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Nyctalope
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17 May 2017, 10:32 am

I have little facial expressions, it's difficult for me to laugh I can only smile with my mouth closed, this makes getting to know people difficult because laughing conveys positive feelings while having a grave expression makes people think you're not at ease (which is true but...).
How to cope with this? I try to laugh but it's difficult for me, I want to improve.



Synic
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17 May 2017, 10:39 am

What do you mean when you say it's difficult? Is it physically impossible or do you find it uncomfortable? In case it's the latter, I would try practicing in the mirror.



Nyctalope
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17 May 2017, 10:48 am

I mean that if I try to laugh (mouth open, showing teeth) it does not seem like I'm laughing, it's both physically hard and I feel uncomfortable, you can tell I'm faking it. Smiling is also hard but sometimes I manage to.
Did you have the same problem, if I keep practicing with a mirror can I improve? How long does it take?



Nyctalope
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17 May 2017, 12:15 pm

Befriending people in this conditions is near impossible, I already avoid meeting more than one person at the same time because I can't partecipate in conversations, being one-to-one is better but still useless if I can't make them feel at ease with proper facial expressions.



Synic
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17 May 2017, 3:12 pm

I never had any problems with smiling but I do practice other facial expressions in the mirror sometimes. It might be helpful if you need to come across as friendly.

Do you smile/laugh when you feel happy or watch something funny? You could try to take that as a reference.



invisibleboy
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17 May 2017, 5:48 pm

I used to have extreme difficulty with facial expression and expressing things appropriately. Even watching TV or something funny I would be silent and straight faced, whether I found it funny or not.

I didn't even realize that was unusual until I wound up in college and everyone would gather to watch a popular TV show at someone's house every week and I showed up once and everyone was expressing amusement and curiousity about why I didn't ever have a reaction. I never went back because I was embarrassed.

It took me a long time to become comfortable with myself. My 20's were miserable. I felt like I related to nobody and felt extremely misunderstood. In my 30's, I eventually stopped caring whether people understood me, because at least I was starting to understand myself, and to my surprise, I opened up a lot. I really came into my own, and while my friendships do not look like my typical peers' friendships do, I am more open with them and somewhere along the way I acquired the ability to display facial expressions that were at least natural to me, and that went a long way towards having other people accept my facial expressions. I can even pass as non-autistic for at least a little while.

Another thing that really helped was theatre training, but even that didn't start feeling natural until my 30's.


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Anon_92
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18 May 2017, 1:29 am

It's all a game! Our job is to be quiet and not happy because it's not good enough or not laugh because it's not funny enough and it's society's job to hide those kind of people LOL! You want to talk to a real Jew? Go to Jewish Brookyn and find the cleanest, emptiest place with one old man sleeping in the corner etc... it's all there for us us Aspies to find LOL but it's all there... Rule 43!



B19
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18 May 2017, 2:48 am

Anon_92 wrote:
It's all a game! Our job is to be quiet and not happy because it's not good enough or not laugh because it's not funny enough and it's society's job to hide those kind of people LOL! You want to talk to a real Jew? Go to Jewish Brookyn and find the cleanest, emptiest place with one old man sleeping in the corner etc... it's all there for us us Aspies to find LOL but it's all there... Rule 43!


Could you please take extreme care to not invade other people's topic threads with irrelevant and off topic comments that you appear to think are amusing. They annoy members and disrupt the flow of threads.



Nyctalope
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18 May 2017, 3:02 am

Synic wrote:
I never had any problems with smiling but I do practice other facial expressions in the mirror sometimes. It might be helpful if you need to come across as friendly.

Do you smile/laugh when you feel happy or watch something funny? You could try to take that as a reference.

Yes I do, I don't know if it feels natural because even if not it wouldn't be a problem so I don't mind. Actually I don't think it's much better.
I'll try practicing on the mirror.

invisibleboy wrote:
I used to have extreme difficulty with facial expression and expressing things appropriately. Even watching TV or something funny I would be silent and straight faced, whether I found it funny or not.

I didn't even realize that was unusual until I wound up in college and everyone would gather to watch a popular TV show at someone's house every week and I showed up once and everyone was expressing amusement and curiousity about why I didn't ever have a reaction. I never went back because I was embarrassed.

It took me a long time to become comfortable with myself. My 20's were miserable. I felt like I related to nobody and felt extremely misunderstood. In my 30's, I eventually stopped caring whether people understood me, because at least I was starting to understand myself, and to my surprise, I opened up a lot. I really came into my own, and while my friendships do not look like my typical peers' friendships do, I am more open with them and somewhere along the way I acquired the ability to display facial expressions that were at least natural to me, and that went a long way towards having other people accept my facial expressions. I can even pass as non-autistic for at least a little while.

Another thing that really helped was theatre training, but even that didn't start feeling natural until my 30's.

I liked your post I'm sorry it's been so hard. The good thing is that I laugh if I watch something hilarious I just don't know how natural I look.
It's painful having so little facial expressions because they realize I feel uncomfortable talking.
I think I'm hopeless but I'm planning to have as many one-to-one meetings as I can get to see If I can force myself to improve.



