Dear Aspie: How Do I Repond Quickly in Conversation?

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Dear Aspie:
?When someone bullies you, teases you in public, gives you a compliment in public, or some other situation where you have to respond or defend yourself, how does one respond quickly? Are there any tips for this, or ways to train this??

–hybrid

Read on for GroovyDruid’s Response!
Dear Aspie:
?When someone bullies you, teases you in public, gives you a compliment in public, or some other situation where you have to respond or defend yourself, how does one respond quickly? Are there any tips for this, or ways to train this??

–hybrid

That?s an excellent question. Responding quickly is a matter of staying open. Think of it this way: you are looking out from your viewpoint, and your public addresser communicates something too you, right? Well, aspies have trouble with people addressing them unexpectedly. It makes them uncomfortable. They resist the communication. The aspie may not say anything to resist, and he may not even realize he?s resisting the communication, but he does. This is where things go to heck in a handbasket. Why? Because when you resist the communication coming at you, you cease to play both sides of the conversation game. In essence, you close down and see only your viewpoint. You cease to reach over and experience with the other person at all. Closing down puts you out of contact, and you will have no idea how to respond, what words to say, what attitude to take. You might as well be on Mars being addressed or attacked via one-way radio.

There is an alternative. Instead of closing down, you can work on keeping your viewpoint open when someone says something to you. During any conversation, concentrate on being not only your own viewpoint but your conversation partner?s as well. Give them equal weight. Approach the conversation as if you are playing both sides of a game of chess. Metaphysically speaking, be your conversation partner, too. Your mind is powerful and has the capability to do this, I?ll wager. As you get better, you will be able to maintain your ?multi-viewpoint? in more and more stressful situations, until very little communication of any sort will phase you. Then, you?ll know exactly how to respond and do it with the speed of a firecracker, because you?ve removed the stress of dealing with an unknown entity with whom you aren?t in communication.

There are many useful drills for building multi-viewpoint technique. Acting classes and performance do a wonderful job of making you understanding both sides of a communication. Acting requires it of you, so you learn to stay multi-viewpoint under stress. Also, you can practice during any conversation. You can also do drills specifically for this. I?ll describe one that has worked well for me:

Sit across from a partner. Stare directly into each other?s eyes for at least 5-10 minutes. The body should be relaxed, no crossed arms or legs, and there should be minimal blinking, swallowing, and zero facial expression, and no attitude. Just sit and confront the other person. At first, you won?t be able to do it. You?ll burst out laughing, smile, or look away, because you?re resisting the viewpoint of the other person. This means you?ve failed the drill and merely need to start again. After a little while, you?ll be able to do it, and it will make you very good at being a strong presence, one who isn?t easily shut down. You?ll have the Hannibal Lecter stare. Practice this daily until it?s habit.

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