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To tell or not to tell?
Tell 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Don’t tell 50%  50%  [ 2 ]
Tell after knowing them for a while 25%  25%  [ 1 ]
Other 25%  25%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 4

Windows on a Mac

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Joined: 13 Dec 2022
Age: 20
Gender: Female
Posts: 11
Location: United Kingdom

05 Feb 2023, 5:55 pm

As I’m sure you all know, meeting new people can be really daunting. Socialising with people just does not come naturally to me. At all. One thing in particular I struggle with is deciding whether or not to tell people that I’m autistic.

On one hand, I’m scared that people will treat me differently or not want to talk to me anymore if I tell them. Sure, I don’t want to be around people like that anyway, but there’s also a chance of scaring away well-intentioned people who unfortunately don’t know much about autism.

On the other hand, if I tell someone and they’re fine with it (or reveal that they’re also autistic) I will feel less pressured to mask as they know what to expect, they know I’m a bit “weird” (people seem to notice that anyway, no matter how much I mask, but that’s a story for another day…)

What do you think?


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Joined: 17 Jan 2019
Age: 35
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,558
Location: PNW USA

05 Feb 2023, 6:08 pm

Whether or not you choose to reveal an autism diagnosis, I wouldn't automatically expect anyone (autistic or not) to "know what to expect". Everyone is different. As for dropping your mask (or them theirs) I wouldn't expect that either. Especially early on in a relationship, let alone a first meeting.

Having said that, I take each case as it comes. Not everyone needs or wants to know, and not everyone deserves to. There are probably an equal number of people I have told and not told. I can't say many people have been surprised when they find out, but generally, if there is no real reason for them to know, they don't.

Handa Rei

Joined: 22 Jan 2020
Gender: Male
Posts: 121
Location: UK

07 Feb 2023, 2:15 am

This is something I think about quite a bit. I haven't yet told anyone I'm diagnosed and for now I don't think I will unless they themselves are autistic too maybe.

I worry they'll treat me differently too (both people I already know, and those I'm yet to meet) and that's the main reason I don't want to tell anyone. I think that generally people are uninformed as to what autism actually is. It's not something people are taught about in school, and there are all these misconceptions, memes and stereotypes floating around. I feel I'd practically be asking to be seen and treated differently if I were to reveal my diagnosis. Labels carry so much weight, probably due to all the associations tethered to them, and I don't think I want all those associations tethered to me since at least some of them, maybe a lot of them, are not going to be true to who I am. It sometimes feels like labels supersede reality for people, in a sense. Maybe that's only natural given how much we as a society rely on them to function as we do. But it feels almost dangerous to inject such a thing into someone's perception of me. I just want to be seen as me. The risk seems to outweigh the benefit.

Yet, somewhat paradoxically, I'll join places like WrongPlanet and freely state that I'm diagnosed. I think I'd have no problem telling an autistic person that I'm autistic as well, even though we're all so different from each other that other autistic people may not be any less likely to have misconceptions and associations that could make for a less accurate perception of me. It's weird.

Possibly the deciding factor is actually that I'm feeling less and less required to mask as time goes on. It feels like I don't mask anywhere near as much as I used to. If that weren't the case, the idea that I'd feel less pressured to mask after revealing my diagnosis would be very enticing. That might have been enough for me to tell people I'm autistic. In a way, and again paradoxically, it sounds like it could feel very freeing. But as of now I'm sufficiently strange that I don't think anyone I currently know would bat an eye if I told them I'm autistic. I've fortunately just gradually gotten my desired benefit (feeling able to mask less) of telling them without actually telling them, and apparently not gotten the aforementioned possible negatives. I'm hoping that if I continue not masking so much, I can continue not telling people that I'm autistic and that they'll get the picture, that is, the picture of me without whatever picture it is they have of autism.

I'm reluctant to vote on the poll though because it's different for everyone. I'd say it really depends on what you'd like to have happen as a result of telling people you're autistic. If you want to feel less pressured to mask maybe, if you do decide to tell people, begin by telling only those you know well enough to know what kind of reaction they'd have. People you trust. But I also wonder if you too feel a little less pressured to mask as you age, because if you do then maybe it would be good to play the waiting game. That way you could potentially mask less and less over time while getting to know people enough to get a feel for how they would respond in the event that you do tell them you're autistic.


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Joined: 28 May 2016
Age: 36
Gender: Male
Posts: 3,763

07 Feb 2023, 4:41 am

Don't tell. If they treat you well, they will treat you well. If you tell they won't treat you any better.

Enjoy the silence.


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Joined: 3 Feb 2023
Gender: Non-binary
Posts: 16

07 Feb 2023, 5:07 pm

i've begun tell people i'm autistic in the same manner i tell people i'm trans, which is that if it's relevant, i tell them. for example, if someone asks why i don't drive, i'll be honest and tell them that it was due to delays in my name and gender marker change. if i need to leave a room due to sensory overload, i'll be honest about it.

i recognize that being able to be out about these things requires a sense of safety that not everyone has; i just want to point out that i'm not blind to that fact. though i think i should note that i feel safe doing these things, but i don't always feel comfortable- not yet, at least. it's gotten much easier over time to tell people that i'm trans, and i predict in the future it will be easier to tell people i'm autistic. it's an extremely relevant part of me: you cannot truly understand me without understanding that i'm autistic. the people i'm around will likely need to know this in order for me to effectively advocate for my own needs.

for this reason, i've selected the poll option of telling people after you've known them for a bit. but everyone is different. this is just what works for me. there is no one timeline you need to follow, and you're allowed to tell certain people and not others. it's fully up to you. regardless, i hope you're able to find a level of disclosure that you feel comfortable with and that works for you.