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sudokugirl
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21 Jan 2011, 4:30 pm

I am AS and very shy.

I have found some significant similarities between
Aspergers Syndrome and shyness, e.g. awkwardness
in social situations, the desire to protect oneself
against too open / long contact with the outside world,
the inability to communicate under stress. But some features
of shyness aren't necessarily in everyone with AS. For example,
all aspies aren't nervous around other people.

Of course AS includes many features that have nothing
directly to do with shyness. But on the other hand,
shy people (regardless of neurology) tend to do a lot
of aspie-stuff, like an artistic or a scientific project.
How closely related are AS and shyness?



ZakFiend
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21 Jan 2011, 5:19 pm

They are not the same, shy people are merely inexperienced socially. Aspies have social interpretation, behaving and communication deficits.

For instance an aspie can practice being social but for most it will be exhausting and never come naturally. We have to expend energy to interpret the social world while for others (NT's) it is entirely automatic. It has to do with being able to model other peoples state of mind and predicting their actions, or predicting the actions you yourself need to take in response.

Next is things like stimming and flat affect (appearing inert/expressionless). There is also the limited range of expression.

See clay marzo:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKRIRZEV4B4



syrella
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21 Jan 2011, 5:27 pm

This is a question I have too. My whole life I've been accused of shyness, though I always suspected that the core problems were elsewhere. (ie. It's not just a matter of being socially inexperienced or being anxious)

What I've heard is that shyness and AS tend to go hand-in-hand. You can have AS and not be shy, just as you can be shy and not have AS. But it's common to have both. I don't want to get into cause and effect, but I suspect that having AS predisposes you for socially awkward behavior, which in turn means you are more likely to exhibit behavior that is considered shy.



simon_says
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21 Jan 2011, 5:32 pm

I'm sure it's possible for a shy person of a certain type to be swept up under the DSM criteria for AS if they happen to have traits that match the other conditions (narrow focused interest, lack of peer relationships, routines, etc). It's the judgement call of a (fallible) professional and not a blood test.

I was once shy but I'm not shy today. I still have what I believe to be AS.



LabPet
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21 Jan 2011, 5:41 pm

sudokugirl wrote:
I am AS and very shy.

I have found some significant similarities between
Aspergers Syndrome and shyness, e.g. awkwardness
in social situations, the desire to protect oneself
against too open / long contact with the outside world,
the inability to communicate under stress. But some features
of shyness aren't necessarily in everyone with AS. For example,
all aspies aren't nervous around other people.

Of course AS includes many features that have nothing
directly to do with shyness. But on the other hand,
shy people (regardless of neurology) tend to do a lot
of aspie-stuff, like an artistic or a scientific project.
How closely related are AS and shyness?


I've considered this feature as well. I am painfully shy. By convention, shyness alone is merely a personality feature and of no bearing to whether an individual is, or is not, an Aspie. Further, many/most Aspies are indeed shy. Shyness would be considered a typical attribute of the AS personality (and I'm quite confident in stating this). Of course, AS includes plenty other features (e.g. sensory, communication, etc). But surely any given shy NT would partially share a bit of our experience.

I can *pretend* to be less shy than I am, although it's painfully hard. There's no "cure" for shyness, of course, but I do wish I were less shy. At least, I wish I were not so conscientious. I am a pefectionist too and this seems to be correlated to shyness. At times I cannot speak and I know this is partly because I am so shy.

Curious that there are a few (not too many) extroverted Aspies. One time I read an online blog by a lovely female Aspie - - she wrote that, from her own account, her AS keeps her shy. Writing that if it weren't for her AS, she's actually be an outgoing person. That's interesting.


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pensieve
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21 Jan 2011, 5:45 pm

Being shy is just early or mild social anxiety isn't it? I've met many a shy person who were just quiet, had a little voice. They didn't stim or look around. They didn't line things up on the table like I do. They didn't try to join in on conversations like I do by leaning in and making weird face movements not knowing when it's my turn to come in.

Remember Ethan Hawkes character on Dead Poet's Society? Yeah he was shy.

I've been mistaken for shy. I was just scared of people and had no idea how to interact with them, nor did I want to.


