This is important information. People of higher intelligence would be more likely to learn things, such as how to mask effectively. I learned to mask so well that most people are shocked to learn that I'm autistic. It takes about 6 months of constant exposure for someone to get creeped out and dislike me, to the point that I wonder if I've done myself a disservice with my masking habit.
I guess it's great that I can blend into society but there is always the feeling that I'm just pretending to be a normal person. I feel that I've figured out how to be pleasant person to work with but sustaining deeper relationships feels almost impossible. It kinda sucks being smart enough to realize what you are missing out on.
Another important thing is social skills. If you have poor social skills, you will have problem connecting even with your type. If you have good social skills, you can find "harmony" with your type, and "cooperation" with other types.
The problem is that no amount of social skills will translate the "cooperation" into "harmony". At best it will make you a perfect social chameleon.
Therefore, people who belong to a frequent type need to learn social skills, but people who belong to an infrequent type need to learn social skills and then spend of lot of time searching for other people of the same type.
This is further complicated by the fact that people of the infrequent type often need to pretend to be someone else, in order to avoid social punishment. But if they pretend to be someone else, and the people they are looking for also pretend to be someone else for similar reasons, that makes it even more difficult to find each other.
Also it takes some maturity to understand what exactly your type is. Meanwhile, people of the frequent types will keep telling you "actually, all you need is to start doing things that I like to do; look at me, I have plenty of friends and social success!"
But how they can they tell the difference? And even if they can how do they know that this isn't also true of everybody else, only that others are superior fakers?
How can they even know that their own responses are authentic? I ask because I'm really not sure about this in my own mind.
The question of authenticity, though interesting philosophically speaking, I think can be safely downgraded to simply "how it works in practice". Most people seem to do it out of some sort of instinct, and most people really are telegraphing their true feelings and intentions to varying degrees.
What I think that happens: my insula attached to the default mode network and is feeding information into it. It gives the ability of being much more sensitive at certain forms of empathy.
I remember before I went in thinking: research says I'll be better at emotional intelligence when I do this, I wonder what will happen. 10 days later I realized I became a lot better at empathy. So my emotional intelligence did grow :)
There's quite some research on this, but I'm going to be lazy and simply recommend Search Inside Yourself.
Disclaimer: the experience discussed in this comment is one of the reasons why I chose my username back in the day. So I'm biased.
The issue is: the practice that I got was amazing, but the theory is... not worth listening to. Fortunately, it was cheap, so 10 hours of practice and 1 hour of entertainment (is what I called it) was fine.
Though, if others have other Vipassana retreats, then don't consider this one as better.
Also: I wouldn't go in expecting that you'll experience my description above. However, you can go in with the idea that you're training your emotional intelligence, somehow. It's up to you to discover how it happened. For me the effect was screamingly obvious. But I can't guarantee that it will be for you and if it isn't then it's tough to distinguish it from placebo. With all those disclaimers in place, the above website is where I did a retreat (3 times now).
I noticed the same struggle when I talk to more extroverted people abouth the problems when approaching people.
That sounds like a dishonest way of treating people, and might be a reason why some people prefer to be more introvert.
Look at it like this:
I have a friend.
Friends try to do good things for each other.
My friend seems different today than they are usually.
They are sad.
My friend likes getting flowers.
I want them to be happier.
I will say something nice and buy them a flower.
It cheered them up a bit.
I will ask how they are, because I notice that other people do that for their friends and it helps.
On the one hand you could say, hey that's calculated manipulation. Which it kind of is and that sounds negative and dishonest.
But there is nothing dishonest about it. It's something many people might do without even thinking about which is why it seems odd to spell out as a rational process. But if you don't get it intuitively, you may have to resort to a rational process to figure out how to cheer your friend up.
I used to work with young adults on the autism spectrum at a ymca camp and the higher functioning folks lacked the ability to intuitively interact with others- the same way I might not intuitively understand engineering problems. I get frustrated by them and don’t know what to do. Imagine if that is how you felt interacting with people on a very basic basis.
When people are naturally good in social situations, they're primarily using system 1 for decision making such as "what should my facial expression be". It's kind of a state of flow, in which system 2 mostly just observes what system 1 is doing, without micromanaging every face muscle, intonation, sentence, etc.
This may also be a reason why introverts find social interaction tiring.
(This is just my understanding.)
Except when it's not.
It hold advices that can be generalized to improve your ability to learn without using analysis and develop natural actions in a given field.
Apply it to social interactions. Those are much better for everyone involved when you mostly instinctively react, yet subtly adjust using logic, not the opposite.
I think it's just a matter of effective control of yourself and a full understanding of the people and situation you're in. Most people on the spectrum struggle with the understanding bit, or the control bit, or both. I'm really lucky in that I'm pretty decent at both halves, so I don't think there's a true "secret to learn", it's more about capacity and ability.
The biggest thing I've learned is that I don't really like myself when I'm in full-facsimile mode, and so I consciously try to lower the facade whenever possible, but it's difficult after a lifetime of training by social sanctions.
Care to elaborate on this? What is the facsimile mode? My intuition tells me it’s the mirroring of the social interaction. If that’s what you mean I might have similar feelings towards it, I sometimes find some interactions awkward if I am too aware. If im lost in the flow it all goes much better
I am still not sure whether I am on the spectrum and wouldn't help me out much to be diagnosed, I've accepted a long time ago that I am somewhat different from the norm but not necessarily in a bad way, I simply am not a very good speaking person - I do excel in other modes of communication, just not with words. But I guess with hard work one can train to perform something that they're not natively apt to do just to get the job done, one doesn't have to strive to be best because that puts too much pressure and leads to stress. I hope you be compassionate and comfortable with yourself:)
Let me ask you one more thing. Do you dance at all? If not can you describe why not? I'm very curious.
