The perils of lunch with colleagues

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Nafydalgol
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18 Nov 2007, 7:05 am

Last Monday I was invited to lunch by a colleague of mine. He is about 45 and I'm 28, but we call each other by first name. When I stopped by his office to pick him up, he suggested we should take another colleague along with us, a guy who is also in his forties. The cafeteria is always very crowded and noisy and while we had lunch, I just couldn't concentrate on our conversation. I just sat there, nodded at appropriate times and pretended to be interested. I was really nervous. (Maybe they noticed, maybe they didn't; I don't know)

Then, the second colleague started to spout something about socially defective people who aren't able to participate normally in a conversation, who just sit there and nod at appropriate times while pretending to be interested. He told how those people irritated the hell out of him. All the time during his monologue he was looking straight at me.

I'm still not sure: was he referring to me or not? I can't tell whether he was sh*tting all over me or whether he was just talking about "socially defective people" in general, not aiming at me at all. The strange thing is, after lunch I walked past his office and stepped in for a while to chat a bit, and we discussed how pleasant it is to have lunch together every once in a while, and he told me that if I should need any help with the project I´m currently working on, I should just step into his office and ask him for help and he would be glad to assist. He seemed very friendly.

Was that just a charade, or was he really friendly? Was he using me as target during that lunch, or was he just making friendly conversation? So as to leave no doubt: as far as I know, he doesn't know that I have Asperger's. What do you think? And has anything like this ever happened to you? Please share your stories and thoughts, and thanks for reading. :)



Last edited by Nafydalgol on 18 Nov 2007, 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

UncleBeer
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18 Nov 2007, 9:53 am

Nafydalgol wrote:
I can't tell whether he was sh*tting all over me or whether he was just talking about "socially defective people" in general, not aiming at me at all.

Nah, man. He's just Dutch. You guys are incredibly hard on each other (and anyone else you can get your hands on). :roll:

"Hou op, zeg!! !" :cry:



Nafydalgol
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18 Nov 2007, 11:17 am

UncleBeer wrote:
Nafydalgol wrote:
I can't tell whether he was sh*tting all over me or whether he was just talking about "socially defective people" in general, not aiming at me at all.

Nah, man. He's just Dutch. You guys are incredibly hard on each other (and anyone else you can get your hands on). :roll:

"Hou op, zeg!! !" :cry:

You're not exactly being constructive here.



Spot17
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18 Nov 2007, 12:15 pm

I wouldn't worry about it. There's no way to know for sure, but it seems from your second interaction that he wasn't directing the comment at you.



alexbeetle
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18 Nov 2007, 12:42 pm

I think he was making a direct point at you in relation to the situation at the time but that it is not his whole opinion of you.
Maybe he was temporarily irritated and maybe afterwards he realised that he had been a bit mean.
He sounds like he was being genuinely nice later and it may be ok to casually tell him you have AS, such as 'Sorry I wasn't such a great conversationalist at lunch the other day but I have AS and such a busy environment is difficult for me'.
If you go to lunch again maybe suggest going at a quieter time, I only go just before closing when the canteen is practically empty.


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UncleBeer
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18 Nov 2007, 5:06 pm

Nafydalgol wrote:
UncleBeer wrote:
Nafydalgol wrote:
I can't tell whether he was sh*tting all over me or whether he was just talking about "socially defective people" in general, not aiming at me at all.

Nah, man. He's just Dutch. You guys are incredibly hard on each other (and anyone else you can get your hands on). :roll:

"Hou op, zeg!! !" :cry:

You're not exactly being constructive here.

I'm sorry; you wanted a pep talk. I thought you asked for our opinions. :roll:



Nafydalgol
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18 Nov 2007, 6:03 pm

I think both of you might be right. I'm still not entirely sure. Either way, I probably shouldn't beat myself up about it. I think I'd best just tell the folks I work with about my Asperger's so they know better whom they're dealing with. That would probably make things a lot easier.

UncleBeer wrote:
I'm sorry; you wanted a pep talk. I thought you asked for our opinions. :roll:

No, I did in fact very much ask for your opinion. Come on! Do the Dutch really grate on your nerves that much? 8O :lol:



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18 Nov 2007, 6:31 pm

If he was saying that while looking straight at you, he meant it for you. Most likely not in a malicious manner, since he was friendly afterward. This is one way people in a group teach other group members about social norms. Consider it a friendly suggestion from him to you to open up more in social settings. Talking to him afterward was a good idea. He knows now you don't have a personal problem with him.


