People Not Explaining Things Properly

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HeroOfHyrule
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22 May 2022, 10:50 pm

Does anyone find it hard to get people to understand that they can't be vague when they explain things to you?

I've been having an issue with people being vague when explaining things to me, and then getting frustrated when I don't understand what they're saying. I guess that there's information that allistic people would be able to infer just by the context of our conversation, since other people will get what they mean, but I apparently can't do that, and it seems like no matter how many times I tell others that they need to be explicit and detailed when explaining things to me, they just keep being vague and then getting frustrated towards me for not understanding them.

Even people who know what autism is and that it causes an issue with understanding vague directions will keep doing it, which annoys me the most. Sometimes it seems like people don't care that I genuinely can't understand and that they just want to scold me for no reason.


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naturalplastic
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22 May 2022, 10:58 pm

You might wanna give us examples.



klanka
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23 May 2022, 2:26 am

I think I just learnt over time.

One time, when i was in my early twenties, my female boss said 'do you want to open the window' so I just said 'nahh'
But that was actually a request for me to open the window.



Mountain Goat
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23 May 2022, 3:51 am

klanka wrote:
I think I just learnt over time.

One time, when i was in my early twenties, my female boss said 'do you want to open the window' so I just said 'nahh'
But that was actually a request for me to open the window.


Haha! I never forget where I first worked there were a few missunderstandings.
The boss who was one that one would not really want to go back and question to get more information, sent me into my little bike repair workshop to label everything, so I did. Then the other bike mechanic came in (He had a larger workshop and better tools) and saw what I was doing and complained to the boss. Luckily the boss was an ex school teacher who ended up as a deputy headmaster and he could not see what I had done wrong as to him, I was doing the right thing when I wrote "Hammer" on the hammer etc. (I was a nurvous person who just wanted to follow instructions without any arguing of others as others raising their voices scares me as I was brought up to obay quiet instructions. My Mum can't shout that loud if she wanted to!)

But on another occasion the upstairs of this large old victorian house which had been converted into a shop happened to be full of dust after the many boxed bikes that had come in (Very dusty) and so I was sent upstairs to sweep all the rooms. There were two sub staircases from each side of the upstairs leading down to a square step where they met and the stairs turned to go doenstairs and turned again at the bottom to the floor, where the boss sat (On these wider steps at the bottom) as he was ringing in an order which often took half an hour to do.
I did not want to disturb him while on the phone so I had a dustpan full of dust and I went to quietly go past him, but he said "Don't take the dust down the stairs".
So I assumed that he meant "Not in the dustpan as it will tip" (Probably would with me! Haha!)
So I went down and fetched a small box to put the dust in and again he said "Don't bring the dust down the stairs" while he was on the phone.

I was puzzled. Just what did he expect me to do with all this dust? I could not throw it out the windows as they were all nailed shut and there were metal bars over them (No fire escapes whatsoever in the shop as the only other escape was the back door which was locked and the boss had the key and he was not there for hours at a time as he had other things to do as well, and I failed part of an employment training exam due to this but I was not able to do anything about it).

So just where should I put all this dust as he wanted the upstairs to be clean and I didn't want to ask him.