I have danced, and do dance, but it's not exactly my favorite thing. Not super compelling to me.
Sometimes they want to do fraudulent things and are obviously willing to implicate others and I just steer them away and give them another option. I think they like that they are spotted but not shunned.
Or maybe I'm a mark to them, or maybe I'm a sociopath too. To the top of society you say? That's the plan..
But they aren't retreating because they've been found out. I just point out how the legitimate way is actually more lucrative.
(ie. maybe they want a commission deal on an impossible financial product that a client is interested in because the risks haven't been disclosed, I tell them we can offer a legitimate financial product with 2% management fees and 20% of profits and make way more money)
I've heard sociopaths even excuse their "eccentric inattention to others" as possibly having asperger tendencies! Most people still lack experience to even understand they are poles apart.
Regarding projections, burn the "rule book". Setting up "outside" people for failure is common but not enough to distinguish. Bullying, condescending remarks, getting others to chime in. It starts with boasting about the last victim, then you're next.
Only thing that can stop it is people stop tolerating abuse in their environment. USA is now "it".
I also realize I wasn't clear here, so lets says you have a person A who is a sociopath talk to person B. After that interaction person A comes to person C (me in this example) and says "I don't know, they strike me as a sociopath."
Now in these cases, when I've had enough interaction with Person A in other situations, to feel confident in my understanding of their challenges, and when the feedback on Person B from other sources are not reflective of that perception, and are typically hard over the other way ("this person is so empathic" kinds of things).
I hypothesize that the body language of Person B was signaling to Person A that their masking was not as effective as they would have liked.
The other thing I wanted to be clear about is that it isn't a judgement about them either way, people are who they are. What is important as a manager is understanding the dynamics of your team and how they perceive the world and evaluate it. One has to do that if you have any chance at all of working together effectively.
If A is not a conscious bully (for lack of a better term), B could be perceived as artificial, weak, blunt, out of bounds, insulting, exploitative, etc. Reaction is to push "out" and "defend", maybe "as if" leader. Introspection at A may overcome reaction, though may need reassurance from respected source (=leadership).
A and B will probably never work great together, though minimal interaction can work consciously.
How A and B relates defines span of real org culture (in heaven).
It is much more productive to simply watch the videos how people are doing it.
A lot of extroverted people are intelligently sociable and are very aware of what's going on, to the point it's natural for them.
I think that most of those people kind of assume others are the same way and so might not be quite as sympathetic to those with low EI.
The weird kids get bullied because they are legitimately weird. But pretending to be normal is difficult and tiring and inevitably you say or do enough unusual stuff that you give off weird "vibes".
And what we call "bad vibes" are often just people picking up subconsciously on subtle abnormal behaviors. I doubt that 90% of the population has actually considered any of this from an introspective perspective. Asperger's is simultaneously obvious and invisible. And doubly difficult because the rules we are supposed to follow are abstract and unspoken, exactly the kind of ideas with which autism makes people struggle.
I agree the average person responds to unusual behavior with the same innate revulsion we fee to a physical deformity (perhaps to a lesser degree). However I think both revulsions do dissipate with time.
I think what doesn't dissipate, is the distaste for when somebody doesn't follow important and healthy social codes. For example, there's a stereotype of "nerds" pedantically interrupting everybody to correct minor or irrelevant details ("um actually..."). Now, stereotype aside, this type of behavior is genuinely offputting and counterproductive.
To a large extent I think "coolness" is the ability to keep the conversation flowing when a potentially emotional topic gets invoked. The opposite is that person who has a certain trigger-word, where if it ever shows up in passing, derails the whole conversation on a 1-man tirade.
In summary, I find a lot of what makes a good conversational isn't following arbitrary norms of the era, but a strong empathy/understanding for the emotional effect of every topic and bouncing between those emotional states with grace.
I think the problem is that norms actually encode this information - it's not just empathy and understanding, it's empathy and understanding that is appropriate as per the zeitgeist. The normal range of responses is entirely defined by local culture and not only is this the kind of implicit, abstract set of ideas that autism can make difficult to learn, but this discussion itself is also a social grey area which is only appropriate with a minority of people; and then only if they're already familiar and comfortable with you.
When you lack internal boundaries, it is difficult to navigate those of others when they are not communicated to you explicitly.
The silver lining is that this behavior can be consciously suppressed, if the importance of suppressing this behavior is successfully conveyed to the person doing it. I wish somebody had taught me this lesson when I was younger, it could have saved me a lot of trouble.
Bottling up this urge is difficult though, so I use the internet as an outlet for it, sparing the people in my life I actually care about.
I've wondered about whether Asperger's could be considered a learning difficulty related to these in the past, especially having read that chronic anxiety can be approached in that way:
Why would you assume that? While it is theoretical possibility, there are many more other possibilities in play.
It may simply be, that communicating with autistic takes much more effort from neurotypical people, is more frustrating. Eventually they stop trying and putting that effort on. Just as communicating with other is tiring for autistic, except neurotypicals have plenty of neurotypicals around to communicate with.
