- Just think positive
- You should be more like [insert name here]
- You should be hanging out with people your own age
- How come you aren’t doing more social things?
- You spend too much time alone
- You need to put down the phone and visit more at this party
- Do you want to come to my Jamberry party?
- We’ll talk later, but I have no intention of doing that
- Of course I’m telling you this thing that I absolutely will not mean as soon as it’s relevant
- It’s not that bad
- You’re too sensitive
- It’s just complaining and an over-reaction
- You need to be involved more in the group
- Be more of a team player
- Let’s do a group project!
- Can you make these phone calls?
- It’s unprofessional and irresponsible to not be on time
- This isn’t important, it shouldn’t bother you
- Move on
- Just get over it already
- I am ok doing these things, but it is not ok for you to point out that I am doing them
- It’s rude for you to ask me to voice what I am meaning
- This isn’t too loud
- It’s weird of you to feel left out
- You’re just being a baby
- You want the whole world to bend to you
- You’re too negative
- Why can’t you just be happy about this situation?
- How come you didn’t just say how you felt before?
- You don’t look sad
- How bad can it be?
- People think you’re cold and aloof
- You’re too uptight
- Loosen up a little bit
- Did I say that? Mmm… I don’t remember that so it’s not true
So those are some of the worst things to hear, but the purpose of this blog is understanding that there are real communication differences. I don’t want this to be a place of simply bashing one side. This is a blog intended to close those gaps and lift up rather than tear down. So for Aspies, solidarity! And for non-Aspies, the bottom section’s for you. That is if you’re curious!
Also included are fantastically awesome greeting cards for the occasion from someecards.com and the Buzzfeed article 13 Cards Your Anxious Friends Would Seriously Appreciate by Anna Borges.
- Just think positive – Let me mop up this juice I spilled by closing my eyes and thinking happy thoughts. Is it gone? Is it clean? Is it fixed? That’s how I find this logic. I’m pretty literal and have a tough time with this one sometimes.
- You should be more like [insert name here] – Being compared to someone else makes me feel inadequate and inferior. This strips my confidence.
- You should be hanging out with people your own age – Why? I have a few close friends my age that I love, but I don’t fit in with most of my peers. I don’t like doing the things they do, such as parties and hanging out at bars. I also find there’s a lack of depth in people my age that you just can’t find without more life experience and maturity. A group of people who are older than me are more comfortable and enjoyable than my peers.
- How come you aren’t doing more social things? – Because I don’t want to… How come you aren’t washing your hair more…? Can I too just throw out random questions at how you do things? But in seriousness, people and social things can be very draining and exhausting. I need breaks and it’s hard to do it all the time. Some people get their peace from being around people, I get mine from being alone.
- You spend too much time alone – Because this is how I regroup, escape, and tolerate the world.
- You need to put down the phone and visit more at this party – NO. This distraction or distancing myself is how I am tolerating this party. Sometimes I don’t want to be here at all, sometimes I absolutely do and just want a little distance, and sometimes I want to be right in the center of the fun. Let me choose my own comfort levels.
- Do you want to come to my Jamberry party? – With close friends, yes. But you mean where I’m stuck with people I don’t know and I’m forced to awkward mingle between getting sold stuff? mmm….
- We’ll talk later, but I have no intention of doing that – YOU. MONSTER. Seriously, though, just don’t. Don’t do this. Unless you know you’ll make an effort to 100% follow-through, then there’s no need to say this. Say nothing at all or add to the conversation in a different way.
- Of course I’m telling you this thing that I absolutely will not mean as soon as it’s relevant – Don’t do this either. Please just be careful with your words and how they line up with reality, no matter how good of intentions you’re feeling. Time doesn’t all of a sudden make words and commitments disappear. Aspies usually have great memories. So chances are, we will remember. Aspies will expect this of you and have a hard time understanding and dealing with it when you don’t.
- It’s not that bad – This completely invalidates what I am feeling and experiencing.
- You’re too sensitive – If you actually knew the things I was tolerating in daily life, you wouldn’t say this. You would say, “You’re too iron-steel-batman-strong.”
- It’s just complaining and an over-reaction – This is my fear and why I typically don’t open up to people. It’s frightening and suffocating to think of what I’m talking about being considered as such. I don’t possess the social skills to even know if I am communicating in a way that could come off as that. The truth is it helps to talk about things. Sometimes a lot if it’s a big continuous thing that I am facing. Try to really see from my side before brushing it off as an over-reaction or just complaining.
- You need to be involved more in the group – But whyyyyyyyyyy? Seriously, why is this necessary? Group dynamics can be a real challenge for me. I lack a lot of these important skills.
- Be more of a team player – Can I have less on my plate right now? Then that might be slightly easier and I would gladly do it!
- Let’s do a group project! – NOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Why is my grade dependent on others? Especially when I end up doing all of the work anyway.
- Can you make these phone calls? – Don’t know, but for some reason calling strangers on the phone is the worst. Maybe it’s because you’re missing all those visual cues. Once I do it, it’s never that bad, but for some reason, it’s a large avoidance.
- It’s unprofessional and irresponsible to not be on time – I know that, but executive function and feeling overwhelmed are typical challenges with Asperger’s. Sometimes it’s just really hard to get yourself together and out on time.