I had an idea. Now in one room there was a gap in the floorboards and the beams in this old house were deep so I had a gap that was around 18 inches deep, so I put the dust down this gap.
I was sent weekly to sweep up there (Whenever things went quiet and I had done all the bike repairs... It was either sweeping the upstairs, cleaning the shop windows (Downstairs display windows, and I did not like going the two steps up on the ladder to reach the top of the windows but I did it) or cleaning the bikes on display. A new road was being built nearby and the dust was everywhere, and was even coming in a long time after it was built.
Anyway. This dust... Each time I swept the upstairs more dust went down this gap, so around two years or so later when I was looking to move on and find something else the dust... Well. I had to push the dust sideways with a stick just to get room to put more dust in there by then so it was a fair few feet long in either direction by about nearly 2ft wide and 18 inches deep. That was a lot of dust and the floorboard crack was a good foot or longer long...
Well I forgot all about it. I left the shop just before the boss had decided to do renovations and I had decided to try and go self employed but it didn't work as I was too shy and the little van I had gave up.
So around six months later right in the middle of summer where the peak customers come in, I visited to buy a few bike parts as I was rebuilding my touring bike.
I saw a big pile of rubble and the boss going back and fore with heavy wheelbarrows of rubble to take to the skip outside, and he was pushing the whelbarrow over this pile of rubnle in the other room. Jack, an older guy who I knew as he had helped there on the bikes in the past said to me "I have told him to move the rubble first but he won't listen!" (My old boss was like that! If we suggested an idea he would say "No" and give excuses why it wouldn't work, but a certain time later he would come out with the exact same idea as "His" idea and we would all get to do it! He was also a determined man once he got an idea, but this shop renovation... They had been telling him they need to do it around febuary to march when the shop is quiet but he kept delaying it so right in the middle of peak customer time was when this was happening!)
Now Jack was in the middle room. The back room (The large workshop) was having a new concrete floor as it had the old earth floors that the victorians used... The old buildings would have ash floors at first but then tiled on top, so the workshop floor was now a good foot lower as it was being dug out, hence all the mess. Jack was slowly pulling down the ceiling in the middle room as they had decided to move the position of the stairs.
I watched him pull down one ceiling panel, and then another, and then... He pulled half the wooden pannel down and the pannel was lower at the end he was and... the dust! "Oops!" It all came his way! He was absolutely covered in dust! It was an inch high or more piled on top of his mistasche! His sholders were covered and all down his neck! All I saw were the poor guys two eyes!
Well it was all I could do to keep a straight face as I did not want to admit that the dust was my fault!
Jack said to the boss "I am going to have to go home to get changed". I bought what I wanted as the other mechanic was there serving (He taught me on bike repairs and servicing. He was around 5 years older then me), and then I left to go home chuckling away to myself as Iwent!
A few days later I came back for more parts (May have been a few days earlier) and met the boss hacking away at a wall in the shop and stones were falling around him near the queue of customers and one customer came in and saw what he was doing as he had hacked a fair way into this wall he was trying to remove and the guy said "Stop! How high is the wall?" The boss said he didn't know. The guy asked to go up and have a look. The wall was right up to the attic upstairs and he was hacking away at the bottom of it! The guy happened to be a builder and said "I need to use your phone quick".
He rang his mates and said "Get an acro prop down here quick" (I think they put two in)...
I did say my boss was determined when he had something on his mind to do! Sadly my old boss passed away a few years ago. I do miss him though.

But I remember that bike shop. Somehow it lost its victorian character when it was rebuilt. I did go back to work there for a Christmas season when they were desperate for help.

Yes. Bike shops... You learn a lot from working in a bicycle shop!



Fireblossom
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23 May 2022, 4:56 am

Yeah, that happens. For the most part I just apologize if I've misunderstood something 'cause usually the fact is that most other people would've understood it, but with my family, I do get frustrated. They should know by now to not be vague with me, yet they often are, even after I've asked for clarification, and then get mad if I misunderstand something.



ToughDiamond
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23 May 2022, 5:42 am

Yes. I think NTs have a way of getting a lot from the context, and they tend to assume everybody has that gift, just like a lot of people with smartphones or cars assume nobody of any importance would be without those things.

It's annoying but I guess it's human to overlook the fact that not everybody has the same ways, tendencies or abilities, and it's no doubt more work to take into account minorities who might be different. As I don't divulge my autism very often, it's probably not surprising that people make such mistakes, but so few people understand or believe in the existence of ASD that I doubt it would make much difference if I told them.

When I get unclear explanations I try to decypher them by considering the context, with some success, but it takes time and I don't always manage the trick. If it weren't for the fact that other people seem to understand the fuzzy crap that gets passed off as explanation, I'd think it was simply a poor job they'd done - I can often see clearly why their words don't make sense.

I've noticed people often look exasperated when I ask them to explain it again. I suppose sometimes they really think I must be stupid or not really trying to follow their words, but other times I think they're just annoyed with the situation and the fact that they've tried to do something that has failed and needs another try. And sometimes when people get frustrated they lose their reason for a while and blame the nearest person. Sometimes they think better of it later, other times they're too proud to do that.

