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Filipendula
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15 Nov 2012, 6:37 pm

I saw someone refer to this in another thread recently and I've been wondering what it means and if others experience the same thing.

Does this suggest that you can learn to perform and mimic in order to fit in and that you don't even realise you're doing it? Does it mean you can feel tired after being around other people and not know why?

How conscious are you of your attempts to follow social cues and conform to social expectations? To what extent have you been doing it so long that you can't even remember what it was like before you learned a load of social 'tricks'?


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btbnnyr
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15 Nov 2012, 6:44 pm

This sounds like what NTs automatically and subconsciously do, mimicking without knowing that they are doing it, performing for others, adjusting themselves to the people around them. Autistic people probably need to do most of this on purpose, consciously, if they can do it at all.



Filipendula
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15 Nov 2012, 7:07 pm

btbnnyr wrote:
This sounds like what NTs automatically and subconsciously do, mimicking without knowing that they are doing it, performing for others, adjusting themselves to the people around them. Autistic people probably need to do most of this on purpose, consciously, if they can do it at all.


Fair point. But what if you are very aware that you're doing it to begin with, but then with practice you manage to turn new behaviours into a habit and then slowly you forget that you're doing it or that it once seemed so difficult? I'm just wondering since, being on the very extremities, I don't necessarily understand all aspects of the spectrum experience.

My own experience is that conventions like walking into the office each day and shouting "Good Morning!" to the world at large is something I don't understand, don't see the point of and don't really want to do. However I've compromised by saying it quietly to the people who sit nearest me as I put my bag down and take my coat off. Actually, that's not a very good example because I am still conscious of doing it every time, but it no longer feels like any more than mild shyness with a touch of rebellion. Another example would be waving at somebody I know in the distance. Sometimes I do that consciously and sometimes it's more automatic.


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15 Nov 2012, 7:10 pm

Yes, some self-censorship has become automatic and subconscious with the years. Things like not saying what people don't want to hear and comments that people are not deep / complex enough to understand.


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btbnnyr
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15 Nov 2012, 7:19 pm

Filipendula wrote:
btbnnyr wrote:
This sounds like what NTs automatically and subconsciously do, mimicking without knowing that they are doing it, performing for others, adjusting themselves to the people around them. Autistic people probably need to do most of this on purpose, consciously, if they can do it at all.


Fair point. But what if you are very aware that you're doing it to begin with, but then with practice you manage to turn new behaviours into a habit and then slowly you forget that you're doing it or that it once seemed so difficult? I'm just wondering since, being on the very extremities, I don't necessarily understand all aspects of the spectrum experience.

My own experience is that conventions like walking into the office each day and shouting "Good Morning!" to the world at large is something I don't understand, don't see the point of and don't really want to do. However I've compromised by saying it quietly to the people who sit nearest me as I put my bag down and take my coat off. Actually, that's not a very good example because I am still conscious of doing it every time, but it no longer feels like any more than mild shyness with a touch of rebellion. Another example would be waving at somebody I know in the distance. Sometimes I do that consciously and sometimes it's more automatic.


I see what you mean with the learning of the behavior until it becomes subconscious. For eggsample, I never used to respond to my name, but I learned it eventually, so now I respond to my name like anyone else who learned it much earlier and faster.

For greetings, it probalbly varies amongst NTs too. Like some are moar automatic with the waving and helloing, but others not. For autistic people, it is probably moar deliberate, and if an autistic person is suddenly and uneggspectedly greeted, then she might not be able to respond, but an NT would.



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15 Nov 2012, 8:05 pm

The very word "faking" suggests to me that you are hiding who you really are, and that you SHOULD NOT NEED TO DO IT. As long as who you really are does not, at a fundamental level, hurt others.


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15 Nov 2012, 8:25 pm

I am not sure that this is related to your question or not, so I'll share.

There are some things that I have to consciously "remind" myself to do and I always thought everyone had to consciously remind themselves to do it, too, but I found out as an adult that other people don't even think about it. Like what to do with my arms and hands. They always feel like they are in the wrong place, so I have watched other people's placement and learned to copy it. But it isn't "difficult" for me to do it, it's just on a mental checklist I have somewhere that NT people don't appear to have to have. Over time it seems like I have to spend less time thinking about this, though I still do.

Then there are other social conventions, such as hugging hello. Where I come from, people don't do that. But where I live now, you do. Everyone else seems to do it naturally, but if I am perfectly honest, the only time I remember to do it is if I remind myself ahead of time that I am going to have to hug hello. When I first started to learn this, I felt very uncomfortable because I found the idea of hugging someone I barely knew odd. It was much more stressful to me. But now the "oddness" of it has worn off, and I can do it...I just seem to forget too often.