- This isn’t important, it shouldn’t bother you – I would like it to not be important. I would even like it to not bother me. But the truth is, there are very strong and real factors making it so that it does. Try seeing it from my side. Talk to me.
- Move on – I really want to. But this is not something I have control over. See: My Time, Your Time, and the Vault
- Just get over it already – See: My Time, Your Time, and the Vault
- I am ok doing these things, but it is not ok for you to point out that I am doing them – I will never understand this one… Neurotypical people don’t possess the same level of extreme-over-self-awareness so I suppose it strikes a chord. But still… I will never get this one. If you feel ok enough to do this repetitively with your actions, why do you want to pretend to not acknowledge it or talk about it? That’s how things get better.
- It’s rude for you to ask me to voice what I am meaning – Sorry… I can’t catch what normal people do and I need it said sometimes. But, if you’re meaning something bad or not good, why are you mad at me for wanting you to voice it? It’s the same thing. It’s still your meaning, not mine. Don’t kill the middleman for asking you to clarify, but with direct words. Own up.
- This isn’t too loud – Most people with Asperger’s have sensory issues with sound. The real question should be, “Since you’re not autistic, how come the volume is a problem for you?” Switching tables to where the flexibility should be…
- It’s weird of you to feel left out – Not really. Most people with Asperger’s feel left out a lot. They have difficulty initiating themselves into groups and also miss a lot of social cues. This is quite common. Just because you don’t think they should be feeling this does not mean it isn’t true. Try asking more question along the lines of why and try working together.
- You’re just being a baby – I am more sensitive to the world around me and some things just bother me more. I also might actually be “acting like a baby.” My social and emotional skills are delayed. I might be dealing with things in a more immature way than I should. But this isn’t something I can really help, although, I am learning new things everyday with patience from others and more exposure.
- You want the whole world to bend to you – No, I would just like to make it tolerable in the only ways I know how.
- You’re too negative – I am very literal and see through things like games and manipulation. If something is negative and really bad, I have a hard time feeling like I am pretending it is otherwise. I have real difficulties understanding people that don’t want to accept things for negative. Coming to terms with it helps me move on. Painting over it with happy colors just paints over it while it festers inside of me. Having it out and accepted helps it go away.
- Why can’t you just be happy about this situation? – I am anything but simple. I am thought upon thought upon thought. The wheels in my head are spinning at 90 miles per hour and what they are producing in this particular situation isn’t pretty. Everything about this situation is not good. Why in the world would I be happy about it? Context can also matter greatly. It can be something I’d normally be really cool with and enjoy, but under the wrong context, I’d rather gauge my eyes out than participate. For instance, there’s a staff night coming up. I still haven’t come to terms with where I am now and how this happened. Everything that’s happening should not be and should not have been. Triggers and reminders are really hard. Going to this sounds absolutely awful when it would usually be fun to me. Also, read the above question’s response.
- How come you didn’t just say how you felt before? – I really don’t know… I probably either tried or didn’t think I’d be able to for some reason. Read: A Second Language
- You don’t look sad – Yeah, that’s kind of the definition of how communication difficulties work… I’m my own anomaly.
- How bad can it be? – Bad. If you could step inside of this brain, I would gladly show you. But you saying this makes me feel stupid and want to suppress very real feelings.
- People think you’re cold and aloof – Sorry, I will work on it. But I don’t like being told this. I’m actually quite nice and friendly. But when my threshold is low, keeping up with social expectations is the first thing to go.
- You’re too uptight – You’re probably right. But try living as me. It’s harder than you think. I need my environments to be tolerable and I need a strict set of rules to protect myself from mountains of hurt.
- Loosen up a little bit – No. 😉
- Did I say that? Mmm… I don’t remember that so it’s not true – It is true. I can remember conversations verbatim. If you are not happy about your words and your actions, be more careful with them. If you don’t remember it, that does not automatically make it not said. It’s funny how forgetting things can suddenly mean they never happened. Be open. Be ready to be wrong. Be ready to discuss and dive into things.
Those are the wrong phrases, but here are the right ones to say and by far the best greeting cards to send:
Here’s also how to talk to someone hurting. I can’t share this video enough! So helpful for all humans:
What do you think? Anymore to include to the list above or have any advice? Comment below.
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I think a lot of it is NT people who don’t want to take the time to slow down and pay attention. Too much technology makes for apathy. I grew up before the digital revolution. I think people then just hated on what they didn’t understand due to ignorance and pride. We have all this knowledge now, in part to instant internet access, but the compassion part of the brain is still lagging behind. I won’t doubt that ableism is also a component.
36. Well, I do that, you’re no different from everyone else.
37. Asperger’s Syndrome didn’t exist in my day.
38. Isn’t Asperger’s Syndrome just a euphemism for being socially incompetent?
39. The more you force yourself into social situations, the easier it will become and the more you’ll enjoy it.
40. So can you, like, tell me the square root of 398.7?
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Absolutely brilliant blog but there is one more… All my life people have said ‘Just be yourself….’. What the hell does THAT mean? Now that I know myself better (and my AS) I can reply ‘I am being myself but you just don’t like it.’
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“‘I am being myself but you just don’t like it.’- Very true. I think it goes beyond not liking-it is also an inconvenience for them and easier to play dumb and/or hate what they refuse to understand and/or accept.
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