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.  

The Battle With Others

Lately I have found myself deeply depressed with connections with others.  There is a large part of myself I hold back.  Many of my Facebook friends have no idea what I struggle with on a day-to-day basis.  They don’t see the internal struggle I’m trying to overcome with understanding myself vs. the way the world works.  And when I say world, I mean my world.  I live in a Western culture.  Even without Asperger’s, or High Functioning Autism, as it’s now called, I would still struggle with making friends and being “socially acceptable” in a world that has high expectations of how I should act.

Even a friend I have (or had?) that has Asperger’s doesn’t understand what I struggle with.  I was “put in his outer circle of friends” because I couldn’t behave according to his expectations.  I tried to explain to him what I am struggling with, but that didn’t seem to matter.  All he was able to understand is that he didn’t like my dysfunction and he didn’t know what else to do with me.  So he pushed me away.

I talked to another friend I had met years ago.  He lives in another country in Europe.  We had met through work but remained friends on Facebook.  I gave him a brief outline of my struggles and he said he felt the same.  “A lot of people suck,” were his sentiments.  And true friends are hard to find.  The humanitarian in me wants to disagree, but after nine years of working on myself and improving who I am, and seeing what is out there, I couldn’t disagree with him.

I realize that not only am I dealing with learning the social skills of a Western world, but I’m also dealing with the fact that everybody is struggling with what it means to truly connect with another human being and without adding our own expectations of what that person should act like.  I admit.  My expectations are high too.  When I connect with someone, maybe I want a little too much.  Maybe I expect understanding where it’s not possible to have any.  Maybe I expect too much communication in a world gone made with the frenzy of just surviving.

But at the end of my life what is most important to me?  In spite of my struggles with Asperger’s, I still value human connection very much.  I want my connections with others to mean something.  I’m tired of letting Western culture get in the way.  And even though I have “high expectations,” they aren’t meaningless expectations!

Is it too much to want to draw a person out of their own dysfunctional communication styles in order to have that connection?  Is it too much to be a little uncomfortable for the sake of humanity?  I’m not talking full commitment.  I’m talking about taking the time and effort to really get to know a person.  That could be a few moments of time, or an entire lifetime.  It’s whatever the interaction calls for.  Sometimes I just say something small like, “You’re an awesome person.”  People like to hear that because there is so much in Western culture telling them they are nothing compared to whatever thing we are trying to match ourselves up to.

I have found many times I can make a person feel worthy and included in very short spaces of time.  And when I say it, I mean it.  I don’t bullshit around.  I also will take the time to help people.  If they tell me they aren’t living up to their expectations, I tell them this culture doesn’t have realistic expectations when it comes to the standards of capitalism.  Capitalism tells us we will never be enough and never have enough until we are rich, successful and powerful.  This is so opposite to the truth!

I need money to survive.  But it doesn’t talk to me.  It doesn’t hold my hand when I’m scared.  My status doesn’t make me feel safe.

But other people do.  When someone connects with me and understands my pains and fears, that makes me feel safe.  That is what I try to do for others that can be real with me.  I can’t give that to someone who doesn’t want it though.  I’ve met many people who don’t want it!

I’ve thought about “outing” myself on Facebook and telling everyone what I am.  It reminds me of how people in the LGBTQ community must feel.  How scary it is.  And I wonder how it’s helped or hindered them.  Or completely altered their world.  Were they glad they came out?  Was it worth the risk of being so vulnerable to others that they could judge, offer unsolicited advice, and otherwise make them feel less than?

At this point in all of my struggles, I feel like I don’t have much to lose.  I’m already dealing with people on a constant basis that pick me up and put me down at their convenience.  Maybe I don’t understand them.  Maybe I’m being the one that is not understanding.

But at what point do we start facing this fear of human connection and start working together for ourselves and fellow human beings?  Do we keep hiding behind our cell phones, and computers and social media?

I learned that I can work on myself all I want and improve myself and how wonderful that is.  But improving myself when it comes to others is a whole ‘nother ball game.  That requires more commitment to show up authentically, compassionately, and be willing to work through the ups and downs.  And I could maybe do this if others wanted to too.  But I can’t make them.

I want to take the easy route and keep hiding.  That is safe.  That is in my comfort zone.  But that doesn’t get me anywhere in life.  It doesn’t help me advance in my personal goals or my social and environmental goals.  To hide means to stay stuck.  To not allow myself to be raw and vulnerable means not dealing with more rejection.  But it also means not even putting the efforts forward to have the connections I seek with others.

