Advice to aspies too basic - anyone agree?

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Moondust
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07 Mar 2013, 2:22 pm

Does anyone agree that, especially in the relating area, the advice out there (and in here) is like 101 when they'd actually need advice for much more complex situations?

See for example the video running on this site about how to join 2 people who are conversing. I find that in real life the complexities are much, much higher and the factors you have to take into account for a successful joining in a conversation are a lot more. Eg power relations - if you substitute in that video the 2 girls with 2 top exec managers at your workplace when you're the janitor, everything changes.


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Tyri0n
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07 Mar 2013, 2:28 pm

Moondust wrote:
Does anyone agree that, especially in the relating area, the advice out there (and in here) is like 101 when they'd actually need advice for much more complex situations?

See for example the video running on this site about how to join 2 people who are conversing. I find that in real life the complexities are much, much higher and the factors you have to take into account for a successful joining in a conversation are a lot more. Eg power relations - if you substitute in that video the 2 girls with 2 top exec managers at your workplace when you're the janitor, everything changes.


Not only too basic but too elementary. Sure, I made good small talk and got people to laugh and like me. One even invited me to a party. Now what? That's about when I start to enter clueless territory and need help, but there really is no help because these things are supposed to be "automatic," and people are only supposed to need help with "social skills" (translation: don't be a dickhead) or starting things (making basic small talk). What about people who don't need help with basic social skills or starting things but the skills end there? I can make small talk, but I can't do anything else.

These are some of the things that lead me to suspect that I'm not really ASD but actually have one of the personality disorders involving avoidance and fragmented sense of self instead. There are several possibilities.



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07 Mar 2013, 2:32 pm

I agree. Rules that we are taught should be much more refined and complex. This is why I find most therapy useless, they are meant for lower functioning folks at best, no offense intended. What I've personally found useful is a very sensitive talk-based therapy from someone you naturally trust (my kindergarten teacher later went into adult therapy and so we've been reunited) and regular help from someone you can look at as your mentor or life-coach (or counselor). In my case, it's my best friend, who is a bit eccentric figure himself, and who has a much better understanding of life-skills than me.


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Moondust
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07 Mar 2013, 3:00 pm

I'm relieved I'm not the only one.

I also think that sometimes, it's so elementary that it can be counterproductive, because the aspie thinks "I did everything I was taught to do and they still hate me." This is what happens to me all the time. And it's because they don't teach you ALL you need to know for a successful interaction, all the factors that often not only affect but can even REVERSE what's wise to do.

Eg: if in Alex's video (which I refer to because it's the one thing we've all seen): not only status but other factors could render your perfectly well studied joining in strategy ridiculous. This is why sometimes aspies look ridiculous in social situations - because we're too oblivious to improvise, we stick to the rules and it backfires. Just consider these possible factors:

- BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE: one of the ladies confided in the boy the previous week that she has been trying to befriend the other woman for ages, trying to have an opportunity to talk to her alone. Joining in, however well you perform the technique, can be taken by her as a purposeful selfish intrusion. Very rarely is a conversation between some people a blank page for you to just come up and join in, all too often you have at least a tiny particle of history with these people. You don't just join 2 strangers in the street.

- APPEARANCE: both women are wearing ultra-expensive fur coats and engagement rings, you're homeless and dressed in rags.

- STATUS (already mentioned in my previous post)

- TIMING (you join in successfully, just when the bell rings and they rush off, leaving you mid-sentence).

Body language is way too simplistic a test to know if it's appropriate to try and join in.

And what I would benefit from is strategies on how to successfully join in even if not all factors are in line for me. Sometimes you need to mingle even if some of the factors are not to your advantage.

-


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goldfish21
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07 Mar 2013, 4:01 pm

While I don't think I've seen the video in question, I've seen others & I agree.

So what?

I think they're very valuable for Aspie children, even those that are very high functioning, as they may not yet have learned these things naturally or by learning their own coping mechanisms over years of trial and error and practice.

