Why do people say you’re rude or insensitive?

Having good social skills is the difference between people that succeed and people that don’t.  No matter what your focus is in life, there are people all around you.  The more  you know how to get along with them, the more you are going to succeed in life.  And if you do this well, you’ll help everyone on your path succeed in life as well.  No matter if you’re a person that likes to be alone, or a person trying to build a business, or your an Aspie trying to learn social skills, or a person trying to find their life mate, this applies to everyone.  We all need to work on our social skills and keep them refined.  Not for just our sakes, but for the sake of living in a better world.

This was taken from a discussion on Facebook.  I responded to a woman that was a little exasperated that people called her rude and offensive when she felt she was just presenting facts as we Aspies tend to do.  She didn’t go into the nature of the subject but kept asking why.  Why did people treat her this way?  Many of us responding thought she was referring to some sort of discussion or argument where she was telling someone their faults, as we also tend to innocently do.  However, the truth was it was just a simple matter of word usage and the person got mad at her.  In spite of that, I still wanted to post this section because I feel it is valuable to anyone that has these struggles in life, Aspie or not, and wants some insight to overcome them.  Several other Aspies has also come to these same conclusions.  Please leave your thoughts and comments below if you have other suggestions that would help others have better social skills.

I’ve studied many years of personal development and what it comes down to is that we all develop core beliefs about things. When it comes to truth and facts you could possibly be touching on things that people believe very deeply. There is also a lot of information on the internet that can make truth and facts look questionable. Politics and religion are two prime examples that people joke about not talking about because it is such a sensitive issue. If people feel like their core beliefs are being challenged they are going to get defensive no matter if the subject seems personal or not. Some will end relationships to defend those beliefs.

I used to say the same things as you guys. I used to say I’m straight forward, blunt and people just have to accept that. But then I realized, I can either continue fighting my way through life or I can learn to change myself in such a way that people want to hear me. I have found that people aren’t stupid at all. They just have a perspective on life I don’t understand. When I started learning how to be more friendly I have found that people listen to me more, I have learned more about other people, and people trust more that I know what I am talking about because I’m willing to come to their side of the conversation and try to see it from their perspective. People appreciate that a lot.

Not just Aspies are feeling lonely and isolated. A lot of NTs (neurotypicals or people that don’t have AS) are too. Learning this crucial step has taken me from feeling completely alone to realizing that as an Aspie I have more in common with many groups than a lot of other people do. It empowered me.

A great way to present facts to people, which I learned from some famous guy but I can’t remember who now, is you present the information from a third perspective. So if you’re trying to tell a fact about organic food and someone is defensive about that you could say, well in the UK they banned GMOs because it was giving rats cancer. Or whatever. You can also talk about the positives which help people not be defensive. Its inadvertent and helps me to see if the person even wants to talk about it. If they don’t, then it’s easy to drop the subject and avoid a fight. To be a friend first. It’s telling people they (and the friendship with them) is more important than being right. (That was a damn hard pill for me to swallow).

Candy coating is a great way to get to know people. You do all the formalities and stuff that seems stupid in the beginning of a friendship or in one that isn’t progressing to a deeper friendship…. like a co-worker or something. Later, IF and when you get closer to that person THEN you can start saying things more bluntly because now you trust each other. You have trust built up that you’re not going to intentionally hurt or judge one another.

I haven’t actually practiced this long term with a person in particular, but I am using it all the time on FB stuff. Some people it’s taken me over a year to get them to “like” something of mine or respond to me. It’s very slow. But then so am I. Practicing this very slowly has brought a lot of understanding into my life.

Developing friendships is hard, but if you practice being friendly everyday and to everyone, you will learn much faster.  There are many rules that do not change from person to person, such as being told what to do, or point out their faults.  But other rules do change from person to person.  The more you practice just smiling the more comfortable you will get and the more relaxed you will be with people.  Eventually you’ll start to see changes in your interactions with people.  Your energy changes and they see that.  

This also applies if you’re an artist, musician or entrepreneur.  Our culture has sped up quite a bit, and convenience has influenced our subconscious that things should be instant.  In reality, humans do not work this way.  So you can build up networks and clientele based on true friendship which will keep them coming back and spreading the word about you, or you can build them up on your personal gain only, which will eventually fizzle out because people want to feel connected.  None of us like to feel like a commodity.  

