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bumble
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13 Mar 2013, 8:07 am

Here are some examples of why I don't socialise much these days. My diagnosis is social anxiety but my reason for not socialising much has less to do with embarrassment and more to do with what I have explained below. Does anyone else ever feel that they are damned if they do and damned if they don't regardless of what they act socially.

Very often unless I stay quiet because I am feeling shy, I am often misinterpreted by people.

There is nothing I can do about this simply because I often think so differently that I can't quite know what the other person is going to think or how they are going to respond if I make a comment about something.

To give you an example from my childhood.

I was at bingo night with my mother when she laughed and pulled her face in such a way that it honestly reminded me of a donkey. As a result I said to her "you remind me of a Donkey when you laugh".

Now as can imagine I got quite an upsetting reaction to my statement (I got screamed at basically and everyone got quite upset with me). Looking back I can see now (with hindsight) how that might have been taken offensively but at the time, contrary to what people believed, there was no ill intent intended on my part at all. To my mind I was merely stating my thoughts and making what, was to me, an observation.

It had reminded me of a donkey and my statement was not meant to put anyone down or belittle them (donkeys are actually quite pretty I think anyway but that is besides the point).

At the time the reaction I got upset me a great deal as I had not intended to offend anyone at all and so was upset that 1, I had hurt someones feelings and 2 because everyone was yelling at me when I had not meant any harm at all.

This is why I can often stay quiet when meeting people. Just about everything I say when I state my thoughts or feelings about something is misinterpreted by people as offensive.

If I were to say 'I don't like yellow balloons I really hate the colour" someone somewhere would inevitably have a go at me because they think I am being prejudice to all yellow balloons and insulting them.

If I say I don't like general social chit chat then everyone who does like general social chit chat takes that personally and assumes that it must mean that I don't like them or that I am insulting them when I am in fact stating my thoughts about an activity not a person as such.

If I say I find general social chit chat boring they think I mean they are boring. No I said I find the activity of general social chit chat boring, I never said I found the person boring or that there was anything wrong with people who enjoy such activities at all.

I merely said I do not like such activities myself.

I am, and always have been, constantly surprised and shocked by peoples reactions to me and it is not something I have been able to change in 37 years despite attempts to do so. People think so differently to me that it is impossible for me to predict how they might respond to something so often I just stay quiet instead.

The problem with staying quiet is that is misinterpreted too. Now people think I don't like them or that I am being rude. So I can't win that way either. Plus if I always stayed quiet I'd never speak to anyone or meet anyone so I would end up being a mute hermit which then just gets me labelled as being the local eccentric (yes I am often referred to as eccentric even by my neighbours although I have not offended them as such. I just keep to myself and don't socialise with them much. However this does not mean I don't like them, several of them are rather sweet people. It is one thing to experience people having a go at me on the internet but it is quite different when it is right in my face in the real world, so I tend to steer clear of the human population much of the time and stick to pottering around with my hobbies on my own instead).

I just can't win socially regardless of what I do so I gave up trying.



And another example. I am not a fan of using drugs or drinking. I don't use drugs at all and drink very infrequently. When I mention this people who like using drugs and alcohol assume I am implying they are bad people (or so I can gather from a thread where I got slaughtered once because I mentioned the above).

I have my own reasons for not using drugs and alcohol and they mostly revolve around the fact that I have a very sensitive system and tend to get adverse reactions from such things (Ie I did have a drink last night but now have a stinking migraine from hell as a result. Drugs are even worse, the one time I did try cannabis it made me so sick and gave me such weird symptoms that I freaked out and had a panic attack after using it).

I won't be drinking again anytime soon...and I certainly won't be taking any drugs.

Anyway, it has nothing to do with thinking people who use such things are bad...I just don't like using them because they make me sick. Just as I cannot wear certain materials such as pure wool because it is actually painful to my skin. In that instance people just think I am being deliberately difficult because I won't wear a jumper they bought me or something. So now I am being rude because I don't want to be uncomfortable or in pain? It is why I used to make my parents take me shopping for my own clothes..so they didn't buy that itchy scratchy material that drove me mad if they made me wear it.

But people will inevitably once again think I am being offensive, difficult, fussy or boring.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

PN Sorry about any punctuation mistakes or spelling errors/typos. 1 I still have said migraine and am partly posting to take my mind off the screaming pain in my head and the nausea and 2 I refuse to use a word processor to correct my errors for me so whilst I have corrected some of my mistakes I may not have managed to correct them all yet (I have a tendency to leave the 't off of the end of can't when I am typing for example). Therefore please bear with me if I come back and edit later. It just means I have spotted another error and want to correct it.

