How can we make social interaction less stressful / tiring?

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Mona Pereth
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24 Oct 2019, 3:35 pm

What are some specific things we can do, either as individuals or as groups, to alleviate some of the specific things that make social interaction especially stressful or tiring for us?

What kinds of accommodations would help us? Are there specific policies that could be adopted by groups of autistic people, or by other entities that aim to be autistic-friendly (e.g. autistic-friendly workplaces) to accommodate our worst specific social difficulties?

As far as I can tell, not a whole lot of work has been done on developing good social accommodations for autistic people.

From the earliest days of what little we have of an organized autistic community, some groups used (especially at conferences) color communication badges (described in detail here on the ASAN site) as an easy way to signal whether one was interested in social interaction, especially with strangers.

Another accommodation I've seen mentioned various places is providing small rooms for people to go to in order to take a break from social interaction.

But are there other things that can be done to alleviate the specific issues that make socializing itself especially stressful and tiring for us?

And are there specific things we, as individuals, can do in our personal lives to enable us to socialize enough to make and keep friends while eliminating the most stressful aspects of culturally mainstream NT socializing?

Recently, in the thread What aspects of social interaction are especially tiring?, a bunch of us named the specific aspects of socializing that are most stressful and/or tiring for us.

Let's now brainstorm possible practical ways that we, both as individuals and as groups, can eliminate or at least greatly reduce at least some of these specific issues.

I'll post my own thoughts later.


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25 Oct 2019, 4:37 am

Here, in the thread What aspects of social interaction are especially tiring?:

IsabellaLinton wrote:
Everything is equally 'especially tiring', but here are some low lights:

- Pretending to listen to what they are saying (either I'm not interested, or I don't understand the content, or I can't relate to it, or I'm too busy worrying how to respond)

[...]

- Dealing with trigger topics without having a panic attack.

In my opinion, in an autistic-friendly space, it needs to be socially acceptable to say things like:

1) "I'm not into ________ [topic]," if you are just not interested.

2) "I'm interested in ________ [topic], but I can't focus on it right now. Let's discuss it later."

3) "Could we please not discuss ________ [topic]? It's upsetting me," for trigger topics.

Autistic people are notoriously bad at both (1) paying attention to things we are not interested in and (2) sizing up, based on nonverbal signals, whether or not another person is interested in what we have to say. Hence we need to be able to have explicit negotiation about the topic of conversation.

IsabellaLinton wrote:
- Filtering the conversation from ambient noise and stimulation without feeling derealisation (I go into a bubble)

Many autistic people have this or similar difficulties. If possible, groups of autistic people should meet in quiet spaces. (Alas, here in NYC at least, finding spaces that are both quiet and affordable can be a challenge.)

IsabellaLinton wrote:
- Showing I care about what they say (it's not that I don't care, but I have a hard time demonstrating my interest to the right degree without over-or under- doing my emotions)

- Knowing what on earth to do with my face (blink, smile, frown, move eyebrows, etc.) I'm normally a very flat affect so I have to consciously orchestrate and monitor all of this. Likewise with body language and how to stand or sit.

In an autistic-friendly space, it would be recognized that different people have different natural body language, and that it can't be known what it means until you get to know the person very well.

We should not have to force ourselves to make facial expressions that don't come natural to us. A lot of us do this in order to try to fit in with the NT world, but I would suspect that it likely comes across as fake in most cases, and is thus self-defeating.

IsabellaLinton wrote:
- Self-advocacy to express my own needs and feelings without sounding argumentative, knowing how to say I don't like something or don't want to do something without seeming oppositional vs. not being a doormat

In my opinion, autistic self-help groups should train their members in (purely verbal aspects of) the following skills:

- How to be assertive without being aggressive
- Active listening
- Giving and receiving constructive criticism
- Conflict resolution

See the separate thread Autistic-friendly social skills vs. blending in with NT's.

