"Weak" social skills a positive trait?

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Dewclaw
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16 Oct 2006, 11:41 pm

Nearsightedness is a dominant genetic trait, but I would think that 20/20 vision should be dominant, but it is recessive. Dwarfism is a dominant genetic trait, but I would think being more proportioned would be dominant. If it wasn't for people expecting me to understand their subtle, made-up social skills, I think it would be easier to communicate. Talking about things in a clear, black-and-white manner is far easier for me.

Also some traits that are positive are also tied with negative traits. Such as being able to perform complex math equations, but not being able to remember to brush your teeth in the morning without some help.

Therefore, my 2 questions are: Are our "limited" social skills actually a positive trait? And: If it is a positive trait, is it often tied with other negative traits such as obsessions?



Corvus
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17 Oct 2006, 12:03 am

obsessions, negative word.. I find having only a few "obsessions" is perfectly fine.. you can either taste everything a little bit or focus on a few things.. funny how they call those who can simply focus 'brilliant'



mikh07
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17 Oct 2006, 1:09 am

so are you saying that sacrificing my social ability for something else.. like better memory makes it positive? what good would an awesome memory do for me if i can't make new ones because i don't talk to people..

bad social skills probably go in hand with obsession because what else is there to do but spend time doing something you really like?



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17 Oct 2006, 1:50 am

Dewclaw wrote:
Therefore, my 2 questions are: Are our "limited" social skills actually a positive trait? And: If it is a positive trait, is it often tied with other negative traits such as obsessions?


Yes, under certain circumstances. And not necessarily for the indiviudual but for society as a whole. And this is hardly confined to the question of AS.

Society needs, though it may not like, a range of personality types, to fit particular roles.

I think I first noticed this considering WW2 generals and noting how few of the top ones were "normal human beings". This observation has been extended over the years to many professions and activities where to be "cutting edge" appears frequently to come with associated wierdness, drive, obsession...

And society needs a few outsiders, always has, to watch it and blow the whistle on it, if necessary.
It doesn't like such people, and rarely treats them well. (Recent assassinated Russian journalist?) But without them, human civilisation would be even more of an unthinking mob than it is.



krex
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17 Oct 2006, 2:31 am

I dont know about the whole "dominate recessive gene thing".....but I dont really regret being an introvert.I think I have learned a lot about people by being "invisible".I like to watch people.If was forced to spend my evenings making small talk while learning make-up and dating tips from my "peers" in high school instead of reading...I dont think I would be a "better person".All the hours "making things and learning things instead of going on more dates with guys so I could get a free dinner or feel "popular"?I dont regret being introverted.I just wish I could get a better paying more interesting job....


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fresco
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17 Oct 2006, 5:54 am

At first look I thought weak social skills is not really a positive trait, but then I understood more what you were getting at. Yes I think if people communicated with our honesty and truth, the world would be a clearer place, theres so much bull%%^^**& that goes on between NT's. Hiding behind veils of social pleasantry, talking behind each others back, hiding the truth behind sarcastic remarks, which are supposed to be funny?!



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17 Oct 2006, 9:40 am

I wish traits didn't have to balance each other out like that. Yeah it's great to have good traits and abilities that other people don't have, but it doesn't make the not-so-nice traits any less frustrating. It's a good thing to keep in mind though, to try to focus on the positives and be happy with that stuff.



sehja
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17 Oct 2006, 11:05 am

I have to say that IMHO I am a better person having to change my own communication patterns to accomodate my husband's social "weaknesses". He has never lied to anyone, he is never sarcastic or evasive. He is always straightforward and honest about his ideas and feelings. In fact, the people who have chosen to go the extra mile to fully include him in their group of friends have also learned over time to be more honest and straightforward in their dealings and communications. Personally, I find the "weakness" of not being able to play social games to be a positive in him, not a negative.



JonDevine
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18 Oct 2006, 8:23 pm

Corvus wrote:
obsessions, negative word.. I find having only a few "obsessions" is perfectly fine.. you can either taste everything a little bit or focus on a few things.. funny how they call those who can simply focus 'brilliant'

I hate it when people call it that too. It sounds so...permanent. I don't know a good way to describe how I feel when I hear that word. But here's another couple dominant traits that shouldn't be:

Huntingtons (Rots your brain)
Polydactyly(Extra fingers)
Syndactyly(Webbed fingers)
Is Tay-Sachs dominant? I can't remember. ANyone else know?


