Masking in public is more exhausting than...

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Joe90
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11 Jul 2019, 3:54 pm

...masking at work or when socialising with other people.
This may sound unusual for an Aspie but I like to be very expressive, and I feel like I can be myself and let my hair down more when socialising around friends, family and colleagues than I can in public. When in public, particularly in the street, I feel like I have to be this emotionless robot, and feel judged if I do anything out of the ordinary at the slightest.

Even when I'm with a friend or relative or my partner in public places, I feel like there are certain things you cannot do or talk about. Like when I was asking my boyfriend on the bus what time the snooker starts on the TV, he gave me a non-verbal expression which meant "shush, don't ask that out loud". I assume he didn't want people to listen and think he's weird for watching snooker or something, which is ridiculous, because A, what I asked wasn't rude, private or unacceptable, B, people probably weren't even listening anyway and if they did they most likely don't care, and C, we probably won't see those people again or recognise them. But if we were having a conversation about the snooker around his friends or family, or my friends or family, he probably wouldn't mind. In fact he has talked about snooker around people he knows. Some like it also, some don't.

So if the rules are even more dense or complex about what you can and can't talk about in public, then that makes me find being in public very difficult indeed. It's like I need a mask more in public places, but hardly need a mask at all when at work or around people I know.

Does anyone else feel this way?


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11 Jul 2019, 4:08 pm

I get frustrated with wierd rules like that where they change compared to the enviroment and the person.


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11 Jul 2019, 4:18 pm

I have been fortunate the last few years to be able to choose activities that fit my interests. I can talk about my favorite tennis players when I'm out playing tennis. I don't always have to talk about my interests in public and that is okay with me.



Mona Pereth
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11 Jul 2019, 7:47 pm

Joe90 wrote:
...masking at work or when socialising with other people.
This may sound unusual for an Aspie but I like to be very expressive, and I feel like I can be myself and let my hair down more when socialising around friends, family and colleagues than I can in public. When in public, particularly in the street, I feel like I have to be this emotionless robot, and feel judged if I do anything out of the ordinary at the slightest.

Even when I'm with a friend or relative or my partner in public places, I feel like there are certain things you cannot do or talk about. Like when I was asking my boyfriend on the bus what time the snooker starts on the TV, he gave me a non-verbal expression which meant "shush, don't ask that out loud". I assume he didn't want people to listen and think he's weird for watching snooker or something, which is ridiculous, because A, what I asked wasn't rude, private or unacceptable, B, people probably weren't even listening anyway and if they did they most likely don't care, and C, we probably won't see those people again or recognise them.

Did you ever ask your boyfriend later, in private, exactly what his issue was and why? Perhaps his "non-verbal expression" might have been a reaction to some other aspect of the situation, like maybe you were talking too loud?

I had to Google "snooker" to find out what it is. It's a sport. Since when was anybody embarrassed to mention sports in public? That's just weird -- which is why I wonder if your boyfriend's problem was actually something else, not the topic per se.


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Last edited by Mona Pereth on 11 Jul 2019, 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Edna3362
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11 Jul 2019, 8:48 pm

If masking in public at large makes you exhausted, then try to think of something else.

Maybe get a headphone, play music on it and sing if you're not shy enough.
Or have a notebook on hand, draw or read something, you can mouth the words you're reading.


In public in general, it may be the reason why autistics tend to look down; it's not just the gait, it also blocks sensory stimuli in some ways. But I doubt you'd want to look like that.


Not sure how your culture works; but if in public there's a constant of shades of monochromes being enforced as you described, there's no real shame on putting colors in it. More so if you're not alone, which is something you apparently preferred.

Chances are, yes, people may look or stare. But judge you for it? How so? Sure people would notice, but what are the odds of remembering you for it?
And if so they do remember, it wouldn't be a bad thing. Chances you may appear more approachable in a more casual and/or social setting right after. It might be anxiety speaking.

As for the specific question asked; it might be your boyfriend's 'rule' of sorts -- you may talk about stuff in social setting but not in public at large.
A social setting is a more 'closed off' circle full of conversing people at a certain space, NTs would 'sense' it like that if they're in it, or out of it, and would gauge whether to enter it or not.
But a public setting, especially while on a walk, it's 'too open' -- and NTs perceived it that way.


'Settings' is more than just some places, it's a 'space' you can socially manipulate. Making a setting out of a space requires more social skills than most NTs would pull off -- and these people are 'leaders' of sorts.
To know the space's setting, it does not only require self-awareness (of knowing if you're out of place) it requires reading atmospheres and a bird-eye view like between human interactions of body language and emotions.

Kinda why some groups of people have this air around them, and other people would look at it yes, but would likely rather keep themselves out of it.
There's a structure within a larger structure; it just turns out that you're 'safer' in an inner structure of sorts because it allows certain expressions that the outer structures don't usually allow. And your boyfriend may prefer to talk about certain topics exclusively on said specific inner structures.


