Aspergers talking, talking, talking.

Ask me anything and you'll get an answer. It might not be the answer you wanted or expected, but you won't leave empty-handed. And it might be some time before you get to leave as well.

I don't have a 'shut-up' filter so someone asking me a question is like a green light. I answer whatever seems good at the time and after this verbal roll of the dice I carry on. And on. You asked, right? You wanted to know? That green light you gave me probably turned to red a while ago but I haven't noticed.

Neither have I noticed the change in your face and by the time I do, I'm so far into my explanation that I gloss over the wriggling worm of doubt and strive to bring you back into my answer. It's a good answer, you're going to like it! Just keep listening.

This is why I can be so good at interviews. Doesn't matter if I'm nervous or not, a question is all it takes to fire me up and set me off. Being on high alert in an interview means I do leave gaps for other people to talk (we can do anything for 15 minutes), so my easy, occasionally random answers give an impression of confidence and make  me seem like a people person.

This is hilarious.

I am a people person, a few minutes at a time, if being a people person is talking without brakes and managing to keep your subject relevant (and relevance is very flexible). Otherwise, I am a runaway mouth powered by the belief that I can do most jobs if you just show me how.

The self-confidence lies in my innate belief in my ability to learn, not in my ability to communicate with other people.

It's all about discussion rather than communication. I love a discussion, cannot avoid one if offered, find it impossible to dodge a question and almost always have a ready answer - and sometimes that answer haunts me for days.

And then there are those times, so many, many times, when a person asks a question they don't want answered or they only want the answer they chose already. Oh dear, red rags and bulls. There's no way a question goes unanswered and if my answer happens to be different from what the asker wants, that's their bad luck.

Might they try to argue? To persuade? Go on then, you have your seconds while I hesitate to see what you want. Then I can go back to my opinion, thinking that you wanted it and not realising that my opinion had the wrong shape or I had answered a rhetorical question.

A question is one of the most simple ways to communicate with people. In the most dire social quagmire we can be saved by asking someone a question. It's a door you crank open and peek through. If someone else asks it means they want to have an answer, this is also simple.

So when I chat in public places and ask questions, I can learn about people I would be otherwise studying (possibly fearing) and make myself feel calm at the same time. The great side effect of this is that I end up talking to lots of different people who are often happy I have asked questions.

Being social can be as simple as asking a question or answering one. As always the difficult part is finding the subtle balance people expect from life. The answering of a question is fine; giving a full, honest answer is not usually expected.

People can be put off or don't understand what just happened. On the flipside, this is a wonderful way to find like minds.

The comfort, the creative common ground between two people who spy each other across an answer and know they are not strangers. This makes all the talking worthwhile.


 A Guide to Your Aspie

 How to talk to your Aspie

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What face will you wear?

I thought I was impassive. I thought I walked this earth wearing the same face every day, only managing a proper, true expression in times of great feeling or by accident when I turned my ankle.

And then I tried making a test video for YouTube.

Yes, I know I was bound to be self-conscious and it wasn't exactly a reliable experiment but...

There's no two ways about it, I seem to have the Face Pulling.

It was like watching a Pixar movie only the dog didn't talk. Every inflection had a mouth shape all its own and when I really needed to make a point, my face made the point without needing the words. With the sound muted it could have been mime - and I hate mime.

Where did this come from? When did it start? Has it always been this way?

I know there have been plenty times when I wanted to show emotion and gave the performance of the leading stone at the Stone Awards. I could have wept when trying to express myself: not only did my face stay frozen, my voice also sounded flat and monotone.

Knowing these things to be true, where did the gurning, mouth-twisting, eye-balling creature on the video come from?

I can only assume I grew into it. At some point in the last few years, I must have shed enough inhibitions for the Real Me to burst free when I'm talking. (You know, I'd have appreciated a bit of warning).

It's rather like going through life thinking you're supposed to be Mary Poppins then catching sight of yourself in the mirror and realising you're actually the Wicked Witch of the West. The moment of horror as you see the real face looking back is very quickly replaced by the sense that now you know who you are, you can do anything.

Instead of flying by umbrella and dating chimney sweeps, I can live a single life full of many pets and do just what I like.

