Thursday, October 24, 2013
Mean People. Rude People.
Though it’s never your fault when someone is rude to them (they should have better manners than that!) sometimes we make the situation worse just by nature of being Aspies. Unfortunately, it seems to me that in the NT world, once they've labeled someone as a jerk it’s ok to be mean to them. Also, once they’ve labeled someone as weaker or inferior, it’s ok to take advantage of them.
I don’t feel this way. But many NTs do.
Here are some things I’ve noticed contribute to when are people most mean to me:
They are rude to me when I can't clearly and quickly communicate what I want. If I take 2 minutes to get out one thought, they don't have time or interest and they get mad and be rude.
They are rude to me when I am clearly interrupting. If they are on the phone, talking with someone, etc, this is not the time to interrupt unless very, very important. I have trouble with this because my delayed processing means I think there is a gap in the conversation sometimes and I speak only to realize they'd started talking again and now I just cut them off. I've learned to just stop my words when I realize this, and say, "I'm sorry I thought you were done, please go on- I really wanna know what you think" and not let my pride be hurt about it. You have to reassure them you really want to hear what they were going to say, otherwise they will think YOU are being rude.
They are rude to me when I am annoying them (even if I don’t realize it). What makes it worse is they will never tell you that you are annoying to them!! Here are some things I did that annoy people (I still do them when stressed, but I try really hard not to): Laugh at the end of every sentence. Talk all the time and for a long time (I have worked hard to lose the reputation of “don’t go talk to her unless you have 30 minutes to kill”). Talk my every move out loud as I do it (“ok, now I’m gonna click this… oh, let’s see what that site says… oh yeah that’s the one I want”), pop my knuckles/neck/back alllll the time (don’t do this!), clip my nails at my desk (don’t know why they can do this but I can’t - pout - ), make lots of desk noise (rustling papers, rattling pens etc). Have your cell phone go off all the time (put it silent or vibrate and if the vibrate is LOUD put it on silent) - even if you use your alarm to stay on task like I do this annoys them and they may never tell you.
They are rude to me when they think I am passive, weak, dumb. Behaviors that contribute to them thinking this of me are: looking down all the time (try to sit/stand/walk with shoulders “up, back, and down” head up in a confident pose and making eye contact often), laughing at the end of every sentence (indicates nervousness), fidgeting or clenching fists (indicates nervousness or anger), temper tantrums/meltdowns, writing down every word they say in a meeting (indicates you don’t have a strong enough mind to remember the key points), not fighting back when someone does you wrong (if thy do you wrong, you have to stand up for yourself- but you gotta do it the right way). This actually deserves it’s own point.
They are rude to me when I don’t stand up for myself. New people at work OFTEN do what I call “testing.” They will dog you out, make you look foolish, or say something untrue to see what you do. Basically, they are looking to see if you a) catch what they’ve done and b) have the guts to do something about it. For example, a new coworker poo-poohed my program in front of my boss. I know I don’t always understand what’s going on, so I didn’t jump down his throat right there but when I got back to my office I verified that my opinion was valid, sent him documentation to that effect, and then told him perhaps he’d like to spend a few weeks getting up to speed on things like this (the doc I sent him) before he blasted me in front of the boss. He was nice to me for about 2-3 weeks, then another “test.” Nice for 2-3 weeks and then another “test.” Another example: A vender said something that clearly wasn’t true according to the laws of physics. In the past, I would just ignore it and say in my head “he doesn’t’ know what he’s talking about.” I thought I was being gracious to just let it go. The problem is, he probably KNEW he was blowing smoke and just wanted to see if YOU were smart enough to know it. So the first time someone says something wrong, you gotta call them on it. Be quick about it though, don’t take 5 minutes explaining why they’re wrong- just in 1 sentence or less. If someone really doesn’t know their stuff, pull them aside. Just make sure, if you do this, that it’s really a “right vs wrong” thing, not just something where you have your way and they have their way of doing it, or you could be labeled as an inflexible jerk.
They are rude to me when they perceive that I only talk about myself and ask about myself. This can be tough because I tend to think if you want to tell me something you WILL so I don't ask about your weekend or your pet. I figure if you want to talk about your weekend, you will. But NTs don't work that way. They actually use a code to tell you they wanna tell you about their weekend. It's crazy, but the way they tell you this is not to just start talking about their weekend (what I would do) but ask you about YOURS. They really don't want to hear about yours- they just want you to give a quick answer and say "So how was YOUR weekend" so they can tell you all about it. Crazy. If you're the person who always talks about you and never about them, then they feel justified being mean to you because they've now labeled you as a jerk. And in the NT world, it’s ok to be mean to jerks. Never mind the fact that, to most Aspies, they’re the true jerks, but that’s another story!!
They are rude to me when they realize I don't process things fast enough or that I am naive in certain areas. One antidote to this is to NOT tell personal stories. I recommend you do NOT talk about how this person or that person hurt you, how no one ever likes you, no one ever appreciates you, people always take advantage of you. This marks you as a target and a manipulator, listening to all this, will soon move in to take advantage of you. Another antidote to this is to talk as minimally as possible- basically get the other people talking much more so they don't ever find out you have trouble processing. Never mind the fact that I can calculate in my head things they will never understand, the bottom line is I'm slower in processing many things, and they will see that weakness and go in for the kill.
They are rude to me when I'm too negative. The same complaining I mentioned above might also label you as someone who will always bring others down. People want to feel happy. They want to surround themselves with people who make them feel better about themselves. Unless there's a particular reason they are sad (for example, their mom or pet died or they just got fired) they don't want you to be sad around them. And even when you have a legitimate reason to be sad, they kinda want you to get over it faster than you think is reasonable. It stinks, I know! Again, this goes into being labeled a jerk. If you get labeled a jerk buy influential NTs, the others at work or school will take it upon themselves to be mean to you. Sorry.
They are rude/mean to me when they realize I have what they call “word vomit” tendencies. To most NTs this blog post would be entirely too long. “Ain’t nobody got time fo dat!” If you write like I do, or if you talk like I write (which is how I talk at home) you are going to get labeled a pompous, arrogant, selfish jerk. Even though I’m none of those things. And people aren’t going to want to have time for you. And, again, in the NT world, if you are labeled a jerk or are in a major way different from others, it appears socially acceptable for them to be mean to you.
My experience with NTs has show me that they are VERY into themselves but resent any indication that YOU are into yourself and will often be mean/rude to those perceived as weaker or of lesser value.
Mostly, if I can sum this up: NTs will treat you mean if you a) waste their time, b) annoy them, c) appear too into yourselves (and not enough into them) and d) appear to be less strong mentally than they are. It is never your fault that someone is mean to you, but by being aware of the items I wrote above, you can significantly reduce the instances where people are rude to you.