My friend Lorin Neikirk recently posted on the abstract side about transparency in relationships. That's gotten me thinking.
At least in the U.S., transparency in business investments has been a major issue. (Have you checked out the Dow, or your portfolio, lately? Like maybe in the last few hours?)
Relationship investments are often just as important as any financial matter. (How many songs have you heard lately mourning falling stock prices or 401(k)s?) Yet we don't have a Sarbanes-Oxley Act equivalent for personal relationships.
(Let's be honest - that's what we autists and Aspies do best - how many of us would still be walking free if there were? Raise your hand....*crickets chirping*)
Wouldn't it be nice if we had, say, personal prospectuses we could give others we were considering being friends with, or dating, to let them know a bit about what makes us tick? Especially if we react to certain things differently from the majority of people? That way, not only would we be treating the other person fairly, but also we may be able to avoid people's misinterpreting our words or actions. Letting people know our unique strengths and challenges in advance is what people call "self-interest rightly understood".
Each of us can write a "social sheet" detailing our particular vulnerabilities. We should also add our special strengths, so it doesn't look like we're just seeking accommodations and special exceptions. Strengths that are intertwined with our vulnerabilities count for double.
For example, if you tend to be blunt - like probably most of us - you should let that be known in advance and explain that it's not personal, but just a focus on the facts. That way, a potential friend or date will be less likely to interpret a mere statement of fact (like "This food stinks" or "I didn't really have a good time tonight") as a personal attack. At the same time, emphasize how honest you are - we've all had enough of pathological liars and truth-twisters, so many people will appreciate that at least they'll always know how things are with regard to you.
(Also try to minimize the impact as much as you can, like "This food stinks...a real contrast to the company!" or "I didn't really have a good time tonight...so I'd like to try again some other time and I'm sure we'll have fun" - with disclaimers that are true expressions of opinion, that is. The idea is that you don't want the other person to think that your having a problem with one thing means you have a problem with them if it's not true.)
If you feel comfortable doing so, start off by saying you're an Aspie or autist. Be prepared to explain a bit about what it means. You might even group your characteristics according to the Aspie traits they stem from, such as short-term memory issues, difficulty multitasking, honesty/bluntness, etc. Again, if at all possible try to have strengths as well as vulnerabilities in each group.
Now, do use caution. Don't reveal too much to someone you're just starting to know. Remember, acquaintances, dates and friends can turn into strangers and even enemies. If and when that happens you don't want them carrying around too intimate a portrait of your thoughts.
Meanwhile, Sharon daVanport - an Aspie herself and mom to an Aspie teen - has given us an excellent listing of Resources for Aspies, Families & Educators. Not everything on there is for everybody, but if you're reading this there's probably something there for you. Check it out!
What do you think?
Hour 4: What do you want? Look at your goals.
8 years ago