IsabellaLinton wrote:
- Refraining from full-on stimming (yes I know stimming is OK but some of mine are absolutely impossible in public), and refraining from echolalia

Visually-distracting stims are one of the reasons why an autistic-friendly workplace needs to allow us some privacy, e.g. cubicles, rather than putting us in one big "open office."

IsabellaLinton wrote:
- The fact I'm not in my pyjamas, and my clothing is likely causing sensory overload or discomfort

We need more sensory-friendly and otherwise comfortable/practical clothing! Does anyone out there sew? Anyone into clothing design?

IsabellaLinton wrote:
Consciously worrying about what I'm doing wrong, what part of the interaction I'm going to ruminate about, and how they perceive me

[...]

- Feeling self-conscious and ashamed because of my discomfort during the interaction, and wishing people would understand without judging me.

An autistic-friendly group needs an ethic of being slow to judge each other, whether positively or negatively. We need to learn both to avoid being too trusting and to avoid jumping to condemnatory conclusions about each other.

IsabellaLinton wrote:
- Staying focussed on whatever the person is saying rather than ignoring them and pursuing my own interest

- Accommodating their speed / energy (if they are doing too much or seeming hyper it exhausts me, or if they are moving / talking too slowly I get impatient and want to scream)

In general I think the faster person is the one who should accommodate the slower person rather than vice versa, because it is simply impossible for the slower person to accommodate the faster person. Accommodating people who think/talk more slowly than ourselves is, therefore, another "autistic-friendly social skill" that I think we should all try to learn.

IsabellaLinton wrote:
- Worry about physical boundaries. Do I touch them or hug them, do I gesture with my hands, am I standing too far away, do I let them hug me goodbye, do they get an air kiss?

For some excellent commentary on these matters, see Autism and Consent by Kirsten Lindsmith.


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Mona Pereth
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25 Oct 2019, 11:04 am

Here, in the thread What aspects of social interaction are especially tiring?:

lvpin wrote:
Knowing what is appropriate to say and what isn't. In the past the way I masked made life hard as everything I said was so normal that I didn't make any real friends as I just regurgitated the sort of things they would say and people found me very boring for this reason. However my new dilemma is how do I interest people without making them too uncomfortable, should I say anything too familiar, dark or strange. a little of any category is fine I just can't do too much and I haven't mastered that yet which has led me to making others uncomfortable.

Personally I would suggest looking online (e.g. via Meetup) for people or groups of people who share your "dark or strange" interests and who also live in or near your local area.

As for people with whom it's safe to be relatively "familiar," I would suggest attending an autistic adult support group, if there is one in your local area.

With people like your neighbors, your landlord, your boss, your co-workers, etc., it's probably safest to err on the boring/stilted side and focus just on getting work done, saying not much more beyond very basic small talk plus task-oriented talk. Hopefully you don't have the kind of job that requires you to be the life of the party?

lvpin wrote:
There is also the constant struggle of trying to get people's intentions and trying to not take anything at face value or let it be warped by anxiety so that I obsess over it for days/weeks/years.

This is why we need people to be assertive with us rather than relying on subtle hints.

This is why assertiveness (without being aggressive) is among the foremost of what I call "autistic-friendly social skills," as distinct from "social skills" in the sense of blending in with NT's.


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Last edited by Mona Pereth on 25 Oct 2019, 2:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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25 Oct 2019, 12:01 pm

Below are replies to various posts in the thread What aspects of social interaction are especially tiring?

Here:

quaker wrote:
One of my all time pet hates is the hanging around saying goodbye on doorsteps. On my own I would simply give appropriate time over to announcing my departure and then simply carry it out dispite endless chittering on the doorstep. For me this is rudeness, when someone gases on endlessly as I am busting a gut to get home to my routines.

How would you feel about a group of people that had the following custom:

People are expected to give an approximately ten minute warning before they leave. That is taken as a signal not to "gas on endlessly" but to get in any needed final words, such as making or confirming future plans. Then, when people announce their final departure, the response is simply "good-bye," "good night," or something similar.

