Trouble with formulating correct responses

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Lady Strange
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22 Jun 2022, 11:09 pm

This sounds silly because I would think by now being almost 40 I would know how to do these things correctly. When I'm writing a text or trying to talk (especially with a phone call, or even in person) about a touchy topic or something I tend to ask my husband how to correctly word a response because somehow I seem to get it wrong in conveying to the other person exactly what I mean. Like there is some magic formula of exact words to get the exact point across that you want. He is a master at being able to do this.

For instance, I had a relative ask me by text if we were going to be coming out for a visit (we tend to go up once a year, but are not this year), and the response I thought of I asked my husband about, my response was "we won't be able to", but he brought up good points about why that isn't a good response because he said "then they will want to know why" and he said to say it more like "we aren't making the trip this year" because then it is more of a statement that doesn't invite questioning as to why (the "why" involves info I don't want to give to the relative). I just don't think of all these things, sometimes I convey the wrong thing or people think I mean one thing and its another because I don't know how to properly convey sometimes. Ugh this is frustrating this is why I just hide in the house and don't talk a lot. Its like I need to know the exact formula of words to convey what I mean with no misunderstanding, and usually end up messing it up somehow without meaning to.



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23 Jun 2022, 1:54 am

I also do so plenty.

And I somewhat know why. Words are just not natural to me.

They're more like patterns to me than, say, whatever context.


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23 Jun 2022, 5:35 am

It helps if you can figure out what the other person needs or wants to know about, but there is no guarantee of success. When making excuses for not doing something, we usually select from several causes to find the one most likely to seem reasonable to the listener. Even the best communicators get feedback through several cycles so they can correct problems that crop up. If words were infallible, there would not be whole university courses about what various books "really" mean. There is also a huge problem with wanting to put square pegs into round holes. Sometimes, an idea just won't fit in the space available, either by volume or shape of the current contents.



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23 Jun 2022, 7:19 am

I got this good book about how to navigate the neurotypical world, written by an autistic person. A Field Guide to Earthlings by Ian Ford.

The best advice in it was that neurotypical people only understand what someone is saying if they use the correct words, kind of like trigger words. Therefore we can explain something 10 different ways and they won't get it, but if we use the trigger words, it suddenly clicks with them. They can't piece it together from clues. This is probably because they are used to only communicating with other neurotypical people who use the same words as them. When they meet someone who uses different words, it throws them.

It's like SEO on websites, you have to use the correct words that people search for.

There is a technical name for this situation but I can't remember it. Symbol Representation or something.

I've had this happen numerous times: trying to explain something to people over and over, but they stare blankly. Then I somehow hit on the right words and they go 'Ohhhh! Why didn't you say so?' Erm...I did. I gave you all the information.


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Dear_one
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23 Jun 2022, 11:32 am

I have Ford's book, and it reminds me of the people who advertise "How to Speak English Good."



Lady Strange
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23 Jun 2022, 6:08 pm

I will have to check out that book, thanks for the suggestion. Anything to help decode and make it easier!



KitLily
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24 Jun 2022, 5:29 am

Lady Strange wrote:
I will have to check out that book, thanks for the suggestion. Anything to help decode and make it easier!


It's pretty hard to read and decipher but if you can pick out the main points, it makes sense.


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Lady Strange
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24 Jun 2022, 8:05 pm

KitLily wrote:
Lady Strange wrote:
I will have to check out that book, thanks for the suggestion. Anything to help decode and make it easier!


It's pretty hard to read and decipher but if you can pick out the main points, it makes sense.


I just bought the kindle version of it, when I get a chance I will have to read it!



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25 Jun 2022, 8:07 am

Lady Strange wrote:
KitLily wrote:
Lady Strange wrote:
I will have to check out that book, thanks for the suggestion. Anything to help decode and make it easier!


It's pretty hard to read and decipher but if you can pick out the main points, it makes sense.


I just bought the kindle version of it, when I get a chance I will have to read it!


I shall enjoy seeing what you think of it! I didn't get very far tbh, it's quite heavy going. But useful.


