Pretending is over-rated, but it helps us not annoy people so bad. Things I find it useful to pretend:
- Pretend I'm not nervous: People don't like being around anxious, nervous people. I pretend I'm not nervous by trying hard not jitter, stim, or other nervous movements, and by trying to move slowly and not drop things. I speak slower to avoid stammering.
- Pretend I don't know they're wrong or dumb: People are SO OFTEN wrong, have poor logic, and make poor decisions, but for some reason, no one likes me to tell them. This is not just me. People don't like for YOU to tell them how dumb they are, either. So stop doing it.
- Pretend I've got a particular fault: This one's tricky, and sometimes feels dishonest. For example, if we're in church, and everyone messes up saying the weekly verse, I will intentionally mess up mine- even though I can say it flawlessly. I will not be the only one who gets it right, because for some reason many groups of people, even church folk, get mad at you when you're the only one who always gets things right.
- Pretend to lose games: I used to always play to win- and I almost always won! But just like people don't like a know-it-all, people don't like someone who always wins. So I started learning how to lose on purpose. Not all the time, but often enough. Sounds dumb, but I get to play more. Usually, I'm only playing to "hang out" with the other player(s), so it does not matter to me if I win. Occasionally, I am playing to impress someone, and those times I do not play to lose :-)
- Pretend I understand what they're saying even though I can't make out their words: If it's social conversation, sometimes I don't understand the words. I hear them, but my mind hears a jumble. I've found that it usually causes more trouble to ask them to explain, and it doesn't matter if I really understand. The words of the discussion themselves are of no real consequence- they're just talking to hear themselves talk or be "friendly" and I am doing my part simply by listening, nodding my head, and chiming in when I can (if I can). I do NOT pretend I understand if it's work related, however, because the consequences of doing my job incorrectly are too dire.
- Pretend I know when I'm going when I'm really lost and very, very, scared: When I look lost and scared, the wrong kind of people always seem to approach me. Now when I get lost somewhere, I keep my head up, shoulders back, try hard to hold back the tears until I get to the first "safe place" I can find, like a gas station, bookstore, bank, etc.