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CaptainACAB wrote (edited )

Imagine having the power to have an unprompted conversation with an acquaintance/stranger without rehearsing what you're going to say in your head and choosing to use it for the diabolical purpose of small talk.

Or somehow ignoring the immense pain required to maintain eye contact and making it a sign of trustworthiness.

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rot wrote

we should really stop with the eye contact thing. if you're looking in my general direction I know your talking to me, stop looking into my eyes like we're married

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CaptainACAB wrote

It's a cultural thing, to be fair to non-western neurotypicals.

Some cultures avoid eye contact because it comes off as too aggressive and others don't even have small talk as a concept.

The trick for me is focus on one specific part of the face near the eyes and occasionally go back to the eyes in 4 second intervals; sometimes I turn my head in another direction as if I noticed something for a few seconds of respite.

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rot wrote

yeah i make brief contact just to meet the societal expectation.

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moonlune wrote (edited )

I don't mind talking to autistic people. I'm a listener and like learning about stuff and most of the time autistic people are very passionate stuff. If I get bored or want to change the topic discussion, I say it explicitly and nobody has been offended yet (?).

I still fumble during social interactions fairly often, especially when courting lol

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rot wrote

my problem is without someone leading the way with social ques I don't know what to do either!

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lettuceLeafer wrote

making eye contact with people feels good and people constantly diverting feels off or weird.

I'm pretty bad with social ques but vibe, things said implicity and how someone positions there body is one of the most major factors in how I determine what someone is meaning when they say something.

Once I figured out how to do it small talk, starting a convo and keeping one interesting and navigating to cool topics is very easy and not stressful at all

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NeoliberalismKills wrote

I can't do eye contact due to eye contact being weaponised by my violent father. He'd demand you look him in the eye then scream at the top of his lungs letting you know what a useless piece of crap you were. For good measure knuckles wrapping the crown of your head was usually the closing move.

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groovygardener42069 OP wrote

I'm really bad at small talk. People will be like oh I'm watching this show on Netflix! And I'll be like oh is that the one about [really depressing critical reading of the show based on what I know about the show from my wife watching from the other room]?

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Tequila_Wolf wrote

I do not know how to answer this question.

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groovygardener42069 OP wrote

is that bc you're also autistic or because you don't know how to explain your mode of being?

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Tequila_Wolf wrote

Mostly because I think there isn't just one way to be autistic or neurotypical and so it's hard to try to make a working comparison where we're talking about what the experience of it is, partly since I don't know enough about all of it.

So more the latter. I don't think I'm autistic.

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groovygardener42069 OP wrote

I mean there's never any one way to be, that's why it's a spectrum

My whole life I thought I was a weirdo, and kind of identified that way, self-deprecation and all. When I finally connected the dots that it's "high functioning" (whatever that means) autism, a lot of the stuff that used to keep me up at night (social faux pas, etc) kinda melted away.

The only person I've talked about my autism with irl is my wife, not even my mom. Kinda for the same reasons, why do they need to know and why do I need to deal with their projection?

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Houtamelo wrote

Speaking as someone who doesn't know anything about autism (which is why i'm here - i want to learn about it).

That's a pretty hard question, almost as hard as "what it's like to know how to walk?", i can't remember how it was before i didn't knew how to walk, the same way i don't know how things where when i couldn't understand social cues. I guess i can say that i was born (or built pretty fast) which such database, then it's just a mater of accessing it and seeing what fits each situation.

I don't feel the same as CaptainACAB though, when i'm talking with strangers i always rehearse things in my head beforehand (that maybe linked to my anxiety though), i also hate making eye contact, it just, doesn't feel right.

On the other hand, what is it like to be autistic?

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groovygardener42069 OP wrote

I would assume the database for neurotypical people is almost instinctual? Like I think the metaphor would be less, you as a toddler learning social cues, and more, how does a fish know how to swim? It just does.

For me a lot of the problems in my life surrounding my autism were actually downstream from my symptoms and mode of being itself. Most of my feelings re: anxiety and depression went away to a certain extent when I had a lens to view myself through that finally made sense.

For example, when I was younger a -lot- of people took advantage of me in different ways, because I was too oblivious to social cues to see people's intentions (you know that gut feeling you get when someone is just like kinda dressed-up-but-kind-of-a-sociopath off? yeah I don't get that) and it took me a long time to realize what to look for in people who come into my life and how to properly set boundaries.

I also get obsessive. Like wikipedia rabbithole obsessive. Like I got so into collecting records that my friends teased me into becoming a DJ. And the reason it was records is because it's easier to find things like random side project recordings with that one conga session musician you like from the 70s digging through flea market crates than it is trawling through download sites. Like I started gardening a couple years ago and now I gotta figure out what the hell I'm gonna do with my coca plants obsessive.

Dating - ho-lee shit. I obsessed over women who tolerated me (often ending real badly). I assumed women weren't into me when in fact they were wondering why I acted so "cold" all the time and really wanted to get with me. If I were still single now, I still don't know how I'd do it - with my (now) wife, I just honestly stopped being coy when we first started dating. "I like you, do you want me to kiss you?" It was scary as shit but it felt better than sitting there after the fact picking apart my unreliable memories of my unreliable reading of social cues

Small talk - what the fuck is that? I'm incredibly bad at small talk and take it to really depressing places because I don't know how to fake pleasantness convincingly.

But I don't really have too many other classic autistic traits like stimming or debilitating sensory overload so I pass as neurotypical in most settings. People who enjoy my presence call me "real." People who don't call me a downer.

I don't think I would be happy if I was neurotypical. I don't know what it's like to be innately aware of social hierarchies and to care about my place within them. That sounds like a fucking drag, man

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Houtamelo wrote

I also absolutely hate small talk, which is why i avoid it at all costs (i don't talk to strangers unless i have a good reason for it), when i go talk with my friends i always just speak my mind - no wasting time asking stuff like weather,etc.

Social hierarchies suck, being aware of them is good but caring about your place within them sucks, i only really started feeling free when i completely began saying "fuck it" to any thoughts regarding such hierarchies.

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Vulgar_Soda wrote

I'm not so sure that I am "neurotypical." or that I care to find out what the professionals would label me as. I have no interest in pathologizing natural human behavior. There is no fixing what is not broken.

All I can say is, being me is being me. I have plenty of awkward social interactions. I have been described as cringe. I have been described as charming. I have been told to get my head checked. I have been told on more than one occasion that people wish they had my social grace. The distance between those judgements depends less on myself and more on the assumptions held by observers. Feedback is not a reflection of the judged, rather a reflection of the feedback giver's values. Being "not autistic" has been a journey filled with highs and lows, due to the chaos inherent in interaction. People can be jerks over any perceived misstep. I feel just as exhausted by being social as anyone else.

I am currently questioning why I even bother to engage with people that hold disdain for anyone that looks and acts like me. Picking up on social cues is overrated in a world where most people suck. I understand having to learn how to interact with the world at large in order to survive. The problem is the same courtesy is never extended in reverse. How many neurotypicals stress over learning how to comfortably interact with people "on the spectrum?"

Being not autistic is ... okay. I usually like myself enough to think that.

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groovygardener42069 OP wrote

To your point, I kinda fumbled through life until I self-diagnosed and a lot of things suddenly clicked for me. I don't need some asshole in a cardigan to explain what's "wrong" with me but making a realization about why I'm different allowed me to better navigate the world as presented to me

Also I mean, autistic people can be selfish and uncaring too

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MHC wrote

I watched a teenage girl say to her similar companions "It's like...", repeatedly.

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