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Failing to read between the lines?

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Wireless, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. Wireless

    Wireless Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    I understand what the idiom means, but please could you give me some examples?

    Sometimes I think this might happen to me, or I might just be slow and stupid, so I would be grateful to know of other's experiences of it.

    Last night I was going to help out at a youth group. The adults work in pairs to lead groups. I was told on the way there that my partner wasn't going to be able to come that night. The unspoken implication was that I would have to lead the group alone. The truth of this didn't sink in until I started setting up as I usually do, about 10 minutes later. Thankfully, I don't mind leading groups alone so I was able to adapt.

    Had I failed to read between the lines or am I just slow? Incidents like this seem to happen to me fairly often and it's frustrating.

    Thank you.
     
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  2. WereBear

    WereBear License to Weird V.I.P Member

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    I totally understand.

    It's like the rest of the world never finishes their sentences! Just flippin' TELL ME. Why is that so difficult?
     
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  3. Guppyfry

    Guppyfry Well-Known Member

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    I still remember examining a document closely, holding it up to the light at different angles, etc, trying to 'read between the lines', as someone told me to.

    It took a few minutes for me to conclude that reading between the lines was an expression, and not something to take literally as there was no message hidden between the printed lines. I was, actually, a bit disappointed.

    As for catching on to idioms and other types of expressions, I think it will come with time and experience. English is my 3rd language, and I find it a language of expressions - rich in meaning, but never direct.
     
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  4. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    That's the one saving grace of my education. Getting a degree in political science formally taught me just that- to "read in between the lines".

    -To examine data and extract a conclusion that was not at all evident on face value alone.

    It's a skill that has served me well in certain capacities. But one not normally executed in real-time, either. Though it's likely not something that comes easy to most anyone on the spectrum as well. But then like everything else I have learned to a level of some proficiency, it usually came at the price of mental and emotional struggle.

    Which in hindsight makes me wonder if I also have other comorbid conditions never diagnosed, such as an attention deficit disorder. Though while I cannot process things like sarcasm directed towards myself, or envy or jealousy, I can process things like idioms and irony. But I realize in the case of neurodiversity that none of us are "created equal" in terms of traits and behaviors and the degree in which they can be manifested.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
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  5. Katherine Rawstron

    Katherine Rawstron Colourfreak

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    No, you're not stupid, it's just part of your condition. I am able to read between lines myself, but how much of that is learned is hard to say. I'm one of those people who overthink things, so maybe I'm not as good at it as I think I am! I do notice things other people miss though.
    I usually get jokes, sarcasm, irony etc, although I did miss a pun somebody I know who's colourblind made, when he said it's all green (Greek) to him - I got the joke 10 minutes later! That is unusual for me though, and it was because I was too focussed on what I'd learned about the condition only recently.
     
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  6. zurb

    zurb Eschewer of Obfuscation

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    People should just say what they mean.
    It took me nearly a day to work out and confirm that "I'll see you when you get back" meant "Evacuate".
    Took me significantly longer to realise a colleague's "I taught my students this" actually meant "You need to do this".
    Same person asked me to review a lesson he was to present. Maybe a year later I realised it was meant to be MY lesson - and I hadn't done the 'homework'.
    One problem with trying to read between the lines is that sometimes we can see too many interpretations (or at least a wrong one). How does one pick the right interpretation if they didn't say.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
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  7. garnetflower13

    garnetflower13 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I can relate! I was once experimenting with a new cuisine, and my next door neighbor had come over to use my phone because she hadn't gotten one yet. When she smelled all the delicious aromas, she kept profusely commenting on how good everything smelled, and I kept agreeing with her. Finally she laughed and said that she had been dropping hint after hint, and wanted to stay for supper! I felt very foolish but invited her to stay. :blush: In this case, I could see that it might be considered rude to invite oneself to supper, but on the other hand, I would never have thought of it unless she said something direct!
     
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  8. dragonwolf

    dragonwolf Well-Known Member

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    In both of these, this sounds like passive communication. It's related to being able to read between the lines, but not quite the same.

    Passive communication is the behavior of the speaker, whereas reading between the lines is the listener. Passive communication seems to stem from the reluctance to say things outright, so they obscure their meaning.

    It's not a deliberate thing. Most people don't even realize they do it, especially if they do it a lot.

    One thing I've started doing is if I pick up that someone is speaking passively (which I don't always get), I will state that I'm a direct communicator and cannot and will not make assumptions. If they need or want something, they need to be direct.
     
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  9. Aidan49

    Aidan49 Well-Known Member

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    I can read between the lines. Only problem is that it happens about a few days later!