Tag Archives: friendship

Asperger’s: Help For Social Encounters.

Isn’t that video helpful for overcoming social anxiety?

You know, no matter how many successful social encounters I have, it seems the ones the Asperger’s ones that don’t go well are the ones that linger ghost-like in my mind, haunting me.

Recently I had an encounter where my aim was to convey care and concern for someone.  I totally missed the mark.

Instead of greeting that person in a pleasant way  to set them at ease, I began with the imperative  We have to talk!

Then, instead of asking how they were or how things were going for them, I launched into a prepared speech!

The target of my concern (and target is a most appropriate term) looked at me as if I were some alien being suddenly projected into the time and space slot before them.

Stunned and confused, possibly even hurt by my well-meaning verbal tackle, they said something abrupt and walked away.

Of course I immediately reviewed all the errors in my approach, feeling an absolute idiot. But then I remembered my advice to all of my fellow Aspies: have compassion for yourself.

I tried, but for the next few weeks, I shuddered each time I recalled the non-conversation.

However, I was redeemed.  When my birthday came along several weeks later, that same person left flowers on my door.  So I guess he got the message regardless of my delivery system.

Take heart, Aspies!  Sometimes our not-so-socially-correct way of communicating still manages to connect.

Yours truly,

Margaret Jean.

 

 

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Aspies Being Social–At Work and at Home

Social connections seem very complex and can be confusing for us Aspies.  I show this a lot in my book, Unforgiving, Memoir of an Asperger Teen.  

What we see as the truth in the moment is exactly what we tend to say.  This can lead to regrets later when we have additional information or have had a chance to rethink our position.

And one bad experience can cause us to generalize in a negative way about similar situations in the future.  We tend to withdraw.  We are after all, far more comfortable in our own little world.  Why would we even bother to venture out?

Because, Aspies, our mental, emotional and physical health is greatly improved when we’re positively connected to other human beings.  When we have people, even just one person, that we can call a friend.  When we have a co-worker who is happy to see us arrive at work.

How do we manage that?  How do we cross that vast and terrifying chasm of not knowing how and get to the land of Oh, I get it!?

Fortunately for us, there are many books and videos on the subject.  Here are two that I have recently discovered:

The first is titled The Unwritten Rules of Friendship  and is written by two professionals, Natalie Madorsky Elman and Eileen Kennedy-Moore.  The book contains very straight forward information and how-to’s.  It’s extremely practical and easy to read.

To give you an example of the contents?  There is a section on distinguishing between sincere and insincere compliments.  Very handy for Aspies.

The second book deals with workplace situations, offering all kinds of cut and dried advice.

In her book I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This, Kate White, a former Cosmo editor-in-chief, not only gives examples of difficult office situations but tells explicitly how best to phrase responses.

While this book is written for women in the magazine industry, the advice applies to most workplace situations, to men as well as women.

White covers every aspect of the workplace including how to ace an interview.

Obviously neither of these books was written specifically for Aspies, but they are great aids for us nonetheless.  I found Unwritten Rules of Friendship in a thrift shop but it was published in 2008, so it should still be available at your local library, and I checked and it is on Google books. Or you can download the ebook at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWZvvhRMlmI

Yours truly,

Margaret Jean.

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For Adults with Asperger’s: Overcoming Obstacles to Getting That Job…

Famous people with Asperger’s give us hope….

80% of grown-ups with Aspergers do not have full-time jobs.

This alarming statistic comes from the webpage, “My Asperger’s Child”.  In a recent article, the authors maintain the reason behind this statistic is not the lack of education or intelligence, but the lack of social skills which would allow employees with Asperger’s to perform their tasks in a “socially acceptable” manner.

“Countless studies show individuals would rather have pleasant and personable co-workers than a co-worker who is always right,” the authors point out.

They conclude that people with Aspergers must compensate for their lack of social competence by “making themselves so good in a specialized field that individuals will be willing to “buy” their skill even though social skills are poor”.