So do different things as a higher functioning adult.

Read sales training books - as they're all about communication and social cues. Attend a toastmasters seminar to become a better public speaker. Observe others' conversations & interactions in real life or in movies. And practice these things in your own life and interactions with others, as practice makes perfect and the more you do these things the better you'll get at them despite having some possibly frustrating or embarrassing failures in the beginning.

I've intuitively done all of these things & more my entire life, and have applied several different treatments to my adhd/as over the last few years, and it all pays off.

I may be rambling a bit here, but there may be value in this anecdote from last night for some reading this topic.

On my way home from work (retail sales, temporarily.) last night I decided to swing by one of the bars I used to bartend at (yes, another very social gig.) for a few drinks & to visit staff etc. My conversations with regulars, some friends, and staff were more fluid and better than ever. Some of them have their own quirks, so when they get off topic due to ADD or w/e I just roll with it vs. want to finish off my monologue reply about somethingerother as I realized what I was sharing had noooo relevance to them or the moment. It made for a better more balanced reciprocal conversation overall. A bartender I used to work with at that bar, who now manages a neighbouring bar (that's shutting down in a few months) was glad to see me, catch up a bit, and gave me his business card to keep in touch as we may end up doing some work or business together in the future.

I practiced listening a lot more to a bouncer friend of mine that had just found out that afternoon that one of his aunt's had unexpectedly passed away. I was very careful not to ramble or offend, only to relate as one of my grandmothers passed away only a bit over a month ago. He seemed genuinely consoled and relaxed by what I had to say, along with me taking the time to listen to him attentively and then respond appropriately to confirm to him that I had actually been paying attention & cared about what he was saying. In hindsight, this was a pretty big social victory vs. being at a loss for words of what the "right," thing is to say in such a sensitive scenario.

Another bartender, some kid I'd never met, offered me a toke outside when we were chatting about the state of the local industry and then he told me which bar he works at, that's closer to my house, which other bars the owners own, and about a new one they're opening up in about a month. Thanks to the conversation skills I've managed to learn on my own over the years, I was also able to find out how much money they make at these places (as it can vary greatly due to most of their income being cash tips) as well as who the manager of the bars is. (and I think I may know him via a family member) Sooo, it could result in a part time bartending gig again - especially since I trained the bartenders at the bar we were at - which would be excellent for positive cash flow purposes. (I'm looking to switch day jobs to something dramatically different for the skills/experience/money, as well as drop my weekend restaurant job for a bartending gig instead, so this could be another big win thanks to simple random social interaction.)

I'm far from perfect, but having worked social jobs, sales jobs, and practiced social things I've gotten better at them for sure & doing so has resulted in my ability to go and communicate with a bunch of people when I want/need to, and that can result in some pretty positive things - like friendships, social/business contacts, job info/offers etc. But I have to admit, in typical Aspie fashion, I don't care for the bar scene socially at all - I only drop in once every 3-6months unless I happen to be working at one, then I go because I can apply my industrial engineering education to bartending efficiently & fill my pockets with cash. :P And yes, I do find it draining - much like the descriptions I've read describing it being like an actor giving their best performance and then feeling completely mentally exhausted afterwards and needing to just be alone to relax after being around so many people - but, so be it when the rewards are worth the costs & effort.



Janissy
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07 Mar 2013, 4:22 pm

It makes sense that this very basic advice can backfire. At higher levels of interaction-the levels you are talking about- advice has to be situational. There are many variables, such as you listed. Once you get to that level, all the variables need to be known in order to give meaningful interaction advice. No video will ever help because videos can't account for any of the variables.

People do their best on this board. When the OP gives a detailed explanation of their social dilemma, people may be able to offer situational advice, something that no video can ever provide. However, one of the largest and most significant variables is cultural milieu. WP has posters all over the globe and it is inevitable that advice which would be perfect in one culture will backfire horribly in another. I've given out advice on this board and quite possibly it backfired because of cultural differences.