It doesn't make things any better that my teachers tended to pedantic about the use of good, clear English. I went for years thinking that most other people were just poorly-educated idiots who couldn't use language properly.



KitLily
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23 May 2022, 9:16 am

klanka wrote:
I think I just learnt over time.

One time, when i was in my early twenties, my female boss said 'do you want to open the window' so I just said 'nahh'
But that was actually a request for me to open the window.


That is so me! I understand that. Why don't they just say, 'John, please open the window.' Or whatever our name is.

I get annoyed when because I don't understand something, I ask the person to explain. They often reply, 'what do you think I meant?' or 'why do you want to know?' Then I get into a back and forth where they seem to think I'm playing some sort of game trying to clarify what they meant, so I give up. I don't know why they think I'm asking what they meant, what other reason would I have apart from just wanting to know a clear answer?

So now I just accept there's things I'll never understand, I'm fed up with asking and asking over and over again.


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shortfatbalduglyman
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23 May 2022, 10:11 am

KitLily wrote:
klanka wrote:
I think I just learnt over time.

One time, when i was in my early twenties, my female boss said 'do you want to open the window' so I just said 'nahh'
But that was actually a request for me to open the window.


That is so me! I understand that. Why don't they just say, 'John, please open the window.' Or whatever our name is.

I get annoyed when because I don't understand something, I ask the person to explain. They often reply, 'what do you think I meant?' or 'why do you want to know?' Then I get into a back and forth where they seem to think I'm playing some sort of game trying to clarify what they meant, so I give up. I don't know why they think I'm asking what they meant, what other reason would I have apart from just wanting to know a clear answer?

So now I just accept there's things I'll never understand, I'm fed up with asking and asking over and over again.


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Nobody understands everything

Sometimes neurotypicals misunderstand other neurotypicals. It just seems like (neurotypicals misunderstand autistics) a lot more often than (neurotypicals misunderstand other neurotypicals)

The speaker has only one definition

All other definitions are (misunderstandings)

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"Can you" as a request sounds like "do you know how", not "will you"

"Can", "should" and "will" are all three different things

"Can you" implies that just because you "can" do something, it means you have to

But whatever.

Semantics, pragmatics

Linguistics

Literal misunderstanding



For example, a customer was like "can you lift a box?"

I said yes, but the box says that two people have to lift it

Then the customer expected me to lift the entire 100 pound litterbox (toilet) myself, even though I am just 120 pound weakling

But I try to get along with them because I am afraid that if I get made redundant, nobody will ever make the mistake of hiring my worthless corpse again and I will be homeless


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I am a lot attendant and I push shopping carts

A day laborer told me "I got you", which made it sound like he (dragged my worthless corpse out of a burning building) when he just pushed one cart into the little pile of carts. (Too ambiguous)


Sometimes vague statements could be used to be purposely misleading (without actually "lying" per se). "Good" and "bad" are subjective. You can't measure quality.

"Helping people" sounds like a good thing but is not always a good thing.
"Help" and "hurt" are sometimes not specific enough. Mussolini was "helping" the gestapo.

Some dog owners say "she's friendly". But *friendly" dogs not exempt from the Leash Law. Besides what is *friendly" according to the owners standards, different from my standards

But the Ebonics speakers and ESL speakers at my slave plantation sometimes just talk like that. They don't (always) have bad intentions

(Precision of language) is good, but they can talk any way they want


Then they expect you to do things their way because they are in the majority



KitLily
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23 May 2022, 10:31 am

shortfatbalduglyman wrote:
________________________________

Nobody understands everything

Sometimes neurotypicals misunderstand other neurotypicals. It just seems like (neurotypicals misunderstand autistics) a lot more often than (neurotypicals misunderstand other neurotypicals)

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That's my point though. If someone didn't understand something, and asked me to explain, I would clearly explain. Why do some people get annoyed/ mocking/ impatient when asked to clearly explain something? Why not just clearly explain and then move on? They seem to act like it's some sort of game when someone doesn't understand something, and they keep giving stupid answers like 'what do YOU think I meant?' 'why are you asking?' 'why don't you understand?' etc. Yawn.

