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Featured Can someone with Aspergers be good at reading people?

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by MayBerry, Oct 22, 2020.

  1. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    My new bible. l do fail at times because l truly don't pay attention. These days l listen and watch way closer. And ask questions.
     
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  2. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

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    Perhaps "fixed" is not the right word but you do have some control over the situation. There are mental techniques one can learn that also help, such as meditation, distraction techniques and the like. Cognitive behavioral therapy enhances your ability to contol those things which are potentially under your control. Even though pharmaceuticals are cheap and shrinks love to prescribe them, one ought not to be completely dependent on drugs for everything. Have more than one arrow in your quiver.
     
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  3. MayBerry

    MayBerry Active Member

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    I love that explanation! That's how I felt when I got my personality disorder diagnosis. It allowed me to understand my own behavior.

    A good example is that if I have a sentence or explanation queued up in my head, ready to be spoken out loud, and someone says "let's not talk about this anymore," it's frustrating to the point of tears and anger. If I don't get to say it, it's like ants in my head. I HAVE to.

    Knowing was half the battle, and now it's hardly ever a problem for me or my loved ones. I'm looking forward to learning more about myself. In the last few days I've already realized how 3 Aspie traits are major factors in my life-long sleep problems. Now I just need to figure out how to use that knowledge!
     
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  4. Autistic Yoda

    Autistic Yoda Do. Or do not. There is no 'try'. V.I.P Member

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    Right, because you weren't finished. That's such a standard autism trait, it's a main theme in my favorite autism movie/show ever, The Accountant. The protagonist (as a child) is quickly and adeptly completing a puzzle- face down without even looking at the picture because he's just baller like that. One puzzle piece is missing, so he freaks out: "I wasn't finished!"
     
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  5. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    That's it exactly, working out what's changeable and what isn't, and finding help for the changeable things and strategies to get around the difficulties that are part of who we are. Bear in mind that some of the latter are not always inherently difficulties, but are made so by the way we are clashing with social norms and provisions.

    Sometimes we can find strategies that are quite effective to get around things that limit us. For example, I ve given up on participating in unstructured social interaction wherever possible, but sometimes seek out structured social interaction such as in classes or events based on interests.

    Just knowing what the explanation is helps, lessens anxiety and allows planning be more effective. Your collection of diagnoses are typical of those given to women where the actual overall explanation is autism. Not getting the right explanation extends anxiety, and has people acting like you can change things that you can't.

    I did a lot of therapy before I worked out the underlying issue was autism, plenty of which that was useful, but which failed to change some core issues that added up to the core issues of communication and processing issues of autism. Now I look for strategies around these, and I inform one or 2 trusted close others of what is helpful in relation to how I am. Choose these with care!
     
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  6. MayBerry

    MayBerry Active Member

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    Ah, the bane of my existence! People trying to be helpful, going "if you set your mind to it, you can do it!" My favorite was when I needed my doctor's statement on an application for transportation benefits. Under the question "how far can the patient go?" he wrote "as far as she wants." Yep, I had change doctors before I could send in the application.

    I've also been labeled as difficult because I've refused to take part in some programs that I couldn't handle, and when exposure therapy didn't help. I had a year of exposure therapy, and all it did was cause me massive burnout during and after. It ended because the psychiatric nurse got mad at me for not making progress in all that time, so I never got a replacement after she gave up.
     
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  7. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It has never worked for me, especially when I attempted to work on exposure to loud sounds. It's like a shock to your system, more shock, recovery, more shock, recovery. All I wanted to do is run away. If anything it made me more anxious about the things I was attempting to do. It's kind of brutal.
     
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  8. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Actually my watchword is 'Run away! '. I think that type of therapy is very much contraindicated for people with autism. We often can use our thinking and understanding to help ourselves though.
     
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  9. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

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    Exposure therapy is nonsense. Aspies don't have a choice about being exposed. We are exposed everyday when we go to school or work. It is like putting things on a shelf out of reach of a short person and expecting them to get taller by reaching for what is out of reach. Get the guy a %$#@! footstool and you might help with the problem.
     
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  10. zozie

    zozie Well-Known Member

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    I'm one of those people who is sensitive to moods but does not have an intuitive context. Without context, I "fill in the blank" with myself, thereby misreading the mood as personally directed at me. This goes for both negative and positive moods, meaning I've misunderstood someone to be angry at me when they aren't, but I've also misunderstood someone to be attracted to me when they aren't.

