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Do you space-out when discussing detailed things in conversations?

Greatshield17

Claritas Prayer Group#9435
When you are in a conversation and you engage in social skills like eye-contact and facial expressions, do you space-out you are asking a question, answering a question, explaining something or the like?

What I mean is, when you are communicating something to another person, do you stop making an effort to engage in social skills and focus on the thing you are communicating in your mind? (by “spacing-out” I don’t mean you stop being in the conversation, I mean you just stop making eye-contact and the like)
 
I wouldn't call cessation of eye contact spacing out.

If I forgot what I was saying, that I would consider spacing out.
And I'd be likely to forget what I was thinking about and saying if
I had to make eye contact. It's much easier to keep on topic if
I don't have to look into a person's eyes.
 
I space out sometimes if I'm being lectured, watching a documentary, or discussing something.

I call it my broken imagination. All of a sudden, I'm thinking about something completely different, and then I have to say "I'm sorry, can you repeat yourself?"

I find it doesn't happen so much when I'm texting or reading something.
 
I can't really look anyone in the eye for more than a few mintues any time. Especially though if I trying to describe something complex or difficult.
 
I prefer to think of it as mental relaxation. It takes a great deal of focused effort to maintain what passes for normal eye contact (i.e. not staring too intently while presenting a somewhat normal affect). I don't do it often, but my eyes will wonder sometimes during a natural break in conversation. Sometimes it is not directed but through an auditory or visual distraction. I think of it as re-centering myself in the moment, something akin to stopping during a run to catch one's breath.

So no, I do not space out, but I drop my façade for short periods of time, staring over someone's shoulder or over their head.

However, let me end with this: I have had conversations with NTs where they spaced out mid sentence, so I do not think it is something isolated to those on the spectrum.
 
What I mean is, when you are communicating something to another person, do you stop making an effort to engage in social skills and focus on the thing you are communicating in your mind? (by “spacing-out” I don’t mean you stop being in the conversation, I mean you just stop making eye-contact and the like)
Yes, I do this.
I noticed that it becomes more and more obvious the more complex the topic of the conversation is, i. e. the more I have to focus on the topic, the less likely I am to apply all my learned social skills, such as making eye contact.

It doesn't only happen when I'm the one speaking; the same applies to me when listening to others. The more complex the topic is and the more difficult it is to follow the explanations or discussion, the more likely I only focus on what is said without making eye contact anymore.
As a result, it can look like I don't listen to people at times when I'm actually very much focusing on what they say and forget to show that I listen by making eye contact or looking at the person's face due to this focus.
And I'd be likely to forget what I was thinking about and saying if I had to make eye contact. It's much easier to keep on topic if I don't have to look into a person's eyes.
This is also a main reason for me to do this. It's easier for me to keep on topic and focus on the conversation if I don't have to look into a person's eyes.
 
@Greatshield17, I was thinking about this question some more. I think the following answer is better than my first.

I look anywhere but directly in others eyes (with the exception of my husband, son and mother). I look between the eyes, middle of the forehead, end of the nose mouth, etc. Or I do this thing where my mind can not see what I am lookingat. What I mean is my brain stops processing the visual information directly in front of me but I can see a wide view in my perifial vision. In a very real way the person I am talking to ceases to exist in my vision. Does that make sense? Is this what you mean by "spacing out"?
 
I don't think you mean "spacing out." You mean to stop being self-aware. Then you naturally do what you're comfortable doing. And I do that. I do stop making eye contact until I become self-aware again, and I fidget a lot until I become self-aware again.
 
Or I do this thing where my mind can not see what I am lookingat. What I mean is my brain stops processing the visual information directly in front of me but I can see a wide view in my perifial vision. In a very real way the person I am talking to ceases to exist in my vision. Does that make sense? Is this what you mean by "spacing out"?
Yes this does greatly resemble what I mean; what I mean is that I stop processing the situation in front of me and start contemplating what’s being discussed.
 
Yes. I'm a visual thinker and when I'm talking, I see the images in my mind's eye, and not the person I'm talking to. I can't process both at once. It's not possible to make eye contact or even look at the person and take them in when this happening. I either talk or look, but not both. That's one reason also why I often can't talk while driving.

I'm also easily distracted. Eye contact is uncomfortable and will distract me, as do other conversations going on in the room, or background sounds.
 
