Has your ability to read body language improved?

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Jayo
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16 Apr 2022, 7:24 pm

I can tell you from my own experience, that once I was diagnosed with Aspergers in 2001, my ability to read body language (including faces) significantly improved - mostly because I got in a conscious daily reinforcement loop of looking for "the signs" in others, and it helped that I had a small circle of trusted friends who accepted me as I was.

But I admit that I still had occasional lapses - especially where alcohol was involved (!) I actually found that NTs seem to have diminished non-verbal reading & response accuracy when they too consume a lot of alcohol.

They say that clinical difficulties with non-verbal communication is one of the defining challenges of ASD/HFA, but I think in the right cases and circumstances it can be learned and applied to passable effect, my own anecdotal experience fitting that. What I found frustrating back in the early 2000s (my late 20s) when actively practicing non-verbal as though it were a foreign language, is that nobody would correct me or clarify my stated perceptions of their non-verbal presentation. Case in point, back then I went on a date with a young woman in my car, I did an awkward parking job where I had to straighten out again - and as we got out of my car and walked to a restaurant, she had her arms crossed while walking...this was in the spring...so I asked her "you've got your arms crossed, is everything OK?" and her reply was "I always cross my arms when I walk."
:roll: :(

Yyyyyeaaaaahhhh... I was a tad skeptical about THAT!!
So I just replied: "Oh...um, OK..." while consciously making a face that said bewilderment... like WTF... at that point I figured I'd "lost the date" and indeed the dinner didn't progress so well and that's the last I heard of her, so I figured I might as well deflect any perceptions of weirdness she had of me, onto her :P :)

The point of the story is, like it would friggin' kill NTs to just ADMIT someone's accurate perception of them... like I already KNEW she felt "weirded out" by me at that point b/c of some awkwardness and nervousness I had... however, going on more dates with other women I was able to iteratively improve through reflection, rehearsal, and revision. As I learned soon enough that asking someone "you seem uncomfortable / upset, why?" would rarely if ever get me an honest answer. Like maybe 10% of the time, as the corollary to "up to 90% of communication is non-verbal"... yeah, no kidding....!



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16 Apr 2022, 8:15 pm

Mine doesn't. Not really.

More like I already do have an accumulation of experience and knowledge over the years.

I just can't access it completely without a working executive function.
It's pointless for me to have that much practice, only for a skill to be bottlenecked by inaccessibility due to lack of internal prerequisites like being fast enough.


It won't help that I'm still too asocial to actually take interest any practice.


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Earthbound_Alien
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16 Apr 2022, 10:49 pm

no

its mostly guess work



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16 Apr 2022, 10:51 pm

asked my mum at 16 "how do I know if a man finds me attractive"

still asking the same question at 47 lol



Joe90
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16 Apr 2022, 11:06 pm

I can read body language fine.


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Pepe
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17 Apr 2022, 12:15 am

I have "always" been good at reading body language, for some reason. 8)


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17 Apr 2022, 12:42 am

I didn't know body language existed till I was about 20 years old, and nobody I'd known had ever mentioned it, so I guess most people didn't either. Of course the NTs among them would have been using it and processing it unconsciously, whereas I probably wasn't doing that as much. Then there was a spate of popular science books about it, and I read a couple of them, so I guess ever since then I've gradually got better at figuring out what I'm revealing about my feelings and what other people are subliminally signalling to me about theirs. Time was when I wouldn't have known, for example, that if I didn't look towards somebody who was talking to me, they might think I was ignoring them, but these days I'm aware of that. In those days I didn't even suspect I had ASD, so I never approached it with an autism-aware mindset, though I was aware that I was at risk of becoming a completely isolated social failure, and hoped I might be able to help myself remain reasonably popular by finding out more about what makes people tick. I studied a lot of psychology around the same time.

I might have been processing and using a certain amount of body language before I ever read about it, because Aspies are rarely completely devoid of NT traits, but naturally it's hard for me to know because if it had been happening, it would have been unconscious. I'm not even quite sure that I've improved since becoming aware of the subject, but it would seem likely that I have. If you bone up on a subject you usually do get better at it. But I can't think of a single example of it doing me any particular social good, I just presume that the chances are, it has done. It's always been my experience that there's a lot to know about people, and that the facts I discover about them are numerous and too small individually to really show up in the sense of having hard evidence that finding out this or that has made much of a difference to my social performance. There's no big bang.



auntblabby
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17 Apr 2022, 1:16 am

Jayo wrote:
I can tell you from my own experience, that once I was diagnosed with Aspergers in 2001, my ability to read body language (including faces) significantly improved - mostly because I got in a conscious daily reinforcement loop of looking for "the signs" in others, and it helped that I had a small circle of trusted friends who accepted me as I was.

