autistics speaking – 2: i’m just kidding

30 Oct

I got a little distracted with work and school there.  But, now I’m avoiding doing my homework, so here’s my next post about communication, specifically humor.

People with autism often have trouble picking up on subtleties during conversation or the nonverbal cues.  We have trouble reading between the lines.  We tend to believe what people tell us verbally, even though tone or body language may be saying something totally different.

One of the complications of this is that people with autism can seem gullible.  Sometimes I feel stupid because I miss the joke.  I feel like I’m constantly saying, “Really?”  Sometimes people get irritated because I’m not picking up what they’re putting down.  Or, I feel uncomfortable in a situation because I can’t tell if someone is joking with me or making fun of me.  And, dating is just ridiculous.  It’s pretty much impossible to flirt when you don’t pick up on nonverbal cues.

With these communication difficulties it’s hard to make friends and maintain relationships.  Because we don’t do subtlety, people with autism are usually blunt and say exactly what we think.  This comes off as rude or even bizarre to others.  And what we find funny might not be funny to a lot of other people.  I think that the people I’m closest to are people who are genuine and who will be upfront with me, and who don’t mind it when I say what I think.  I find it ironic that people with autism often have trouble making friends because once you get past the curtness, autistic people can make great friends.  Most of us aren’t really capable of deceitfulness, so we’re honest and loyal.  Most of us care very much about other people and want to have relationships, we just don’t always go about it in the familiar or tactful way.  And, we can be really funny when you get to know us.

More about relationships later.  For now, it’s back to my homework.

 

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