Would that work well for you?

Here:

blackomen wrote:
Remembering to check in with people so that there isn't anyone in your social circle that you haven't talked to in years.

In my opinion, in an autistic-friendly social circle, it should be recognized and accepted that the above is something many of us have trouble with. So, getting in touch again after not having talked in years would not be seen as a weird thing to do.

Here:

darkwaver wrote:
Staying focused on listening for any length of time without zoning out
Keeping track of what everyone is saying in group conversations
Thinking of anything to say, much less the "right" thing, quickly enough

These are the kinds of issues on which it would be difficult to accommodate all of us in one group setting. Some of us need group conversations to be highly focused and structured, while others (e.g. those of us with co-occurring ADHD) may do better in conversatons that skip around rapidly from one topic to another.

In the long run, I think we need two kinds of support groups: One for those who need group discussions to be highly structured and focused, and another for those with co-occurring ADHD and similar issues.


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25 Oct 2019, 3:26 pm

Here, in the thread What aspects of social interaction are especially tiring?:

MagicMeerkat wrote:
Having to pretend to be interested in what the other person is interested in.

This is one of those things we just shouldn't have to do, in my opinion. Even now I have no compunction about saying things like "I'm not into _____[topic]."

On the other hand, here:

LunaticCentruroides wrote:
What I find especially tiring are these people who overtalk constantly, and they talk about stuff other people usually are absolutely NOT interested in. Like really unimportant and boring stuff no one cares about or needs to hear.. I knew many people who did this, they talked for HOURS without letting ME talk for once, or even asking me a question about my life. It's absolutely awful, for me some of the worst experiences with people, cause they literally forced me to listen to them, cause I struggle say "no" or just end the conversation and go away.

At least some autistic people tend, notoriously, to be among the worst offenders in this regard.

So, in an autistic-friendly space, in order for autistic people to get along with each other, there needs to be a clear mutual understanding that we can explicitly state our preferences regarding the topic of conversation.

LunaticCentruroides wrote:
Groups can be very tiring as well, especially girlgroups. I can't stand girlgroups, cause the girls I met throughout my life were in most cases simply boring for me as well.

Hopefully this means you don't mind the fact that autistic support groups tend to be majority-male.

Now, if only a group of autistic people could figure out how to get all the other hard-to-navigate aspects of group interaction under control in a newcomer-friendly way .... That's one of the main aims of this thread.

LunaticCentruroides wrote:
"how would you change the ways that people interact":
Both have to ASK QUESTIONS and not being selfish by talking about yourself all the time. My problem is that I unfortunately can't talk if people don't ask me questions.

That's good advice, as far as it goes. The only problem is that many of us haven't fully figured out what kinds of questions are or aren't appropriate to ask.

One other important issue for many of us, here:

Jon81 wrote:
And the eye contact thing. It's becoming a psychological thing for me now. I just don't know what to do with my eyes. I had this issue long before I knew anything about asperger. I notice that people stare at me a lot more than I can handle when they talk. It's intimate, almost like you were kissing the other person. It's very hard to follow what someone says if I look them in the eyes. It's the same when I'm talking, I prefer looking to the side and that helps me explain things better. I normally give about 2-3 seconds of eye contact 'just because'.

Of course, in an autistic-friendly space, there should be NO pressure at all to make eye contact.


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25 Oct 2019, 9:44 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
Here, in the thread What aspects of social interaction are especially tiring?:

lvpin wrote:
Knowing what is appropriate to say and what isn't. In the past the way I masked made life hard as everything I said was so normal that I didn't make any real friends as I just regurgitated the sort of things they would say and people found me very boring for this reason. However my new dilemma is how do I interest people without making them too uncomfortable, should I say anything too familiar, dark or strange. a little of any category is fine I just can't do too much and I haven't mastered that yet which has led me to making others uncomfortable.