For my son, saying hello to people he knows for some reason is just not natural for him. It took him years to learn to do it and I would say that at this point, he doesn't appear to need to think about it anymore; now it comes "naturally" although it never came naturally for him. My daughter does not seem to be able to learn much of anything incidentally. Everything has to be explicitly taught. She is a very adept learner, though, and there does appear to be things that she does not need to focus a lot of attention on anymore, like responding to her name. Or smiling and saying thank you when someone compliments her.


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15 Nov 2012, 8:45 pm

Filipendula wrote:
Does this suggest that you can learn to perform and mimic in order to fit in and that you don't even realise you're doing it?
Does it mean you can feel tired after being around other people and not know why?


Yes, I experienced this until I understood what introversion was. Sometimes I experienced a vague feeling of being fake, but I never thought about it much.

Quote:
How conscious are you of your attempts to follow social cues and conform to social expectations? To what extent have you been doing it so long that you can't even remember what it was like before you learned a load of social 'tricks'?


I developed in the opposite direction: I was previously unconscious of it, then I became conscious of the fact that I had been faking.



madnak
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16 Nov 2012, 3:49 am

When I learn a new skill - video game, musical instrument, etc - at first I have to think about what I'm doing and how I'm doing it. Eventually these details become automatic. Social skills work the same way for me.

I think NTs are able to somehow absorb social patterns without having to "practice" as much. Fretting a guitar is "unnatural" to me because it's a strange thing for my fingers to do, and they don't naturally "want" to move in that way. Social rituals are the same - at first it's hard to force myself to do it and I always get it a bit wrong. So development is mechanical and "unnatural," but just like fretting a guitar with practice I learn to perform social techniques without even thinking about it.



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16 Nov 2012, 4:00 am

With me, when I start doing something and keep on doing it, it becomes automatic because it turns into a habit. I don't like to call it faking because to me it's an insult.


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16 Nov 2012, 6:18 am

My son's speech therapist said that if my son tries to mimick social behaviour (which he does of his own volition) then at some point it will come a little more naturally. Like when you are learning to drive, initially you need to concentrate on changing gear and think constantly about your actions but with time you learn how to do it more naturally, and with less thought involved. She said this is where early intervention is effective.


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16 Nov 2012, 9:39 am

I feel like my ability to learn social skills is very slow and different somehow. It's not like driving a car for me. When I'm driving I don't think about it much at all. This is what I would call subconscious. My social skills have improved but they are by no means subconscious. They tend to shut down when I need to think about other things. I get tired because everything is an effort.

While I can put on a social façade, I don't feel the things that drive social conventions - I only understand them intellectually. I think that this fundamental difference will prevent it from ever being subconscious for me - I do think it gets easier though.



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16 Nov 2012, 10:02 am

When I went to university I told myself I was going to make myself the person I wanted to be, socially. I would just fake as best I could. This worked to a degree but was exhausting, stressful and, the more I acted like the confident guy, the more often I would say or do something that betrayed my core ineptness at social norms. Although things have not become fully instinctive, I feel I am capable of putting on a show sometimes and, for a short period, come across as outgoing for at least long enough to make good first impressions. ...It's the going on from that point that I struggle with.


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16 Nov 2012, 10:12 am

I have been trying to attempt to reach a level of social acceptability.

It caused my depression, some of my OCD, and made me physically exhausted all the time.

It's not worth it to try to fake it. People with ASDs don't fake it well anyway (in my experience) and it just leads to a mess.

Be yourself and enjoy your life and let people who don't like you walk away.



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16 Nov 2012, 1:00 pm

If something is subconscious then in my eyes it isn't faking. As others have said that sounds like how I would imagine NTs "tick".

I do however have to admit that I do not have the ability to "consciously mimic" and "consciously fake it" (although I sometimes have to consciously recall and utilise a script when I am unable to perform spontaneously in a situation, and I sometimes feel myself "slipping into" mannerisms or expressions I have observed on someone else), my attention just doesn't divide that way.

I also have to admit that I do not consciously suppress stims etc in public, so I guess to some degree I do subconsciously do some things but if you are able to hold a normal social conversation and interact with others, I don't see how this could be interpreted as subconsciously faking it. You either can or can't do something, if it was subconscious how on earth would you know you are faking it? How would you know the difference?



Last edited by Noetic on 16 Nov 2012, 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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16 Nov 2012, 1:03 pm

Filipendula wrote:
But what if you are very aware that you're doing it to begin with, but then with practice you manage to turn new behaviours into a habit and then slowly you forget that you're doing it or that it once seemed so difficult?

That is what is commonly seen as "learning a new skill". I don't think this is any different to how almost everyone - on or off the spectrum - learns practical skills, although some take more or less practice for this to become "natural".

Others have been known to be passive and observe for a long time and then one day just get up and do the task, without needing to practice directly - I guess this is all down to learning style.