I’m  not even sure what I want from other people.  That’s the worst part of all.  I can’t seem to get a clear goal of what I’m looking for.  I don’t need that many people in my life.  I couldn’t handle it.  And after my friend axing me out of his immediate social circle, I feel all the less equipped to take on more friendships.  I have one friendship in the real world right now.  If I can’t handle social experiences, should I even pursue them?

What is the way out of this mess in my life?  What is the way out of this mess in Western culture that puts so little value in community and building others up?  How do we fix these problems we face?

When I look at all the social and environmental problems, it boils down to these two things.  How willing are we to face ourselves?  And how willing are we to face the problem of the ever growing isolation and loneliness in our culture?  These are the things we all talk about.  These are the things we all complain about.  These are the things that are causing social and environmental problems.  But these are the things we all run from.

I’ve seen this in so many places.  How will we ever start to walk the walk?  Aren’t we tired of the endless discussions and the endless articles online telling us what is wrong?  And only to find there is so little of us standing up and putting the solutions forward in the interactions we have with those around us?

It’s so hard for me to see this.  When I look at everybody online and in the real world it always seems like their lives with others are fine.  I see people finding partners, having kids, getting jobs, going out and having wonderful experiences.  It’s hard for me to admit that there is a rising statistic of isolation, loneliness, suicide and mental health issues in Western culture.  Is it all a facade?  Are people really truly happy with their lives, or are we all just pretending because A) we don’t want to face ourselves, and B) it’s too much to figure out relationships because we haven’t even figured ourselves out?

It just seems the surface of life is a totally different story from the internal workings of life.  But maybe I’m just not seeing straight.  Maybe that is the Asperger’s part of me.  Is the truth that we all struggle with this regardless of whether we have “dysfunctions” or not?  Are people without Asperger’s just better at faking it?  I’m at a loss…

Embracing your experiences, good and bad

I have been listening to Joseph Clough for over a year now. He coaches and does hypnosis mp3s. Many of them are free on iTunes, YouTube and his website. He also has a book and other mp3s for sale.

He has been one of the most profound coaches I have listened to. His mp3s have brought me out of severe anxiety and helped me to build confidence in different aspects of my life. I always find myself referring back to him. I can’t recommend him enough to everyone, whether you have Asperger’s or not.

Here is a YouTube he recently posted. I hope you enjoy it!

Theory finds that individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome don’t lack empathy – in fact if anything they empathize too much

A good article describing that we are very empathic. Like I discussed in my previous post, the invisible world is like a giant earthquake of chaos inside of us. Very intense. Check out this article for more insight and studies backing it up.

Seventh Voice

“A ground-breaking theory suggests people with autism-spectrum disorders such as Asperger’s do not lack empathy – rather, they feel others’ emotions too intensely to cope.”

“People with Asperger’s syndrome, a high functioning form of autism, are often stereotyped as distant loners or robotic geeks. But what if what looks like coldness to the outside world is a response to being overwhelmed by emotion – an excess of empathy, not a lack of it?

This idea resonates with many people suffering from autism-spectrum disorders and their families. It also jibes with the “intense world” theory, a new way of thinking about the nature of autism.

As posited by Henry and Kamila Markram of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, the theory suggests that the fundamental problem in autism-spectrum disorders is not a social deficiency but, rather, a hypersensitivity to experience, which includes an overwhelming fear response.

“I…

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Do you find it hard to be emotionally close to other people? – Troubles with the Aspie Quizzes

I posted my results previously, with the latest Aspie quiz I took. It said I was very likely to have Asperger’s. It’s a question that will always be in my mind because I’m not officially diagnosed. But more so, it gives me a way to recognize my strengths and weaknesses in life. And that helps me to know what to work on, and what to have confidence in with my abilities. So I wanted to write about some of the questions on this quiz, and the struggles I have in answering these questions. I’m taking these questions from this quiz: Aspie Quiz.

The first question is:
Do you find it hard to be emotionally close to other people?