I think that for spot-on, complex, situational advice it really must be given in person by someone who can see the situation or at least is familiar with it. Strangers on the internet can get it right if by chance they are of the same culture (and subculture!) and have some personal familiarity with that sort of situation. Sometimes strangers on the internet can get it right if given exquisitely detailed information about the social situation even if they are from a different culture because sometimes things cross cultures. But it's a crapshoot. And a generic video has no hope of ever giving complex, situational advice.

I have heard of life coaches but I don't know if they do on-the-spot social situation interventions like a wingman. The ideal advice comes from somebody like Ojani knows- somebody who knows you in real life and can give specific, situational, personalized advice because they know you and share your culture.



Jinks
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07 Mar 2013, 5:44 pm

I absolutely agree with the points raised here. The problem is that it has historically always been NT people who offering this advice/training and they are rarely able to understand the nature of the social disability ASD people have (even the ones who are trained to work with ASD people) because it's so far out of their sphere of experience. They offer the immediate solution to a problem and happily expect that that will resolve it because for them adjustment to context is automatic. Except, the next time the ASD person tries to apply that advice they find it backfires horribly because the situation or context was subtly different. This can result in the ASD person even more upset and confused by the experience than they were before they were given the advice, because they supposedly did it "right" and still everyone reacted negatively!

It's like teaching someone a few vocabulary words of an unfamiliar language here and there then expecting them to be able to speak it fluently. Structured teaching of all the subtleties (like a course of language teaching) might help someone enormously, but would take so much applied effort as to render many of the ASD people unwilling and I don't think that kind of thing is really available anyway.

What IS available does not have enough input from actual autistic people who understand the difficulties.



Fnord
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07 Mar 2013, 6:08 pm

Moondust wrote:
Does anyone agree that, especially in the relating area, the advice out there (and in here) is like 101 when they'd actually need advice for much more complex situations?

What are you looking for, advice that guides you to making your own decisions, or a set of instructions that covers every possible set of circumstances?

Code:
INDEX - G

Girl, attracting a. . . 320
Girl, bare-naked. . . . 321
Girl, caressing a . . . 322
Girl, dancing with a. . 323
Girl, examining a . . . 324
Girl, flirting with a . 325
Girl, leaving a . . . . 326
Girl, smiling . . . . . 327
Girl, speaking. . . . . 328
Girl, teasing . . . . . 329
Girl, violent . . . . . 330


Is that what you're looking for?

:roll:

"Let's see ... 'Girl, armed with gun' ... what page was that on?"

:lol:


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Moondust
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07 Mar 2013, 7:15 pm

Jinks wrote:
I absolutely agree with the points raised here. The problem is that it has historically always been NT people who offering this advice/training


For some reason, the advice given by aspies themselves is no less elementary. I've only once seen on WP, for example, someone taking into account power interplay as an important factor in determining how to relate to a certain person/group. And the reality is that you can't leave this factor out of ANY relating advice and be even remotely useful. Example: The more powerful one in the interaction needs less "rules" - you can perfectly skip all the "rules" and join a group by barging in abruptly and changing the subject to one that interests no one in the group, and still be 100 per cent successful at being accepted, if only you're their boss during a bad economy and they're in their fifties. Or a beautiful woman in a men-only pub.

I don't think children don't need to learn these more complex variables. I know how it ruined my life to only discover them in my forties. And these are not specific, "situational" occurrences - power interplay, for one, is one of the hard-core determinants in every human interaction. And the interplay between several power interplays (aka politics) - it's risky, even dangerous, not to mention useless advice if not taken into account.


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Moondust
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07 Mar 2013, 7:27 pm

Jinx, I don't think the problem is only cluelessness in the case of the NTs as to what we need to be explained to us. There's a no lesser amount of denial. When an NT needs to explain something in the social arena to a child or an aspie, say - they do it in a defensive way that presents the social arena in a highly idealized way - such as "forgetting" to mention power, politics, self-interest, sycophancy, machiavellianism, competition, survival of the fittest and not the most polite, socially-appropriate or kind, etc.