I dont really want to guess, knowing nothing about parent. But the issues in communication with different functional autistic people I had observed that broke it down where things related to social interactions. For example, inability to imagine yourself in other peoples situation can make autistic look selfish and unfair (when enforcing rules for example). It also makes it hard to impossible to strike compromise as opponents situation is not taken into account by autistic and is perceived as "illogical".
Autistic can be overstepping boundaries without really knowing, making people uncomfortable as they have to defend those boundaries. Can be insulting or controlling without having bad intention, which forces other people to react to it in "defense" or leave for own sanity.
That is pretty much opposite of autism, where the person is using it randomly and often to personal loss.
> If you're wrong, the backlash prevents much damage and everyone learns something "new".
Backslash gets autistic bullied in retaliation. Often by people who perceive autistic to be bully and feel righteous in "self defense".
> In many cases, the boundaries are self-sabotage and immaturity, ie. org silos.
I meant personal boundaries. The set of limits healthy people impose on themselves and the world around them. They define responsibilities, what’s acceptable treatment and what isn’t. How you don't allow others to take advantage of you or manipulate you.
The boundaries are healthy and not immature at all. People who dont have them end up being treated badly and prime target for narcissists and such.
I actually think it goes even beyond feeling to thought as well. We are extremely sensitive to the inner mental lives of others and respond both consciously and unconsciously. It takes a sociopath or an extremely practiced actor to fool us. For the vast number of people, we can read their inner mental states as easily and effortlessly as reading a roadsign, even if they don't want to be read and are trying to hide their true feelings or opinions. Children are especially easy to read, which is why they can't hide anything from their parents.
And since we can almost all do this, many conversations, especially work conversations exhibit a sort of continuous doublespeak where there's what I say and what I mean and I can't tell you what I mean outright since it would be rude or unprofessional but I know you know what I mean.
But when I notice someone on the spectrum, I start speaking explicitly with the understanding that the content of what I say will be much more important then what I'm feeling.
This is so wrong it's hilarious.
Humans are terrible at ascribing meaning to what other people do. It even spawned a saying: "We judge others by what they do; we judge ourselves by what we intend."
As such, we, as humans, generally have zero idea what is going on in someone else's brain when they do something unexpected (it is unexpected after all). An individual has to work very hard to "cut others slack" under most conditions.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few bad social actors nowadays who attempt to take advantage of that, and there don't seem to be quite as many people who will take those bad actors on.
> It even spawned a saying: "We judge others by what they do; we judge ourselves by what we intend."
There is much evidence for an effect like this in social psychology, commonly called the fundamental attribution error.
The thing is, we don't do unexpected things in front of each other all that often. Which is why neurotypical people generally do have a sense for each other's state of mind.
Aspies have trouble with this even in normal situations.
The questions you are asking sort of miss the point, there's plenty of ways people can explain their instinct but at the end of the day it's not really a conscious process. If you don't have the same instincts as some people have, I suppose it would be natural to end up with the questions you do. What's important to remember is that they don't have the answers either.
If you really want an explanation that may or may not be true, in my personal experience I can tell that things are simulated or inauthentic unless (as you say) they're being simulated by an extremely competent actor (in the sense that they are acting). Even with people who act very competently, there are always (at least, I've never met an exception) small indicators over time that feel a little wrong. You can't act 24/7, so the longer people interact with you (if you are acting) the more likely it is they'll see you slip up.
This isn't really a problem, as the experience of getting to know someone naturally tends to lead to you seeing them in an entirely different light. The trick is figuring out when to show some authentic drive of yourself and when to present a socially desirable composite. That trick is something you learn by making a lot of mistakes (or if there's some rule to it, I have no idea what it is). If you don't consciously stop acting at some point and people see through it on their own, then it becomes creepy. The ideal is to head that off and figure out together if you are compatible personality types.
Sometimes novel situations create lags in response time, confusion or time to think about a response. It’s especially hard with very sarcastic people or people who purposefully being assholes.
But she is far more comfortable looking away while in conversation. The theory that has resonated most with me is that both facial interpretations and language processing are very cerebral processor intensive. Turning off your facial tracking algorithm by looking away frees more brain nodes to help with processing and thinking about what you are hearing and saying.
So I’m torn. Do I continually push her to look at faces during conversations, because over time it will build up more efficient neural pathways for that kind of processing? Or is it just something unique about her I can’t change and I am just causing her unresolvable stress?
I'm sure you asked this mostly rhetorically, but I thought I'd chime in with my two cents.
If your daughter is on the autism spectrum (guessing from the context) and is 13, she probably already finds socializing somewhat aversive and exhausting. Pushing her to make the experience even more aversive by insisting she look people in the eye is probably going to make things worse.
But I don't think that means that you can't change it. I would just suggest practice eye contact or looking at faces in small intervals only during some conversations. E.g. have a schedule and do a short conversation once a week where she deliberately practices it.
More generally, maybe try to think of the goal as moving the needle from where she is, not to achieve neurotypical levels of eye contact.
I've also had the eye looking problem, and yes, it was uncomfortable and harder to concentrate. But now it I'm around 30 it has become quite natural. Not a parent, but what I imagine might help besides 'just trying to do it' is seeing the use and fun of eye contact:
* Explain eye contact helps people understand you are interested in them. Of course hopefully you have some real, friendly interest in someone ;-). Friendly listening to someone and looking at them is a good step to getting more familiar/friends.
