Theory: AS lack of street-smarts due to lack of options

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Jayo
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10 Mar 2011, 2:37 pm

I've got a theory in mind, and let's see if you guys agree with it (unlike an NT, I won't take offence if you disagree :wink: )

As we all know...one of the most prominent criticisms against Aspies is that they have a lack of "street smarts" or common sense, not reading between the lines and grasping the context of a situation, and so become naive with a potential tormentor (bully) who is really a "fake friend".

The corollary is that "gut instincts" are really an NT thing. However, I contend that one some level, Aspies do have a visceral instinct about a new acquaintance being a "bad apple"- they just choose to ignore it due to lack of options, i.e. they have very few or no friends, so they are willling to settle - this was my mentality in the past, including in my first serious relationship at 25 where I was with a woman my age, a smoker, who was foul-mouthed, abusive and intolerant of my quirks, but I put up with it knowing that my options were few (dumped her after 5 months, citing her bad attitude). I also did the same with a couple of room-mates, including one guy who became a "fake friend" who I discovered was lying, sabotaging or bad-mouthing me behind my back (occasionally/obliquely to my face when he had an audience) but I ignored it till I told him off and cut him loose (he denied the covert harassment and called me paranoid and f**ed up, but I ignored him).

I always sensed there was something about that guy though.
Thus, the theory that "lack of street smarts is due to lack of options".
NT people are more able to pick-and-choose from which friends they want b/c of their relatively vast social network already. So when they have a "gut instinct" about somebody being "not all right", they are more inclined to act on it. It's no big loss to them, in their minds.

Another factor though, at least for me in the past, is that I tend to feel more sympathy towards people who seem odd or downtrodden or eccentric or whatever, because I've been in their shoes so I don't want to judge. HOWEVER, I have been burned by such people in "taking them in" as a friend when they turned out to be deliberately disruptive, sociopathic, pathological lying, emotionally abusive, etc etc...so I learned my instincts the hard way. That was in my 20s, I'm in my 30s now and I must say that my instincts about people have improved drastically - if I get a sense that somebody is manipulative or a bully, in the workplace or other setting, I have almost always been right.

NT's don't have to suffer to earn street smarts. We do. :(



leejosepho
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10 Mar 2011, 2:54 pm

I can relate to having occasionally just settled for whatever might have been available amidst my meager options, yet that seeming "lack of options" is/was not the reason I have often had difficulty choosing wisely -- no "street smarts" -- even within the options actually available to me ...

... and I reinforce that thought with the fact that even the experience nevertheless gained along the way ultimately proved nearly useless to me in the very next scenario/situation that came along. However, I have since learned to live according to specific principles in place of mere situation management.


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Todesking
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10 Mar 2011, 3:18 pm

I have learned from a ton of interactions with NTs to assume everyone is out to screw me over when it is convient to them. For some reason I am the one eveyone thinks its alright to screw over. It is better for me to be jaded and suspicious of everyone. I have only met three people who did not screw me over at least once or twice for fun, profit, or for the hell of it.


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Last edited by Todesking on 10 Mar 2011, 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CockneyRebel
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10 Mar 2011, 4:06 pm

I befriended a woman who was two years older than I was, thinking that she was "Caring, loving and motherly." Yeah, right! she turned out to be an abuser. She committed me to the emergency ward against my will, because she couldn't stand the fact that I like old music. She confused my meltdowns with temper tantrums - the NT definition of a meltdown. She also ran ovet the back of my right leg twice in the Canadian Superstore parking lot. She also wrote me off by saying that she didn't want me phoning her place, anymore.


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Magnus_Rex
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10 Mar 2011, 4:22 pm

I disagree. I'm really a terrible judge of character. But I'm getting better.



Yensid
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10 Mar 2011, 4:49 pm

While I do agree that some of the problem is a lack of options, my personal experience is that the problem is more than that.

