Page 1 of 1 [ 5 posts ] 

Scott44256
Emu Egg
Emu Egg

Joined: 9 May 2024
Gender: Male
Posts: 2
Location: medina ohio

09 May 2024, 5:07 pm

Hello, I am new here but I probably should not be. I am 65 but figured out many years ago, and as an adult, that I am probably a high-function person on the Asperger spectrum. There are many reasons that I think this. Anyway, I would say that I have had very little in the way of fulfilling relationships in my life. Social situations tend to mentally exhaust me and I tend to feel lonely even in the midst of friendly people.

Last year I was struck by a 20-something young male behind the service counter of a nearby grocery store. I couldn't get him out of my mind at first, but soon it dawned on me that I strongly suspected him of being either high-functioning autistic or Asperger. He walks quite fast, never looks up, seldom if ever looks anyone in the eye, seldom smiles, has his hands usually down at his sides, talks in a droney manner, with catch-phrases like "Gotcha. You're fine. Have a nice rest of your day." Etc. Was I positive I was right? Of course not.

I am not exactly a very forward person, but circumstances brought me to the customer service desk one day and I screwed up my courage to ask him if he was in school. He immediately started telling me all about his college studies and even unrelated things about himself. I thought it appropriate to reciprocate but he honestly didn't seem too interested, which probably to no surprise did not surprise me.

Anyway for a couple of months we exchanged hellos and minor banter which I was really pleased usually brought a smile to his face. He continued to offer me more details about himself, such as how he likes to watch trains and had a couple of female friends in high school which helped him survive it. I tried to be careful not to bother him when he was busy, though a time or two I misjudged and he would tell me. I got to be honest, having even a casual friend like him made me unexpectedly happy.

Then a couple of months ago the manager(!) of the store called to tell me that I was making the young man feel uncomfortable and was bothering him. I felt stunned, and asked what I had done. The manager did not have an answer, though was very polite about it all. I promised not to talk to or bother the young man again, and I have kept my word.

But I felt devastated, and after all this time I still do. I feel so rejected and unlikeable. I occasionally walk past him in the store and he acts like we never talked before.

I guess I don't know how to process this situation. Believe me I never said anything to him that I would not have said in front of his parents. What did I do wrong? Why would he find such a minor amount of verbal exchange so unpleasant, even if he was on the spectrum? Why can't I get over it?

Anybody got anything to help me?

Scott



ProfessorJohn
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 26 Jun 2014
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,153
Location: The Room at the end of 2001

09 May 2024, 6:11 pm

Sorry to hear about that Scott. It seems that people today are more creeped out and sensitive than they were when you and I were growing up (I am not too far behind you, at 57). I don't know if it is because they spend so much time on-line that they can't handle much human face to face interaction or what.

You probably didn't do something wrong, but if he is autistic getting much attention might throw him off as well.



utterly absurd
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 7 Feb 2024
Age: 19
Gender: Male
Posts: 622
Location: Wisconsin

09 May 2024, 8:00 pm

I just wanted to say that I had a very similar experience recently. There's a person I see around at school, who I'm practically certain is autistic, and additionally from overhearing him I can tell he and I have a lot in common. I finally got the courage to start talking to him (which by the way was the first time in my life I ever randomly started talking to someone like that), he seemed interested in talking, and we had a good conversation. We had several more conversations over the next few weeks, and he seemed like he liked talking to me as much as I did to him. Eventually, however, he made it clear that he didn't want to talk anymore--not by saying so, but by very obviously avoiding me. We still see each other around but act like we've never met.
I think about him a lot. I don't know what happened; everything seemed to be going well. But I don't talk to him anymore because that seems to be what he wants. It's very confusing.
Anyway, I don't have any advice but I just wanted to share that.
I was going to end my post here. Thinking more about your situation, however, the one thing I can think of is that, as a young person, I don't usually want to be friends with people a lot older than I am. I enjoy talking to older people, but when I look for friendships I look for people my own age. I wonder if maybe he just got overwhelmed by the age difference between you and him. In fact, I almost wonder if someone he knew from school saw him talking to you and he got embarrassed--I know I don't like to be seen in public with my parents. Either way, it wouldn't be anything personal.
All that is just my thoughts and I may be completely wrong. Either way, sorry that happened to you and I hope you can at least find some other friends on the spectrum.


_________________
Diagnosed ASD/ADHD age 5. Finally understood that age 17.
Have very strong opinions so sorry if I offend anyone--I still respect your opinion.
He/him (or anything, I don't really care)
Feel free to PM me--I like to talk about most things other than sports.


Scott44256
Emu Egg
Emu Egg

Joined: 9 May 2024
Gender: Male
Posts: 2
Location: medina ohio

09 May 2024, 9:05 pm

Thanks Professor John and Utterly Absurd for the thoughtful replies.

I want to make it clear that I still respect and like this young man despite what happened. But I frankly am worried for him. He's pursuing a degree that is necessarily going to bring him into contact with a wide range of people over time. If he's so exaggeratively sensitive now to anything but strictly-business interaction, how's he going to handle his future?

Utterly, it sounds like you really have experienced something like what I have. I sympathize. And your idea of the age difference coming to upset him is not impossible, I suppose. Talk about age discrimination! But it never seemed like that sort of thing was important to him. I have wondered if someone he works with didn't take it upon themselves one day to say to him something like, "You got to watch out for old people like him trying to get friendly with you", and he got spooked. I hope not. That would make me feel even sadder.



ProfessorJohn
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 26 Jun 2014
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,153
Location: The Room at the end of 2001

10 May 2024, 12:20 am

Scott,

That is a good point, maybe someone at work turned him against you. We seem to have this idea today that anyone who gives any attention to a younger person must be a pedophile and is grooming them. That might be what happened. Some co-worker saw you talking to him and figured you had malevolent intentions. Too bad we live in a world like that today