Being Goth

When I was in high school, I ventured into several different cliques due to my overwhelming and insatiable curiosity of people. Over half way through school, and my fascination came to be with Goths. It started out hanging with a girl that was already “in”. She started inviting me, and a friend I hung out with, to do things with her. After awhile, I was invited more frequently. My old friend didn’t want to come, so I went on alone. This eventually created a rift with my old friend that grew with time, but my new friend was just too intoxicating for me to stop seeing. It was never a loyalty issue with me, but rather sheer curiosity of people and how they were in life.

After awhile, this new friend started inviting me out with the rest of her Goth group. I was never like them although I tried my hardest. It was rather pathetic though. I was overweight, had long hair down to my waist that was blonde. They actually called me “hair” or hippie. I wouldn’t have minded this except I was trying so hard to be like them. This constant teasing was a painful reminder at how awful I was at being Goth. I would never have that appeal no matter how hard I tried. I was teased by them, called horrible names by them. They told me what I could and couldn’t buy, I learned the hard way I wasn’t allowed to like any band any of them had already picked out as their band, and it was the worst faux paux to buy anything associated with their band. I didn’t understand any of this. They made fun of the docs (Dr. Martens) I bought saying that my mommy bought them for me. And when my friend and I had played a prank on them, they just got a little mad at her whereas they were yelling “whore” at me, loud enough for everyone to hear at school. Nothing in the prank called for that name calling, but they did it anyway. It was clear, looking back, that none of them ever liked me. I was weird, tried too hard, was a wannabe, and didn’t have the social skills to understand how to properly navigate such an emotionally explosive group. Not that I slept with any of them, but they tried, and passed me around, but I was none-the-wiser. Eventually I was kicked out of the group. They all turned their backs on me, even the friend that had reached out to me. She never stood up for me even when they were calling me a whore.

Looking back on this, I could see why they were so traumatized by my presence. I AM weirder than they ever were. Somewhere later in my life someone had said they were all like that because they were the wannabes. I was just naturally weird or unique, whereas they had to work at it. I don’t know if that is really true, or the person was trying to make me feel better, but I definitely don’t fit in. I have always been the outsider everywhere I go, and to every group I’ve been in or experienced in some way. I just never knew how to let my uniqueness shine in a positive way. I never knew or understood what was so different about me, or why that might be special, to me, in some way. I have always only been able to see it from that painful perspective of being ousted from people I truly liked or cared about. Either by their bad behavior, or by literally being exiled.

One thing unique about my life is the irony of my trying to be Goth. I was the weirdest one of them all, I am sure. They were just all average kids trying to cope with life and using that as an outlet. Most of them have moved on from that phase and you would never guess they were ever goth. They still might have a unique style, but they are not weird or an outcast by any means of the word, which was the point of that group in high school. I am and have always been strange, weird or an outcast in some way. Its just funny to me to remember how hard I tried to do something I was already natural at. Like trying extra hard to be a woman, or trying extra hard to be human. It doesn’t even make sense. How can you be, any harder, what you already are?

They and the Intolerable Truth

Everywhere I go for self-help, “they” tell me to be my true authentic self.  It doesn’t matter if it is metaphysical, a church, a teacher, a friend, and the most “helpful” of all, . . . Facebook.  “They” say, be your true self, the REAL you.  That’s just when all is “good,” right?

So I keep following this advice to be myself, because quite honestly I can’t be any other way.  When conversing with others I am polite, sweet, try to make them laugh, etc, when all is good.  When its not so good I try to be compassionate, patient, but very honest. But when people ask me what is wrong, speak to me in disrespect, or ask my advice, I tell them.  No filters.  This is considered wrong in a social context.  But I never know this until after I have opened my mouth and then learn my blunder.  However, I still do not ultimately understand why the truth is wrong.  I have had many people tell me the truth, straight up.  And it is tough, it made me cry and get a little angry, but I didn’t die.  And, everybody might be quick and jump to say that the truth isn’t wrong.  But actions belie them.

When I make this blunder, “they” often never talk to me again.  Or, I get a polite, “I’m busy” for a couple of months.  Or, the person just never talks about that subject with me again.

Apparently, being myself means telling the truth (I can’t help it) I was born without filters, which I found out that my brain does not have the inhibitory factor that makes me stop or start an action, so I react without “thinking.”  I say things when I shouldn’t, and have trouble shutting up when I should.  If these are my worst offenses, this country is in trouble!

Unfortunately, I live in a place where people use filters that distort the truth and create illusions.  They tell me I have a disorder because I don’t understand “social rules.”  Meanwhile, I watch them all run around in pain, watching them sell these distortions to each other and then get upset about it.  Or watching them sell these distortions to each other and then getting upset when they hear the truth. I watch them in misery and confusion and tell them the truth and they get mad at that too.  Do I not understand the rules?  Or am I just completely incapable of buying such bullshit?