Personally I would suggest looking online (e.g. via Meetup) for people or groups of people who share your "dark or strange" interests and who also live in or near your local area.

As for people with whom it's safe to be relatively "familiar," I would suggest attending an autistic adult support group, if there is one in your local area.

With people like your neighbors, your landlord, your boss, your co-workers, etc., it's probably safest to err on the boring/stilted side and focus just on getting work done, saying not much more beyond very basic small talk plus task-oriented talk. Hopefully you don't have the kind of job that requires you to be the life of the party?

lvpin wrote:
There is also the constant struggle of trying to get people's intentions and trying to not take anything at face value or let it be warped by anxiety so that I obsess over it for days/weeks/years.

This is why we need people to be assertive with us rather than relying on subtle hints.

This is why assertiveness (without being aggressive) is among the foremost of what I call "autistic-friendly social skills," as distinct from "social skills" in the sense of blending in with NT's.


Thank you for the advice Mona Pereth. I luckily have been able to find some people who share my interests in my real life and am trying to work out what they have in common so I can more accurately guess what is and isn't ok to talk about with certain people. I wouldn't mind branching out more though. Oh and don't worry, I won't talk to anyone who I am a subordinate to in that way.

I'm currently overwhelmed by college life so don't have a job yet but I'm lucky that where I am has a group for those with autism and or disabilities. I just joined it and a few people there are overly friendly to the same extent, if not more than I am.



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25 Oct 2019, 11:47 pm

Wonders if this is a closed thread , to only people invited from other thread .

Cynicism stifled here in hopes i maybe incorrect . But being a aspie , i could be totally not getting this


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26 Oct 2019, 12:57 am

Jakki wrote:
Wonders if this is a closed thread , to only people invited from other thread .

Cynicism stifled here in hopes i maybe incorrect . But being a aspie , i could be totally not getting this

No, this is certainly not a closed thread. It just has a focus somewhat different from the other thread. The other thread is focused on problems, whereas this thread is intended to be focused primarily on possible solutions, either on an individual level or a group level, but primarily on a group level.


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26 Oct 2019, 1:11 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
Jakki wrote:
Wonders if this is a closed thread , to only people invited from other thread .

Cynicism stifled here in hopes i maybe incorrect . But being a aspie , i could be totally not getting this

No, this is certainly not a closed thread. It just has a focus somewhat different from the other thread. The other thread is focused on problems, whereas this thread is intended to be focused primarily on possible solutions, either on an individual level or a group level, but primarily on a group level.


Thank You very much.


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27 Oct 2019, 8:07 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
What are some specific things we can do, either as individuals or as groups, to alleviate some of the specific things that make social interaction especially stressful or tiring for us?

What kinds of accommodations would help us? Are there specific policies that could be adopted by groups of autistic people, or by other entities that aim to be autistic-friendly (e.g. autistic-friendly workplaces) to accommodate our worst specific social difficulties?

As far as I can tell, not a whole lot of work has been done on developing good social accommodations for autistic people.

From the earliest days of what little we have of an organized autistic community, some groups used (especially at conferences) color communication badges (described in detail here on the ASAN site) as an easy way to signal whether one was interested in social interaction, especially with strangers.

Another accommodation I've seen mentioned various places is providing small rooms for people to go to in order to take a break from social interaction.

But are there other things that can be done to alleviate the specific issues that make socializing itself especially stressful and tiring for us?

And are there specific things we, as individuals, can do in our personal lives to enable us to socialize enough to make and keep friends while eliminating the most stressful aspects of culturally mainstream NT socializing?

Recently, in the thread What aspects of social interaction are especially tiring?, a bunch of us named the specific aspects of socializing that are most stressful and/or tiring for us.

Let's now brainstorm possible practical ways that we, both as individuals and as groups, can eliminate or at least greatly reduce at least some of these specific issues.

I'll post my own thoughts later.


