger people. Since they enjoy solitude so much, it’s no surprise they often choose to go solo during many social activities. Unlike neurotypicals, they freely partake in movie outings, dinners, museum visits, concerts, you name it, and without worrying about having someone to accompany them. Asperger people love to date themselves! Aspies find nothing odd about this practice and are quite surprised to learn neurotypicals have completely different viewpoints.

In conversation, an Asperger person might ask [insert neurotypical X] if she went to see the musical

Jersey Boys. A neurotypical person might reply with, “No, I was going to go, but I couldn’t find anyone to go with me.”

“How ridiculous,” the Aspie person thinks to herself. “Why would anyone miss out on so much fun just because they can’t find anyone to go with them?”

The older the Asperger person gets, the more she learns just how ridiculous this neurotypical rule applies to “the others,” from shopping to sports games to relieving oneself in the lavatory. As a result, the Aspie vows to live life even fuller by themselves, trying their hardest never to miss any fun because everyone else’s calendar is full, no one else likes similar types of movies, or no one else at the dinner table has the urge to tinkle.

And dating oneself has tons of perks for the Aspie as he never has to compromise on when, where, and what to do. This ensures that most dates can involve the special interest, the date can never complain about going to the same restaurant every Friday night and use this as an example to bring up “inflexibility” in couples therapy, or bash him in front of their girlfriends about the lack of “spontaneity” in the relationship.

Naturally, safety should always be considered when dating oneself and dates in places like dark streets or deserted areas aren’t desirable. The Aspie female unfortunately will find herself surrounded by various male “friends” if she chooses to take herself on a date to a bar where the social rule followed by drunk neurotypical males is to offer her a drink in hopes she will break up with herself and date them. Yes, cautions of dating oneself should not be taken lightly. Always meet yourself in a public place. Email is good, but give yourself your phone number only if you feel comfortable.

Much neurotypical chatter takes place about the Asperger who is known to date him or herself. If you could Google this chatter, keywords might be “isolated,” or “loner” or “I never see her with anyone.” But the next time a nosy neurotypical poses one of their most nuisance questions, “Are you even dating anyone?” quickly turn to them and say, “Darn right. I’m dating myself.”

#22 Imitation

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


trekkyandy on Flickr

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.

#20 Correcting

Written by SAPL on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008 in Socialization.


Vesentico/Sento on Flickr

In the world of Aspergerness, there are usually 2 colors: Black and White. It’s either right or wrong, with no possibilities of shades in between. However, for many Aspies, the color palate can be expanded slightly to allow for times when others forget what color an issue should fall under: That color is red-for correction.

Aspies love to correct, both people and inanimate objects. It is an innate tendency that they attempt to conceal though numerous methods-biting the tongue or lip, pretending not to see or hear the mistake, or maybe convincing themselves that there really is another way of looking at it. But sooner or later, a huge volcanic-like reaction will occur in their bodies and minds, forcing them to tell the world just how things really should be.

This is helpful at times. We’d all like to know when there’s spinach on our teeth. If you hire an Aspie as your personal assistant, you ensure you’ll never be in the presence of your future in-laws with an unzipped fly. Ditto for bad grammar, incorrect or twisted facts, mispronunctiations, and your tendency to strech or leave out parts of a story. “There aren’t 12 monkeys at the zoo. Three of those are actually chimpanzees.

A tender moment between a couple can quickly be ruined by the Aspie’s need to correct. “You’re eyes are as blue as the sky,” will quickly be followed by, “The sky is more cyan than regular blue. If you think my eyes are cyan, that’s fine, but blue isn’t the best descriptive word if you’re going to be using the sky as a simile.” This same partner was rebuked last week for writing a love letter rife with spelling errors that the Aspie circled in red and returned.

A lover who finds him or herself in this situation can be redeemed by the all time symbol of couple apology and makeup: Buying a gift for the Aspie partner. Red pens and white out make good stocking stuffers as well as books containing titles like, “Myths Uncovered,” “Secrets Exposed,” and “The Truth About,” as they give the Aspie the reassurance that you agree upon the core values of any good relationship: trust, love, and a strong sense of telling each other and the rest of the world how everything that comes out of their mouths or is written by their hand is completely screwed up.

If you’re an Aspie and think something in this post is amiss, please correct it by saying something in the comment box.

#18 Providing More Than The Minimum Coverage

Written by SAPL on Monday, August 18th, 2008 in Socialization.

Details are important for the Asperger, even the details that aren’t important for everyone else, weren’t asked for, and no one cares about. This is why, when asking the Asperger a simple question, you’re likely to get more than the minimum coverage.

More than the minimum coverage usually takes place in 2 categories: A Shakespearean monologue for a yes/no question and TMI-Too much information. TMI is, of course, not just extra conversation, but the kind of coverage that just does not make for good dinner conversation. This will often take place in groups, such as a walk in the park on a hot summer day, for example.

