Whenever I write, email or speak to someone, I am (sometimes) aware of the subtle errors that I make in the social situation.
Sometimes I’m aware of it immediately, and it takes editing the post – or sending yet another email to clarify – or when speaking to someone directly, clarifying what I just said so…
Hmmmmm… Good question.
Do you think just being yourself might rid you of some of that anxiety? If yes, I definitely think you should try it, because your current situation definitely sounds pretty close to intolerable. Other people might like it less, sure. But I’d say YOUR mental health should be the most important thing to you. I’m sure THEY will eventually be able to cope, right..? And if not, oh well, you might just be better off without them.
Also, if you’re open about having AS, hopefully that’ll make it easier. Because really, it is not as if any of this is YOUR fault! If you explain to the people around you what AS is and how it affects you, it would be very unfair of them to expect your social skills to be 100 % perfect in any given setting. Or at least that’s what *I* think. They should be willing to try to be more lenient and more understanding with you, if they’re good people.
Plus I very much doubt you are just unlikeable through and through. Likability is relative. Some people appreciate certain traits in others, whereas other people appreciate different traits. And sure, certain traits might be more COMMONLY appreciated. And due to the majority of people being NT, many of those traits just so happen to be NT traits. Sucks, doesn’t it..? 🙁 But never the less: there ARE people who like aspies. I sure do, for one. 🙂 I find that I appreciate that aspie sense of honesty FAR more than the forced social conventions and guises of NTs. But then again, I too *am* an aspie, so I’m probably somewhat skewed in that regards. Not that NTs aren’t equally skewed, though. They’re just skewed in the opposite direction. 😛
..Still, I’ve personally got some NT friends who genuinely like me, and I like them too. Unless, of course, they are just PRETENDING to like me. But I don’t really see what their motive would be for doing that, because they’d have plenty of OTHER people they could potentially hang out with instead of me, if they found my personality to be intolerable.
Okay, end of long rant. I always tend to go off on a lot of those, apparently…. XD
The bottom line is: just be yourself. And hopefully you’ll find someone who will like you for that. Although if you think you can, at least at times, manage some kind of intermediate, it might be a good idea to try to correct some of the most OBVIOUSLY offensive mistakes whenever they do occur, but still try not to obsess about it too much..? (Yeah, FAR easier said than done, I know… If you don’t think it’s possible for you to do that, then just forget about it.) And of course be more careful during, for instance, something like a job interview than you would be during a conversation with your best friend, if you have one.
(Gee, I first made a typo so that it said “virtual jugs”. Typos like that one probably SHOULD be corrected after all, ‘eh? XD)
First off, I’d like to mention that it’s not irregular to feel stress, anxiety, or regret for such mistakes (and now I’m sure of it, considering you too feel the same way). Although I have aspergers, I’m obviously not you, so I can’t say for certain that your situation is exactly the same as mine, but I hope my advice may be helpful either way.
So anyway, I make tons of minor mistakes like that, and sometimes I am unable to correct them. While haven’t really stopped making such social mistakes, I noticed two important things: first, throughout the years (I’m now 18) I’ve erred less often. Second, I never made the same exact mistake again (with emphasis on exact). With the second circumstance, I eventually covered most of my bases such that I do not err very often.
Basically, with time, you will learn to not make those exact mistakes again. Although painful, the anxiety that accompanies those mistakes helps you to not make them again. As I said, I’m now 18, which seems to have been a sufficient amount of time to eliminate most of the problem. Lastly, I just wanted to make it clear that it wasn’t easy in any way. It was very difficult to proceed through all that, but it’s worth it.
I’d also like to confront another issue. From what you said, you seem to have a problem with anxiety. I hate to sound like a pill pusher or whatever, but I actually started taking a medication for powerful anxiety recently. It has really helped me more than anything I took before. I think its brand name is Lamictal or something, but I take the generic, which is called Lamotrigine. Maybe you could ask a doctor about it, because I don’t know what circumstances are necessary for a person to take it or if it would even be helpful to you. If you do decide to ask your psychiatrist/doctor, I’d suggest you ask for the generic (Lamotrigine); brand names are pointlessly expensive.
Also, I’m too lazy to grammar check this whole thing, so you’ll have to ignore the errors.
Wow, I hear you. I’m ADHD (though not so hyper as an adult), and make gaffes frequently. Actually, some people say Aspie and ADHD may be biologically quite the same, just on a wider continuum than previously…
Oh, here I go getting high-fallutin’ technical.
Did I just do what you talk about, there? Correcting oneself…
Well, I am currently a young woman with a BA in Psych and a position as a 1:1 aide, going for Occupational Therapy.
And during some of my training, I attended 4 seminars re: Aspie by one Dr. Kate Murray (PhD, Educ. consultant).
Her insistence is that we, the staff, make much greater efforts to teach children with Aspie more social skills.
I believe what Tony Atwood says is true- “The extent of the problem of Aspie is directly proportional to how many people are in the room with the person. Lock each Aspie in a room alone, and there IS NO problem.” (Total paraphrase from one of his best-known books on the subject.
I also believe that, in some doses, we need to be quite aware of ourselves.
If you take a more solitary kind of job one day, and only really have to interact to communicate ideas and projects, then can you spend most ofthe time being yourself and just some of it with self-monitoring?
Are there any Aspie groups available to you, in person or on-line?
Aspie’s are known to get along great with eachother.
Interestingly, there is one child with whom I work for a small part of the day, and I understand him exceedingly well. When he gets involved in a screwy social situation, I am sometimes on-call to smooth it out. When he gets stuck on a minute technicality where he feels the website or the teacher is wrong, I am there to give him the simple-thinker version, and he moves on.
Once in a while I think I’m more than ADHD…
So, I would say, be yourself when with others like you.
Be as neutral as possible with others.
Find plenty of ways to be productive and alone, to give yourself a break.
And like Dr. Kate Murray says, practice social skills as much as you can with others.
Best of luck!
In general, I find people with disabilities or other minority identities, need to spend some time with others like themselves and some time in the world at large. It is quite refreshing to be with a group of people who share a common identity and you don’t have to explain things that relate to that identity – everyone knows. It’s just assumed. But the real world isn’t like that. So some of the time you have to figure out how to fit in or you just don’t get very far in life. Some people can spend their lives living totally authentically and succeeding, but they are rare. We all have to learn the rules that society has deemed acceptable and learn to play the game.
When I was raising my son people often thought I was not a very nice mom because I held my son to very high expectations – example: good manners were not just nice, but critical. People would say, what’s the big deal let him get away with it. Well the big deal is that now he is extraordinarily successful and it is in part to having excellent manners. People don’t expect people with intellectual disabilities to have good manners. So the fact he does stands out in a positive way. All that work has paid off. Good manners are natural to him.