(Yes I have been slammed for correcting my spelling and typing errors in posts before because people don't like it when I edit. It is even worse if I come back to add an afterthought, change the way I have written something because on rereading it I felt I could have worded it better or decide to take something out because in hindsight I thought it to be irrelevant or unnecessary. I am now sensitive about such things, my apologies).



Drehmaschine
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13 Mar 2013, 4:01 pm

I barely speak because I haven't the need to do so. If there is something I wish to say something about, I don't because of the fact that it would offend somebody and that person would probably end up being my superior. Just shut up, keep the nose down and keep working, this is what I do.



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13 Mar 2013, 4:27 pm

Hi bumble. I feel your pain.

I find that people make judgements too, and if they don't make the judgement to your face you can tell something's not right by the way they look at you and whisper together whilst looking in your direction.

People always assume negatives if you are quiet, or like you say, will take things personally that weren't meant like that.

I will never get this social etiquette, it's such an effort to work out what you are supposed to say when, and before I had social anxiety I would go round putting my foot in it and getting told I was blunt and even unfeeling. I built up such anxiety that I worried too much, but now I'm on Sertraline it seems to be taking off that social guard.

...hence my meltdown by fax post.


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Tyri0n
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13 Mar 2013, 4:39 pm

How do you guys know if you've offended people? Either I don't do it often, or I'm horrible at picking it up. I've only been picked on for the way I talk, not the content of my speech.



LupaLuna
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13 Mar 2013, 4:40 pm

Nero-typical (normal) people have an instinctive (automatic) function that allows them to turn there feeling and emotions into bodily expressions and allows them to look at another person bodily expression and turn them back into feeling and emotions. This is called "Non verbal communication". As "aspies". We are incapable of doing this. We where born without this function enabled in are brains. The only thing we can do is to observe and learn to approximate what the other person is trying to say(express) to us with there body language. Some aspies are good at faking it though we can get it wrong about 80% of the time. As an aspie. you have to be very careful in trying not to offend people and expect to accidentally offend some from time to time. The only 100% safe thing you can do is to retreat from society but that's not always an option.



alakazaam
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13 Mar 2013, 7:49 pm

Don't feel too bad. You're not the only one. I've unintentionally insulted more people than I can think of.



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13 Mar 2013, 8:26 pm

I can relate to the OP. My experience throughout my life has been like that. If I interact with people, I will eventually offend them somehow. With some it only took me one occasion to offend. With some, even worse, even before I spoke, my body language must have been already offending them. I just have too many hostile people around me. Having people around has been so very uncomfortable because I know they either find me offensive, weird, ridiculous, inferior or whatever. By now I have given up having a good relationship with people and find solitary time very peaceful.



bumble
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14 Mar 2013, 10:52 pm

Tyri0n wrote:
How do you guys know if you've offended people? Either I don't do it often, or I'm horrible at picking it up. I've only been picked on for the way I talk, not the content of my speech.


They tell me, usually in a not so polite way.



bumble
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14 Mar 2013, 10:54 pm

jk1 wrote:
I can relate to the OP. My experience throughout my life has been like that. If I interact with people, I will eventually offend them somehow. With some it only took me one occasion to offend. With some, even worse, even before I spoke, my body language must have been already offending them. I just have too many hostile people around me. Having people around has been so very uncomfortable because I know they either find me offensive, weird, ridiculous, inferior or whatever. By now I have given up having a good relationship with people and find solitary time very peaceful.


I too am losing the will to socialise.

I have also had people accuse me of staring at them when I was not. Neither did I know them or even say anything to them yet I will inevitably receive the "wot you lookin' at" accusation.

I was probably looking past them at something else...

I feel like the human race is becoming very paranoid.



bumble
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14 Mar 2013, 10:59 pm

whirlingmind wrote:
Hi bumble. I feel your pain.

I find that people make judgements too, and if they don't make the judgement to your face you can tell something's not right by the way they look at you and whisper together whilst looking in your direction.

People always assume negatives if you are quiet, or like you say, will take things personally that weren't meant like that.

I will never get this social etiquette, it's such an effort to work out what you are supposed to say when, and before I had social anxiety I would go round putting my foot in it and getting told I was blunt and even unfeeling. I built up such anxiety that I worried too much, but now I'm on Sertraline it seems to be taking off that social guard.

...hence my meltdown by fax post.


I too get social anxiety. I am damned if I do and damned if I don't. Whilst in shy mode I will tend to keep to myself and won't speak much so people think I am being ignorant or unfriendly, when not in shy mode I live with my foot in my mouth and upset everybody by accident. I basically feel I am in a no win situation.