As an example, when I was in third grade, my best friend enjoyed tripping me and hurting me. I didn't like it, but I didn't realize that I could do anything about it. The idea of finding a friend that didn't treat me like that was completely foreign to me.

I strongly suspect that my Mom is an aspie. She sometimes will just make bizarre decisions. In certain cases, she is incapable of seeing the consequences of her actions. She is extremely intelligent, but she just seems to be unable to think of certain things. It is not that she is incapable of planning for the future; it is just that she cannot conceive of certain outcomes. (This is not the effect of age; she has always been this way.)

From the reactions of other people, some of my decisions probably seem just as bizarre to them.


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Poke
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10 Mar 2011, 4:53 pm

Theory: AS lack of street-smarts due to malfunction or lack of corresponding neural mechanisms.



auntblabby
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11 Mar 2011, 12:52 am

to the OP- that is an excellent observation, i just remembered it only after you mentioned it. :idea:



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11 Mar 2011, 4:27 am

I can think of multiple occasions in which I had made poor character judgments of people. I can't entirely say that my instincts didn't warn me in every case, but what would happen is:

* I would sometimes decide that my instincts were probably wrong (because they are sometimes wrong)
* Someone else would reassure me that this person was actually decent (I am dealing with the emotional fallout of a situation like this right now)
* I am sympathetic "towards people who seem odd or downtrodden or eccentric or whatever, because I've been in their shoes so I don't want to judge."

I would also guess this was one of the reasons why I managed to get into an abusive relationship despite multiple red flags.



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11 Mar 2011, 5:22 am

Verdandi wrote:
I can think of multiple occasions in which I had made poor character judgments of people. I can't entirely say that my instincts didn't warn me in every case, but what would happen is:

* I would sometimes decide that my instincts were probably wrong (because they are sometimes wrong)
* Someone else would reassure me that this person was actually decent (I am dealing with the emotional fallout of a situation like this right now)
* I am sympathetic "towards people who seem odd or downtrodden or eccentric or whatever, because I've been in their shoes so I don't want to judge."

I would also guess this was one of the reasons why I managed to get into an abusive relationship despite multiple red flags.


Todesking wrote:
I have learned from a ton of interactions with NTs to assume everyone is out to screw me over when it is convient to them. For some reason I am the one eveyone thinks its alright to screw over. It is better for me to be jaded and suspicious of everyone. I have only met three people who did not screw me over at least once or twice for fun, profit, or for the hell of it.


These really sum up me.

My issue is that I am extremely cynical and suspicion and frought with paranoia because of terrible situations. But then people make me feel bad or guilty because they don't think I'm giving people a good enough chance. Usually I'm closed off and emotionally unavaibled to most people because I don't want to get hurt like I was in the past. But then I fight myself because I want to be more available emotionally and more open, so I can have more friends and give people the benefit of the doubt.

In the end this cognitive dissonance inside of me, ends me up in some terrible terrible situations.



daspie
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11 Mar 2011, 1:04 pm

Pandora_Box wrote:
Todesking wrote:
I have learned from a ton of interactions with NTs to assume everyone is out to screw me over when it is convient to them. For some reason I am the one eveyone thinks its alright to screw over. It is better for me to be jaded and suspicious of everyone. I have only met three people who did not screw me over at least once or twice for fun, profit, or for the hell of it.


These really sum up me.

My issue is that I am extremely cynical and suspicion and frought with paranoia because of terrible situations. But then people make me feel bad or guilty because they don't think I'm giving people a good enough chance. Usually I'm closed off and emotionally unavaibled to most people because I don't want to get hurt like I was in the past. But then I fight myself because I want to be more available emotionally and more open, so I can have more friends and give people the benefit of the doubt.

In the end this cognitive dissonance inside of me, ends me up in some terrible terrible situations.

