Why Aspies Struggle in Customer Service

Dining room table with the quote "The people who give you their food give you their heart." - Cesar Chavez

“The people who give you their food give you their heart.” – Cesar Chavez

Working in customer service has provided much insight into my Aspergers. Although a generally nice person, I struggle knowing how to respond to people that I need to serve. Worries plagued me about being an awful person who could not be kind to others under stress. Perhaps I was not the sweet person that others claimed I was.

Now, I am usually  great with customers. Smiling, complimenting, and paying close attention to their needs are skills that are not difficult for me. In many ways, my deep desire to serve  and fear of offending others make me a good worker.

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Coping Skills: #69. Dine Out

Lentil dish

A lentil dish that I ate out in Oxford

On Wednesday, a friend and I ate supper together at my school cafeteria. The lack of label frightened me, but the vegetarian option (an egg breakfast tart, homemade bread and fresh fruit) was amazing. Having something new was a nice change from my frozen veggie burgers and unsatisfying protein bars.

Despite the anxiety regarding my weight and the calories, this meal was a great coping skill for me. Dining out can be a great way to relax, engage with others, try something new, and have a break from regular life. Whether you eat at Chipotle while joking with friends or a fancy French restaurant with a significant other, this experience can be a special event to release stress and lighten your mood.

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Allowing Myself to Enjoy Food with Friends

Nora at tea

Having tea and supper with my friend Nora in Oxford

For theater practice today, our cast met at a coffee shop. Not being able to consume caffeine limited the items that I could buy. Right away, I assumed that I would get some tea. However, the apple cider drink looked delicious. I never grew up drinking at places like this, and having such an item would be a huge treat.

However, we were going to Cafe Late, a very delicious and fun restaurant which is popular for its desserts, after the coffee shop. Thus, it made no sense for me to get a fancy drink and then eat some cake at the restaurant. The conflict continued to circle in my mind.

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Listaliciousness: Fan-Favorite Couples, Oxford Restaurants, and Sherlock in Harry Potter

Books from OxfordMy love of making lists is no secret. So, when I had the urge to make a list of links from this past week, I decided to incorporate it into my blog. Especially with school starting, ways to help think of writing ideas is important. Thus, each week will contain Listaliciousness Sunday, Media Monday, Tip Tuesday (such as top ten lists), Thankfulness Thursday, Film Friday (with a Youtube video), and Coping Skill Saturday. I had already been doing most of these but will just become more consistent with them.

Anyway, here is my listaliciouness for this past week. Some are written by me and other are things that I found and liked. Enjoy!

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One Thousand Thanks: 714 – 724. My Job of the Past Year

Unless one says goodbye to what one loves, and unless one travels to completely new territories, one can expect merely a long wearing away of oneself and an eventual extinction. - Jean Dubuffet

Unless one says goodbye to what one loves, and unless one travels to completely new territories, one can expect merely a long wearing away of oneself and an eventual extinction. – Jean Dubuffet

This weekend will be my last (at least for now) at my hostess job. Over the last year, I have learned a great deal and grown at this little restaurant. Leaving will be sad, but the future will hold many more opportunists because of the skills that I learned there. So this Thankfulness Thursday is dedicated to my job as I prepare to move on to other places.

714. My coworkers – They were so amazing, welcoming, fun, and encouraging. Every evening, I was greeted with smiles and compliments. Even when I went through rough times, they stood by my side and were kind. Their jokes and optimistic spirits will be very missed.

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Adapting My Meal Plan to Fit the Day

Tea in England

Tea in England

“Decide what you want to eat because I am making you something for free that you have to eat,” the head cook proclaimed as I rushed to the kitchen with an armful of dishes. “If you don’t tell me what you want, you will be eating a rare burger.”

“But I’m vegetarian.” I managed to squeak out as my eating disorder voice began to hiss inside my head. His impish smile told me that he had been teasing, but I also could see that he was honest about the rest. What was I going to do?

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One Thousand Thanks: 466 – 476. Feeling Full But Fantastic

 

 

Little boy licking lips and thinking "I came, I conquered, I ate, I liked it!"Well, I finally did it. Tonight was the first time that I ate at the restaurant where I work. Not only that, the dish was one of the foods that scares me the most: pasta. Afterward, my stomach felt full. The further that I go in recovery, the more feeling food in my stomach bothers me. Then I arrived back on campus and was given a ice cream shake by a friend. Once again, the food tasted wonderful but left me feeling so fat and full.

This left me wondering about my fear of being full. People always complain about being stuffed at Thanksgiving. I lament my stomach bulging out even if it is only in my head. But being full is not the same as over-eating. Instead, it says that you are satisfied and that you have enough of what you need. Being full is a good thing. There are many impoverished people who would love the feeling of food.

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Ten Tips for Eating in Public

Mario eating food

Tips to eating in public

One of my biggest fears is eating in public.  People often scoff at this anxiety, but it continues to haunt me.  What will others think about my weight?  Will they judge my food intake?  How are they talking about me and my meal to others?

When I voice these fears, friends attempt to calm them with reassurances.  “No one judges you,” they claim while I see a girl eying another’s dress.  “But you are so skinny!” They lament but quickly grip about their own weight.  The contradictions confuse me even more.  Why is it that food, weight, and appearance hold so much power over us?

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London, and Airplanes, and Indian Food. . .Oh My!

Little boy licking lips and thinking "I came, I conquered, I ate, I enjoyed it!"

Victory at a Indian restaurant

For months I have been looking forward to going to London this May.  Actually, I have been waiting to go to England ever since my father read my sisters and I The Chronicles of Narnia.  So I was thrilled to be able to leave finally on the 20th of May.

Well, thrilled and terrified.   After all, I have never been overseas.  Only twice have I left the United States and that was to go to Canada.  Although I enjoyed my stays in the northern country, it was not quite the same as embarking on a journey across the ocean.

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Wait…You Think I Eat?

Little boy looking confused

“You said what now?”

When my best friend growing up set up a time for us to meet at a old-fashioned burger diner, I agreed but silently worried.  Even if I didn’t struggle with restricting food, what was a vegetarian like me supposed to order?  I wondered why my friend wanted to meet a restaurant when everyone knew I didn’t eat.

Just breathe, I reminded myself as I scanned the menu.  It is not the end of the world if others realize that you actually do eat.  When the waitress walked over to get our orders, I was calm enough to mumble out a vegetarian option as quietly as possible.  Although I could already imagine how the staff and my friend were judging me, at least other tables would not know about my food intake.

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