Let’s say the Asperger drank several bottles of water, but still hasn’t had a need for a bathroom break like every other member in the group. “You probably are dehydrated,” a fellow hiker may suggest.

“You’re probably right,” the Asperger replies. “In fact, I must be dehydrated because my urine was extremely dark this morning. And I’ve been terribly constipated as well. But it may be due to my bathroom rhythms. I usually have certain times of the day I urinate and hardly ever go off schedule. It must not be time urinate yet. But having bathroom schedules are convenient because you always know when you’re going to go. Except of course, when it’s time and you can’t find a bathroom. There have been 2 times there wasn’t a bathroom around and I am so glad I was wearing dark pants because…”

We can all see that the TMI checkpoint was missed long ago.

While other monologues may not hit the TMI scale, they still provide more than the minimum coverage. Directions to the pharmacy come with the history of why all the streets are named what they are named, the business that used to occupy the pharmacy building, the arrangements of the aisle and the order of medicines in them, etc., etc. Hopefully, she or he will remember the social rule of not asking what you’re buying, but probably not, and if not, at least you’ll be provided with several cheaper alternatives to Mr. Hooper’s Hemorrhoid cream.

#16 Different Couple Living Arrangements

Written by SAPL on Monday, August 11th, 2008 in Marriage and Dating, Socialization.


Planet Holiday

Contrary to what some think, Asperger people do indeed get married and have families. However, these living arrangements or the state of the household may be a little different than your neurotypical situation. Due to the Asperger’s intense need for solitude and being left alone for a good portion of the day, Asperger people may not interact with their neurotypical or even fellow Asperger partner in what is normally expected.

For example, one Asperger may say to his/her partner, “I like to have a lot of alone time. So, Just because we’re in the house together, doesn’t mean we have to interact.” There may be arrangements of sleeping in separate beds, eating alone versus together, and in some cases even having 2 completely separate homes or apartments even though they are married.

Although the neurotypical spouse may not even know why the Asperger partner is so damn weird, he/she may very well adapt and try to understand, thus having an “unwritten” agreement. However, it never fails that some nosy neurotypicals with no lives will find out about the “weirdness at 2525  Otherwise Non-Freaky Neighborhood Lane,” and begin to talk. They may start to have “heart to heart”, which is more like “headbutt to headbutt” conversations with the neurotypical and Asperger partner, desperately trying to incite change even when both partners are happy.

Truth be told, these neurotypicals are just jealous. Susie wouldn’t mind peace and quite versus a groping and demanding husband at home every evening at 7:00PM. Harry down the street knows he too could benefit from a separate bed and thus avoiding his wife’s jittery restless legs kicking him in the crotch every morning or being awoken by her loud farts in the middle of the night. But remember, neurotypicals care too much about what is socially appropriate. Either that or Harry is looking for a way out of the 4th child he promised his wife.

#14 Speaking Factanese

Written by SAPL on Friday, August 1st, 2008 in Hobbies and Special Interests, Socialization.


tradebit

As mentioned before, Aspies love facts and love to insert them into conversation. You might find yourself chatting with an Asperger and it seems like every other line is a fact or data supporting a fact. It it so integrated into the conversation, you wonder how on earth could anyone know so much, either from one specific or many disciplines. This phenomena is known as Speaking Factanese.

Aspergers are born bilingual, the 1st language being their native, and the 2nd being Factanese. It’s not that Factanese can’t be understood by the neurotypical. It’s just darn hard to speak it with the same fluidity as the Asperger. To help you recognize Factanese and possibly help you become more fluent, please study the following Factanese passages:

Conversation 3: The Fiber Kick
Person A: I’m going to start getting more fiber in my diet because I want to be healthier.
Asperger: You should really consider what type of fiber you need more of. There are 2 types. Soluble lowers your cholesterol, insoluble helps you pass bowel movements better. (This conversation is taking place over dinner, by the way.)

Conversation 1: The Father’s Day Gift
Person A: I can’t decide what to get my father for Father’s Day. He likes cookware.
Person B: Get him Mr. Cook’s Oven Mitt.
Person Asperger: If you’re going to get an oven mitt, get Mr. Manly Bakes instead. Mr. Manly Bakes withstands 500 F degrees of heat, while Mr. Cook’s only withstands 450 F.

Conversation 2: The Microwave Popcorn Dilemma
Person A: I’m going to pop some popcorn.
Person B: I stopped doing the microwave popcorn thing after I found about the whole diacetyl and lung cancer link.
Person Asperger: Some companies have stopped using (emphasizes the correct pronunciation-which Person B didn’t do) diacetyl flavoring. Con Agra brands no longer use it.

By carefully studying these examples, soon you too can become fluent in Factanese and find a way to insert obscure information about boats, weather, and walrus genitals into any conversation.



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