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Elspeth
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23 Apr 2008, 3:45 am

Could I please get some input on this?

This guy I like is an aspie, but I don't know if he's diagnosed, or even if he knows about asperger's. Very socially awkward, not too many social skills, and in his mid-40's. I've run into him in the supermarket on a number of occasions, where he has an interesting routine of sorts. He says "Hello, how are you, _____?" very formally to most of the people who work in the store, and especially to the female cashiers, on his way out of the store. He's also pretty complimentary, so if he sees a pair of earrings that he likes, he will tell the person. So, today, I'm in in the check-out line behind him, and he addresses a new female employee with "What is your name? I didn't quite get it the other day," (or something to taht same effect,) and introduced himself by his full name. Here's the thing: I think my friend is probably just being nice just-to-be nice, but I'm somewhat concerned about the impression that that makes on some people. No one has asked me about him, but if taht was myself on the receiving end of one of his compliments, I'd probably think this guy was hitting on me. There's a couple of workers there that shook their heads at him when his back was turned, once. Should I be concerned and say something to him about what kind of perceived responses that his words could get, or just let it go? (I don't want to hurt his feelings, or discourage him from talking to anyone, either. So I don't know what would be best to do.)



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23 Apr 2008, 3:54 am

I am not sure. First and foremost, please be aware that IF, and that's if, he's an Aspie (or Autie) that's he's trying VERY hard. Do not criticize him - he hasn't said or done anything 'wrong' or 'bad.' To be critical or judgmental of him could really hurt him - personally, I would be shattered. Please know how much he's trying. If he is AS (unknown), maybe you should offer to be his friend - have you thought about asking him to lunch, for instance? Remember, if he has AS (or similar), he's not likely to have those social contacts. From what you wrote, he's really trying. Try to appreciate that. Like I've said in another format, I'm basicaly a 'social kindergartener,' and I do try. He cannot help that he's lacking in this area; part of his neurology. Mostly Aspies/Auties are really sweet and genuine people who are extraordinarily sensitive. Does he have any friends? I would take this into consideration and not confront his perceived 'lacking.'


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KimberKenobi
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23 Apr 2008, 9:09 am

I would think it better to say something to the people who work there that are getting the wrong idea. He is trying, they are uneducated or closed off.

Then again, I'm pretty blunt. I'd say it, but I don't know that it would do any good.


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23 Apr 2008, 10:50 am

alot of people who are not even aspies are socially awkward as well as aspies but that cud be from anything ranging from a decorated past to jus a coincidence



Elspeth
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23 Apr 2008, 7:32 pm

We've gone out on dates a few times, but not in the past month, if that means anything. Maybe because of taht, I'm feeling more awkward than I usually am. I was tempted to say something to the guy and girl at the time, but that was a while ago now, and pretty long after the fact. If taht happened again, however, I'd prolly say something. I just want to do what would be the most considerate thing for my pal, whatever taht is. I don't know what that is, yet.



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24 Apr 2008, 1:09 am

I think ...

Either he will be receptive to your input or he won't, but either way, the first step is to actually get to know him one-on-one. Once you have some connection, then you can decide if you want to talk to him about ASD.

Does that sound reasonable? The first step should be to "check him out" (haha supermarket joke) and see if he's nice. Good luck!

Patrick



Elspeth
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24 Apr 2008, 6:46 pm

Cute joke. He's a nice guy, and seems pretty sweet-natured for the most part, as much as I can tell. I feel like we don't know each other well enough to talk about Asperger's just yet. I've been tempted a couple of times to ask about that, but hesitancy has won out. I'm generally okay with with his quirky routine in the store, but admittedly actually got weirded out this last time, re his interaction with the one person. Don't know if it would do any good, but I'm tempted to ask him about the thing he seems to have for those folks, in the name of trying to understand.