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LabPet
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21 Jan 2011, 5:57 pm

pensieve wrote:
Being shy is just early or mild social anxiety isn't it? I've met many a shy person who were just quiet, had a little voice. They didn't stim or look around. They didn't line things up on the table like I do. They didn't try to join in on conversations like I do by leaning in and making weird face movements not knowing when it's my turn to come in.

Remember Ethan Hawkes character on Dead Poet's Society? Yeah he was shy.

I've been mistaken for shy. I was just scared of people and had no idea how to interact with them, nor did I want to.


I bank on the fact that I'll simply be mistaken for being "just shy." And I like that. The attribute of shyness is considered, in certain settings, as coquettish. So I can get away with being shy 8) They'll not know I'm actually an Aspie. I might worry too much if my "difference" is noticable to others. Thankfully we have the shyness excuse :)

I like that..."Oh, she's just shy."


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lease29
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21 Jan 2011, 6:00 pm

I have AS and I would say I am very shy and most people have commented on this throughout my life. I speak with a bit of a monotone voice at times and a small voice and I am possibly introverted.

I would say that AS and shyness are common and most people on the spectrum have shyness as a trait. I have met a lot of shy, quiet NT people and the difference between me and them is the fact that they understand the social world and can interpret and predict other people and the way they act and navigate the social world where I myself having AS find that very difficult so I have thought of myself as shy for years but there was more to it because the shyness is on the surface and the social problems I have are related to having Aspergers.

But then again shy people who are wired normally can be awkward in social situations and talk less like people with AS and be quieter and want there peace and quiet like people with AS so there can be similarities.



jc6chan
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21 Jan 2011, 6:05 pm

People with AS but not shy can potentially have a devastating effect. They will be seen as "rude" and they will get bullied and stuff. Then, they will talk back at the bullies and more bad effects come into play.

People with AS but shy may fair better IMO, because others would have no reason to bother them, since the person with AS does not bother others.



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21 Jan 2011, 6:21 pm

ZakFiend wrote:
They are not the same, shy people are merely inexperienced socially.



I think that you can be shy for other reasons besides being "merely inexperienced socially"



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21 Jan 2011, 6:30 pm

TPE2 wrote:
ZakFiend wrote:
They are not the same, shy people are merely inexperienced socially.



I think that you can be shy for other reasons besides being "merely inexperienced socially"


Yes, absolutely. Shyness is a personality trait, with varying levels. Many individuals are born shy and there is considerable variability in this regard. It's not necessarily social inexperience, it's an innate trait or way of being.

For example, I am a neat-nick (born that way). It is known and accepted that this trait (neat-nick-ness) is inherent and usually life-long, which makes sense. Shyness is similar in nature. I am shy just like I have green eyes and I am ambidextrous. And that I am an AS individual.


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Verdandi
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21 Jan 2011, 6:31 pm

I don't know, I was shy and still bullied.



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21 Jan 2011, 6:33 pm

Some people with AS aren't even that shy.

IMO, it's more about the obsessive behavior and wanting to be in one's own world.. I'm not even that shy but I'm so *focused* on my interests that I go through periods of just not having *any* interest in other people.

I do have some social anxiety and had A LOT more when I was growing up, but I'm less of an introvert now and have the same kind of AS traits. I do think that I seemed more shy and awkward in my younger years. Now I probably just seem removed and possibly a little rude =X



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21 Jan 2011, 7:26 pm

I've noticed when I end up ignoring somebody or not responding somebody sometimes says "oh, she is very very shy" and that is supposed to mean I'm not being rude and everything proceeds as normal and they might treat me more gentle.

Being considered shy is probably a good thing, but I still don't like it. I don't think I'd be shy if I didn't have Asperger's.



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21 Jan 2011, 8:02 pm

People have labelled me as shy my entire life, because I never talked much, so I grew up believing it was the case. But as an adult I can plainly see the difference between me and a shy person. I don't speak because I don't feel the need to, not so much because I'm worried about what people will think of me. I don't feel anxiety. It just takes a lot of effort to translate my thoughts into spoken words, so most of the time I'd rather not do it. But I'm not frightened of asking questions when I need to, etc.

I think it's quite possible to be both, but I really don't see them as interchangeable. Shyness and introversion aren't even the same thing, though people tend to use those words as if they're the same.

Being mistakenly labelled as shy is definitely better than being labelled rude though. :)