* Maybe help her recognize more of the expressions in and around the eyes. It is a very interesting part of the face. And you don't have to look someone exactly in the eye to see most of it... Besides angry/sad/happy, what are the little signs that show someone is becoming irritated, lost interest or getting bored, is thinking, is messing with you, disagrees (but maybe too polite to tell), etc. Recognizing it in movies, and possibly imitating the expressions can also be a 'safer' step.
* It works two ways. You let others see more of you by looking them in the eyes. You have to open up in a way, can get more self-conscious, and thus uncomfortable. Looking someone in the eyes can make them trust you more, helps them see your intentions, if you really mean what you say, that you know what you are saying... But you may just want to start opening up some more with people you already feel comfortable with.
Still, eye contact is culture dependent. For me, what helped me were these motivations, and that I forced myself to have on estimate 100+ little wel-intentioned conversations with strangers per week (Jehovah's Witness).
(FWIW, the lock down has limited my social activity to circles that tolerate my eye contact aversion, and I am taking advantage of it to get what slack I can)
What you describe happens to me especially in groups. My trick is to pick a point slightly off - their forehead, a little to the side, a random visible point just past them - and focus there. It's almost imperceptible to most especially if they're caught up in the convo, and allows me to process. Sometimes in a long convo, I may have to change my focus point multiple times. It takes practice, and you only get that actually talking to people.
Another thing to keep in mind depending on severity. Depending on her niche (the 1 or 2 things her brain specializes in) social interaction over an extended period will make her mentally tired. In a large group, this can happen exponentially.
I do okay one on one. Or in groups of up to half a dozen or so. However, I built my coping mechanisms over 30+ years. Even then, I have to pace myself, for example if I am at a party. I've spoken to large groups before as part of my day work and volunteer work. 2-4 hours at a party or 20-60 minutes in front of 100+ people, and I am exhausted. This is because the part of the brain I'm using for that task in me wasn't built for that.
If you want an analogy, imagine the hardware bits of a computer for an analogy of my brain. Now imagine all the parts are wired together differently from the standard architecture of such a system. The GPU is being used for CPU tasks, so other part is being used for a purpose not originally designed, and so on. The OS has been written to compensate for the architecture change but there's no documentation and the person who wrote it has vanished. Topper, the video and audio outputs instead of going to a monitor and speaker are hooked instead to a blender full of margarita mix. Basically, that's my life.
That doesn't mean she can't make friends and have a fulfilling life. It doesn't mean she doesn't feel as much as others. If anything, my emotions are probably more intense than a lot of folks. Aggravated by not being able to express them effectively. The friends you do make and keep mean that much more, especially if they know what you are. If also means she may feel her failure to keep some friends more deeply. I have kept friends through adulthood and a war or two. I've also lost some and I will never stop missing that particular part of my soul.
Try the slightly off focus point trick, give it time and practice.
Why don't you let her decide?
: Note: “boy autism” and “girl autism” are really misnomers, “boy autism” can occur in girls and “girl autism” can occur in boys.
> The Misnomer of 'High Functioning Autism': Intelligence Is an Imprecise Predictor of Functional Abilities at Diagnosis
It has been found previously to not be correlative. Can someone give insight into this discrepency?
I ask because I'm mildly Asperger's myself.
- I meet someone, or start a new job, or some such thing.
- People are friendly and everything seems fine for about 6 months to a year.
After that, things get weird quickly, like they throw a switch or something. Either one person starts saying rude things to me and the rest either sit back or join in, or a group of soon-to-be-ex-friends gang up on me suddenly (happened a lot in school), and then very quickly I'm ejected from the group. This happens both socially and professionally. I've also lost jobs this way, where I'd be fired with them refusing to give a reason, or pushed out via some technicality so that they can just have me gone.
My close friends and family tell me that I'm not being mean or condescending or rude or an asshole (I've had many observe me just to be sure), so there's something else going on. And asking the people involved hasn't worked because they won't tell me.
When I meet a friend, things seem to go really well at first, and then my friend seems to slowly get bored of the interactions we have, and after a couple months I just don't hear from them again. Not sure what I'm doing wrong. Is there a scientific way to find out?
My wife is also autistic, and we both marvel over how, for the first time ever in our lives, our home is our sanctuary where we can just relax and be completely ourselves with all the weirdness that entails. All previous romantic relationships were stressful and ended badly because it felt like I was walking on eggshells, and couldn't understand why my SO kept getting upset. My wife had similar experiences in past relationships.
Just so you know, this is not an uncommon complaint in any romantic relationship.
Human relationships are hard. Being "neurotypical" doesn't suddenly make them easy.
It's worth so much to be able to just ask, and the other party examines the issue and their feelings and simply tells you.
Obviously you're not entering an interrogation, and you also want to level the playing field by sharing information yourself.
I think it's an evidence-based guide to how first impressions are formed, and what people often get out of social interactions.
Sorry, but this is the funniest thing I've read on HN in a while.
Um, seriously, all effective communication techniques are based on basically the same principles; there's a book by a former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss (Never Split the Difference) where he describes hostage negotiations with terrorists, and it all works in the workplace too. These two are significantly better than How to Win Friends and Influence Friends, which is mostly about sales rather than negotiations.
In context reasonable, show it elsewhere and derision would follow.
The difference is that she keeps relationships hot by constantly messaging them (Whatsapp, etc), calling them or arranging hangouts. She's also a really good listener. My phone calls (e.g. with parents, sister, friends, etc) last for 5 minutes tops, her phone calls last for 30+ minutes :-)
In other words if you want to keep friends, you have to be the one that contacts them (though careful not to creep them out).
