1. Welcome to Autism Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

Featured Eye contact between aspies: does it feel different?

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by AHClemist, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. AHClemist

    AHClemist noble gas

    Messages:
    59
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2019
    Karma:
    +133
    I want to pose this question separately from the general eye contact post in the other thread. I'm very curious what you guys think.

    Because I absolutely loathe confrontation, I am generally almost hyperaware of the people around me. I get overwhelmed by the emotions of others very easily, especially if they are directed at me. Eye contact is a big part in this, though bodylanguage is as well. I have noticed that when I meet other aspies, the eye contact feels less intense. Their whole persona is a lot more quiet than what I get from neurotypicals. I am much less anxious around them. Interestingly, this amost works as a sort of aspie-sense.

    I know that much like sensitivities in general, aspies can be very empathic. Has anyone experienced something like this?
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  2. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝️

    Messages:
    4,290
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Karma:
    +6,166
    I have seen this more so with ASD1s, "the gifted," many professionals & certain types of churches. If an ASD1.x+ has strongly negative co-morbid conditions, it is just as bad as negative NTs. By "negative," I mean persistent anger, sadness, depression, etc. Those features in a person who is normally upbeat, aren't as distressing (to me).

    (My action doll collection does not include said negative expressions, either.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  3. Shamar

    Shamar Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    479
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2018
    Karma:
    +1,313
    Eye contact is not a big problem here on the forums. I know only one Aspie in the real world, and I am not sure if we have ever made eye contact. Usually, my eyes are bouncing around like a pair of hysterical ping pong balls.
     
    • Funny Funny x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
  4. Kalinychta

    Kalinychta Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,189
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2019
    Karma:
    +2,358
    Do you mean that eye contact is less intense when you interact with someone you already know is autistic? Or is it less intense even before you know that the person is autistic? Being around other autistic people, people who you know are autistic, probably just makes you feel more comfortable, accepted, and understood and, as such, eye contact becomes less stressful/intense.

    I posted a thread a week or so ago about hyper-empathy in autistic people. You should check it out. I have been deeply empathetic my entire life. Seeing someone in pain, especially emotional pain, hurts me so terribly. It can take me days or even weeks to recover sometimes. I’ve also always loved animals so much my entire life and am intensely affected by injustice. This is a common autistic trait. Not everyone is like this but many are. It was a question I was specifically asked when I was diagnosed.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  5. AHClemist

    AHClemist noble gas

    Messages:
    59
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2019
    Karma:
    +133
    I can identify with what you said. I also just read about "referred emotion" in an old thread. Not sure if I can find it again, otherwhise I would give credit to whoever postet it there, and I will definitely check out your thread.

    About the animals: I love animals. Funny enough they were the ones who taught me to read body language. Horses and dogs, mostly. Same as you, I find injustice horrible, especially if it happens to an animal. After all, there is no way it was their fault and most of the time, they can't even understand what they did wrong. They were just following their human's instruction.

    As for the original eye contact question: I think a big part of it is that with people I later find out are aspies, I feel like I'm looking into a mirror. They somehow feel like they are on the same frequency. It's the "oh! you're kind of like me!" reaction before I officially find out they're aspies as well. It might be that I'm aware of my own characteristics and more easily see them in others. These are also the people who I find to be more emotionally quiet when I meet them and where the eye contact feels less intense. Feeling more accepted is definitely a part of it.

    I'm not saying this always works, it's just something I have noticed.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. Shenandoah

    Shenandoah Active Member

    Messages:
    93
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2019
    Karma:
    +133
    My son is said not to keep eye contact either. First time a teacher said about him I was really surprised, but then realized that, well, if I don't look him in the eye how the heck would I know where he looks? Even if he tried, I'd make sure there's no eye contact :D As far as I am concerned he is not different in that respect from a Joe the NT living next door.
    (My son is not an aspie though).

    I very much doubt that this has to do with who is on the other end, but rather how my brain processes sensory info. I have enough perceptual abnormalities when it comes to my vision to make the whole trauma/judgement/shyness hypothesis seem unlikely. In mu case anyways.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
    • Like Like x 2
  7. Bolletje

    Bolletje Overly complicated potato V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    4,157
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2017
    Karma:
    +11,184
    I taught myself to make eye contact and now it doesn't matter who I have eye contact with. The only people that make me uncomfortable are people that keep looking me in the eye constantly.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. luna88

    luna88 daydreamer

    Messages:
    44
    Joined:
    May 8, 2019
    Karma:
    +62

    I've been thinking about this lately as well so I appreciate your post! Eye contact is very intense for me. I do know that I'm very empathetic as well. I've been thinking about interactions in terms of projection lately, because neurotypicals tend to project their emotions all over me which is overwhelming and I was wondering if it's because I'm so empathetic.. maybe I somehow trigger people to subconsciously dump their emotions onto me?? It's been a recurring pattern in my life so I've been analyzing it and trying to figure it out.

    To answer your question about aspie eyes, I feel like I've noticed a sensitivity in the eyes of an aspie that's different. A gentle vulnerability. For me what I notice first is just the feeling of being on the same wavelength as the other person, and I can stay with it, it doesn't feel uncomfortable. With neurotypicals, everything about them feels way too aggressive and intense and I have the urge to flee usually which leads to some awkward social interactions and misunderstandings.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    3,725
    Joined:
    May 22, 2017
    Karma:
    +6,802
    Ditto!
    Feel the same.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  10. onlything

    onlything Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    1,468
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2017
    Karma:
    +3,041
    That's an interesting thing to wonder about. As your son is an NT, as you said, does it mean that his lack of eye contact comes from the home environment (where he observed you and learnt not to make it) or does it come from his own nature? My brother never seemed to have a problem with that.