They go on to state that Aspies “need to learn a few social survival skills,” but situating themselves in work groups that are highly specialized is what these authors see as the real solution.  In their minds, Aspies would have more access to social relationships involving work colleagues because of very specific work-related interests.

While I do consider this good advice, I also maintain that working hard at learning social skills is equally important.  There are so many books, videos and online lectures on the subject…Let us do our best in both arenas.

Yours truly,

Margaret Jean.

Read more at: http://www.myaspergerschild.com/2010/10/best-and-worst-jobs-for-aspergers.html
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The How-To Behind Friendship (Not Just For Aspies!)

Making friends and keeping friends: Research confirms these are two areas that seem to seriously challenge children with Asperger’s.

 So says Anna Matchneva, a lecturer and one-on-one counsellor who works closely with children on the autism spectrum and their parents.

Rejected:  This is a category of children Anna often sees.  She is not referring to parental neglect, but to the playground or social setting.

The rejected child is one who tries to join a group but is denied access.

Mostly we will never know why some people choose not to be friends with us.  But totally there are things we can do differently.

For instance, we might approach a group and start talking about whatever is on our mind when really?  We need to listen.  Try to pick up on what the others are saying.  Take a little time to formulate a brief remark in line with their conversation.  Don’t try to work in your current interest.  Stick to their conversation.

But hey, that’s easy to learn, right?  Just take a little time before speaking.  Listen.  Try to understand what they’re talking about.  Not just what they’re saying, but what they mean.

 We Aspies get a little starved for attention sometimes and that can make us talk too much, too loud, too soon.  But it’s easy enough to get over those habits.

I know myself, I have to be careful not to dive hell bent for leather into a topic, completely overwhelming and boring the people who were kind enough to invite me into the group.

And anyway, not every group wants another member.  They may be having a private conversation.  They may believe they have nothing in common with you, and therefore, not see any point in trying to make friends.  Maybe they are happy just as they are.  Then you need to find someone else to talk with.

Remember, your focus can be a very good thing, even if others don’t want to share in it.  It’s similar to the single-mindedness that made Taylor Swift a star and Bill Gates a computer mogul.

Try to listen first.  Take a minute or two to find out what the group and the conversation is about.  And when you do speak, smile, keep a neutral tone, and above all, be brief!

And please note–Aspies aren’t the only people in the world who have trouble making and keeping friends.  Lots of people do!

Yours truly,

Margaret Jean

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Have You Gone Up To The Roof Yet?

Sometimes life is tough. That's when friends are most needed.

Sometimes we get stuck in life.  Emotionally crippled by job loss, divorce, loss of a loved one, or financial problems.  Or even worse, being brutally victimized.

Or perhaps you know someone right now who is suffering the after effects of any one or maybe more than one of the above.  Your friend seems stuck, unable to deal appropriately with their circumstance, unable to pick up the pieces of their lives and move on.

I’d like to revisit the story of the man whose friends carried him to Jesus on a mat.  He was paralyzed and so incapable of going there by himself.  When they got to where Jesus was speaking, they couldn’t get in.  Couldn’t even get near the door.  They stood on the outer edges of the impassable crowds with their friend on a mat between them. 

Did they give up?  Did they make excuses and go home?  No, they stopped and thought about how they could accomplish their mission.  And the answer came to them:  they climbed up on the roof, dug a hole and lowered their friend down to Jesus.

See, when nothing seems to be working, nothing seems to be going right, that’s when our friendship is especially important.  The very moment when we are most tempted to give in is the exact moment we need to step up, to take our efforts and our friendship a level higher.  

That point of being stuck is often where we find the most creative and effective  measures.  It’s when we are most tempted to walk away, to say there is nothing more I can do, that we most need to stick it out, and be supportive. 

So when you’re tempted to walk away, to say “I’ve done everything I could,” just ask yourself this:  Have you gone up to the roof yet?

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