My bottom line with this thread, I guess is that I wish I was told it like it is rather than having to rely on the rosy, unrealistic version of the advisers. I respect their need to portray society in a positive light to an alien (I'd do the same if a Martian asked me what people are like on Earth), but it doesn't help me. This is why I don't read any books for aspies. I don't have any hope that there'll be more complex advice in there.


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RubyWings91
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07 Mar 2013, 7:47 pm

I think the issue is that Asperger’s is a relatively newly recognized disorder and a majority of the diagnosed people are still quite young. I think the simplistic social situation are due to the lack of understanding for Aspies are and are not capable of (especially by NTs) and being geared toward a relatively young age group.

For NTs, they may not go into detail about what to do in more in depth situations because it may not occur to them that they need to, being as this comes so naturally to them that they don’t even think about it. As for the people with AS who are giving advice, they are speaking from the personal experience of one person struggling socially to another who is in a similar situation. Everyone is in the dark on the deeper issues and just trying to feel their way around. When they stumble in the right direction, they let others know. The basics were the easiest things to figure out, so they are the first things that people can get advice on. The reason we probably can’t find more in depth advice is probably because NTs forget that it is necessary to go that far and people with AS who are giving advice are also at a loss on what to do at that point.

I will admit though, it would be nice if there was a Social Situations For Dummies book, like there seems to be for most topics in the world.



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07 Mar 2013, 8:04 pm

Yes, indeed I'm surprised that the older aspies only rarely share on here their extremely hard-earned pearls of wisdom. The young are a lot more inclined to give advice, but then again, the younger the age group, the simpler the interactions.


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RubyWings91
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07 Mar 2013, 8:08 pm

Thus why they are referred to as pearls of wisdom. The advice of the experienced is often rare and valuable and I like to look for it wherever I can.



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07 Mar 2013, 8:29 pm

One of my issues is that if I am given advice for a situation, I apply it to that specific situation and not every possible situation unless it has come up frequently enough that I make an explicit connection between all of those situations.

I don't know if the advice is too basic or not nuanced enough, because every social situation is different and probably requires different strategies, even if only slightly so.



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07 Mar 2013, 8:34 pm

It's pretty clear that it would rarely work in reality, but I think it's probably impossible to give advice that would. Seriously, it would be like a recording that attempts to talk a blindfolded person through the drive to the grocery store. That is to say, following it has a 100% chance of getting you badly hurt, and possibly others as well.

NTs need to stop pretending they can teach us to fit into their world, and start letting us out of the obligation to do so. Just my 2 cents.



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08 Mar 2013, 1:55 am

Nonperson, it's THEIR society we live in. It's natural that there'll be conditions to be accepted. Let's face it, WE haven't created a self-sustaining society, and they have. Your employer, your doctor, your super-intendent, your teacher, your social security clerk, your judge, your constitution, your mechanic, your congressman, your gym instructor, your bank clerk - are most likely NT. We'd fare a lot better in their world if we were taught a bit more than how to fit the basic, laboratory-ideal situations.

Furthermore, the advice is also painfully lacking in how to relate to people in non-leisure situations. The vast majority of our human interactions is not "social" for the sake of sociability but to succeed in fulfilling a practical need, such as getting our TV repaired, our garbage collected, our test graded anew, our message across to our doctor for diagnosis, etc. There's zero advice out there for us on social relating for purposes other than the 2 typical ones: "making new friends" or "finding a girlfriend". As if you could go to a drive-thru Court with automatic verdict-dispensing machines. And as if once you graduate from college with friends and a girlfriend, your struggles in society are over. We're taught the basic, but not the crucial in human relating. Being left hanging half-way in the air like this can even be more detrimental than helpful.


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