Tag Archives: Aspeger’s social skills conversation

Reflecting Upon Our Social Interactions

Omigosh, was I really that unaware?

Recently we had lunch with some new friends. The hanging baskets cascaded their vivid blooms, the food and wine were perfect and the conversation flowed.

But the next day, reviewing one aspect of the conversation, I realized I had been guilty of that intense self-immersion we Aspies often experience.

At one point the conversation centred on an author I had recently met and whom my guest had recently heard interviewed on CBC Radio.  I waxed eloquent on my favourable estimation of this writer.  I elaborated on how we had come to know him and how respectful and talented we found him to be.

But not once did I ask our guest what impression he may have formed from hearing the author interviewed!!

Not only did I fail to learn more about our guest from his impressions, but I also lost the opportunity to later pass on feedback regarding the interview to our gifted friend.

And again it struck me that we all need to be aware of how we come across in social interactions with others.

Clearly social encounters present a learning platform for us.

Reviewing our most recent social encounters, reflecting upon how they went, upon both the positive and the negative, is a powerful exercise.

But it must be done without judgement, of ourselves or of others.

For me, a positive reflection of my interaction with others is simply an objective review of a conversation.  Where might I have been more thoughtful or encouraging of the other person?  Where might I have asked for clarification?

The key is to be kind to myself as I reflect.  To counsel myself as I would someone younger who has come to me for help.

When you reflect, love that you are learning, baby step by baby step, even as you make mistakes, perhaps even real blunders.  And then look for a way to move forward.

For instance, we have made plans to see these folks again, and when we do, you can be sure I will make a point of asking our friend about his impression of the interview.  He may not recall as much now, but I think he will be pleased that I remember our previous conversation and am interested in his point of view.

Everyone likes to have their thoughts, and especially their opinions acknowledged, and it is both polite and compassionate to be courteous to others when they address us.

My partner once received a card from a colleague who wrote, “You are the only person I have ever known who, when you ask me how I am, wait patiently for an answer.”

Whether it’s someone’s passing greeting in the hallway, or opening remark in the office lunchroom, or conversation over a meal, it is respectful to listen and to consider their words, rather than just thinking of what we want to say next.

Maybe sometimes we really just don’t care!

Here’s the thing: the first step in having others care about us, is caring about the collective others out there.

We must never stop attempting to make real, honest conversational forays. Yes, we are entitled to be selective in our conversational partners, but not exclusive.

Honest and frequent self-evaluation can help us to breeze through social encounters.

Try it!  A whole new world of social ease will present itself.

Margaret Jean

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Speak To Me, Aspie. Or Not. Conversational Skills For Asperger Me.

One telling symptom of Asperger’s that most professionals agree on is the conversational habit of interrupting and overtalking.

For most  Asperger’s types, especially early on, ages three and up, the opportunity for social exchange is really limited.  But our brains are going all the time.

This results in a ton of thoughts and ideas bottled up inside of us.  Ideas we firmly believe are worth sharing!

We feel starved for verbal connection.  And the moment someone opens up that opportunity for us to be verbal , facts and observations totally unrelated to the topic of conversation can spew violently out, one thought immediately overtaking the last.

This feels rude and frightening to the person who has unwittingly engaged us.  When they try to bring us back around to the topic, we tend to talk over them or interrupt.

The other person’s comfort level is now in alarm state.  They feel an urgent need to escape our presence.

I have learned that self control is a major factor in making and keeping friends.

To have a real conversation, one in which others will gladly participate, I find these simple rules can be helpful:

1. Give others time to speak.

2. Concentrate on listening to them.  Be truly engaged with what they are saying and feeling.

3. Verbally respond in a positive way to what they have said.

4. Do not simply wait impatiently until they stop talking so you can start.

Learning to listen is a powerful aspect of conversing.  Really hearing and understanding what the other person is saying and responding appropriately  is the bridge that connects us to the rest of the human race; to our parents, our siblings, the people we want to have for friends, and our whole community.

And guess what?  Aspies aren’t the only ones who need to learn the art of conversation!

Yours truly,

Margaret Jean

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