    Both situations have led to extremely awkward conversations and a lot of me convinced I was either psychic or crazy, or both .

    Sometimes I go along without much trouble and think, "Oh hey, I must not be autistic because I have not had a meltdown in a while." (I'm still on the list for evaluation)

    And then something will happen like last weekend, where my supervisor asked me to answer a question and apparently I answered "with more detail than anyone who has ever been asked that question" for as long as the supervisor had been there (a year). It was like 10 seconds, I don't understand. I wasn't even trying. I almost said as much, but historically, saying "I wasn't even trying" hasn't gone down well.

    This same supervisor asked me about my goals to go into medical social work. I told him a brief backstory, and at the end, he said, "Wow, you really didn't have to tell me all that," and I had no idea I was oversharing. And maybe it wasn't oversharing. Maybe it was just normal sharing to the wrong person. The point is, the context escapes me. That's part of what is attractive about being in a counseling position. There's a lot of context built into the practice.

    But I can pick up on their emotions like crazy. Does this mean I am good at reading people? Dunno...
     
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  11. musicalman

    musicalman Well-Known Member

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    Haven't read all the posts on this thread yet but thought I'd chime in while I had the impulse to write this down :)

    It's kinda hard for me to decide if I'm good at reading people or not. I am a blind person and thus am not able to do much with facial expressions. I'm quite sensitive to tone of voice, but some people are naturally just inflected/loud/gruff, which makes it difficult to read them, but I imagine sighted people perceive this visually just as much as I hear it.

    This sounds like me to a point. I'm mildly avoidint and dependent personality myself. But I grew up in a family/environment where attempting to make a label like Avoidint Personality disorder or the like was in a way seen as an excuse.

    I'm good at masking for short periods, I'm good at acting extrovert and for lack of a better word, normal. In fact, only 3 or 4 people out of the hundreds I have known have ever suspected I might possibly have Aspergers. The rest, including a therapist I was seeing for a time, not only dismissed it outright, but told me I was making excuses for my problems by trying to self-diagnose.

    I guess my most sharply tuned aspect of reading people is knowing expectations. I can, most of the time, feel out a situation or interact with one person or a group of people and work out the vibe, just by listening to the words they say and gaging the interest and commitment. Part of this comes from past experience with different situations and an intellectual disposition, and part of it comes from a combination of fear that I'll say/do the wrong thing.

    It's all too easy though for me to turn this healthy understanding of expectations into an unhealthy tub of negative emotions. There are days when I feel like my opinions mean nothing, because almost everyone in the world knows more, is more well-rounded, or is just better equipped to handle life than I am. There are days when even the consolation of a good friend only helps so much, because I feel like I'm only seeking that consolation because I can't stand the truth of my own inadequacy any longer. When it gets bad enough, I want to be completely alone, with nobody to bother me and no standards to worry about. Having a dependent personality though means I wouldn't survive like that, even if I sincerely wanted to, which I don't.

    Actually when I started writing this post, I was going to make it short and simple, maybe stopping after the first 2-3 paragraphs, but the more I think about it, the more I realized that my avoident/dependent behavior is probably what drove me to develop the reading skills I do have. I wish that wasn't the case, but I think it is, and it looks like I'm not alone.
     
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  12. selena

    selena Well-Known Member

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    The answer is yes. In my attempts to be normal, I read so many books on communication/social skills and eventually noticed every subtle thing that people do (although maybe not when I'm the one talking to them) and am generally observant.

    I don't know if I could become a psychiatrist, I just know the few counselors/psychologists I ever saw in my life (no doubt NT) were so clueless about basic human behaviors they had no business having the job they had.
     
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  13. MayBerry

    MayBerry Active Member

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    That one's not on you, I can assure you. Even if you were oversharing, that's not okay behavior from his end. He was being an a-hole.

    I really appreciate a detailed reply, and I relate a lot to what you say. I have always had a strong interest for behavioral analysis and interactions, in humans as well as dogs. Before I dropped out of school due to my crippling social exhaustion/anxiety, I wanted to become a psychologist or a teacher.