On the other hand don't feel bad with a high churn rate. This happens to everybody.
First thing is the way you look. People like you more if you're good looking. First step is to make sure you're in excellent shape. That means lean to the extend that you can see your cheeks, abdominal muscles and veins on your forearms are prominent. Get yourself a pull up bar and start doing chin ups and press ups every single day.
Then once you're in shape you find a clothing style that works for you. Stick to classic. Don't dress like a child. Wear smart and expensive shoes. Aim to always dress slightly better than you should be at any event, but just slightly. Groom well. Smell good. Grow a beard if you can but keep it very well groomed. Shave your head if you're going bald.
You might think this sounds silly so far, but looking good is very, very important.
People will compliment you on your appearance. Take the compliments. Thank them. Do not automatically compliment them back.
Second thing is to work on your personality. You will be smarter than 95% of people you meet. There's no doubt about it. You will know more and care more about most subjects that come up. Do not under any circumstances use this to "one up" people. The number one rule you need to keep in mind is to be positive. Do NOT tell people they are doing something wrong. Do NOT tell people you don't like something. Always continue a conversation in a positive way. If they mention a band you don't like, mention a band you do like. If they mention a technique that is suboptimal, mention a technique you have found works for you (not "is better").
If you employ this positive outlook along with a broad knowledge and range of interests you will be a person that people like. Hope it helps.
Also, if you are willing to try drugs, MDMA might help you. I wouldn't recommend alcohol or cannabis to anyone, but MDMA is worth it.
> The number one rule you need to keep in mind is to be positive. Do NOT tell people they are doing something wrong. Do NOT tell people you don't like something. Always continue a conversation in a positive way. If they mention a band you don't like, mention a band you do like. If they mention a technique that is suboptimal, mention a technique you have found works for you (not "is better").
I want to push back on this a little bit. it's important not to turn every conversation into a debate, but you can go too far with the positivity as well. it's okay to disagree with someone and say so from time to time. if you never disagree with someone, they will probably find you pretty boring.
Not wanting to offend but "sociopathic" is the word that comes to mind for me. Like "I'll do this to manipulate people and induce this response". I'm not going to say you won't be successful, just that your approach sounds very clinical and lacking in warmth and personality.
You do you, I guess.
There are social rules that many people get told in childhood, or learn by observation. Those who didn't learn them, for whatever reason, may benefit from being told explicitly now.
Also, don't worry. Out of 100 people who read "make sure you're in excellent shape", 99 won't. And the remaining one is probably not a sociopath, and will not become one by following this rule.
How to Win Friends and Influence people is also a masterful book for socializing. It basically teaches you what naturals do automatically.
Some people have many shallow friendships, others just a few deep ones.
Some people extend the hand of friendship early, others take years of persistence to become friends with.
Some people value time spent together on shared experiences, others value talking, others value gifts or help in times of crisis and others value being told how good a friend they are (once the friendship is clearly there).
Many people are friends with individuals they have known since high school and it is generally harder to make new friends after that point. It's also pretty easy to lose friends as you age due to differences of opinions or beliefs.
Perhaps the biggest skills in making and retaining friends is finding common activities and experiences you can share with them (outings, games, sport, dining, interests, topics of discussion, etc.) and finding the right time to invite them to engage with you in such things.
Very often there are logistical hurdles to overcome and that is all: do they have a car, is there a convenient bus, is the venue you are meeting nearby, are you available when they are, do they have a babysitter, is the suggested date suitable for them, have they currently got some other crisis or deadline to deal with, etc.
I find that if I ask to spend time with people too often, they may think I am "clingy" or "needy" and push me away. If I ask too little, the friendship never really gets established. It's a balance that is different for everyone.
Reflecting, I don't require people to have any obligation towards me, and if they don't want to spend time with me that's their call I'm not going to force myself on people, so when people just sort of drift past; that's just what happens. I feel like I could have friends if I was happy to play the part of someone who cared about TV celebrities, fawned over politicians, or idolised sportsmen.
Perhaps one has to be more assertive and demanding to some extent?
There focus here isn't me, and I'm trying to keep it that way: I mean to say that these things may help but shouldn't be viewed as sufficient.
There's something else needed, for sure. IMO only people who you spend time with outside of the original context are really friends - like someone you have as a colleague might become more than an acquaintance when you, say, go to a (non-work directed) event outside work together. There needs to be some sense of choosing to be with one another, not just happening to be in the same location because you both like volleyball, say.
Don't use "friend-finder" sites so much; you talk about using one elsewhere in this thread, but that's not where it's at. They contain the worst of in-person friend-making and the worst of online friend-making, with few of the benefits. Hanging out at events happening near you with people of similar interests & just throwing an anime avatar on yourself and talking on microblogging websites will both do you far better: Get yourself to where the conversation's happening, don't get yourself to where people are looking for conversation.
Make sure to contact others first, too, at least sometimes. Many times it becomes one-sided (X person is always calling Y person but Y person never calls X person) and that's enough to make just about anyone feel bad & alone.
Make sure to keep things varied; talking about the same thing in a loop kills a lot of the enjoyment that comes with knowing people. Everyone has a lot of things they're interested in; try and scope out who you're talking to, and occasionally just throw in things you're interested in that you think align with their interests. This gradually expands the things you can talk about, and keeps things interesting for everyone in the long-term.
Talk at least as much as you listen. "Being a good listener" is great! At least on paper. In reality if you just act as a soundboard, people find you dull. Contributing to the conversation is important!