Is this even coherent? I tried my best to describe what I could observe when going out public, but I'm not even sure it's complete.


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11 Jul 2019, 9:37 pm

I used to be spontaneous in public. If I was happy it would be noticed on my face. If I went to some nightclub and was interested in someone I wouldn't hide it. Result: treated like a pariah. It was such a strong trauma that I closed myself off in public (and in general, to the NT world). On the street or in some nightclub I don't hide my face from contempt for people. Result: Women love it and it is not uncommon to approach it with sexual interest. The NT reality is too bizarre for me.



Joe90
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12 Jul 2019, 2:14 am

Edna3362 wrote:
If masking in public at large makes you exhausted, then try to think of something else.

Maybe get a headphone, play music on it and sing if you're not shy enough.
Or have a notebook on hand, draw or read something, you can mouth the words you're reading.


In public in general, it may be the reason why autistics tend to look down; it's not just the gait, it also blocks sensory stimuli in some ways. But I doubt you'd want to look like that.


Not sure how your culture works; but if in public there's a constant of shades of monochromes being enforced as you described, there's no real shame on putting colors in it. More so if you're not alone, which is something you apparently preferred.

Chances are, yes, people may look or stare. But judge you for it? How so? Sure people would notice, but what are the odds of remembering you for it?
And if so they do remember, it wouldn't be a bad thing. Chances you may appear more approachable in a more casual and/or social setting right after. It might be anxiety speaking.

As for the specific question asked; it might be your boyfriend's 'rule' of sorts -- you may talk about stuff in social setting but not in public at large.
A social setting is a more 'closed off' circle full of conversing people at a certain space, NTs would 'sense' it like that if they're in it, or out of it, and would gauge whether to enter it or not.
But a public setting, especially while on a walk, it's 'too open' -- and NTs perceived it that way.


'Settings' is more than just some places, it's a 'space' you can socially manipulate. Making a setting out of a space requires more social skills than most NTs would pull off -- and these people are 'leaders' of sorts.
To know the space's setting, it does not only require self-awareness (of knowing if you're out of place) it requires reading atmospheres and a bird-eye view like between human interactions of body language and emotions.

Kinda why some groups of people have this air around them, and other people would look at it yes, but would likely rather keep themselves out of it.
There's a structure within a larger structure; it just turns out that you're 'safer' in an inner structure of sorts because it allows certain expressions that the outer structures don't usually allow. And your boyfriend may prefer to talk about certain topics exclusively on said specific inner structures.


Is this even coherent? I tried my best to describe what I could observe when going out public, but I'm not even sure it's complete.


Well I can't read my boyfriend's mind. Not being allowed to mention a harmless topic in public is not something body language can tell. There's a difference between reading body language and reading people's mind.


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Edna3362
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12 Jul 2019, 2:36 am

Joe90 wrote:
Edna3362 wrote:
If masking in public at large makes you exhausted, then try to think of something else.

Maybe get a headphone, play music on it and sing if you're not shy enough.
Or have a notebook on hand, draw or read something, you can mouth the words you're reading.


In public in general, it may be the reason why autistics tend to look down; it's not just the gait, it also blocks sensory stimuli in some ways. But I doubt you'd want to look like that.


Not sure how your culture works; but if in public there's a constant of shades of monochromes being enforced as you described, there's no real shame on putting colors in it. More so if you're not alone, which is something you apparently preferred.

Chances are, yes, people may look or stare. But judge you for it? How so? Sure people would notice, but what are the odds of remembering you for it?
And if so they do remember, it wouldn't be a bad thing. Chances you may appear more approachable in a more casual and/or social setting right after. It might be anxiety speaking.

As for the specific question asked; it might be your boyfriend's 'rule' of sorts -- you may talk about stuff in social setting but not in public at large.
A social setting is a more 'closed off' circle full of conversing people at a certain space, NTs would 'sense' it like that if they're in it, or out of it, and would gauge whether to enter it or not.
But a public setting, especially while on a walk, it's 'too open' -- and NTs perceived it that way.


'Settings' is more than just some places, it's a 'space' you can socially manipulate. Making a setting out of a space requires more social skills than most NTs would pull off -- and these people are 'leaders' of sorts.
To know the space's setting, it does not only require self-awareness (of knowing if you're out of place) it requires reading atmospheres and a bird-eye view like between human interactions of body language and emotions.

Kinda why some groups of people have this air around them, and other people would look at it yes, but would likely rather keep themselves out of it.
There's a structure within a larger structure; it just turns out that you're 'safer' in an inner structure of sorts because it allows certain expressions that the outer structures don't usually allow. And your boyfriend may prefer to talk about certain topics exclusively on said specific inner structures.