    For me, it was always the amount of information in the human eyes (and only human, there is this kind of sharpness in them), as well as the fact that if you look someone in the eye, almost immediately they look into yours as well - and suddenly you are seen and judged. When I was younger I heard that dogs perceive eye contact as a challenge and now I had to wonder if I subconsciously tried to avoid confrontation.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  11. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    4,638
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    Karma:
    +7,907
    Although my 'adopted" mom has been told she is a neurotypical, it is quite evident to both of us, that she is not and we skype each other and I have no trouble making eye contact with her. But, that is because she is fully accepting of me and the same with my only good friend.

    I tend to have trouble with eye contact, when I feel inferior to someone or they just make me feel uncomfortable.

    Also, I find that if I need to hear what is being said, or need to get across something, I cannot make eye contact; it destroys my thinking process.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Shenandoah

    Shenandoah Active Member

    Messages:
    93
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2019
    Karma:
    +133
    I wasn't clear, sorry. My son is not NT, he has a lowish grade NVLD and pretty significant ADHD.


     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  13. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Messages:
    2,183
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2016
    Karma:
    +4,193
    I find eye contact is the same with everyone.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Shenandoah

    Shenandoah Active Member

    Messages:
    93
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2019
    Karma:
    +133
    Yeah the "sharpness" gets me usually. There's a lot of info that I detect but can't quite make sense of. Almost but not quite. A parallel I can draw is my relationship with sound. Sometimes I feel more comfortable limiting ambient noises. When it gets too hard I use heavy headphones to muffle it.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  15. AHClemist

    AHClemist noble gas

    Messages:
    59
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2019
    Karma:
    +133
    That gentle vulnerability is exactly what I mean. I have recently had a very strange situation in the group my new boss (scientist) leads. While he may be the leader in name and title, he doesn't feel like it and it made for a very strange atmosphere in that group. He has two people he trusts and will spend most of his time working with while the others feel very separate. He is definitely an aspie which I did not notice over skype, only when I met him in person, which is interesting. All this being said, he is an amazing person and I'm very happy to be working for him.

    What onlything said about humans having a sharpness in their eyes is something I find as well. It's something I used to shink away from because it does feel like dominance. I've taught myself to project this sharpness myself (staring contests with myself in the mirror and some cosplay photography) and it's helped me to take control of group environments and tune the interactions to my liking.
    Still, I have a much easier time forming connections with animals. While I only see my parent's dog once or twice a year, I'm the only one she will choose to snuggle up to when she lays down. And while eye contact in dogs is a sign of dominance, I can often look at them and when they look back there is a second of some sort of understanding between us. The same goes for horses.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  16. AHClemist

    AHClemist noble gas

    Messages:
    59
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2019
    Karma:
    +133
    Actually, especially horses. Whenever my anxiety gets the better of me I only need to walk by one of the carriage horses in the park and I will calm down. They have such an amazing gentle presence. Too bad I have neither the time nor the money to be around them much at the moment. It's on my list of things is most definitely need to get back to.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Bronzelincolns

    Bronzelincolns Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    331
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2018
    Karma:
    +440
    nope, all the same for me.

    feels like i'm looking into the sun.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

    Messages:
    5,271
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2019
    Karma:
    +10,037
    I see little need for eye contact, if l don't know you, it feels like an intrusion. Is this correct, probably not. So l will stare in your general direction but not really focus as l super-focus on what you are or aren't saying and what l need to say back to you to give this social interaction a thumbs up. Like yes, l hit a home run and made one point, like a computer game. Otherwise l have zero motivation to interface with you because that's who l am. l get it that people aren't involved in chat chat, but it's not going away with NT who generally are the people l work with. So it's a truce,l really don't have a grand desire to talk to you, it pains me to an extent, however to not be declared as suckbass weird, l do interface like a computer, data in, data out. This is masking l guess. I am better at it. And people do rely on me in extreme diffcult situtations because l can turn to logic. But it involves little eye contact.

    But another Aspie person feels safe, they don't care if l look or don't look, we have our own rhythm and eye contact isn't on the priority list l believe. Is it more polite staring? lol
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2019
  19. inkfingers

    inkfingers 21 year old artist

    Messages:
    271
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2018
    Karma:
    +586
    I just know that making eye contact with close family members (my brother for instance) is a lot easier than making eye contact with, per say, a class mate. Sometimes I can make eye contact, and sometimes I can't. It really just depends on how my day is going, I guess... As for making eye contact with other autistic people, I can't really say much on that. I've only talked to three people that I either know are autistic or I strongly suspect are on the spectrum, and neither of us made much eye contact (that I can remember).
     
  20. Anonymous

    Anonymous Equestrian Aspie

    Messages:
    47
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2017
    Karma:
    +41
    there is another aspie in my classes in school, although we are complete opposites. I am extremely introverted, and she is outgoing, and self-advocating, which I may never be able to do. I can take eye contact from her a lot easier than our peers, teachers, or parents. her eye contact is calming, but everyone else is too "sharp" for me. I feel animals are even easier to look into though, as I can initiate eye contact with my horses. I've met several other aspies, but some are easier than others. I can't handle eye contact with all of them.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1