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JonDevine
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18 Oct 2006, 8:23 pm

Corvus wrote:
obsessions, negative word.. I find having only a few "obsessions" is perfectly fine.. you can either taste everything a little bit or focus on a few things.. funny how they call those who can simply focus 'brilliant'

I hate it when people call it that too. It sounds so...permanent. I don't know a good way to describe how I feel when I hear that word. But here's another couple dominant traits that shouldn't be:

Huntingtons (Rots your brain)
Polydactyly(Extra fingers)
Syndactyly(Webbed fingers)
Is Tay-Sachs dominant? I can't remember. ANyone else know?


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markaudette
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18 Oct 2006, 10:32 pm

Being cursed with a lack of social skills is a curse if you ask me. It's a curse I do and do not wish I could change.

There are times I just wish I could go back in time to change certain things about my life. Go back and say the right thing instead of the junk that came out of my mouth or the hesitation that kept me from saying something when I should have said ...anything. Moments wher I wish I could have been brave enough to go a function I was asked to attend.

I mean, this is me. I can't change who I am at this point. But I would have given anything to have the lingual and social skills to have taken a different path than was taken. I wish I always knew what to say. Always knew what to do. It would have saved me a lot of frustration, a lot pain and a lot of embarrassment.

I can't paint it any other color - I think a lack of social skills is a curse. Because NO ONE is going to bend to meet my needs. To them, at first glance, I appear perfectly normal. A real joe schmoe. So I'm always having to race a hundred miles a minute just to stay on equal footing with everyone else. Other people just don't realize the effort it takes to maintain what is socially percieved as a normal conversation.



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18 Oct 2006, 11:59 pm

I've usually found that nobody's impressed on those rare occasions when I do say exactly the right thing, just my style of saying it I guess.

But the important thing is that it's reality. Something I can't change, although other people report that they've made some progress. If I can't accept reality, I've got a real serious problem.


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19 Oct 2006, 12:01 pm

Saying that a person with AS has "weak" social skills really depends on the point of view (usually an NT point of view).

I personally consider AS social skills as being somewhat of a mixed blessing. We aren't particularly emotive, and so people who aren't used to the lack of expression think of us as being very cold or creepy or not relaxed. I tend to evoke this kind of response especially from people who are very happy and laughing and such. On the other hand, I'm EXTREMELY good at comforting people when they're upset or depressed, partly because I look so calm doing it. If needed, I can adjust my facial expressions and tone of voice to that of a supporter and comforter, so that I have more of a sympathizing look, and people react more favorably to it. It seems that some people with AS really have a hard time sympathizing with others who are suffering from something, maybe because the AS people have not personally experienced that same problem. However, whenever I need to comfort somebody who is suffering, I simply think of how much life can suck and almost never goes my way (I'm sure everybody here knows how that feels!!), and then I have a very good idea how the other person is feeling.

Obsessions, for lack of a better word, can be both good and bad. I have had many good obsessions, such as hiking and currently swing dancing. I look up a ton of information about those things, and I do them so many times that I usually get slightly past "mediocre" skill in those things. Then I typically get bored or upset with the activity and then I drop it for a few months, maybe even years. In this way, obsessions can be good, because they allow me to explore new areas of interest and to get beyond a very cursory experience in those areas. I can get some real knowledge of the pluses and minuses of each area. At the same time, I don't normally stick to any of those things for years and years, and that allows me to get a broader range of experience in many different things in this world. If I got stuck thinking about one or two particular things my entire life, I don't think I would be able to really understand the world and what I was doing. My thinking would be very limited because I would not have any experience to know what options and possibilities even exist out there.

For me, AS is a mixed blessing, and you can't make it go away. The best you can do is to minimize the bad parts, and get the most mileage out of the good parts. I know that it seems very contradictory, but you'd have to do it while being yourself. Yeah, be yourself and yet change yourself.



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19 Oct 2006, 12:28 pm

Tay-sachs is recessive.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tay-sachs

As well, the social problems likely are not really positive, even though the NT social process seems rather ridiculous, it also helps them bond too and allows them to be more effective in groups or herds and can be used to positively affect other people's emotions and ways of thinking and to establish dominance, etc. The extent to which it can be positive that we don't have this ridiculousness is the same as many other traits, as even being a great thinker can have a downside if one over thinks all of one's problems. Really, our strength in this manner is not that we don't have social skills, but rather that we do not focus so highly on social games, as one can have social skills and still have our positive traits, it is just that many don't. Really, I would like to have social skills but still maintain the more aspieish characteristic of having greater focus on what I consider more important.

Actually, I would consider the obsessions to be a more mixed trait than the lack of social skills. Due to our obsessive nature we can push harder and do better in certain aspects of things. An aspie with an obsession for a type of literature might end up being a great expert in that field. Really, I think that a lot of the aspies that have done great things were driven by their obsessions and that is what made them so great.