Except for the idea of having small break rooms to hide in when social stimulation overwhelms us, the more interesting question for me is what is it about us/Aspie people that so irritates or puts off NT people?

Should we demand that NT people be nice to us, invite us to their parties and want to hang out with us even though we are bristly, off putting, appear rude, are blunt and make other people anxious in social situations? Listen, I have suffered with my Asperger's for years and my sister is Aspie, worse than me, but my brother is NT and has loads of friends. Most of you will be angry at what I am about to say, but, the NT is incapable of accommodating our bad social behavior. Sure, my behavior makes sense to me, but that does not obligate NT people to be nice to me. I contend that if we are as smart as we claim (IQ smart not EQ smart) then we need to learn the social skills to get along in the world. One of the worst traits of high IQ Aspie people is blaming everyone else for their own social rejection. It took me years and years but I finally figured out a way to tolerate eye contact. For most of my life it was physically painful to look in someone's eye or for someone to look into my eyes. I learned how not to interrupt other people when they are talking and how not to go on endless pendantic rants (which are typical of people with Asperger's). In fact, I do not like hanging out with many other Aspie people because we/they are so rude and do NOT listen and are not even good at faking listening. Instead of demanding that others accommodate us, if we are as smart as we claim, we ought to learn how to overcome our anxiety and learn to develop appropriate social skills. And we have to quit blaming other because they don't want to put up with our weirdness.



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28 Oct 2019, 1:49 am

FletcherArrow wrote:
Except for the idea of having small break rooms to hide in when social stimulation overwhelms us, the more interesting question for me is what is it about us/Aspie people that so irritates or puts off NT people?

Should we demand that NT people be nice to us, invite us to their parties and want to hang out with us even though we are bristly, off putting, appear rude, are blunt and make other people anxious in social situations?

Not generally (we can't dictate who people invite to parties), but we do need autistic-friendly spaces. And hopefully some (not all) NT's, e.g. sympathetic relatives of autistic people, will be willing to help us create autistic-friendly spaces -- including autistic-friendly workplaces, which we do need.

FletcherArrow wrote:
Listen, I have suffered with my Asperger's for years and my sister is Aspie, worse than me, but my brother is NT and has loads of friends. Most of you will be angry at what I am about to say, but, the NT is incapable of accommodating our bad social behavior. Sure, my behavior makes sense to me, but that does not obligate NT people to be nice to me. I contend that if we are as smart as we claim (IQ smart not EQ smart) then we need to learn the social skills to get along in the world.

Depends what you mean by "social skills." I think of "social skills" as being in two very distinct (though overlapping) categories:

1) What I call "autistic-friendly social skills" -- the skills autistic people need just to get along with each other. These include:

- Basic courtesy and consideration for others
- How to be assertive without being aggressive
- Active listening
- Giving and receiving constructive criticism gracefully
- Conflict resolution

2) What I call the "blending-in-with-NT's" kinds of "social skills." Things like:

- Forcing oneself to adopt unnatural rhythms of eye-contact and body language.
- Learning and imitating a gazillion intricacies and subtleties of how NT's interact with each other.

In other words, masking. Not all of us are capable of doing this and, among many of those who are, it can be done only at great cost to oneself. Many of us suffer from co-occurring depression and anxiety as a result of masking. Said depression and anxiety, in turn, makes people much less productive than we could be in an autistic-friendly setting.

FletcherArrow wrote:
One of the worst traits of high IQ Aspie people is blaming everyone else for their own social rejection. It took me years and years but I finally figured out a way to tolerate eye contact. For most of my life it was physically painful to look in someone's eye or for someone to look into my eyes.

But wouldn't your life be a whole lot better if you didn't have to learn to tolerate eye contact? Imagine how much better your life would be if the "years and years" you spent on figuring out a way to tolerate eye contact were spent, instead, on learning new productive skills? Or perhaps on things like learning better time management so you could put your productive skills to better use?

