Aspie World 2 – Socialization

2013-02-11  Aspie World 2 - Socialization



Humans are social creatures and it is embedded in their brain the function of socialization. It is a natural thing for them to start a conversation at the register in a grocery store, in a bus stop, or any other place where two people remain close to each other for a minimum amount of time. It is an instinct that creates the need for connection between creatures that contributes to the survival of the specie, not only by promoting the reproduction but also the mutual cooperation.

In an aspie brain there are basically four elements related to socialization that are characteristics and that every aspie has in a different proportion (not all aspies are created equal).

1- The instinct of socialization is reduced, so an aspie does like people and interaction with them, but not in the same intensity than normal people do and need; and do requires the replenishing moments that alone activities can provide. Everybody can enjoy moments of solitude, but an aspie can be and have activities alone for days to months, depending on his/her specific characteristics.

2- The brain doesn’t have the “software” required to materialize such connections, so even though an aspie enjoys human contact and needs it just like everybody else, he/she doesn’t have the capabilities to initiate and sustain a simple conversation (Small talk is a giant task!). Only when the subject is of special interest for the aspie the words seem to flow easily, even to the point of become excessive for the comfort of the other person.

3- The capability for interpretation of words said also doesn’t exist, so the meaning of a phrase that not always is coincidental with the words in it cannot always be understood. An aspie go by the dictionary meaning of the words in a phrase and cannot read any second meaning or subtle message within. If you tell me it is cold in the room I’ll turn ON the heater instead of hugging you, if that was the message you sent in your words. You can see why most of the times we are considered dumb, and certainly it doesn’t help at all in romantic situations!

Also aspies cannot follow group conversations where words are just a reference for a different meaning or subject (pretty common in teenagers at school). Do you remember when talking and laughing with your friends and nobody said words related to the subject but everybody knew what they were talking about and was able to contribute to the conversation while keeping the untold rule of not mentioning the subject directly? In those moments an aspie gets completely lost and it becomes like if others were using a foreign language; and even if it was possible to understand a general idea of what they were talking about, the conversation usually goes too fast to keep up with.

4- The capabilities to interpret social cues like face expressions, hands and body gestures are also inexistent, so knowing what the other person wants or is trying to communicate with a subtle movement of an eyebrow or a twitching of the nose become also an unknown language. Those little details that are so important in the repertory of communication among human beings are simply inaccessible land for an aspie.

For those reasons aspies are usually considered dumb as they cannot follow the interactions of people, making them vulnerable to bullying at school and at work. It is pretty common for an aspie to grow up with a history of bullying that creates in him/her a sort of social phobia that only contributes to a self isolation from society.

Also, because of this lack of elements of communication, an aspie usually is considered cold when it comes to human interactions, and too much inclined to go by logic (think of Mister Spock of Start Trek) (Sometimes I tend to believe Vulcans are a society of aspies!). But for us it seems mostly people is “too extroverted”.

Normal people go by feelings, perception and sensations (think of impulse buying that is used by the industry and promoted with the use of psychology to move the economy. -The whole society and civilization is built by this!), while aspies go mostly by structure and logic (Mr. Spock again!) Indeed!

(By the way…in my perception, Captain Kirk was so full of himself; McCoy always exaggerated things, while Spock followed a more sensible approach: stop, observe, analyze and conclude).

With all this, it is not surprise that aspies usually have a hard time when it comes to interaction with people and cannot sustain the same level of socialization as normal people do, making them look dumb, cold, incapable of feelings, or simply plain stupid. And because of this they usually have problems at school, jobs and romantic affairs, which limits their possibilities of advancement even though they are capable just like everybody else, promoting in them a sometimes exacerbated desire for solitude by fear and/or anxiety of contact with normal people. 



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9 Responses to Aspie World 2 – Socialization

  1. Patricia says:

    You really captured the communication dilemmas here and explained them so well. I think if our language was not so violent to each other Aspie’s would not have such a problem. I found teaching Nonviolent Communications or Compassionate Communication skills in schools to be very helpful for everyone in class and increased the number of friendships and in understanding in the whole community – Do you know Dr. Marshall Rosenberg’s work in this area? His books go by Nonviolent Communications – Powerful stuff when one truly wishes to communicate or build communication skills.
    Well this is very revealing to me and so helpful enabling me to understand. I still have problems assisting parents with the small child – temper tantrums, but then often they are so out of control by the time they call me in it takes a lot of time to change the behaviors.
    Thank you so much for sharing this great information from a personal level, I so appreciate your words
    Patricia´s last post ..LOL Loving Pie, Pie II

    Raul Ojeda Reply:

    Hi Patricia,

    This problems for communication that exist in aspies, and the misunderstanding of normal people that tend to believe that everybody must be like them, with the same capabilities for communication, is what makes so complicated for an aspie the road to get included in society.

    Thank you for your encouraging words :)

    Raul Ojeda´s last post ..Aspie World 2 – Socialization

  2. Sara says:

    This was interesting. I can remember people I’ve met that seem to have some of these characteristics, but I put them in the category of anti-social, which is now embarrassing to realize.

    This is why what you’re writing is so important. Perhaps I will pay more attention now to someone who seems distant or overly focused on a subject. The more we learn about Aspie’s, the less assumptions we will make…at least hopefully.

    Given what you said about the behavior of teenagers, it must be very difficult for Aspie teens. That “talk about, but don’t say what it is” attitude would like hearing a foreign language and feeling left out of the conversation. Again, it just shows the desperate need to educate people about this!

    Your comparisons with the Star Trek characters was very good:~)

    Raul Ojeda Reply:

    Hi Sara,

    Right now I have problems in my job because some people just hate the “anti-social” characteristics I have. Fortunately there are also many people who seem to simply accept me the way I am, which is an indication that it is just a lack of information in the subject, and as more knowledge become available, less discrimination will happen. But don’t worry, we aspies know it is not the person. :)

    Raul Ojeda´s last post ..Aspie World 2 – Socialization

  3. I like the Spock comparisons. That makes it easier for me to understand. Actually, all of your explanations are really easy to relate to. Thanks for sharing these. Now I know that whenever we finally get a chance to meet in person we can engage in “big talk” instead of small talk.
    Eric West | Friendship Society´s last post ..The Basis of Friendship as Described by Aristotle by Eric West

    Raul Ojeda Reply:

    Hi Eric,

    LOL I never saw it that way, but you’re right, we aspies do like and can follow a lot easier “big talk”. It’ll be really interesting to meet someday, not only to talk about the aspie thing, but also about your giant project and the universal concepts behind it.

    Raul Ojeda´s last post ..Aspie World 2 – Socialization

  4. kjforce says:

    Raul..I know that had to be very hard for you to share such a personal I wish to commend you on a beautifully written explanation and glimpse into the ” World of the Aspie “…there are so many people in society who live their life undiagnosed…kudos on a well written article…
    PS..I am a fan of both Dr. ” Spocks “….
    kjforce´s last post ..Helpful Hints and Tips….

    Raul Ojeda Reply:

    Hi kjforce,

    It is funny but I never had a real direction for this blog until now, when the idea of providing information about the world of aspies and what’s in their heads and hearts came to light. I hope I can contribute a little in the spreading of knowledge about this condition (I don’t like to call it a “condition” as psychologists do since it feels so discriminating! I guess is a subject for a post on its own to explain why).

    Raul Ojeda´s last post ..Aspie World 2 – Socialization

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