Nyctalope
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18 May 2017, 3:38 am

Anon_92 wrote:
It's all a game! Our job is to be quiet and not happy because it's not good enough or not laugh because it's not funny enough and it's society's job to hide those kind of people LOL! You want to talk to a real Jew? Go to Jewish Brookyn and find the cleanest, emptiest place with one old man sleeping in the corner etc... it's all there for us us Aspies to find LOL but it's all there... Rule 43!

this is not a game this is hell.



Alita
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18 May 2017, 6:24 am

For the record, I think people like you are cool. I am so sick of being smiled at when I know most of the time it's fake or people trying to 'put on a brave face' or whatever. I am really attracted to people, both male and female, who are brave enough to show their true feelings and not waffle on about BS just to ease any tension they feel.

You may or may not believe this, but I WISH I had your personality. I have been a drama nut all my life but have always sucked at comedy because I could never keep a straight face, and that actually turns people off. I wish I had the ability to be neutral-faced 99% of the time (unless something REALLY way-out or outrageous happens ... and then I could crack a small, amused smile). :jester:

Has it ever occurred to you that you're on a level of switch-onedness that only activates in really way-out situations? Like, if there was an emergency, maybe you would know just what to do, while everyone around you would be frozen in shock.

I believe you should always be who you are. If people don't like that, that's tough for them. Don't let it make you feel bad. Most people are too fake and comfortable anyway, and need to be taken out of their comfort zones; don't make it easier for them by putting them at ease! (Yes, I'm serious; that's NOT sarcasm of any sort!) And how do you even know if they're not at ease because of you? They could be projecting their own bad feelings and you're just the honest sounding-board that they don't like reminding them of the truth because you're not willing to BS them into feeling better.


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Nyctalope
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18 May 2017, 8:47 am

Alita your post gave me ASMR, I was not expecting that. I probably haven't explained myself properly though, for example

Alita wrote:
You may or may not believe this, but I WISH I had your personality. I have been a drama nut all my life but have always sucked at comedy because I could never keep a straight face, and that actually turns people off. I wish I had the ability to be neutral-faced 99% of the time (unless something REALLY way-out or outrageous happens ... and then I could crack a small, amused smile). :jester:

this part, I'm afraid I can't keep a neutral face 99% of the time because when I'm anxious a stupid grin automatically shows on my face, a forced smile that is the proof I'm not feeling at ease.

But thank you, I'd like to behave naturally but I need social interactions in this particular point of my life and this lackness of facial expressions doesn't help in the task. I too like people who don't laugh and smile but I'd prefer not to be one of them because it's harder for us.



Anon_92
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18 May 2017, 8:56 am

Am I allowed to ask the people here if we all know how to yawn without opening our mouths yet? Thanks!



Nyctalope
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18 May 2017, 9:10 am

Anon_92 wrote:
Am I allowed to ask the people here if we all know how to yawn without opening our mouths yet? Thanks!

that is going to be really difficult.



strings
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18 May 2017, 11:39 am

Nyctalope wrote:
I have little facial expressions, it's difficult for me to laugh I can only smile with my mouth closed, this makes getting to know people difficult because laughing conveys positive feelings while having a grave expression makes people think you're not at ease (which is true but...).
How to cope with this? I try to laugh but it's difficult for me, I want to improve.


This is really interesting to me! I first realised about 18 months ago that I quite possibly have ASD, and since then as a result of my reading about the topic, I have become more and more aware of the "flat affect" that I have had all my life. Decades ago, as a child, I would be teased by my parents because in every photograph they ever took of me, I would be scowling or looking "grumpy." If they ever did manage to get me to "smile" in a photo, the best I could manage was a totally weird kind of "leer," that looked quite alarming.

I recently tracked down a few school group photographs, and in every one of them I appear with a scowl and a rather vacant expression with my arms held awkwardly and stiffly, while all the other kids look "normal" and with natural-looking smiles.

Over the years there have been many, many occasions where people have seemingly out of the blue asked me questions like "Are you OK?", or "What's wrong?", or said "Cheer up!", when I had absolutely no idea why they would say this. I have been realising recently that they must have been seeing my usual "flat" facial expression, and been assuming that I was unhappy, sad, or otherwise distressed, when in fact I was perfectly happy in my own thoughts.

As far as improving one's facial expression is concerned, I suspect that is very difficult. Like you, my mouth is always closed when I put on a "smile." At best, it looks rather condescending and disdainful, and at worst it looks positively evil. I tried googling for smiling face pictures just now, and I was amazed to realise how many of them involve people smiling with open mouths. If I try that in front of a mirror I either look completely ridiculous or else alarmingly sinister. I cannot possibly imagine learning how to put on a natural-looking smile with teeth showing.

All this thinking about "flat affect" makes me think that it really must be a huge give-away, to a trained person at least, that someone has ASD. Now that I think back over many incidents in my life, I suspect that a trained observer could easily have suspected ASD, based on seeing my facial expression, or lack thereof, and my "distant" expression.