    As a kid I was very confident, but when other girl started becoming interested in parties, boyfriends, drinking and all of that stuff, I felt inadequate. That's when my anxiety hit, and I started trying to blend in or disappear completely. Long hair to hide behind, the popular clothes that everyone had, listening to the music everyone listened to even though I couldn't care less. I was the girl in the back who spoke only when spoken to. Listening, watching, predicting, avoiding.

    The more I think about it, the more I realize how much time I spent analyzing people just so I could avoid bad situation or criticism.


    Yep, I've had several of those myself. I've been lucky enough to find some good ones too. Even though they couldn't figure out what was wrong exactly, they helped me accept who I am. The last one was so special that from the very first session I was able to have eye contact without forcing myself. I usually struggle with that even with good friends.
     
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  14. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    Sure. An autistic person could be good at this, not ANY autistic person but one with the right set of strengths.

    I bet they would still get into stupid little fights with their co-workers and supervisors, though.
     
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  15. zurb

    zurb Eschewer of Obfuscation

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    Absolutely!
    The better you can do this, the better you will be at masking. I’ve always maintained that aspies make good anthropologists because we’ve done it all our lives to survive.
    Also, it’s not uncommon to follow a profession to either learn about yourself, or help others with the same struggles you had.
     
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  16. _eri_bellehumeur

    _eri_bellehumeur Member

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    I think it is possible for people with aspergers to be highly adept in a way with reading others. This has been a question on my mind as well for the same reason. I am mostly very good at reading others, even more so than most, but this can become overwhelming, and there is a point where I shut down and everything outside of myself has to be tuned out. In elementary school I was extremely interested in psychology, and I read a lot of fiction, so behavioural analysis, language, and empathy became second nature. I think that reading people can be learned out of necessity and survival after experiences with bullies and abusive individuals as well.
     
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  17. MayBerry

    MayBerry Active Member

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    I just watched a youtube video of Tony Attwood talking about Aspergers in girls, and it checked all the boxes for me. It's as if he was talking about me. In a way, I guess he was!
     
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  18. 100skerls

    100skerls Just another skerl V.I.P Member

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    Hi Mayberry.

    I read your post days ago and forgot to respond. I wanted to say that I’m pretty good at understanding social dynamics and reading people. Not their faces necessarily but understanding what might cause the person to feel a specific way at a certain time. I have lots of moving parts in my head when interacting. I will tend to avoid interactions a bit because it takes a lot of focus which I’m not always in the mood for.
    I often know how to behave and respond and articulate back to someone how I think someone feels and why I think they feel that way. X+y=z. However I can sometimes struggle in responding to someone in real time in the right way especially if I’m predicting that they are upset with me, or they seem sad and we aren’t close. Probably because in those situations you need to be very genuine. I can feel for anyone genuinely but I can only interact completely genuinely to a select few. It would be very uncomfortable for me to apologize to my stepdad for instance or to comfort my nextdoor neighbor who is sad. Hope this makes sense. Even interactions and social skills can be highly Technical in my opinion. It’s just a matter of analyzing situations and thinking critically. Like a real time puzzle.
     
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  19. MayBerry

    MayBerry Active Member

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    Yes! This is how I feel! I find myself analyzing people and stories while they talk, and it's interesting. Really, really interesting.

    A good friend from a much more polite and expressive culture than mine pointed out that I never ask questions. Not just stupid smalltalk questions, which I believe were designed to suck all the joy out of socializing, but in proper conversation as well. I want to figure it out myself!

    I do have one question, though. I'm not a native English speaker, and we don't have the equivalent of "Hi, what's up?" in my language. How do you respond to that?
     
  20. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝️

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    "What's up?" is a greeting.

    It is similar to the older
    • How are things going (with you)? <
    • How are you doing? <
    • How do you do?
    • ("Howdydo" & "Howdy" are shortened forms.)
    It is phrased like a question, to which everyone responds
    • "What's up?" "Not much. What's up with you...?"
    • "How are things going?" "Okay. How about you...?"
    • "How are you doing?" "Fine. How about you...?"
    No one expects a detailed report on your well-being. It is almost a rhetorical question. It serves as an acknowledgement of the other person. That is most clearly seen in "How do you do?" and "Howdy," which are seldom even answered anymore.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2020
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