But I admit that I still had occasional lapses - especially where alcohol was involved (!) I actually found that NTs seem to have diminished non-verbal reading & response accuracy when they too consume a lot of alcohol.

They say that clinical difficulties with non-verbal communication is one of the defining challenges of ASD/HFA, but I think in the right cases and circumstances it can be learned and applied to passable effect, my own anecdotal experience fitting that. What I found frustrating back in the early 2000s (my late 20s) when actively practicing non-verbal as though it were a foreign language, is that nobody would correct me or clarify my stated perceptions of their non-verbal presentation. Case in point, back then I went on a date with a young woman in my car, I did an awkward parking job where I had to straighten out again - and as we got out of my car and walked to a restaurant, she had her arms crossed while walking...this was in the spring...so I asked her "you've got your arms crossed, is everything OK?" and her reply was "I always cross my arms when I walk."
:roll: :(

Yyyyyeaaaaahhhh... I was a tad skeptical about THAT!!
So I just replied: "Oh...um, OK..." while consciously making a face that said bewilderment... like WTF... at that point I figured I'd "lost the date" and indeed the dinner didn't progress so well and that's the last I heard of her, so I figured I might as well deflect any perceptions of weirdness she had of me, onto her :P :)

The point of the story is, like it would friggin' kill NTs to just ADMIT someone's accurate perception of them... like I already KNEW she felt "weirded out" by me at that point b/c of some awkwardness and nervousness I had... however, going on more dates with other women I was able to iteratively improve through reflection, rehearsal, and revision. As I learned soon enough that asking someone "you seem uncomfortable / upset, why?" would rarely if ever get me an honest answer. Like maybe 10% of the time, as the corollary to "up to 90% of communication is non-verbal"... yeah, no kidding....!

you dodged a bullet with that woman.



autisticelders
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17 Apr 2022, 8:00 am

I am excellent at reading body language, both human and animal, with humans it is a problem because so often the words spoken do not match the body language, and that leaves me confused.


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Jayo
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17 Apr 2022, 12:49 pm

autisticelders wrote:
I am excellent at reading body language, both human and animal, with humans it is a problem because so often the words spoken do not match the body language, and that leaves me confused.


Yeah, those kind of scenarios typically connote sarcasm, indignation, passive-aggression or "subtle" ridicule... I always boiled it down to those essentials, and think "why is this person behaving this way?" and then offering some conciliatory gesture, "umm...well, it seems that you've got something (else) that you're not happy with".

If they're just very immature, and seeing how far they can mismatch their non-verbal to their verbal as a way of tormenting you, to see if they can fool you or get you to make a fool of yourself, then it's best to walk away with some pretext as soon as you can...don't waste time on those immature imbeciles :x



babybird
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17 Apr 2022, 1:14 pm

I don't know. Its not something that I consciously do.



Elgee
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17 Apr 2022, 8:20 pm

I don't think I've ever read body language other than very overt, obvious movements such as someone smacking a fist into a palm, or shrugging their shoulders, or throwing their arms up in the air. I didn't have to try to read these. It was obvious what they meant.

I'm wondering, then, if my NOT reading more subtle body language is one of the reasons why I've always been thought of as odd, and always felt out of place among people. I've never "studied" body language to figure out what someone was feeling. Instead I just paid attention to what they were saying, maybe some facial expressions, some hand gestures, but generally I was LISTENING more than anything else.

Does this resonate with anyone? Or is it that when NTs "read" body laugnage, it's done subsconsiously? And maybe my subconscious reading either malfunctions or doesn't operate at all?



Earthbound_Alien
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18 Apr 2022, 8:31 am

err..no

I asked my mum at 16 "how do I know if a man finds me attractive?"

and I'm still none the wiser now (at 47)



kraftiekortie
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18 Apr 2022, 10:06 am

I wasn't able to tell of a girl found me attractive when I was young. I used to make lots of mistakes thinking that someone was attracted to me----when they only wanted to be friends.

I'm a little better at this sort of thing now-----but not that much better.