I used to be paranoid which made me learn what I call local language skills and ToM and social awareness skills. Now I can easily pass off as a NT. Most aspies are victim of NT selfishness. We must be careful in dealing with people and should be close with only very few people who are really nice and preferably share some interest like being colleague or having same special interest.



daspie
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11 Mar 2011, 1:10 pm

Pandora_Box wrote:
Todesking wrote:
I have learned from a ton of interactions with NTs to assume everyone is out to screw me over when it is convient to them. For some reason I am the one eveyone thinks its alright to screw over. It is better for me to be jaded and suspicious of everyone. I have only met three people who did not screw me over at least once or twice for fun, profit, or for the hell of it.


These really sum up me.

My issue is that I am extremely cynical and suspicion and frought with paranoia because of terrible situations. But then people make me feel bad or guilty because they don't think I'm giving people a good enough chance. Usually I'm closed off and emotionally unavaibled to most people because I don't want to get hurt like I was in the past. But then I fight myself because I want to be more available emotionally and more open, so I can have more friends and give people the benefit of the doubt.

In the end this cognitive dissonance inside of me, ends me up in some terrible terrible situations.

I used to be paranoid which made me learn what I call local language skills and ToM and social awareness skills. Now I can easily pass off as a NT. Most aspies are victim of NT selfishness. We must be careful in dealing with people and should be close with only very few people who are really nice and preferably share some interest like being colleague or having same special interest. It is very important for aspies to learn mean skills to teach NTs.
1)Sometimes NTs lick their fingers and pick up a piece of cake with those fingers and give to us. We should spill water on them while drinking, pretending that we felt choked.
2)If someone invades our physical space then we should step on their feet from behind pretending that it happened by mistake or give them gentle slap while climbing down the stairs in case they are climbing up.
3)If they are sitting showing their back side to you then you may walk very close by and hit them at their back or skull pretending that it happened by mistake.
4)You may cough at them and then "apologize".
But to do all this you will have to be physically strong to prevent a physical backlash.



Chickenbird
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11 Mar 2011, 3:17 pm

I totally agree, OP, I think you nailed it.

Hubby was always saying to me

1. I hate/d your friends, they are so creepy
2. You are lonely because you are too fussy

Cognitive dissonance, anyone?


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Last edited by Chickenbird on 11 Mar 2011, 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mar1976
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11 Mar 2011, 3:18 pm

CockneyRebel wrote:
I befriended a woman who was two years older than I was, thinking that she was "Caring, loving and motherly." Yeah, right! she turned out to be an abuser. She committed me to the emergency ward against my will, because she couldn't stand the fact that I like old music. She confused my meltdowns with temper tantrums - the NT definition of a meltdown. She also ran ovet the back of my right leg twice in the Canadian Superstore parking lot. She also wrote me off by saying that she didn't want me phoning her place, anymore.


Crikey, she sounds like a charmer 8O

Jayo I think your theory is a good one, although it doesn't apply to me necessarily.
Up until about 10 years ago I was completely oblivious (and naiive) to the possibility of anyone being a "Bad egg"; I had this idealistic view that people at their core are good (which is at least one thing I still believe), have good intentions, good thoughts, good everything! So it wasn't as much about not having options, but more about accepting people, because I thought everyone was good.

But, over the years having been in different environments with a variety of different people I've become much more wary of people, I generally don't trust anyone, and feel the need to 'wait' to find out whether my lack of instincts will prove one thing or another of a person.

My 'gut feeling' has been learned through observing the way people (mostly) speak to me.

So, although I now have a certain 'gut feeling' about some people, paranoia has taken over for the most part and I can't seem to dissociate the ones I have a preconception that they are no good to be around, with the ones that are good and accept them as such.

Now, I don't really have 'options'; but I also don't create options



Last edited by Mar1976 on 11 Mar 2011, 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

daspie
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11 Mar 2011, 3:20 pm

Chickenbird wrote:
I totally agree, I think you nailed it.

Hubby was always saying to me

1. I hate/d your friends, they are so creepy
2. You are lonely because you are too fussy

Cognitive dissonance, anyone?

Are you agreeing with my post or the OP.