No, perhaps I'm getting carried away. Do I really want to make faces instead of hiding my emotions? Would I not rather keep my real self hidden and safe, private from these strangers and half-known friends who would see my every thought as I thunk it?

You know what? I'm so far past Mary Poppins these days that I don't mind if I show how I feel. Let them see it! If I think it, I can show it and what does it really matter?

Also, readers, this does explain why people are sometimes nervous of me. Now I know, I'll be sure not to frighten them anymore. Honest!

Heh heh!


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 How to talk to your Aspie

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Why don't you just grow up?

We've all been asked, 'When are you going to grow up?' So, knowing how aspies like to be prepared for difficult conversations, here is a handy guide. Keep it in your pocket and when someone asks a trigger question, whip it out and refer to it. They might be a little impatient for your answer but that's their problem. They asked a question so they can have an answer, in a minute.

Please note, not all answers are suitable for all questions. Do try to exercise judgement and don't mix them up just to make the conversation more interesting. You know how that turns out.

1: When are you going to grow up?
Usually asked in an exasperated tone. This means the person doesn't expect an answer, they simply expect a magical transformation. But they still want you to speak, so try:

When I feel like it! This may not inspire confidence in your listener.
I am grown up! Invites specific, awkward examples of why this is not true.
Gah! Insert your own special word to go with hand-flapping, head-holding and running off to dark corners.
Please don't speak to me that way. Very worrying for most people, they don't expect you to be grown up about things.

2: Why can't you just grow up?
It makes little sense but this is actually the same question as number 1. Yes, I know it invites a different answer. I mean, asking why you cannot grow up means you could explain how hard life can be or why you did a thing. People don't want to know that, they just want to exasperate at you.

Explain why you find grown up life so hard. Regardless of them not wanting to know this, their badly-phrased question can be used as a great way to discuss issues important to you. And there's no point in them arguing because, technically, they did ask.

3: You should try growing up!
It becomes ridiculous but yes, this is also number 1 wearing a different hat. This question is definitely more combative though. The asker wants to goad you for not being a grown up as well as pointing out you are immature. Obviously, having this agenda and not being able to properly phrase a question means they are not doing a great job of being mature themselves. If you really have to respond, try:

If you will, I will! Not the best response but usually the one quickest to your lips.
I don't want to! People expect this from you. If you feel like leaving quickly, then give them what they want and then leave. If you want to seriously annoy them...
Say nothing and leave. This works well and often means the next time they ask they will word it better and be less antagonistic.

4: I can't believe you still haven't grown up!
Said in a very grown up manner, as if there is only one grown up in the room, or in the square mile surrounding you. (In case you didn't know, they are meant to be that one grown up).

This question seems to assume you have been given some time to grow up and failed, or were given a chance to change and failed. It assumes failure. And by assuming failure, it equates being a grown up with success. SO many issues and upsets stem from this assumption!

Leaving without arguing is the best approach, however you could also try:

Do you know how much that upsets me? I know a lot of people think you are being immature by saying you are upset - how convenient! If you are being immature then they can ignore the fact they upset you. Don't expect a great answer to this, mostly it will be reasons why you brought it on yourself.
I am doing the best I can. This is often so true it hurts. We're all usually doing the best we can. Explaining this feels like the right approach and can make the other person stop to think. Not always, though, so do have your shield ready?
What, you don't have a shield?
Yes, you do, you just call it something else.

5: Why are you being such a baby?
Oh yes, this one shows its face sooner or later. You can have the most growny-up grown up in the world in front of you and these words will come out.

Why are you being such a baby? Well...

Life is really hard right now (this day, this minute, the last 2 hours, whatever time frame fits). Be optimistic and explain, if you like. Being called a baby isn't the best starter to a proper discussion but maybe you can shame them into it.
Please show some respect. Yes, optimism again. This might work, you never know. At least you called them out on being disrespectful.
I'm not being a baby, that is unfair. This one can be another discussion starter. Why would you discuss with someone who calls you a baby? Perhaps because they wanted to hurt you and are being completely childish - it's worth a minute of your time to raise yourself above this before leaving.

And then leave.


 A Guide to Your Aspie

 How to talk to your Aspie

My books and writing blog, with free stuff.
Find me on Facebook.and Twitter!