Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pretend, Don't Annoy

On Asperger Syndrome ~ Blazing The Aspie Trail, a facebook group for Aspies, there is a discussion about annoying people. One of the commenters noted that he has to pretend in order to keep from annoying people. Here's my contribution to the discussion, maybe it will help you cope with being an Aspie:

Pretending is over-rated, but it helps us not annoy people so bad. Things I find it useful to pretend:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 :-)
  5. 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.
  6. 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.


Kelley said...

Gosh, this is helpful even for those of us who aren't Aspies.

SavedAspie said...

Thanks Kelley, for your comment (and for stopping by).

Mia said...

Hi! My son Max has Aspergers, he'll be 16 this year...and I cried and cried when I read your post on one of the Autism sites I belong too, I had to follow your breaks my heart because Max says some of the same things you've written and I know in my heart that he "feels" some of the other things you wrote about. Being a mom, I wish I could crawl inside his mind and help him or wish that I could take on this burden for him, but I know that God has a purpose for my Mighty Max and that in this big world he will prevail. Thank you for your writing and your thoughts, God Bless you!

SavedAspie said...

Mia, welcome to the blog. Max is blessed to have a mom who cares enough to really try and hear his voice.

One thing the Lord has shown me over the last few months is that, in spite of the hardship and frustration caused by a lifetime of social awkwardness, there are many ways I can be used in His service.

There are things that bother "normal people" and hinder them in church work that don't distract me, that don't bother me.

We all have our talents! Sure, I wish I had discovered mine earlier in life, but I'm mostly just thankful to learn about my strengths.

I'll have to write a new post on this... in the meantime, would you like to tell us a little more about Max? I tried to find your blog, but kept getting error messages.