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Lady Strange
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25 Jun 2022, 2:09 pm

KitLily wrote:
Lady Strange wrote:
KitLily wrote:
Lady Strange wrote:
I will have to check out that book, thanks for the suggestion. Anything to help decode and make it easier!


It's pretty hard to read and decipher but if you can pick out the main points, it makes sense.


I just bought the kindle version of it, when I get a chance I will have to read it!


I shall enjoy seeing what you think of it! I didn't get very far tbh, it's quite heavy going. But useful.


I am about half way through it. The first part was kind of confusing, but I think I got some of the jist of it. The second half is getting interesting with relationships and why people act the way they do and say what they do in groups and around other people, and how it is a pecking order. Words aren't just words, its got much more meaning behind it. I think when I converse sometimes I do understand what is going on quite well, but other times I completely misunderstand the other person. Where I get into trouble is I will be doing what I think is an exchange of information, but it turns out this is actually perceived as flirting, and that bothers me. Why is it so misunderstood to just communicate interesting information? I do like "pumping people" for info if they are talking about something I am interested in.

It is a neat book so far though yes the first half is kinda like "umm what?" but getting into why people say and do things just to fit in and establish dominance or their place with those around them is interesting. This is where I tend to fail at, I don't really know how to "play the game" and I watch others play it so well. Ah well, lol I don't much care to try to figure out how to play anyways lol.



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25 Jun 2022, 2:19 pm

Funnily enough, I've actually seen NTs not knowing what to reply in a text about a touchy subject.
Sometimes I can think of something really good to put, other times I can only think of the same old cliches like "oh dear, hope you feel better soon" type (if the other person is saying they've been diagnosed with an illness or something).

It's not that I ever put the wrong thing, I just worry that I don't sound like I care much or something. I do, I just can't think what to put other than the same clichés. I feel it's better when talking face to face with someone because you can use facial expressions or other gestures to put emphasis when you're expressing sympathy and you don't have to use the same old cliches to much. I can look much more interested then than when I'm texting. I know there are emojis and I do use them (although not on WP because I don't like these ones much).


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26 Jun 2022, 3:50 am

Lady Strange wrote:
I am about half way through it. The first part was kind of confusing, but I think I got some of the jist of it. The second half is getting interesting with relationships and why people act the way they do and say what they do in groups and around other people, and how it is a pecking order...

Where I get into trouble is I will be doing what I think is an exchange of information, but it turns out this is actually perceived as flirting, and that bothers me. Why is it so misunderstood to just communicate interesting information? I do like "pumping people" for info if they are talking about something I am interested in...

but getting into why people say and do things just to fit in and establish dominance or their place with those around them is interesting. This is where I tend to fail at, I don't really know how to "play the game" and I watch others play it so well.


Oh thanks that helps a lot! I struggled with the first half and it put me off. I'm glad to know it gets easier!

Yes, the pecking order. I mentioned that in another thread. I do not understand the pecking order whatsoever. Why can't we all just be equal and be friends? Why do we have to have a pecking order socially? I understand why we have a pecking order at work because that's obvious, but socially? WTF.

Why is it so misunderstood to just communicate interesting information?

Ah you read my mind. I don't understand this either. It's not flirting is it! It's just communicating. In another thread, someone said it is perceived as showing off to talk about facts and information you know. Why? I don't understand.

Words aren't just words, its got much more meaning behind it.

This is another thing I don't understand. All words mean something different to each person. So how can I possibly communicate clearly with anyone? It is all just a mess of hoping desperately that I can get my point across or ask for help or whatever. I often feel like I'm drowning when trying to communicate.


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26 Jun 2022, 4:01 am

Joe90 wrote:
I feel it's better when talking face to face with someone because you can use facial expressions or other gestures to put emphasis when you're expressing sympathy and you don't have to use the same old cliches to much.


You're correct. This is why the human race is struggling now IMO. We all rely on texts, emails, too much typing and not interacting face to face.