This question, like most of them, is hard for me to answer because it’s not cut and dry like that. I can be emotionally close to someone who I’ve known a long time. I can also be emotionally close to someone who is already confident in being open and vulnerable with themselves. Lately, some people have commented that I don’t seem to have a problem with talking to them. As I had expressed my struggles with social anxiety. My reply was that it all depends on the person’s personality. Some people are just very easy to talk to. I will admit that I find more people who are hard to talk to, than easy to talk to though. I don’t see myself as an emotionally closed off person, despite the reputation people with Asperger’s have. But depending on a what a person’s intentions are, their attitudes in life and how they act will greatly affect my behavioral responses to them.

I can be very open and not have trouble talking to people I hardly know, even about emotional things. On the other hand, I have known some people for a long time and find myself closed off to talking to them or being emotionally close to them because of their intentions or how they behave. Some people like this, I have tried to trust, given them vulnerable information, only for them to use it against me later down the road.

It also depends on the subject. Some people I can talk to about anything. Others, I can only talk to them about some things, depending on how safe they feel to me, and how they keep that information and use it in the future.

At least in my case, I don’t think it is so much about whether an Aspie has trouble with this, as much as I think that our society has a problem with this. And people with Asperger’s, in spite of how much we are used and taken advantage of, we know when someone is being shifty. Sadly, because of the way our society is, many people are shifty with others because our values and principles have been largely dominated by media and other factors in our Western culture, such as religion and Capitalism but not limited to just those, which drives us to be competitive and live in a “dog eat dog” mentality.

Aspies aren’t always aware of the bigger issues of societal influence, but we always pick up on the inner spirit of what drives things and will emotionally shut ourselves down to protect ourselves from internal chaos. I believe we see the world from the internal and invisible workings of life, and therefore try to align ourselves with that. Spiritual chaos is like a giant earthquake inside and disrupts our day-to-day living to a point where we can’t function. So we are constantly coping and isolating in a world of people, mainly Western culture, that are so caught up in the frenzy that they don’t recognize these invisible war zones.

Unfortunately, there are more people who aren’t aware of this than people who are. The neurotypicals are in far greater numbers than Autism and Aspgerger’s. And there is already the medical and societal perspective that we are the ones who are broken and need fixing so we can adapt into a world that doesn’t make sense to us in the first place.

With that being said, I also think it is our responsibility (those that can) to slowly reveal that to the people around us. Through role-modeling and diplomatic discussions that helps bring these two types of people together. And for most of us on the spectrum, that comes naturally because we want peace and truth to prevail over lies, illusions and deceit. We also greatly value having purpose in everything we do. Most of us don’t want to take part in idle chit-chat because there is no meaning in it. Not because we don’t like to talk about surface things, but because the ideal chit-chat that Western culture brands as socially acceptable is meaningless. I don’t learn anything about you if we just discuss the weather.

In an Aspie mind, we want to connect deeper with a person. Most NTs (neurotypicals), or people who have not had dramatic experiences in their lives find that to be “too close, too fast.” Often they will feel some sort of obligation to us or feel too vulnerable to discuss deeper things so quickly with someone they don’t know. I have talked to, or have known about, soldiers and war veterans they can’t adjust to this society for these same reasons. A huge wall is thrown up because they know people could not handle discussing the things they’ve seen. Western culture shelters our society and gives us a false sense of security. Talking about a veteran’s experiences would shatter that illusive but very real comfort we cherish all too much. But even in spite of these problems, those of us that understand what I’m saying here can stand to use our strengths in our unique perspectives that were formed in our traumas and bond together in the sense of standing up for what we see and believe in and want to achieve in our personal lives and with those around us. We can learn how to have social skills that would nurture a better society, but a different and better one.

Aspies aren’t alone in this. Any person that shows up in Western culture as a minority, a woman, disabled, a veteran, a solider, an elderly person, a teenager, people with alternate lifestyles, people in the LGBTQ communities, people that are poor, and anybody else that expresses other than what society tells us we should be. We are all pushing and striving for the same equal rights, which equates to developing better communication, emotional intelligence, love, wisdom and character development between all Peoples. We are all trying to freely express ourselves in a culture that shuts us down. We all have this great common cause between us that allows us to bond in ways that society tells us is “abnormal,” but if we’ll just recognize it for what it is. We have so much to learn from each other and ways we can support each other through sharing what we know but with love and compassion.

