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Featured What masking is second nature to you now?

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by Nervous Rex, May 17, 2019.

  1. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    I have a lot of T-shirts with geeky slogans or math references on them. Because of that, people like to tell me about other geeky shirts that they have or they saw.

    Someone did that to me today and I smiled and said, "Oh, that one sounds great!" After I walked away, I realized that I was doing it out of habit, and not because I was actually interested in the other shirt.

    I've been responding this way for a long time because I recognize that the other person is trying to relate to me and socialize, so I should reward their efforts. So I smile and act interested and try to make the other person feel like they've connected. It usually leads to more positive interactions in the future. (Look, fellow human! I, too, can socialize!)

    So, I just realized that I do this reflexively now, without thinking. I'm left wondering - is this real socializing, or is it just me getting good at faking it? To paraphrase Arthur C. Clarke, any sufficiently advanced masking is indistinguishable from socializing.

    But what masking have you done so much that it's second nature to you now?
     
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  2. tducey

    tducey Well-Known Member

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    Masking is something I never do that much anymore. People know that I have Autism and so be it. Last time I more or less masked was when I was in college but when I said I had Autism it wasn't a big deal to anyone.
     
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  3. inkfingers

    inkfingers 19 year old Aspie artist and Jesus follower

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    When someone asks how I'm doing, I automatically reply, "Good, how are you?" or something along those lines, even if I'm not doing well at all. I hate that this response has become habit, because I feel like I'm lying to people by saying I'm fine when I'm not. But its not like they want to hear that. I, too wonder if I am just socializing, or am good at masking. I never masked as a child, and for that reason I was probably considered to be odd or weird. I didn't care that people thought I was weird, though- I just went along with it. I only started "masking" around 13 years old, when my friend at church became interested in makeup and boys and other teenage things. I couldn't care less about that, but I tried to act interested because otherwise I would have no one to hang out with at church. Eventually we parted ways, but I was always cautious after that time and kept to myself.
     
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  4. Nauti

    Nauti Well-Known Member

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    I too, now do the "good how are you?" and I make an effort to do a little eye contact. I have done a lot of "fake smiling" over the years and it's second nature, much of the time. I reeeeeaaaallly limit my social time though. I am in group therapy once a week, I have one-on-one phone counselling, most weeks too, and have kids and a partner and that is really, just about more than, enough, as it is.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
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  5. tlc

    tlc The Mackinac Bridge and U.P. is my happy place.

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    I just have the habit of saying "I'm ok." Which is true, whether I'm great or just getting by. If by chance I'm in really bad shape I'll say so, but if I am I'll usually not even be around people to start with.
     
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  6. Aspychata

    Aspychata Applying for the here and now....

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    Truthfully, if you didn't wear these teeshirts, then people wouldn't connect with you. l sometimes make an effort to connect, because people aren't expecting it. I actually got a apartment and cool roommate by just talking to somebody at a store counter. Life is short random encounters, you aren't required to partake, you aren't required to be engaged, nobody will call you on it, and when you lay your head down for the final time in your life, nobody will know. So no guilt feelings needed l guess......
     
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  7. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member

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    Smiling and acting interested in others I encounter that act nice to me even if I don't feel happy or
    really interested.
    It's kind of an ego thing putting on the bling through expressions faked.
     
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  8. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    That's why I wear blank shirts most of the time!

    I do some of what was said already, like the awful greetings and such.
     
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  9. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I wouldn't communicate the way I do were it not for the learnt necessity to mask. Masking is constant, I think, in a neurotypical norms world. I wouldn't look at people's eyes, or answer comments, I would just hear the comment and think about it. For a coupla days. Then when I saw them again, I may have a comment or answer. I wouldn't talk to many people at all. I wouldn't greet people or respond to greetings.

    A lot of ritual and automatic communication seems pointless and I would assume the person knows we are already connected, if we are, and don't need to do meaningless exchanges. Or they would know we have no meaningful connection, if we don't, so also don't need to do this. It would be a different world without masking.

    I am constantly required to participate in meaningless exchanges. It's how the world is. And even then I don't do it well enough. Yaddy Yoda. Oops I meant Yaddy yada. Or,?
     
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  10. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    There's a London saying 'Bish,bash,bosh'

    Once,on a long drive across America, I saw a sign saying 'Bosh.'
    So I said 'bish bash bosh'
    I thought it would be funny if we saw signs saying each of the 3 words.

    100 miles later there was a sign saying 'Bash'
    So I said 'bish bash bosh'

    We arrived at the hotel,disappointed at only seeing 2 of the 3 words in signs.
    I turned on the TV. It was 'Franklin and Bish'
    So I said 'bish bash bosh'

    The game of bish bash,bosh bingo was complete.

    I still can't believe there was a TV program with Bish in the title.
    And the only day I saw it was the only day I played bish bash bosh bingo .
     
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  11. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Yaddy Yoda
     
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  12. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    I am a private language tutor and work with kids, and dealing with them, talking to them, explaining to them has become second nature in many respects, though one thing I find really, really hard is when they want to show me drawings or toys/games or things they have made, and I'm just not interested and can't make a good job of faking interest or enthusiasm. It feels fake, but I have to make an effort. I usually just say "great!" or something similar and change the subject.
     
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  13. shysnail

    shysnail Well-Known Member

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    This makes me laugh. This is how I feel about almost all my perfunctory socializing. I might as well just be a robot doing the things I've learnt other people expect from you, there's not an ounce of my actual self in it.

    I laugh at things that I'm meant to laugh at. I say, "That's terrible!" if someone wants me to say that something is terrible. I say I like and dislike things according to what the general consensus seems to be. I definitely haven't mastered everyday socializing in a way that's anything other than pure masking.
     