Even today, there are some social settings that aren't specifically designated "autistic-friendly" but where eye contact doesn't matter all that much. Example: a highly multi-cultural neighborhood with people from many different countries around the world and no one dominant ethnic group.

FletcherArrow wrote:
I learned how not to interrupt other people when they are talking and how not to go on endless pendantic rants (which are typical of people with Asperger's). In fact, I do not like hanging out with many other Aspie people because we/they are so rude and do NOT listen and are not even good at faking listening.

Real listening (but not fake listening) is in the category of what I call "autistic-friendly social skills" (see above) -- the skills we need in order get along with each other. I agree that this is something we would need to learn (to the extent that we can) in order to succeed even in an autistic-friendly setting.

(Note: Some of us have co-occurring ADHD or other neurological issues affecting our ability to listen, in which case we need to aware of and assertive about the kinds of communication we need in order to be able to absorb the information.)

FletcherArrow wrote:
Instead of demanding that others accommodate us, if we are as smart as we claim, we ought to learn how to overcome our anxiety and learn to develop appropriate social skills. And we have to quit blaming other because they don't want to put up with our weirdness.

To me, the right to be harmlessly weird is a moral imperative -- just as, for example, gays should not have to pretend to be heterosexual.

IMO we need to get off our butts and start working together to create autistic-friendly spaces, instead of just complaining. Online forums like Wrong Planet are a great start, but we need a whole lot more.


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28 Oct 2019, 4:11 am

I like structured social interactions.
Singing evenings. Board games. Sharing puzzles. Hiking trips.
I'm totally fine not invited to noisy parties and my friend who values both noisy parties and quiet evenings does understand who to invite where.

It's not just an autistic thing to recognize that different people may have different ideas of fun, all valid as long as not harming anyone.


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28 Oct 2019, 11:41 am

FletcherArrow wrote:
Mona Pereth wrote:
What are some specific things we can do, either as individuals or as groups, to alleviate some of the specific things that make social interaction especially stressful or tiring for us?

What kinds of accommodations would help us? Are there specific policies that could be adopted by groups of autistic people, or by other entities that aim to be autistic-friendly (e.g. autistic-friendly workplaces) to accommodate our worst specific social difficulties?

As far as I can tell, not a whole lot of work has been done on developing good social accommodations for autistic people.

From the earliest days of what little we have of an organized autistic community, some groups used (especially at conferences) color communication badges (described in detail here on the ASAN site) as an easy way to signal whether one was interested in social interaction, especially with strangers.

Another accommodation I've seen mentioned various places is providing small rooms for people to go to in order to take a break from social interaction.

But are there other things that can be done to alleviate the specific issues that make socializing itself especially stressful and tiring for us?

And are there specific things we, as individuals, can do in our personal lives to enable us to socialize enough to make and keep friends while eliminating the most stressful aspects of culturally mainstream NT socializing?

Recently, in the thread What aspects of social interaction are especially tiring?, a bunch of us named the specific aspects of socializing that are most stressful and/or tiring for us.

Let's now brainstorm possible practical ways that we, both as individuals and as groups, can eliminate or at least greatly reduce at least some of these specific issues.

I'll post my own thoughts later.


Except for the idea of having small break rooms to hide in when social stimulation overwhelms us, the more interesting question for me is what is it about us/Aspie people that so irritates or puts off NT people?