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UncleBeer
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19 Nov 2007, 2:28 am

Nafydalgol wrote:
Come on! Do the Dutch really grate on your nerves that much?

Yes. You think you get bullied as an Aspie in NL? Try being a "kut allochtoon" as well. :evil:



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19 Nov 2007, 12:24 pm

What is a "kut allochtoon"?

My interpretation is that he was just joking. Usually it is best just to laugh things off.



alex
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19 Nov 2007, 1:14 pm

UncleBeer wrote:
Nafydalgol wrote:
UncleBeer wrote:
Nafydalgol wrote:
I can't tell whether he was sh*tting all over me or whether he was just talking about "socially defective people" in general, not aiming at me at all.

Nah, man. He's just Dutch. You guys are incredibly hard on each other (and anyone else you can get your hands on). :roll:

"Hou op, zeg!! !" :cry:

You're not exactly being constructive here.

I'm sorry; you wanted a pep talk. I thought you asked for our opinions. :roll:


Well, it sounds like you're just bigoted against Dutch people. Posting racist comments is really not acceptable, regardless of the problems you've had.


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UncleBeer
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19 Nov 2007, 4:47 pm

alex wrote:
UncleBeer wrote:
Nafydalgol wrote:
UncleBeer wrote:
Nafydalgol wrote:
I can't tell whether he was sh*tting all over me or whether he was just talking about "socially defective people" in general, not aiming at me at all.

Nah, man. He's just Dutch. You guys are incredibly hard on each other (and anyone else you can get your hands on). :roll:

"Hou op, zeg!! !" :cry:

You're not exactly being constructive here.

I'm sorry; you wanted a pep talk. I thought you asked for our opinions. :roll:

Well, it sounds like you're just bigoted against Dutch people. Posting racist comments is really not acceptable, regardless of the problems you've had.

I disagree with your assertion that I've made a racist comment. I've made cultural commentary, and you may consider it an over-generalization, but it's no more racist than to make make comments about "the Eastern Pennsylvanian race". (...but by all means, boot me if you feel the need...)

Since you speak of racism though: Here's an image of Zwarte Piet ("Black Pete"), Dutch Santa's ne'er-do-well black slave. He's an integral part of the yearly pageant. Is this racist, Alex?

Image

Pandabear: "Kut allochtoon" is a derisive term used by the Dutch for anyone with any foreign blood in them.



Nafydalgol
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19 Nov 2007, 6:45 pm

On topic: thanks for all your interpretations. I've decided that the next time I see this guy and have the chance to talk to him seperately, I'll inform him about my Asperger's. That would clear things up and make my life at work a lot easier. Right now he (and many other of my co-workers) know that "something" is the matter with me (if only because I'm appointed on a part time basis, and because I'm a little "different", more reticent than most people) but they don't know exactly what the situation is, and that might make things a bit obscure for them.

As for the ongoing discussion about Dutch people:
This:

UncleBeer wrote:
Since you speak of racism though: Here's an image of Zwarte Piet ("Black Pete"), Dutch Santa's ne'er-do-well black slave. He's an integral part of the yearly pageant. Is this racist, Alex?

really made my day.:lol:
Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet are - how should I explain - philantropists who unselfishly shower people with (often expensive) presents every December 5th. Dutch children are led to believe they actually exist until they've reached a certain age (sorry about the spoiler :wink:). It's kinda like Santa, but different. The name "Santa Claus" is likely even derived from our Sinterklaas (Sinterklaas ... Santa Claus; notice the similarity?). To refer to Zwarte Piet, or "Black Pete" as you so side-splittingly call him, as a "ne'er-do-well black slave" is not just hilarious -- no, it's excruciatingly funny. I'm sorry to hear that you don't like the Dutch, but please, stop behaving like a certain mythological creature from Scandinavian folklore - you know, the kind that is generally depicted as either a hairy giant or a dwarf, that lives in caves or under bridges and that scours the internet, trying to provoke emotionally charged responses from other internet users. Enough of this.