Is this even coherent? I tried my best to describe what I could observe when going out public, but I'm not even sure it's complete.


Well I can't read my boyfriend's mind. Not being allowed to mention a harmless topic in public is not something body language can tell. There's a difference between reading body language and reading people's mind.


Body language reading as I tried to point at my post; was just a part of 'reading air' not 'reading minds'.
Space's social atmosphere as whole, not the individuals -- be it you or your boyfriend cause I don't know either of you two. :twisted:


Again, I dunno about your culture and how your relationship works; why not flat out ask why right after? :lol:


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12 Jul 2019, 5:28 pm

Well, I forgot about it when we got off the bus. I only remembered it when I was writing this thread. But the main point of this thread is that I feel more under social pressure to be a certain person in public places than I do at work or wherever.


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Mona Pereth
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12 Jul 2019, 6:03 pm

Joe90 wrote:
I only remembered it when I was writing this thread. But the main point of this thread is that I feel more under social pressure to be a certain person in public places than I do at work or wherever.

I don't. Perhaps that's because I live in a very multicultural neighborhood.


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- Long history of participation in various oddball subcultures.
- My "Getting to know each other" thread: Hello from NYC.


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12 Jul 2019, 10:28 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
Joe90 wrote:
I only remembered it when I was writing this thread. But the main point of this thread is that I feel more under social pressure to be a certain person in public places than I do at work or wherever.

I don't. Perhaps that's because I live in a very multicultural neighborhood.

In my case it's this combining that I don't do masking to in order to blend, along with higher sensory thresholds.

My culture at large is comparatively more emotional, more expressive, usually tolerant or non confrontational and socially open, just as it is more tangled and chaotic than those from the North or the West. :|
Sometimes I do wonder what would it be if it's possible to switch places for a while. :twisted:


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13 Jul 2019, 1:34 am

I am myself in public and don't really care what strangers think. They are not going to see me again and no one harasses me so I am not pressured to be anything.


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14 Jul 2019, 1:29 pm

Masking in public in more rxhausting than being elected to congeess.



Joe90
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14 Jul 2019, 5:53 pm

Sometimes I don't always want to go out in public because I don't feel like putting on that mask. Even just going to the supermarket I feel like I can't go out the house until I look presentable (dressed appropriately, hair well-groomed, make-up on, etc), which I don't always feel like doing but if I don't do it I will feel incredibly self-conscious and judged. Then I have to act like I'm not anxious at all when I am too overcrowded by strangers in the store, and when there's a baby screaming I have to act cool like I don't hear it, and I have to use my inner voice to communicate with myself instead of talking out loud. It's easier to communicate my thoughts and feelings when I am with someone, but when you're on your own you have to keep everything inside and act like this cool, normal, robotic humanoid that blends in with the rest of the cool, normal, robotic humanoids.

If I lived in a world where nobody judged (in other words had my own way), I would:-
-Get straight out of bed and go to the supermarket in my pajamas without brushing or washing my hair
-Run or skip to the supermarket
-Carry a bicycle bell with me to make dawdlers move out of my way
-Talk out loud to myself
-Yell at screaming babies or their parents to get them away from me

Maybe it was the way I was brought up. I had behaviour difficulties as a child, but I was strictly taught to behave in public, even as a toddler. I was taught that certain things were OK to do at home, at school and at other people's homes, but not in public. And I really was under pressure to behave like a different person in public, and it has always stuck with me to this day.

Here's a few rules that NTs subconsciously follow in public places (and expect everybody else to follow), and some might not even be true in reality but they will worry that it might be true:-

Do not bicker or argue with your mother or spouse or anybody in public - you will attract an audience

Do not cry in public unless you're a baby - it is never OK to express that kind of emotion in public places, people will stare and might even laugh at you

Don't laugh too loud in public unless you're in a rowdy bar - laughing too loudly in a store could be embarrassing

Do not burp, fart or scratch your head, butt or ears in public - people are easily grossed out, but coughing and sneezing has to slip through the cracks because it's harder to control (although I have learnt to hold back a sneeze)

Always look presentable, hygienic and dressed accordingly to your age group - people will judge you based on what you wear

Don't dither, always know what you're doing and where you're going - it seems to show you up if you look slow or nervous

Don't talk about weird or too random subjects - people listen then will think you're stupid for talking about it

Don't speak negatively about anyone you know - people will listen then think you're a bad person for disliking someone


The last 2 aren't really true in reality but many NTs worry that everyone is eavesdropping and will judge them forever when they hear a tiny fragment of one's life. And NTs don't like anyone expressing too much emotion in public, even though humans are very emotionally-driven creatures. And no, most odd behaviour doesn't make people think you're a murderer - people just like to judge.


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