However...I feel I can communicate MUCH more clearly in writing. Vastly better than in speech. I can take my time, think carefully about what I'm writing and get it exactly right. I find it hard to think quickly enough and clearly enough to get my point across in speech. By the time I've worked out what I want to say, the conversation has moved on long ago, or my facial expression is wrong, or people misunderstand etc. etc. etc.

I've met people who I've had long email conversations with and they seemed shocked at how bad I am at expressing myself in speech. They generally kept away from me after meeting me once.


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26 Jun 2022, 4:21 am

Dear_one wrote:
I have Ford's book, and it reminds me of the people who advertise "How to Speak English Good."


Was this tongue-in-cheek?

I usually communicate well within certain parameters. In my work, for example, I know the patterns so well I can speak clearly with clients, employees and most agency personnel.

Much trickier in social situations, which I generally try to avoid.


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Lady Strange
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26 Jun 2022, 10:50 am

KitLily wrote:
Lady Strange wrote:
I am about half way through it. The first part was kind of confusing, but I think I got some of the jist of it. The second half is getting interesting with relationships and why people act the way they do and say what they do in groups and around other people, and how it is a pecking order...

Where I get into trouble is I will be doing what I think is an exchange of information, but it turns out this is actually perceived as flirting, and that bothers me. Why is it so misunderstood to just communicate interesting information? I do like "pumping people" for info if they are talking about something I am interested in...

but getting into why people say and do things just to fit in and establish dominance or their place with those around them is interesting. This is where I tend to fail at, I don't really know how to "play the game" and I watch others play it so well.


Oh thanks that helps a lot! I struggled with the first half and it put me off. I'm glad to know it gets easier!

Yes, the pecking order. I mentioned that in another thread. I do not understand the pecking order whatsoever. Why can't we all just be equal and be friends? Why do we have to have a pecking order socially? I understand why we have a pecking order at work because that's obvious, but socially? WTF.

Why is it so misunderstood to just communicate interesting information?

Ah you read my mind. I don't understand this either. It's not flirting is it! It's just communicating. In another thread, someone said it is perceived as showing off to talk about facts and information you know. Why? I don't understand.

Words aren't just words, its got much more meaning behind it.

This is another thing I don't understand. All words mean something different to each person. So how can I possibly communicate clearly with anyone? It is all just a mess of hoping desperately that I can get my point across or ask for help or whatever. I often feel like I'm drowning when trying to communicate.


Yes, it's not easy. Social communication (for socializing with others) does get difficult because there are so many unspoken meanings and hidden innuendo that I have trouble sometimes reading it correctly or will misinterpret completely. The pecking order also drives me nuts, it just seems pointless, and allows for people to be mean to each other for no other reason than where they are on the perceived order.

I was also just thinking about how at my old job (retail customer service) I was able to do so good, because with customers it is more like I have this information that you want, I give it, and you are happy so it works. Socializing in a more umm "free" environment I guess you could say, is tougher because there are so many more complications to it.

I also like typing or writing as opposed to speaking because I can think for awhile about how it should be worded (and even still mess it up sometimes lol), but like you say with talking often the talk has moved on by the time I get figured out what I want to say. Sometimes I will just blurt it out anyways and then people look at me funny. Lol, its like well slow down! Ah well, it tends to not be as bad around people I am familiar with or have really gotten to know, but I still will completely misread or mess up talking with my husband of 17 years so yeah.

Joe90 You do bring up good points. In text it can be hard to know how to word it to sound real caring and not just pat responses.



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26 Jun 2022, 11:18 am

The other thing that annoys me is, so many 'gurus' or whatever advise us to be clear and direct with people. They say that people appreciate those who are clear and direct, and trust them more.

Well that is complete nonsense in my experience. I am clear and direct but I'm accused of being rude, blunt, harsh etc. People prefer those who skirt around the subject, phrase things in flowery language, drop hints about what they mean.

At least that's what it's like in England. Directness is NOT appreciated. It has got me a reputation as being rude and someone to avoid.

What's a girl to do? *shrugs*


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