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  14. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I'm thinking maybe it's that I just let people talk and trying to appear as if I'm following what they're saying. Yesterday I was with my son and daughter in law - we had gone to eat. This is the son that I'm 99% certain he is also on the spectrum and he believes so, too. My daughter in law is a talker. So she was telling a story about work and going on and on. Finally my son interrupts and tells her she's all over the place and he can't listen when she does that. (I have a hard time with it, but will just let her go on). She apologized and stopped and I felt bad so I told her to go on, that I wanted to know what the kid found in the desk. She said what desk? I don't know who to feel bad for now when it's the three of us. I guess I involuntarily proved my son's point when I asked about the desk so I imagine it's not easy for her to be amongst 2 people on the spectrum - 1 refusing to listen any more and the other completely mixing up what she has said. But on the other hand, I know my son is not good at listening to her long winded multi-directional stories while I'm messing up trying to fix that. We make quite a threesome together. lol
     
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  15. Jojo_LB

    Jojo_LB Brilliant Enigma V.I.P Member

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    I have no clue anymore. Seriously. I don't even know what is masking and what is my "normal" because I'd been masking for three decades at this point and I haven't even fully figured out who I am and what I'd really be like if I didn't mask.

    I think being on stimulants has given me a glimpse into what I may be like if I lived my true "autentic" (I just made that word up right now, a mix of autistic and authentic lol) self. I mean, these traits have been here all my life, obviously, and I'd noticed them from time to time in the past, but having a really busy life, and also having ADHD, kind of hid those traits. I have noticed my rigidity with things again, like wanting things "just so," being unable to switch tasks, or transition in mood to suit the situation. I get really frustrated with it. I'm even more sensitive to stimuli than I already was. I've always been obsessive about my very few hobbies and interests, but the obsession has ramped up like 10 times lol which is really not good.. :eek:

    Just goes to show how much I had been masking, and/or how much was masked due to other conditions.
     
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  16. Aspychata

    Aspychata Applying for the here and now....

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    Good point, really, everyone else can be faking it too, that is something we forget. I like the" putting on the bling " remark. Even if it's fake bling, lol.
     
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  17. xudo

    xudo something

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    I do this all the time, except when the mask slips and I forget I'm supposed to ask them how they're doing. Acting like I care about small talk about other people's lives too.
     
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  18. SolarPoweredNightOwl

    SolarPoweredNightOwl Walking contradiction

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    Most of what we think of as socialization (ie small talk, certain scripts like "How are you?" "Good.") is just a show. NTs don't actually care about what they're saying--95% of what they're actually saying is unspoken, and entirely different from the words. It's partly acknowledgment that they want, and partly a sort of social "check" that you have to pass without setting off any flags. Sometimes they want to make certain shallow pretensions, such as superficial "caring" or presenting themselves as "cool". It's all ritualistic, sometimes feeling each other out, sometimes just posturing. As a general rule, people talk a lot but say very little... at least with their words.

    I also suspect that we on the spectrum don't usually mask as well as we think we do. There's simply too much invisible and unspoken stuff that we have to attempt to learn, study, and replicate without getting flagged. My solution has been to study psychology and study humans and their interactions, and try to figure out what drives everything. My socializing is partly masking in the traditional sense, and partly "translating" myself into NT--that is, figuring out how to present so that they can hopefully understand me. Since I have to translate their communications as well, mis-translation can happen on either end. But, it is more likely to pass the checks, because I'm being more authentic, and they flag insincerity very easily. (Which is pretty ironic given that most of their words are fake.)
     
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  19. Aspychata

    Aspychata Applying for the here and now....

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    l would like to add more: people present themselves in a status based way, their social economic standing; ie. job, marriage, education, wealth or lack of, IQ. These references sprinkle through their everyday conversations to see if you are "like them". Think sometimes standing back and looking at the bigger picture helps me decipher the best way to truly interact and find a common ground to communicate. Sometimes they want to hear l am like you, so that they feel we have mutual trust in the outcome of whatever the task is in front of us. In my case, lately l have been reassuring people, yes, this place will be best for your love one's to stay due to their age, l have the same vested interests in this older population as you do in your mother or father that you have placed in our care. Do l love or get along with my father or mother , nope but that is neither here nor there.
     
  20. Pinkie B

    Pinkie B Just Me

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    Hmmm...masking is how I came to the spectrum in the first place. I had always known that being around other people would exhaust me, and I have lived my life with this pervasive sense of never being able to let my guard down around others. I'm always afraid that if I relax and stop actively trying to make everybody feel properly attended to in a conversation or whatever that they will discover that I'm anti social or rude or selfish or weird or...

    So masking that has become habit for me? Well, I know that people don't like when you display negative affect around them, so I try to only socialize when I'm feeling energetic and I respond to things they tell me with a positive reaction whenever I can come up with one. I find that sometimes I will go out of my way to get excited about even little things (like a fancy dinner at a restaurant making me clap with enthusiasm) and perhaps some of that excitement becomes authentic, but it is definitely something that I do when in the presence of others, so I imagine it must be one of my learned behaviors.

    I also do that thing where I try to guess what people want me to say. Like when someone had a fight with a significant other, I've learned that they don't really want you to listen objectively or try to mediate. They just want you to say, "yeah, s/he's a dick!" but I am uncomfortable doing that so I try to say something that is similarly connecting like, "wow, that's pretty awful to experience" or something to that end. Similarly, when I'm upset and someone says something like that and my compulsion is to say, "no, they're not being a dick, they're just acting that was as a result of their inability to face their own problems and they're projecting them on me," instead I just remind myself that the other person is probably just trying to bond and offer comfort so I say "thank you" instead. Maybe this one is less automatic than some of my other tricks, but it's definitely a thing I have to consciously recognize and perform.
     
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