Although there are some people who love torturing others and playing games instead of clarifying. I suppose that's a way of identifying them and keeping well away. That's what I usually do. :roll:


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23 May 2022, 10:47 am

Instructions that are just a series of drawings are the worst.

(Are you paying attention, IKEA?).



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23 May 2022, 1:21 pm

HeroOfHyrule wrote:
Does anyone find it hard to get people to understand that they can't be vague when they explain things to you?

I've been having an issue with people being vague when explaining things to me, and then getting frustrated when I don't understand what they're saying. I guess that there's information that allistic people would be able to infer just by the context of our conversation, since other people will get what they mean, but I apparently can't do that, and it seems like no matter how many times I tell others that they need to be explicit and detailed when explaining things to me, they just keep being vague and then getting frustrated towards me for not understanding them.

Even people who know what autism is and that it causes an issue with understanding vague directions will keep doing it, which annoys me the most. Sometimes it seems like people don't care that I genuinely can't understand and that they just want to scold me for no reason.

Wow! This is exactly my experience. You expressed my frustration for me!

People just can't explain things well and then they assume I'm stupid. They don't realize that it's their incompetence in explaining things clearly. Once I've figured out how to do the work myself, I do the work very well. It's just the beginning that I struggle because of poor training.

Another factor in this situation is that many people gain false confidence even when they don't actually understand something, which makes them look like quick learners. Probably you (OP) are too aware of your not understanding the details to feel confident, which falsely makes you look stupid.

I'm known at work as a good trainer for new members because I have a tendency to give detailed explanations. Other people's poor way of explaining has taught me how to explain things clearly.

Some sources say that autistic people are good trainers for beginners because autistic people have a natural tendency to give details and try to be logical.



ezbzbfcg2
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23 May 2022, 1:41 pm

Sometimes, I over-articulate, and people perceive it as babble/ramble.

NTs seem to have the opposite problem. Not articulating enough.



klanka
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23 May 2022, 2:22 pm

KitLily wrote:
klanka wrote:
I think I just learnt over time.

One time, when i was in my early twenties, my female boss said 'do you want to open the window' so I just said 'nahh'
But that was actually a request for me to open the window.


That is so me! I understand that. Why don't they just say, 'John, please open the window.' Or whatever our name is.

I get annoyed when because I don't understand something, I ask the person to explain. They often reply, 'what do you think I meant?' or 'why do you want to know?' Then I get into a back and forth where they seem to think I'm playing some sort of game trying to clarify what they meant, so I give up. I don't know why they think I'm asking what they meant, what other reason would I have apart from just wanting to know a clear answer?

So now I just accept there's things I'll never understand, I'm fed up with asking and asking over and over again.


'Do you want to open the window' is very British and a bit antiquated thankfully. Its similar to how back in those days also it was good manners to never accept a gift unless the other person practically forced it upon you. some people offered things out of politeness without wanting you to accept them. Things have changed thankfully and now people just mean what they say a bit more.



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23 May 2022, 2:48 pm

^ Mind you, the word "please" is short for "if it pleases you" which is almost the same thing. I don't see why bosses can't open their own windows though, all other things being equal. I think most of my bosses would have done.



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23 May 2022, 2:58 pm

I hate this. People just seem like they communicate telepathetically all the time. It takes so much energy for me to decipher what is expected from me.



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23 May 2022, 3:02 pm

People not explaining things properly was my entire working life.

I would be told to do something with no explanation, then someone would ask me, "why are you doing that?"
"I don't know why. I was asked to do it."
Then they would look puzzled and start making phone calls and ask other people why I was doing what I was doing.
It was as though they thought I was deliberately withholding information.
I figured I was supposed to make some kind of an announcement about why I was doing what I was doing, but because I didn't know myself, and I wasn't articulate enough to ask questions, or even know what kind of questions I was supposed to ask when I was given the task, I made everyone annoyed and confused.


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