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nerdygirl
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21 Feb 2015, 8:14 am

I have come to realize that most of interpersonal communication problems are not due to misunderstanding body language or verbal cues (though that still happens from time to time.) It is more that I do not understand the normal social conventions of how I am expected to RESPOND.

A few examples:

One time, I was asked by someone else what I thought of (first impressions) of another person I just met. I just stood there saying, "uh..." If the person asking was someone I knew well, I would have felt comfortable talking about the other person in detail, but a random question like this left me wondering what was expected of me. Thankfully, the person asking filled in the gap of silence with something nice that I could easily agree with.

Several times, I have been asked questions where I know people have been "fishing for information" to try and find out what I know about a certain situation or about another person. I tend to not gossip, but sometimes I will say neutral things. After a while, I realized that various people were trying to "get me on their side" of a conflict. I ended up losing "friends" because I would not join a side.

One time, a friend told me his sister died a long time ago. I didn't know what to say, so I just stood there.

Yesterday, I saw someone I hadn't seen since high school. I feel like I completely botched the greeting. Thankfully, I think I can amend that with online easily enough and say things I wanted to say in person but just couldn't get out.

Recently, I had a slight conflict with a friend and the next time I saw this friend, I was given an apologetic look, but nothing was SAID. I didn't know what I was supposed to do. Did this friend want to talk about what happened? Should I have just said "It's OK" even though I wasn't sure at the time I was reading the body language right? Thankfully, all this got figured out because we both went back to "normal" and in an unsaid we, we knew things were OK.

Recently, a friend commented on how beautiful my hair is (I have good hair - that's the best thing about my looks.) I thanked her, but then she went on about how she doesn't like her hair so much. I said something stupid which came out in a way that was not what I had intended. Then, it takes longer to explain what you *really* meant. She is easy going and was not offended by anything I said, but then went on to say how she thinks her butt is too big. I was at a loss.

So, in these situations I knew clearly what the other person was communicating, but I didn't know what I was supposed to do about it.

How do I learn this stuff? And if I do learn it, how do I get it to come to the forefront of my mind quickly enough to respond appropriately?



kraftiekortie
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21 Feb 2015, 9:06 am

Hi Nerdygirl,

I have found that the less said the better when somebody mentions that somebody passed away. Usually, "my condolences to you on your loss" will suffice. Then you could talk about your shared memories of that person. It's difficult for ANYBODY to say the "right thing" under these circumstances.

When somebody gets nosy about your "impressions" of someone, and you don't the person well, it's best to just offer a very general, neutral impression like "She seems all right to me."

Many times, when "nothing is said," it should remain that way. People don't want to expose their egos. People reflect upon their actions, yet don't want to admit, openly when they're wrong. Just don't say anything, and move on to something else.

You do have to be careful with some women when it comes to things like their hair and their figure. I would make NO negative comments about ANYTHING unless you know the person well. This applies, especially, to women.

The only way to "learn this stuff" is to actually "experience" this stuff. You will make mistakes. Just learn from them. I hate to say it: but men are usually more easygoing about social faux pas than women.

It's good that you try to rectify that situation with the hair via email. But go don't overboard in these matters; otherwise, people might start using you as a dupe.



nerdygirl
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21 Feb 2015, 9:51 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
Hi Nerdygirl,

I have found that the less said the better when somebody mentions that somebody passed away. Usually, "my condolences to you on your loss" will suffice. Then you could talk about your shared memories of that person. It's difficult for ANYBODY to say the "right thing" under these circumstances.

When somebody gets nosy about your "impressions" of someone, and you don't the person well, it's best to just offer a very general, neutral impression like "She seems all right to me."

Many times, when "nothing is said," it should remain that way. People don't want to expose their egos. People reflect upon their actions, yet don't want to admit, openly when they're wrong. Just don't say anything, and move on to something else.

You do have to be careful with some women when it comes to things like their hair and their figure. I would make NO negative comments about ANYTHING unless you know the person well. This applies, especially, to women.

The only way to "learn this stuff" is to actually "experience" this stuff. You will make mistakes. Just learn from them. I hate to say it: but men are usually more easygoing about social faux pas than women.

It's good that you try to rectify that situation with the hair via email. But go don't overboard in these matters; otherwise, people might start using you as a dupe.


Good advice all around.



Browncoat
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25 Feb 2015, 9:44 pm

Here's some of my common responses
Talking about someone else-"I have no opinion on the matter" or "I couldn't claim to know everything about a person"
Recent Death-"At least you got to know them for as long as you did"
Aesthetic Opinions-"Everything is a matter of perspective. Compared to an ant, I'm huge. Compared to an elephant, I'm small."
Third Party to conflict-"People are going to get hurt. If I let myself get dragged in, that's just more hurt to go around"
Severe illness-"The universe isn't fair. Bad things happen to good people, but that doesn't mean we just give up."