Should we demand that NT people be nice to us, invite us to their parties and want to hang out with us even though we are bristly, off putting, appear rude, are blunt and make other people anxious in social situations? Listen, I have suffered with my Asperger's for years and my sister is Aspie, worse than me, but my brother is NT and has loads of friends. Most of you will be angry at what I am about to say, but, the NT is incapable of accommodating our bad social behavior. Sure, my behavior makes sense to me, but that does not obligate NT people to be nice to me. I contend that if we are as smart as we claim (IQ smart not EQ smart) then we need to learn the social skills to get along in the world. One of the worst traits of high IQ Aspie people is blaming everyone else for their own social rejection. It took me years and years but I finally figured out a way to tolerate eye contact. For most of my life it was physically painful to look in someone's eye or for someone to look into my eyes. I learned how not to interrupt other people when they are talking and how not to go on endless pendantic rants (which are typical of people with Asperger's). In fact, I do not like hanging out with many other Aspie people because we/they are so rude and do NOT listen and are not even good at faking listening. Instead of demanding that others accommodate us, if we are as smart as we claim, we ought to learn how to overcome our anxiety and learn to develop appropriate social skills. And we have to quit blaming other because they don't want to put up with our weirdness.

Must agree with 95% of what you have written.. and am glad for my differences ,Although.
Can recognize these dfficulties , but have spent most of a lifetime trying to mask , and still do alot . BUT am not one to impose on others , if i can see , something is off. So most of my life spent in silence, when others wish to speak. But i pay attn. But if get on a roll can be lengthly in explanations.
And seeing necessity in it . Cause my english grammar is different than most americans . More precise . .. concepts not normally spoken of.,alot of time is better to be quiet . Am In high hopes of how to make this work, aspie adults need support. As many of us are living longer .
Which stifles, me .


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JustFoundHere
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04 Nov 2019, 3:00 am

To address the topic of this thread on how to make social interaction (beyond small-talk) less tiring, stressful, and less discouraging!

From my own personal experiences, the notion of friendships can be discouraging; and from viewing discussion threads here in the 'Social Skills & Making Friends' Forum, such discouragement is common; yet I largely refrain from expressing too much discouragement here on WP.

Instead, I choose to be as proactive a possible. For example, being too discouraged too easily becomes like a self fulfilling (or self-defeatist) prophecy (like becoming caught in an "affective quicksand" of sorts).

Favorable step-by-step approaches are the reassessment of a person's strengths; in order to address weaknesses - such as social interaction (gradually progressing beyond small talk). One such approach (SEE LINK) involves people/resources understanding of the challenges HFAs face in grappling with the notions of friendships.

My concern here stems from too little interest on WP of specific, concrete (proactive) examples.
By shunning proactive approaches, we're acting against our own best-interests, and in effect choosing to remain in that vicious self-defeatist prophecy cycle - this is very disappointing, and it doesn't need to be this way!

LINK to thread: 'Platonic Versions Matchmakers Helpful W/ Friendships W/HFA?'
viewtopic.php?t=381925



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04 Nov 2019, 5:48 pm

JustFoundHere wrote:
From my own personal experiences, the notion of friendships can be discouraging; and from viewing discussion threads here in the 'Social Skills & Making Friends' Forum, such discouragement is common; yet I largely refrain from expressing too much discouragement here on WP.

Instead, I choose to be as proactive a possible.

Good for you.

JustFoundHere wrote:
For example, being too discouraged too easily becomes like a self fulfilling (or self-defeatist) prophecy (like becoming caught in an "affective quicksand" of sorts).

Indeed, I suspect that a lot of us may be caught up in such a vicious cycle.

JustFoundHere wrote:
Favorable step-by-step approaches are the reassessment of a person's strengths; in order to address weaknesses - such as social interaction (gradually progressing beyond small talk).

Or, perhaps, skipping over small talk altogether? For example, if people meet in a topic-focused online forum, then they've met in the context of discussing, already, a topic of common interest. No need to preface that with small talk.

JustFoundHere wrote:
One such approach (SEE LINK) involves people/resources understanding of the challenges HFAs face in grappling with the notions of friendships.

My concern here stems from too little interest on WP of specific, concrete (proactive) examples.
By shunning proactive approaches, we're acting against our own best-interests, and in effect choosing to remain in that vicious self-defeatist prophecy cycle - this is very disappointing, and it doesn't need to be this way!

Agreed. We need more of us here on WP to be willing to engage in productive brainstorming on, for example, the best ways to make friends with other autistic people.


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