Yes this does greatly resemble what I mean; what I mean is that I stop processing the situation in front of me and start contemplating what’s being discussed.
I have often wondered if others can tell, do my eyes glaze over?

If I am mearly concentrating, looking for the right words or phrases, I simply look away. Most often I will look down, my entire head bent down.

But when I am overwhelmed thats when I stop prosessing visual information and my head is in a normal position.
 
I think I know what you mean and, yes, when I get into a topic I lose awareness of stuff around me and the topic and its details fill my consciousness. I stop seeing the "real" world around me and just "see" the topic.

However, others dont seem to become as aware of this effect as I do as I give alot of talks and lectures and have not received any feed back that I get "weird" (in their opinion).

one on one I pay attention so that I dont go on for too long - most people want small bites of info only. Also, I always have material with me so losing eye contact just seems like I am focusing on slides or whatever.
 
Yes. I do lectures all the time,...part of my job,...absolutely correct. Sometimes I have to pause for a moment and recognize I actually have students in front of me.:D
 
Interesting, I didn't realize this happens with visual thinkers. I am not a visual thinker and only have the problem of eye contact interfering with intense thinking. I would think your affect would be more in line with the "lost in thought" appearance and would not seem as odd than averted eye contact. I have learned the masking techniques of near eye contact and find that works fine.
 
As a very visual thinker, this does tend to happen to me. Sometimes I don't look at someone's eyes at all when I'm talking to them and they're ok with that so long as whatever I say sounds good enough. Though I do have something where I will know (somehow) what I say before I say it because my mind tends to plan some things I say as a few lines of text so I'll know how to get it across to them and I'll be looking at that instead of their face.
 
I generally think in pictures (many moving)
It takes some effort to construct the sentences that describe what I'm watching in my minds eye, at the same time as watching the sequence of events unfold up there.
I'd like the listener to see some of what I'm recalling, so we're 'on the same page' so to speak.

Processing feedback from the listener; such as in conversation,
paying attention to what I'm seeing/thinking & constructing the descriptive sentences don't always happen simultaneously.

I concentrate on certain parts more than others at any one time and have to pause my thinking to process listener feedback.

If I'm enthusiastic about a subject I can easily forget to pause my thinking and forget the rules of conversation.

It happens :)
 
I think it's hard to mask and stay present. So yes, if you're focusing on the conversation you might let some of your learned social habits slip.

Part of my job requires me to conduct investigations into sexual misconduct at the university at which I work. I'm usually pretty good at displaying empathy and active listening skills. A very important skill set for this type of work. However, I recall interviewing one witness and being very engaged in the conversation. Given the subject matter, it was emotionally intense. We had a good rapport throughout most of the interview but toward the end of the interview, my co-investigator and I noticed a marked change in her demeanor. She seemed very upset and close to tears. Later, she complained that I had been doodling while she was talking. She saw this as a sign that I wasn't paying attention to her. It was actually that I was paying very close attention to her words and had let my neurotypical mask slip. At that moment I didn't have enough cognitive energy to think critically about what she was saying and also remind myself to do things like continuing to make eye contact and not doodle.

I felt guilty about this but at the same time found it a bit frustrating because I was clearly showing engagement through my questions and responses.
 
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As a very visual thinker, this does tend to happen to me. Sometimes I don't look at someone's eyes at all when I'm talking to them and they're ok with that so long as whatever I say sounds good enough. Though I do have something where I will know (somehow) what I say before I say it because my mind tends to plan some things I say as a few lines of text so I'll know how to get it across to them and I'll be looking at that instead of their face.
Interesting, that also happens to me where I’ll respond, and something about the timing of the response seems a bit awkward. I never considered that it was this.
 
I definitely space out in conversations, especially small talk/gossip conversations with neurotypicals. I find most of small talk to irrelevant and thus the topics in my head are so much more amusing to me. I usually remember to maintain eye contact and I rely on scripts so that I don't have to ask my conversation partner to repeat themselves. I just don't have anything meaningful to say. Though when I know it's time to add something more than the standard head nods and "oh, that's ----" I will check in with a sentence, then I rearrange the sentence and repeat it back to them. All while I'm still entertaining the thoughts in my head.

It's amusing when I do talk "aspie" with neurotypicals because I see the same thing happen to them. Their eyes glaze over and they start looking around the environment for something to comment on and break up my monologue. Except, where I will at least pretend I'm listening, they outright tell me that they aren't. I've always considered that RUDE!
 
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