This is a departure from the rest of the series. I have been writing this primarily to assist Neurotypicals in understanding their Aspies. In this part, I will be imparting some of the myriad social rules that we are inundated with throughout our lives. These will seem nonsensical to most NTs, but I assure you these make sense to Aspies.
These are in no specific order, but they are all (and I mean ALL) appropriate and have bearing on my life. I have shared them with some Aspies in the past, and every one has agreed that these are important.
|Talk about Fight Club again
and I’ll wash your mouth
out with soap!
There is no small amount of humor in this list… But that is part of why these are so important.
1) We do not talk about fight club.
2) No… Seriously… We DO NOT talk about Fight Club. This is both humor and a rule of my friends. We do not talk about Fight Club, Memento, the philosophy of the Matrix movies or the movie Oscar.
3) There is no rule number 3.
4) Don’t touch strangers. The police frown on this.
5) If someone asks you for their positive qualities, “Useful” is not an acceptable answer. I am REALLY not sure why, but I assure you… It is unacceptable.
6) Blink. Hyperfocus makes the NTs around you nervous. It has been explained to me that normal people blink in accordance to their thought patterns, not when their eyes need it.
7) Dancing in public is only acceptable when everyone else is doing it.
8) Finish the sentences you start… corollary: Start sentences you finish.
9) When people ask “What did you do this weekend?”, they really don’t want to know. This, according to my pet NTs… is called being polite. The only proper answer is “Fine.”
|I don’t have an inside voice.
10) Ask before you pet someone else’s dog. You may be gifted with the ability to relate to animals exceptionally well, but they don’t know that. Corollary: do not discipline someone else’s pet.
11) Inside voice means don’t yell… I used to think that it was my inside voice because I was inside… so… no yelling… No matter how excited you are. Corollary: it is not acceptable to yell just because we are outside. Corollary to the Corollary: this is not a request to spout your inner monologue.
12) If you dislike someone, and someone else asks, answering “I hate them,” evidently, is unacceptable. I really don’t know why… This seems to be an NT trait – to ask a question that they don’t want the answer to. They will ask this in hopes you will confirm what they think or feel about the person. Personally, I say, “I would not spend time with them.”
13) If someone tells you “It is art.”, and then asks for an opinion, the only appropriate response is to nod appreciatively. As with number 12… it is evidently (I have been assured) considered rude and insulting to give the NTs an honest critique of the work.
|Think! Think! Think!
14) Don’t pace around NTs… even though you are just thinking…it makes them nervous. As near as I can tell, they view pacing as a form of aggression.
15) Grammar Nazis are not welcome, except on a forum on grammar. Corollary: Learn to spell; learn to use your spell check; learn to use proper grammar… Beat them at their own game. Corollary to the Corollary: Don’t Grammar Nazi others (THAT IS A VERB IF I SAY IT IS)… and when Grammar Nazi’d… ignore it…
16) Don’t talk about friends unless everyone in the conversation knows them. This just confuses the NTs around you. I know with the egocentricity we are capable of, it can seem that EVERYONE knows everyone we know… but I promise you… it is just not true.
17) Wear a coat in winter, even if you aren’t cold. I don’t get this one either… but it makes NTs uncomfortable…
18) Stabbing someone with a plastic spork because they stole a french fry is inappropriate. Corollary: Stealing french fries because someone does not have or would not stab you with a fork is also inappropriate.
19) Offer suggestions… This means, “I would try **this** in this situation,” NOT “You should.” You should is considered arrogant.
20) Just because you want to be in a conversation doesn’t mean people want you in it. Talk to your pet NTs and ask them to explain how you can tell when this is the case… and APPLY that knowledge… It will make your social life a great deal easier.
21) Truth is not the most important thing in most conversations. Hyperbole, simile and metaphor are normal human activities. These may be mystifying to us at times, but the NTs around you will engage in them constantly… Try to enjoy it.
22) “Do you like my outfit?” or “Does this make me look fat?” are both traps… DON’T ANSWER!
23) Do not ask questions that you don’t want to answer… Seriously… Don’t
24) Being honest is not the same as being an asshole. Try to be sensitive. One can be incredibly honest and still be sensitive to the personality, gender, religion, and feelings of another.
|That and an entire bottle of Axe body spray…
Savor the manliness!
25) No matter what they say, NTs can’t multitask well. Nor can they think objectively. They will all say they can. Smile and nod, and let them believe it. Corollary: Chances are… neither can you… there are very few people, NT or otherwise that can truly multitask with any degree of success.