I have meltdowns in text too...blogs, sometimes on forum boards etc. My stress levels hit the roof and it's usually due to the stress of socialising.



Tyri0n
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14 Mar 2013, 11:32 pm

bumble wrote:
Tyri0n wrote:
How do you guys know if you've offended people? Either I don't do it often, or I'm horrible at picking it up. I've only been picked on for the way I talk, not the content of my speech.


They tell me, usually in a not so polite way.


Maybe they care about you. I think it's worse when no one says anything.



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15 Mar 2013, 12:41 am

I remember reading somewhere that people mostly consider values (likes and dislikes) and beliefs as part of their identities. If they find out that your values and beliefs don't match theirs, they will deceive themselves into believing that you have insulted their identities. (In reality, you haven't even said or done anything to provoke them. They are the ones provoking themselves.) I also remember reading somewhere that contrary to popular belief, friendships can only last long when those involved share the same set of values and beliefs. I remember reading in "48 Laws of Power" that if you have no choice but to interact with people who get angry when you say things that don't match their values and beliefs but get even angrier when you don't say anything at all, you might have to chit-chat non-stop about trivialities when interacting with such people so as to minimize the risk of angering them. (Warning: I'm the sort who can preach but can't practice. Till this day, I still make lots and lots of mistakes when interacting with people.)



Tyri0n
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15 Mar 2013, 12:59 am

icyfire4w5 wrote:
I remember reading somewhere that people mostly consider values (likes and dislikes) and beliefs as part of their identities. If they find out that your values and beliefs don't match theirs, they will deceive themselves into believing that you have insulted their identities. (In reality, you haven't even said or done anything to provoke them. They are the ones provoking themselves.) I also remember reading somewhere that contrary to popular belief, friendships can only last long when those involved share the same set of values and beliefs. I remember reading in "48 Laws of Power" that if you have no choice but to interact with people who get angry when you say things that don't match their values and beliefs but get even angrier when you don't say anything at all, you might have to chit-chat non-stop about trivialities when interacting with such people so as to minimize the risk of angering them. (Warning: I'm the sort who can preach but can't practice. Till this day, I still make lots and lots of mistakes when interacting with people.)


But I think inauthenticity or the perception of it can be worse.

My values and beliefs easily change to match the situation and whomever I'm with. I was traumatized when I attended a Christian college and was treated badly for having liberal beliefs, so I learned to be fluid and agreeable in the way I talk about values and beliefs in general.

It's not that I lie. The problem is I don't really know what they are to begin with. I noticed in that "lie detector" test I posted a few weeks ago that the people lying about their beliefs speak similarly to how I speak when talking about my beliefs and values as I actually understand them at the moment.



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15 Mar 2013, 5:52 am

icyfire4w5 wrote:
I remember reading somewhere that people mostly consider values (likes and dislikes) and beliefs as part of their identities. If they find out that your values and beliefs don't match theirs, they will deceive themselves into believing that you have insulted their identities. (In reality, you haven't even said or done anything to provoke them. They are the ones provoking themselves.) I also remember reading somewhere that contrary to popular belief, friendships can only last long when those involved share the same set of values and beliefs.

This isn't surprising. I certainly have an easier time liking people whose values are similar to mine, and if I know they differ from me in issues that are important to me, I feel myself distancing from them. I'm unable to even remotely like anyone who is indifferent to the suffering of animals, for example. Even if there are issues that are less important to me I still reject those who differ most from me immediately. I think that's a pretty normal human response. Birds of a feather flock together. It's also to be expected that different people will feel so in varying degree.

icyfire4w5 wrote:
I remember reading in "48 Laws of Power" that if you have no choice but to interact with people who get angry when you say things that don't match their values and beliefs but get even angrier when you don't say anything at all, you might have to chit-chat non-stop about trivialities when interacting with such people so as to minimize the risk of angering them.

People like that are gonna find themselves very angry indeed if they're near me! :lol:


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15 Mar 2013, 6:13 am

I try not to offend people but often find other people actively try to offend me and I tolerate this for as long as I have the willpower for it and then when that snaps I will go on an all-out attack back at them; often by glaring but sometimes by saying something.

I find that people are naturally wary of/aggressive towards people they consider too different from their norm. I feel the aggressive types ideally need 're-educating' but in the real world it's probably best to ignore and avoid them for a quiet life.

In terms of saying stuff off the top of your head that ends up offending others, you could try instigating an edit function in your brain whereby you say to yourself, "Is there a chance this might offend someone?" before you say anything and if you are in doubt, don't say it.

Presumably your Mother knows you have Asperger's Syndrome/an ASD?

If she does, she should be factoring that in and understanding that you are more likely to make these faux pas than the average
non-autistic person