Don't let every conversation feel like it's the most important thing in the world. If every conversation feels important, most people (there's an exception with a certain academic type who live and die by this experience but they're few and far in-between if you're not intentionally seeking them out) will interpret it as stressful, and that'll eventually be enough to get them to back away.
Make sure to maintain more than a handful of friendships at one time; almost no people will be able or willing to throw energy at you for the twenty hours you're awake in a day, but five, ten or twenty people allows you to fill your day with it while also not depending on any given person an unrealistic amount.
Do you have anyone in your life that you could ask for feedback? If not then you could look into Autism support services. There are people who specialise in exactly this kind of thing, and they will probably to be able to point you towards things quite quickly as they will most likely have seen the same things before.
It's also worth considering if there are other groups of people that you may not be coming in to contact with who might be more interested in the same things as you. I know some people who now have a very strong friendship group who initially struggled simply because they grew up in an area / environment where there weren't many people like them.
Unfortunately, I don't. It's a catch-22.
> It's also worth considering if there are other groups of people that you may not be coming in to contact with who might be more interested in the same things as you.
I'm really interested in philosophy. Since January I've been using Bumble to try to find people who share this interests, but I haven't had any luck yet.
Interests: anime, programming stuff, reading, startups, playing bad guitar, debating about empathy and being a pedant sometimes. Currently just trying to be productive and improve myself - many shortcomings I ignored for a log time and need to change.
Current reading list includes - some jap novels, how to win friends, statistical rethinking and logic theory.
Current projects include - rewriting my site, start a blog series where I post about everything I am going to do or did to get a product from 0 to first paying customer. That includes all the bad crap I came up, all the bad ideas and absurdism which people don't often share.
(email is in the profile)
On the subject of social skills, there have been many books on the subject, traditionally titled under Asperger's: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/12108.Top_social_skills_...
Friendships, like all relationships, must be nurtured to survive. A lot of neurotypical people are kinda crap at nurturing friendships naturally but they try to do so often in subconscious ways.
If your social skills are below average you may not pick up on the subtle clues, so you'll have to make more explicit efforts to maintain the friendship, and explain to your friends what kind of gestures go toward nurturing it when it comes to yourself, ie you mostly consider time spent together, or chats, or phone calls, gifts, what have you.
I'm not a psychologist but I'm a neurotypical person with a few high functioning autistic friends if you want my opinion on anything.
For me at least, I found that watching comedy series helps a lot to figure out social transactions. As a positive byproduct you learn to make jokes, which can also help in your pursuit to become socially appropriate.
I also find that if I stay away from computing for a while, I tend to get more normal.
Putting an effort into dressing acceptably (clean, fitting clothes), getting regular haircuts, figuring out how to chit-chat, generally smiling and nodding are my current strategy to fit in.
From my observations and what I read it seems that most people when they are adults actually have very few friends and there aren't many opportunities to make friends as an adult.
Just as a baseline to compare to I guess...
Tell them about what made you smile that day. Neat moments that you appreciated, but they weren't there to share it with you.
Food and drink. Whatever you're eating and enjoying, share it with that friend. Either invite them out or bring/send it to them.
Text, pictures, and video. Funny and positive, no drama, politics, etc.
Experiences. Think of something you like to do that can be shared, and invite them out to do it.
Share your time and effort. Offer your help, once, maybe twice. Don't be pushy with it. If they accept, help them like a servant, doing exactly what they ask you.
The basic idea is to consistently repeat the combination of "spending time together with you" and "day is improved".
If you do one of these daily with five people for a month, I can almost guarantee you will end up with at least one friend.
After that, you can focus on that one person more for a month to deepen your friendship. After that, add a few more people, but maintain friendship with the one person.
* The kids that were probably more heavily on the spectrum in school seemed they got teased often. They were targetted for being very defensive. Simple things become heated emotional arguments and especially when things are taken personally. The more someone would react emotionally, the more bullies would use them as a target. If something doesn't make sense, doesn't seem correct, or could have a negative connotation, it's best to not react with negative emotions immediately. Sometimes this is just part of word play or sarcasm that just isn't caught. Give the benefit of the doubt and try to clarify. Avoid arguing, and avoid people or statements that are just trying to get an emotional response, the actual things they say are just a mechanism to trigger that.
* Catch up with people and see where they're at, try to understand what their goals and challenges are and how it's been evolving. Ask them about things they're passionate about and what's new in that space. Remember to think of them when you come across something they may find interesting. You may be passionate about things they're completely uninterested in and it may be worthwhile to skip those if you don't feel much resonance on particular topics. Try to find activities where you can both be really engaged.
In general, show you care about people, teach them, help them reach their goals, be there for them when they need someone to listen. Fire your friends if they don't show some reciprocation, are always negative; self obsessed; pity seeking; complaining, only contact you when they want to offload, etc.
That's an interesting question.
I'm reminded of the "3 compatibility questions" some university worked out for asking someone you were considering dating:
- Do you like scary movies?
- Have you ever traveled to another country alone?
- Would you like to ditch it all and go live on a sail boat?
I wonder if there are questions that would scientifically predict compatibility with an autistic person.
Personally I have both (extended) family members, some friends and some coworkers who have (or I suspect have) autism or aspergers.
I enjoy the quirkiness, but I also really enjoyed the big bang theory.
It’s easy for my wife to do. Hard for me, and the kids to.
Basically after some time its kinda normal to share deeper stuff, be vulnerable(both you and him, it builds trust), maybe do a Weekendtrip together.