We understand first hand what it feels like to repress ourselves, to try to show up in society as something we’re not to avoid verbal, physical, and emotional abuse. We are the leaders in a culture that has been, and still is, waking up from the great illusion of Capitalism and Western culture. We know what to do. We aren’t broken. We are the way-seers. We are the hope and the strength of others. We are the ones who “standard typical” people look to so they can understand why they are also unhappy. In a way, they are losing out because they didn’t have some aspect of themselves fall outside the social structures of “normal”, so they don’t have the mental questions to start asking, “what is wrong in this world?” Or at least on such a level that would motivate them to seek answers and develop better character.

I have a huge affinity for love. Don’t we all? And it’s the greatest emotion of all. I struggle with it in so many ways. As much as I can sit here and write this as diplomatically as I know how now, I can also say that some days I’m utterly depressed with these subjects. I some days feel so alone I don’t know what to do with myself. Some days I can’t make that pain go away. But I think, what if I could start finding others that feel like I do? People that feel utterly destroyed by what is happening, and has happened, that perhaps then I wouldn’t feel so alone. Perhaps you wouldn’t feel so alone either.

Not too long ago a man I know told me that he loves hearing from me because I give him a sense of strength. I thanked him for that compliment, very sincerely and genuinely, but because I have Asperger’s it has taken me weeks to fully process his words. I felt amazed that a white male that is doing pretty good in life, in spite of its bumps and hitches, would say that to me. A struggling poor, single-mom in college and with Asperger’s. How could I show strength to someone like him, who seems so strong to me? But at the same time I felt deeply complimented. I’ve worked so freaking hard most of my life, dealing with all these things. Struggling with abandonment, loss of childhood friends, loss of family, a loss of a sense of myself. Not being able to make friends but knowing I’m not THAT hard to get along with. Most of my struggles have been alone, isolated and being filled with so much anxiety my body couldn’t process it anymore and I have ailments as “war wounds.” But all those things I’ve struggled with have developed a strength in me that at least some people see. And they see it so much that they seek it. Because they want it in themselves. And I want to give that to them!

So however you identify yourself, be it Asperger’s or some other set of labels, just know that you are representing those labels to those you meet. Do your best to give your set of labels the best reputation possible. Keep working on your struggles. Keep shining your intelligence and light. It is definitely helping people around you, near and far, and if you’re doing it right, you probably won’t get recognition for it. And most of all, keep shining the love to those you love, but especially those you do not love. Those are the ones we are trying to reach to make a better world. A better life for you, and a better life for others.

I believe that we can make great strides in this culture when we understand that we are all products of a really shitty system. And although some people will criticize me for calling out our culture and the effects of Capitalism and globalization, if you do enough research you will always see that it comes down to the fact that we are structured on a hierarchical system. Maybe Capitalism in and of itself isn’t bad, if we can find a way to make it equal. But so far that answer hasn’t presented itself on the table. Capitalism seems to mean unequal in value or worth as a human being. It means you are competing with everyone around you for something that fits into a system neatly or worse yet, “perfectly.” A word I despise in the hierarchical perspective. It goes against everything we are as human beings. The truth is we are all unequal in a sense, but not in worth.

There really is no conclusion in this blog post. Except that if you are feeling isolated, lonely and cut off from others, then start leading in your life for the beautiful things you see. Start looking for other people who feel like you do, so you can have support. See if they are responsive in being acquainted with you. Work on emotional intelligence. Remember that these tests are awesome when used as a tool to improve yourself, but be careful not to fall into the perspective of perfection, nor place that expectation on others.

In truth, if a neurotypical person had to answer this question of whether they are emotional with people or not, I think they would feel the same way. It would depend on who it is they were interacting with, what the relationship was like, it would depend on our own emotional intelligence as well. Too many factors exist to make it a black and white question on an Aspie Quiz.

And although I understand the purpose of these quizzes, to help us understand ourselves and where we fall on a spectrum, aren’t these questions also built upon an agenda to get us to recognize how we fit into a social structure that doesn’t accept anomalies? With the high statistics in our culture with loneliness, isolation, divorce, addiction, and suicide, aren’t ALL Western cultured people struggling with being emotionally close to one another, and maybe even ourselves?  If we took away the Capitalistic social structure would we even have these labels working for some people and against others?  If we are all unique and of equal value is there such a thing as a neurotypical person?  Aren’t all of these labels what create these illusions in the first place?

Isn’t it up to each of us to slowly take the blind folds off of ourselves, so we can help others to take theirs off?