26) You can’t conform… Honestly… you are wired differently. So… be different. Be a LOT different. Being very different means you are an individual… being a little different makes them notice the little things a lot more
27) The teacher may be wrong. Do not correct them in front of the class. Regardless of the truth of the situation, you are undermining their ability to teach. The NT students in the class will question every right thing that they say. This is NOT cool.
28) “Don’t get me started on **blank**” means you are supposed to prompt them on that topic. Don’t ask me why… I don’t get it… I have been assured that this is a truism.
29) The rules of NTs will sometimes make no sense at all. These are considered a non-optional social contract. You have to do them anyway. Corollary: whether you believe you are “just wired differently” or feel that Autistic Spectrum disorders are a disease, you cannot expect every NT to conform to your social conventions when they can’t even agree on pizza toppings.
30) Don’t be ashamed to tell people, “Hey… I have Asperger’s Syndrome. Can you explain what I am missing here?”. You would be surprised at how often they will accommodate and explain.
31) If you have asked a question twice… they don’t want to talk about it. Let it go. No… seriously… Drop it.
32) Try not to interrupt… I know it’s hard… but it pisses everyone else off.
33) If someone insults you (and they will) just smile… they don’t even know they did it!
34) Talk. Not constantly, but if you are silent, most NTs think you consider yourself better than they are… while this may be true, they don’t need to think it. Corollary: Don’t talk to much… If you do, most NTs will think you consider yourself better than they are.
35) Tolerate slang. Don’t get uppity about it, and for god’s sake, don’t try it.
36) Don’t ask people how old they are. Evidently, this is rude.
37) Try to smile. I know it doesn’t feel natural… but if they don’t see it, NT people think you’re angry all the time. Honestly… practice in the mirror… with friends… Your smile will be odd if not practiced and refined.
38) If someone asks what you think about their work… they want an ego stroking, not an honest response. Corollary: They can’t handle the truth!
39) Even if the answer to a question is one word, say more… they think verbally expedient answers (one word) are rude.
40) Rhetorical questions are not meant to be answered… Why do they ask them? I don’t know. How do you know they are rhetorical questions? Ask yourself… do they know the answer or is it RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF THEM? If the answer is yes, it was rhetorical… Corollary: If they ask what you think is a rhetorical question more than twice… chances are, it wasn’t rhetorical.
41) Try not to be pedantic. Do not pontificate. Try not to use a big word when a diminutive word will suffice.
42) Arguments are very rarely about what is being discussed. There is something else there. The average NT doesn’t want to exchange ideas and evolve their standpoint. They want to fight. I am told this is cathartic. If even if you are right… you will lose.
43) Don’t try to emulate NT fashion… this is a recipe for failure. If you do, expect to be a meme of some sort.
44) It is not okay to do cartwheels in a kilt. Ever.
45) NTs like to use the term friend for anyone they have met. Don’t tell them that they are “an acquaintence at best”. This offends them.
46) Don’t talk to yourself in public. I know it’s hard, but don’t do it. Corollary: If you cannot help doing this, don’t look at people when you do it. They will think you are talking to them.
47) Do not get into religious discussions with ANYONE. Their responses will not be rational, and you cannot win.
48) Taking your own utensils to a restaurant is frowned upon.
49) Don’t sniff your food before eating it. The cook gets offended. IF you have to sniff… do so with an appreciative smile and a deep inhalation. They will interpret it as enjoyment and be pleased.
50) Conversations evolve as they happen. That means the topics will change. Don’t insist on bringing it back to the original topic.
51) Reciprocate. When they ask “How are you?” They want their turn, too.
|Do something that scares you.
52) Don’t do anything unless you are comfortable. It will show. Corollary: Do something that scares you once a day.
53) Nod while you listen. Otherwise, they think you don’t understand and will beat that dead horse into a bloody jelly-like substance. Corollary: Comments like that last one are not acceptable at the dinner table. (Or so I have been informed)
54) Just because you love reptiles doesn’t mean they do. Don’t surprise them with your baby. Give them some warning.
55) When you have guests, leaving them alone is not hospitality, and they will get offended.
56) Always say the out loud part out loud. Do not assume they heard you thinking. Corollary: Leave the inside part inside. Saying it out loud can be awkward.
57) NTs, on the whole, do not know the meaning of the word irony. They do not like it when you point this out.
58) Even though they fit the classical definition of the word, unborn children are not to be referred to as parasites. Evidently, this is rude.
|No caption needed… but I did it anyway.