wasted too much of my life trying to be normal

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jovialwilliams
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03 Dec 2011, 1:56 am

As the title says, I wasted a lot of my life trying to hard to be normal(childhood included). Since I am aspergian, social skills don't and never did make too much sense to me except the mention of friendship(my definition of it back then being someone or some people to hang out with), and increasing job aspects. A few years ago, I realized what I should have been doing. I began to develop my special interest which I had neglected due to wanting people to hang out with(which used to feel like a need.), brought my grades up, and began to realize how unlike most people I really was(and am). I can now fake being an "average person"(though I prefer to just be my awkward aspergian self instead of acting), have decent prospects in life, and in the past two years finally accepted myself being aspergian. My point is that I used to practice social skills almost to complete exclusion of everything else, but now that I have gotten my priorities straight, how should I develop social skills without pretending to be neurotypical? Speaking is still awkward for me even though I can still speak, still find it awkward.


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TB
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03 Dec 2011, 6:55 am

Word, trying to be like others is the best way to crash and burn for autistics. Being ourselves without feeling guilty is how we should be able to life our lives.



Wolfheart
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03 Dec 2011, 7:12 am

TB wrote:
Word, trying to be like others is the best way to crash and burn for autistics. Being ourselves without feeling guilty is how we should be able to life our lives.


I agree, self realization and acceptance on our terms and not on the way society tells us to live is the first step to genuine happiness.



ictus75
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03 Dec 2011, 10:19 am

Know thyself, be thyself. It took me a long time to realize that. Trying to be NT is the most exhausting thing in the world.


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jovialwilliams
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03 Dec 2011, 6:05 pm

Know thyself has always been good advice. Be thyself except for in the context of don't pretend to be anyone else usually goes without saying. Thanks for the input, but you have not answered my question directly.


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Djimbe
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06 Dec 2011, 2:20 am

I think a good start for you would be to only talk about what youre interested in.

Play the "oh hes a man of few words" card.


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BigSnoopy126
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06 Dec 2011, 1:43 pm

How to develop social skills without pretending to be NT?

First of all, a lot is going to depend on your own unique interests.

take me - I make it like a game. Say a person is talking about a country I know little about. I say to myself, "Okay, I love to read, used to read almanacs for fun in fact, what little tidbits do I know about that country that I can add to waht is being said? What stories have I heard other people say?"

So, if you take Slovakia, I had a 6th grade teacher from there. I might even add that his birth certificate would have said "Austro-Hungarian Empire" since he was born in 1916, 2 years before it broke up. (I wouldn't add *all8 that, though i used to.) I might ask, if they visited there if there were any really old buildings, etc.. So, I would feel like I won that round of the game - I had matched the person's topic with facts that helped me to match that person.

Now, that specific example is harder if you're not obsessed with history (including alternate history) like I am - not everyone read almanacs for fun as a child or was glued to maps. But the point is, neurotypicals don't even always show an interest in what others are saying. Yes, learning facts is one of my Aspie obsessions, but the game component of what I'm saying can still be very useful. The object of the game here is akin to return the serve of someone in tennis; countering some fact with a fact of my own. Yes, sometimes I come up with one that isn't relevant, or blow a cousin away by knowing the specifics of Guy Fawkes Day even though I'm American. I get jokes like, "You have no right to know that." But, that's part of the fun to me. So I can let go a little and laugh so hard i fall out of a chair.

Maybe the game to you would be more serious, and you won't play the game like a Dwight Evans - who said the biggest thrill in baseball was running as fast as he could after a ball on wet grass and sliding 15 feet. You might be more like a stern football coach who never shows emotion. But whichever you are, the "information tennis" game can be quite fun, and you don't have to say anything if you don't feel like it. Because, sometimes people do just like to feel they're being heard. then, you can jsut let them keep talking.



Alphawolf
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04 Aug 2016, 1:30 pm

You are not the only one. I wasted 41 years trying to be normal and what is worse I truly suck at trying to be normal. I do really well trying to be the successful happy autistic dude I am. Oh yeah some people think I am dumb, retarded, boring and worse but I figure that is their problem not mine!



Elaine2016
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04 Aug 2016, 2:42 pm

Normal is boring anyway!!



Eclipse247
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02 Oct 2016, 11:20 am

I have been reasonably successful between 20 and 48 living/working with NT's. It may be worth a shot if you can find a slot. Burnout got me in the end. I have found some NT's are extremely dysfunctional and malicious, it's those who will bring you down if you can't identify them and their actions imo. NT's will make themselves responsible to their superiors and be happy to "just carry out orders" with no guilt, shame, remorse or the thing Aspies are supposed to lack, empathy..
NT's can see the vulnerability in others and they will exploit it. You need a skill or quality they need and other NT's will tell the wolves to back off.



DJKhaleedBRjan
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02 Oct 2016, 2:19 pm

I did the reverse and just wasted my time on a lot of pointless solitary hobbies during my early years. I wish I had just went along with the flow trying to be normal instead of being myself. I re-defined myself after high school and began hating all the stuff I used to be in to. So now it feels like all those years before of 'being me' were a waste since I wasn't even being real to begin with.

I have a job now and am going to move out to a place with all new people so I can be normal from sheer necessity.