This can also sometimes backfire.. But thats basically how i formed my friendships so far
Do you change your behaviour after you know Somebody for some time?
I could totally miss the mark here, but that is what I've seen in my own life. I make a friend am too serious, couple of months later I am all by myself again.
So I decided to become more playful, and that really worked! If you are noticing that you might be too serious yourself and might need some playfulness. Here are a couple of things I did:
1. Asking: how am I naturally already playful, I enhanced that. I simply looked harder for more situations to utilize that playfulness.
2. Understanding: what is playfulness? It took me 2.5 years to understand that it means to not be serious (e.g. the sky is purple and there BE CATS ON CATNIP ATTACKING US! <-- it's not funny per se but if practiced a bit people will play along, though this example is well, oh dear, it at least has cats :) ).
2.5 years of trying to get an emotional feel for playfulness. Yep, it didn't come easy but now I have a hang for it. It's quite fun :)
3. What type of playfulness can I do?
This list is non-exhaustive. Note: always err on the side of being respectful if you feel a that a certain form of playfulness is too difficult to pull off. If you don't do that, then you risk being a little mean, and a little offending and all those things. It's not the end of the world, but it's simply not nice.
The types that I know:
- The roleplay: I once approached a woman in a club pretending I was her long lost brother and that I was raised in the jungle by apes and that I was still learning her language speaking very broken English. She laughed her ass off and played along. Who knew that pretending to learn English could be so fun!
- The fantastical exageration: I already provided an example of that.
- Teasing: teasing is like trying to hurt the other person with the twist that it should be positive and not actually hurt them. If this idea seems confusing, err on the side of being positive and not hurting people.
- Trolling: it feels like teasing but it isn't. You basically try to fool someone a bit, but you do need to see if they are able to take it. Err on the side of caution and safety. One friend I have used to be a bit rigid. He's gotten used to me now. So with him I could be quite light saying like: "look, it's a red tree." "No Mettamage, it's brown!" "No it's red, it's like a hellspawn from Satan!" "What do you mean, it's so clearly brown, what are you smoking?" "Everrryything my friend. Want some? ;-)" "My god dude, everything? Haha, you're crazy mettamage" "I know :-)" "Hit me up" "For sure" "Oh, yea, now I see that tree is totally red!" (just to be super explicit: the smoking thing was a roleplay, no one smoked anything)
- Musical improv: I did this since I was 4, it's second nature. Just pretend that life is one big improvized jazz band and hum and dance along with it to whomever you're talking to. It's quite Disney-like really, like some Disney character suddenly starts singing.
4. What happens if I fail? Are there failure modes that I can't recover from?
If people simply think you said something silly but weird, you're fine. If you went a bit controversial and tried to be playful that might pose a problem, so the tricky bit is to stay light. My guide is to stay respectful, that helps a lot.
5. Are there forms of social imitation I could learn from?
- Watch comedy that you like but is popular
- Go to improv classes
I guess that is what being serious is even if what you are serious about is roleplaying an abstract machine for days.
> Autism symptom severity change was evaluated during early childhood in 125 children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Children were assessed at approximately 3 and 6 years of age for autism symptom severity, IQ and adaptive functioning. Each child was assigned a change score, representing the difference between ADOS Calibrated Severity Scores (CSS) at the two ages. A Decreased Severity Group (28.8%) decreased by 2 or more points; a Stable Severity Group (54.4%) changed by 1 point or less; and an Increased Severity Group (16.8%) increased by 2 or more points. Girls tended to decrease in severity more than boys and increase in severity less than boys. There was no clear relationship between intervention history and membership in the groups.
The study can be found at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10803-020-04526-z
Roughly speaking, this meant the the change groups ended up changing dX>+2 or dX<-2 on a 0-10 ADOS severity scale (4 is usually the clinical threshold for ASD diagnosis), while the no change group was defined roughly as between -2<dX<+2.
Furthermore, in data I did help analyze which is currently included in a journal submission, the change groups defined here exhibited altered longitudinal trajectories of white matter fractional anistropy and diffusivity, suggesting biological relevance one might not expect with a statistical reversion to the mean.
> suggesting biological relevance one might not expect with a statistical reversion to the mean.
Just going to note here that regression to the mean is not 'just' statistical. It happens any time two variables are not perfectly correlated. The imperfect correlation could be due just as easily to 'biological relevance' as it could be to some sort of more purely statistical random error like rater error, so pointing out biology is no evidence. (As in the classic example of the flu patient going to the doctor and recovering afterwards; they really were biologically sick and really did biologically recover.)
>The fact that more of the girls appear to have decreased in autism severity may be due to an increasing number of girls who have learned how to mask their symptoms.
What hypothesis exist to explain this gender disparity?
One hypothesis is that the disparity is more apparent than real: That girls are better at masking/adapting to their symptoms, and thus more frequently escape diagnosis. The first step is to determine the extent to which this is true. If true, the underlying mechanism would need to be understood...some have suggested this could be related to greater inter-hemispheric connectivity in girls.
But I'd suspect it's more that most children have the capacity but a few just happen upon the formula early. Like we mostly have capacity to walk but some take 14 months then just get up and walk, whilst others are walking at 8 months when they can barely raise their heads; and others are crawling backwards, or shuffling on their bums because walking didn't click quite so quickly.
Such diagnostics raises troubling ethical concerns. I certainly know many on the spectrum that are perfectly fine with who they are, but if prospective parents had the ability to terminate based on some x% probability an unborn child might be 'mildly'/'moderately'/'severely' autistic...