Anytime I say something offensive-"That came out wrong"


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LyraLuthTinu
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28 Feb 2015, 4:58 pm

Browncoat wrote:
Here's some of my common responses
Talking about someone else-"I have no opinion on the matter" or "I couldn't claim to know everything about a person"
Recent Death-"At least you got to know them for as long as you did"
Aesthetic Opinions-"Everything is a matter of perspective. Compared to an ant, I'm huge. Compared to an elephant, I'm small."
Third Party to conflict-"People are going to get hurt. If I let myself get dragged in, that's just more hurt to go around"


I think that most of these would not go over well with NT's I know. Especially the part about the recent death. As someone who has lost family I would have to say that I personally would feel wounded to hear that instead of KraftieKortie's standard condolences on the loss, whether recent or long past. "I'm sorry to hear of your loss" is much more compassionate. When you've lost a loved one, you don't feel like you got to know them for long enough, even if you knew him or her for his or her entire life. So as someone who has lost loved ones to death, and who has stood beside my own life mate at the funerals of his loved ones whom I never met, I would say take KraftieKortie's advice over Browncoat's.

No offence meant, Browncoat; I just don't think that is the best thing to say in such a situation.

Quote:
Severe illness-"The universe isn't fair. Bad things happen to good people, but that doesn't mean we just give up."

Anytime I say something offensive-"That came out wrong"


These sound like good responses to me. "That came out wrong" works with all but the most easily offended people.


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Browncoat
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28 Feb 2015, 8:55 pm

I'll admit that I am sometimes too honest for my own good. Combining that with my reduced empathy (not just difficulty displaying it) has led to some...social difficulties in the past. I'll admit on the issue of a recent death, I usually make for a quick exit to avoid extending the awkwardness.


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Sherry221B
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01 Mar 2015, 5:50 am

I have experienced this same issue. (What I mean is, that people are confusing and scary.....With one exception).


However, I react basing myself in previous experiences, and thinking before acting....To know what someone wants, the best is to ask directly. I prefer it to be that way...It is rare that someone does that, though, but there are individuals willing to do so. I do not follow the normal social conventions, so.... In the first example, I would be uncomfortable. I dislike those kind of questions. I would say "I do not know", or want to avoid or stay silent. That of joining sides and all that, it seems like a headache. If someone dies, it is easy: just something like "My condolences". You are expected to show sympathy because they are likely to be grieving about their loss. What I already wrote is, that there are many different ways on dealing with the death of someone beloved. When someone is suffering, they could want to feel like they are not completely alone in this world. This is why of showing sympathy. Only those who experience the same kind of pain can understand it, though. However, every living being dies eventually. It is really sad when it is about someone you care about, but it is inevitable.

With the next scenario, I would just say whatever it is, whatever I need from that someone. The next example, about the slight conflict, I would ask out loud to that someone if he/she wants to talk about what happened or if there is something wrong. Problem solved. The beautiful hair sceneario: I would be uncomfortable. Someone telling me how they think their butt is too big, that would be much more uncomfortable. I would say: "I think it is better that you keep that to yourself, because I am not interested in that kind of information." Another option, would be to attempt to make a joke to make it less uncomfortable.

I personally think that the best is to just be yourself, and not give yourself more headaches. To make more emphasis in what I have just illustrated: what might be appropriate to someone, it might not be so to someone else. There are certain things that are learnt through personal experience. It does not really matter if you are slow to react, as long as there are no ill intentions. This is just my personal opinion, and you mght not like it. (The whole thing was longer and more detailed, however after clicking "submit", it directed me to the profile page, and logged me out. I did not feel like written the same thing, word by word over again....So, it stays like this).



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01 Mar 2015, 6:14 am

There are two ways I try to learn what to do. Either I watch someone who deals with people well or I ask someone who I think is good with people about the situation and how they would handle it. Usually watching only works if I know the person enough to ask questions about what they are doing. It isn't easy to find people who you can do that with, though.



kraftiekortie
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01 Mar 2015, 6:48 am

Sherry makes sense.

Waterfall: interesting responses about education in the thread about whether education is "girl-centered" these days. No hesitation in asserting your opinion.



Anna_K
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01 Mar 2015, 7:43 pm

I have experienced stuff like this a lot, when you hear the news of someone dying, the best thing to do is either say I'm so sorry, or don't say anything at all. That is a tricky one, as you don't want to come off as sounding like you don't care, but you don't want to say too much and end up saying the wrong thing either. I have been in a few situations where someone tells me bad news and I end up just saying something along the lines of "okay" or just saying nothing, and have been accused of not caring, even though that wasn't the case.


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LyraLuthTinu
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03 Mar 2015, 8:24 pm

Waterfalls wrote:
There are two ways I try to learn what to do. Either I watch someone who deals with people well or I ask someone who I think is good with people about the situation and how they would handle it. Usually watching only works if I know the person enough to ask questions about what they are doing. It isn't easy to find people who you can do that with, though.


I do these things also, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Lately when I ask the questions all I get is impatience. There isn't anyone in my life right now willing to work with me and explain. When they do, it comes out as advice that either doesn't quite fit the situation and the people involved, or advice that is for me at least just plain unworkable. Sometimes it is advice that might have worked if I'd thought about it in the moment. But in those situations, it just makes me feel stupid that I didn't think of it when it was needed. And then the next time it comes up, I don't recognize it as a similar situation so I still fail to implement prior good advice!

I just generally give up on getting along with people who don't go something along the lines of "you're weird. I like that" withing the first few weeks of our acquaintance.


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Your neurodiverse (Aspie) score: 141 of 200
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You are very likely neurodiverse (Aspie)
Official diagnosis: Austism Spectrum Disorder Level One, without learning disability, without speech/language delay; Requiring Support