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.