And if the only difference was in childhood learning, you would expect that people with asbergers would be able to learn at least some of that situational awareness later in life. Based on people I know with asbergers, for many of them that is not the case - they never get even close to having intuition about social situations, they just end up memorizing rules and applying them when they seem to fit. Rather than intuitively knowing someone is angry/sad/etc. they use the rules they have memorized to make that determination. It is a completely different way of thinking. Of course this doesn't apply to everyone with autism (it is an extremely diverse disorder) but I think it shows that there is a significant difference outside of just what was learned in childhood.
Its prevalence is estimated at 1 in 54, by the way. I doubt researchers and experts are off by a factor of 50.
when it was time to send him to school our neighbors who knew him (because he hung out with their kid) suggested to send him to an IQ test because they figured he might be highly intelligent ("same as their kid").
they believed that their own son was very bright too but I thought it's only because both parents were closer to 50 than to 20. their child also had no real children friends and mixed mostly with adults - hence also talked like an adult (and seemed smarter than average for that reason alone - he was total sh1t with being a kid though but he knew how to recite grown up books and read/write long before school ...)
anyway - bear with me, I promise to connect these things
eventually we sent our son to do an IQ test and it came back inconclusive. we were told to test him again in a years time. (he was a mixed kids growing up with 3 languages which might also have altered how he performed on the test). Long story short he had a difficult first year in school with the teachers telling us that either a) he is too smart and should be moved forward a class, or b) he needs to go to a special school because he is dumb, or c) he should probably be tested for both autism and ADD. We decided to do none of the above and give it another 2 years to see how it play out. Eventually he settled into his surrounding and turned out one of the best students in class.
another case: my best friend's kid is diagnosed with autism ("somewhere on the spectrum" they say). He is incredibly active for his age and more than other kids. His parents who are both very ill (ALS and MS) are used to seeing a doctor every few weeks to get injections, ... they have more exposure to doctors than to any other grown ups in their life, and meanwhile their friends are also all people who have "sick" kids. Whenever I play with the kid I think he is pretty normal, except for that he is a lot smarter than anyone else. Like a smart boy stuck in a smaller childs body.
Another example: my gf is a nurse and occupational therapist. she literally works with disabled kids who are on the spectrum, have down-syndrome, cerebral palsy (to name the most common problems). She says if somebody has autism you can sure as hell tell. There is no "maybe", or "somewhere on the spectrum"- yes some cases are milder but she thinks that some doctors just diagnose and presribe solutions for things they don't fully understand themselves.
could it be that a lot of these kids simply go through stages in their childhood at different speeds? like not every kid fits into our "systems-thinking" model and maybe totally grows out of it a year later? The horrid thing here is that the moment way start treating their behavior as a disease it has good potential to actually become one, ... which brings me to the last example.
I worked with a US company remote. we were all on Jitsi every day even we weren't meeting so the mgmt could keep tabs (this was the rule for some reason). The assistant to the CEO a mid 30ies lady insisted that her child had autism. She constants forgot to switch her mic to mute and I could see how she talked to that child. He would get regular slaps in the face and get screamed at - then he would be told to take his meds. Also I think they might have been on some deal where they get benefits because their kids was "disabled".
idk what to make of this but the whole medical profession seems like a racket to me. especially in the US (where this disease seems more of a fashion than anything) ... I hope these kids don't wake up one day and realize the crimes that have been committed against them.
I'm glad I put my foot down and not put my child on pills (just to put money in some idiotic Dr. med. pocket). I would have destroyed my child! (and I see what it's like whenever I look at my best friends kid!
Occupational therapists and nurses are not qualified to diagnose autism and there certainly is a "somewhere on the spectrum" vaguery to autistic symptoms. If I recall correctly only 15% of autistic people fall under the banner of "high support needs", these are the people who are obviously autistic. Many of these people also have another learning disability (undiagnosed or not) which obfuscates the severity of their autism somewhat.
The remaining 85% are much less obvious. A lot of these people aren't even aware that they're autistic. These are the people that are "somewhere on the spectrum" and they all have widely varying support needs.
My parents had no idea I was autistic, at no point did any school suggest an autism diagnosis. I left school with two C grades and nothing else, because I was struggling with undiagnosed autism and thus received zero support.
When you are in this situation it's gutwrenching. I had no inclination I was autistic at the time because I had that same false belief that autism is only the severe cases. So instead I assumed I was just incapable of doing the same things as other people. This caused severe depression and a lot of imposter syndrome.
You don't need to put your child on medication (there aren't any for autism anyway) but avoiding diagnosis seems reckless to me.
My parent's avoidance to diagnose lead to unnecessary hardship and horrible uncertainties, it was only through going to therapy at 26 (mandated by my workplace due to autistic symptoms) that I was eventially diagnosed. This is a common refrain, plenty of autistic people fall through the cracks and don't get diagnosed until well into adulthood.
Classic sign of Asperger's syndrome. The rules for interacting with adults are clearly spelled out and consistent, requiring no intuition, unlike the rules for interacting with peers on the playground. So the child will seek out adults who take an interest in his school topics or special interests.
Is there any truth to that? Anyone have personal experience trying either?
I take a multivitamin with 15mg zinc in it, as far as I can tell none of the autism specific symptoms are affected. The biggest difference is that I feel sleepy in the afternoons when I take zinc, when I don't take it I feel more awake but less rested.