Many say trying to figure out a person with Asperger’s is hard, but I beg to differ.  I can’t figure out why people invest so much running from the truth.  Yeah, it does hurt, I know, I have been hurt too.  I wasn’t born without pain receptors. I have been the focal point of some very dark scheming before. And I often feel other people’s pain to the point where I get sick.  But after awhile, we get used to the pain.  That is proven scientific fact.  But those that do everything to avoid it will never, ever get used to it, and will continue to honestly believe that they will never get used to it, because from their point of view, it is true.  They will never get used to the pain as long as it just sits there like their shadow while they absorb themselves into some addiction.

It is hardly a wonder why people with Asperger’s cannot understand these “rules.”  Everyone is so sick.  Why are you following sick rules?  Feeling is not a choice for a person with Asperger’s.  We cannot run and distract ourselves from it like others can.  Maybe trying life from the view of an Asperger’s would help you adopt a more stable lifestyle, which would then help you tolerate the truth.  Learning the ebb and flow of pain through proper management and discipline makes a person solid as a rock.  I should know.  After awhile there is nothing left to lose.

Somedays, its hard not to believe that people actually enjoy being in pain, watching this drama of life, The Intolerable Truth.

You are different

Some don’t know the cost of being different.  People don’t know how to categorize you in their life, so often you just get stuck to the side in the miscellaneous pile like a random receipt that might be of some value to them someday.  Its because when you are different people struggle with understanding how to identify you.  Like an Indigenous tribe seeing an airplane for the first time.  They might call you a bird even though you are giant hunk of metal.

Being different is not something I can control or turn off, but now that I’ve learned I have Asperger’s, somehow that has caused me to embrace it more.  I guess it made me realize I can go my whole life fighting who I am trying to blend in like a giraffe at a mouse parade, or I can turn ‘about face’ and rest in myself and figure out how to be different and okay with that.

I wear a wrist band made out of my daughter’s sock top to remind me of her strength and inner beauty, and to remember that I have my own.  I have to own my own, especially in the place that causes me the most pain and anxiety; public.

In a life I used to live, my desire issue was to be like others, so much so, that I tried to please everyone in every way.  Making them smile made me smile.  Not rocking their boat meant peace on mine.  And if I could earn even a morsel of praise or approval of my efforts, I could live on, knowing I am now worthy as though they somehow had that authority to tell me so.  And it meant the world to me, at least for a nano second over a insignificant particle of life.  Vanity and shallowness will do this to you and keep you ever searching in an infinite sea of possibilities of what will *hopefully* make others happy.  Yes.  Hope can torture you if your agenda is misaligned with the proper pole.

Now days, I am caring less of what anybody thinks of me, good or bad.

But don’t mistake that for complete lack of care.  I care more for humanity than anybody could know.  Many of us do.  I just don’t care to get an emotional high off of people anymore.  Peace feels much better.  Knowing I am always at home inside, feels much better.  Knowing I can’t please everybody or even one person all the time is a relief that has set me free from an endless effort I will never be able to master.  A waste of my time.

Now I can focus on doing what I am meant to do and what I love to do, which will reveal itself in time and need, maybe in the next moment when my daughter asks me for something.  Or maybe someday I will write some sort of book, or finish a degree in Psychology.

Now I ask myself, “What can I give that others need” instead of subconsciously running an old program of, “how can I please you this time?”  There is a difference between a servant and a slave.

Neglect

They asked him, an alcoholic, not to attend his friend’s funeral because of his drinking.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the details of what transpired in this event.  I have watched alcoholics and drug addicts all my life and I know how bad it can get for everybody.  But who doesn’t deserve to attend their friend’s funeral?  Funerals are when people are supposed to pull together and bond while remembering how precious life is. They are a time to grieve and reach out to others that understand your grief because they feel it too.  To hold and be held.  To be human and cry and feel pain.  Anyone of us could be taken in the next moment.  And in that moment, suddenly perspectives change.  You will never see that person again.

These are the types of segregations, disconnects, discriminations, rejections and judgments that are going on in our families, friendships, and communities.  The emotional, verbal, and non-verbal abuse that scars a person’s mind deeply but nobody can see it.  That is, until it crops up in us as an addiction or some behavior people do not have time to deal with or don’t want to deal with because its too inconvenient.  Wouldn’t it be easier and less painful just to love each other than to deal with the pain of addictions?

How can we deny people the basic human needs of love and grief?  Where has our compassion gone to?