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24 Apr 2008, 7:20 pm

Elspeth wrote:
Cute joke. He's a nice guy, and seems pretty sweet-natured for the most part, as much as I've been able to tell. I feel like we don't know each other well enough to talk about Asperger's just yet. I've been tempted a couple of times to ask about that, but hesitancy wins out.


Hi Elspeth - In actuality, you're lucky! If (and I say 'if,' do not know definitively) he's an Aspie, you've got a friend who may be socially awkard, but Aspies are brainy (doesn't always 'show' overtly but it's in there!), very sweet, loyal, honest to the core, with curiosity and a certain child-like innocense. They do NOT play 'mind-games' and are probably lousy as small talk (like you've indicated) but have a strong core and gentleness. Some are attracted to Aspies/Auties for just these qualities!

But, about broaching the subject of AS - gentle, gentle, gentle. You do not want to hurt his feelings and he may be reluctant. Approach this with a positive attitude, giving him literature for him to review - remember those with AS have, by definition, an analytical detail-oriented mind; know this. Give him time to respond - there is a common phenomena: the 'Aspie Pause,' which means he may be unable to verbally respond immediately to you (sometimes more like an Aspie Hiatus!).

Try any literature/research by Dr. Tony Attwood, Dr. Temple Grandin (she is autistic and a great scientist), or this site, Wrong Planet. You could give him the book, Look Me In The Eye, my life with asperger's, by John Elder Robison. I just read this book (fairly recently released) - it's good and parts are funny, some bittersweet. He may well relate and good reading for you too since you care for this special man.

Aspies/Auties have a lot to offer but can be overlooked since they're kind-of socially naive - like you described. If he develops trust in you, he'll be responsive. Good luck.


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Elspeth
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27 Apr 2008, 2:50 pm

Oh geez, 'the aspie pause/hiatus' is getting pretty darn familiar. That brings out my own aspie tendency to ask odd oscure questions (which I've been trying to seriously cut back on)just to keep the conversation flow going. Is taht normal?



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27 Apr 2008, 4:01 pm

Elspeth wrote:
Oh geez, 'the aspie pause/hiatus' is getting pretty darn familiar. That brings out my own aspie tendency to ask odd oscure questions (which I've been trying to seriously cut back on)just to keep the conversation flow going. Is taht normal?



Normal? Probably not. But normal in the context of the autistic spectrum.


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01 May 2008, 11:43 pm

There are already many good answers in this thread, but I was able to picture myself in his shoes asking store personnel for a little conversation at every chance I get.

If I ever had the guts to do that, then I would really be trying HARD. Store personnel seems like the ideal choice - they must serve you and they will be in the store quite frequently so you know where to find them. It does not hurt that they are polite and curteous due to their profession. They would have been on my short list too! Actually, I considered the option, but abandoned it as I was not that desperate yet.

Now come the tricky part. I would not easily accept that my efforts would be hurting anyone so I would either not accept it or I would stop any efforts completely for a while. The guilt of knowing that I have hurt someone would have induced a period of depression. Even so, I would be even more at a loss knowing it would not be acceptable in a store. I would need an alternative. Where to seek social contact in an acceptable context? If you can't provide a list of local alternatives, then I suggest you rather speak with the store personnel. Local, meaning they are on a walking distance from his home or the store. I'm not sure if this makes it worse or better for you as you are really trying to inprove the lives of many people.



ZiiP
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02 May 2008, 12:43 am

I'm sorry for the double posting. It took me a while to consider all alternatives. If it were me, I would like to know that it does not work as soon as possible so that I would not waste any more time on it. I would probably not take it well, and live in denial for a while until I were to change my mind into agreement. During the denial period, your stock will be low in his eyes, but it will improve to even greater hights once he realizes it for himself. In the back of his mind, he is already preparing for it. With or without Asperger's, if it is unintentional, then let him know asap. Only after he realizes the situation, can he begin the process of finding an alternative or to improve his approach.

Most of my learning goes thru trying something, realizing that it does not work, and then trying something different. Eventually, one finds something that resembles a solution.