Social Observations From an Aspie: What Makes Guys Uncomfortable 1

Boys in The Yellow Boat

Most of the boys who were in The Yellow Boat with me last spring

As someone with Aspergers, I tend to struggle to read social situations. People chuckle and shake their heads when sarcasm goes over my head and I respond literally to questions asked. At least that means they are enjoying my confusion. In the past (and still sometimes now), people might have scolded me or been exasperated. Now, most just see me as quirky and literal.

The other day, however, a new idea came to me: what if my way of reading people actually was useful or interesting to others? Sure, I am not always perfectly accurate. Yet, my view on social situations is unique. Sometimes I walk into a room and am bogged down by the emotions. Do I understand them? No, but I certainly feel what others are going through at the time. Even when someone says something and I misunderstand it, the situation is fascinating to analyze.

Thus, I am planning to do some posts from now on about how I understand people and social situations. Maybe you will find them helpful, relatable, or simply amusing. Theses posts are meant to give you a little look into my Aspie mind. Please know, however, that I do not speak for everyone with Aspergers or Autism. These are simply musings from my own experiences.

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Coping Skills: #61. Changing the Conversation

Looking at a romper in the mirror

Why don’t we just talk about something else? Like…rompers!

Today, people around me began talking about their dislike for another person. My anxiety heightened as I listened to their words. Sure, they were not hurting me directly. However, hearing gossip not only harms the listener’s opinion of someone else but also causes disgruntlement and other nasty feelings to grow.

We certainly can be annoyed and even angry with others. People can be cruel, aggravating, overly demanding, and ignorant. Yet, gossip does little to help the situation. Sometimes, I tell my mother about what others have said or done. My purpose is not to rag on someone else but to gain wisdom for how to deal with the situation. Other times, I simply need to vent. That is normal. However, I still think that gossip is not the best choice.

So in awkward situations like this, what is a coping skill that one can use? I decided to try changing the conversation several times today.

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The Awkwardness of Eating

The Awkwardness of Eating

It’s kind of awkward to eat alone in a restaurant because everybody’s looking at me. – Louis C. K.

Eating or even just being around food has been awkward for me for years.  When around others, I cringed no matter what I put in my mouth.  If I brought along a dessert, I figured everyone wondered why the fat girl was stuffing her face.  Cheese, chips, or other “unhealthy” foods branded me as unhealthy.  But if I ate lettuce, people would snicker about my weak attempt to diet.  Everything about me and food seemed wrong.

Now, these feelings would have been bad enough if they were just in my head.  However, I had heard many of my fears stated by peers, strangers, and even my wonderful family.  I distinctly remember sitting in a parking lot one day snacking on some Cheese Its.  Two men parked and entered the store.  When they returned, I overheard one snicker, “Look at that big girl pigging out on those Cheese Its.  She was doing it when we went in and she still is.”  Just the fact that I had been watched was bad enough but knowing that I had been judged as well made me want to die right then and there.

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