Sunday, July 27, 2014

Still mad, but at least I learned a trick for making friends

I'm not feeling better today. I'm actually feeling worse.  Talking with an NT friend really hurt: not only does her mind keep track of so many things I never could hope to keep track of, but she kept using "special" the way people used to use "retard" and it really hurts to think someone close to me feels that way about those with mental disabilities.

I don't feel like writing about the "special" term. Maybe I'll do that later.  Nothing's wrong with being "special."  Many of my best friends are "special." 

The good part of our conversation, though, is learning a trick for getting people to like you more:

My friend is amazing with remembering an incredible amount of information about people she'd just met. I mean, she knew their familes names, their histories, all that stuff. I wouldn't have ever even TRIED to remember all that because I already know I wouldn't be able to do it.  But then I watched her during her visit this week and I see that's why everyone likes her!  She remembers everything about them and she shows she cares about them by weaving what she remembers in the conversation.

Lesson for Aspies:  Though you may not care about someone's great aunt and their dog's cataracts, remembering those things and bringing them up at appropriate times will help them like you.  If you are like me and can't remember those kinds of details to save your life, then you can try what I'm starting to do:  When I'm done with a conversation, I put info about the person into my phone.

So for example: I went to the car shop last week.  I put the car shop info in my phone and used the "notes" field to add details on the people who worked there.  Bob (fake name) owns the place, bought it 5 years ago, rides a harley.  Jackie (his wife) likes to garden.  Bezo (the old hairy guy) smokes and is mean. Now, a week later, I call back and get Jackie. I talk business (is my car ready yet?) and then after I'm done with business I ask her if she has tomatoes this year.  My tomatoes are growing like crazy.  Did you plant tomatoes? No? What did you plant this year?

Do I really care if she has a garden? Probably not. I mean, don't get me wrong! I love hearing about everyone's gardens because I get great ideas!  But I'm usually always in a rush. So that's not why I'm taking extra time to ask about her garden.  The real reason I'm asking is because this is the foundation for forming relationships with people.  People like to feel like you are interested in them, that you like them.  They like to feel smart, funny, beautiful around you.  So you can use that tendency to help form relationships.  When you form relationships with people, and when you do this life goes much more smoothly.  They help you more.  They give you more information.  They go look in the back for what you need rather than say "if it's not on the shelf, then we're out."

I hear some Aspies saying, "but that's being fake!"  Not so fast!  By showing interest in them, yo are making them feel better about themselves.  Don't you feel happier when someone asks your expertise on something or when they ask you how you're doing?  This is the same principal. 

Now most Aspies I know will do a job for you whether they like you or not.  Many NTs aren't that way.  If an NT likes you, he will go through great lengths to try and get you what you need.  If an NT doesn't like you, then he may not help at all (even if he COULD help, and even if it's their JOB to help).  So you're not being fake. You're genuinely wanting to make this person feel good about themselves around you because that ultimately helps YOU.

I've been using the "phone trick" to keep track of my real friends too.  Birthdays, likes, dislikes, whatever was bothering them last night (so in a week or two I can loop back and ask them "how is that going).  It's really helping!!

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