Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

How To Pass With Flying Colors

One thing I commonly tend to notice is what colors people are wearing. Especially if they're matching. For example, if someone's wearing, say, a matching necklace and earrings, matching earrings and rings, or a complementary shirt and tie, I may tell him or her.

In particular, I tend to like solid colors more than patterns: Tracking patterns takes mental energy - watching and wearing.

As I've mentioned, colors tend to affect me, especially if they're good colors. Pastels and other bright colors - especially in the red and blue families (and yes, purple is one of my favorites; another one is pink) help top off my social fuel gauge. I also feel good when I find complementary pairs.

What do you think of my idea of a well-dressed guy (SFW)?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Who's On First...Or Last?

While at the store yesterday, I got the last four boxes of Chicken Carbonara for Emily. I'm not sure why I got a special kind of satisfaction, but I did. It's as if the shelf is now absolutely clean - and thus perfect.

Many Aspies tend to like being the first and/or the last at something. For example, I'm significantly more likely to comment on a blog post or Like something on Facebook if I'm the first to do so. And I like to be among the first at an event so i have time to relax and collect my thoughts before most people arrive.

Conversely, if there are, say, five boxes of something on the shelf, even if I was going to get four under those circumstances I would probably buy all five this time.

To be sure, if there weren't close substitutes nearby, I'd make sure to leave some for others. And if it were a cafeteria or similar setting where if I took them all it would mean someone else goes hungry, I would make sure to only take one.

But if other people aren't being harmed, I enjoy being on first - or last - whenever possible.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Put It In Writing

One way I like to handle serious situations - especially if they can go negative - is putting things in writing - especially email. Written interactions are, well, documented and one can go back later on and reread what was said instead of trying to remember it.

Besides that, though, I find I can much better express myself sometimes if I can take the time to craft what I'm saying. I can type something, see how it looks on the screen, try something different, move this paragraph this way, split this other paragraph and so forth. I can also take the time to read what the other person has said and figure out which interpretations make sense.

This especially helps because (1) we Aspies take time to process things and (2) we're better off when we can focus on one thing such as writing, as opposed to multiple things at once such as words, tone of voice, gestures, body language, etc.

Unlike, say, with many tests, the first response is often not the correct one, and it can take a little thought to discern just what the other person really meant.

I've learned to understand people, and in turn make myself better understood, face to face. And especially in heated situations with people I know well, we can cool things down sometimes by switching to email.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

But You're So Smart....

If I've heard that once I've heard it a thousand times.

"You know better...."

"You knew that already, you just asked that question to get attention...."

"I shouldn't have to tell you these things, look how smart you are...."

There may be some correlation between intellectual smarts and social smarts. At most. Heck, the brainy but socially awkward nerd is a cliché in our culture.

Please, don't assume that just because someone is an avid reader, talks with a vocabulary well beyond his years and can discuss certain things in depth at the drop of a hat, that he also necessarily knows that you're upset or need a hand with the groceries or don't feel like being stared at.

And no, this is not an opportunity to get small-minded revenge on the person who keeps showing off and showing you up. Even if he corrects you in public on the most petty, lame-ass things doesn't mean he's personally attacking you.

Thank you very much in advance for your understanding.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Feelings Have Consequences

Sometimes what we say and do really matters even when the other person knows otherwise on a rational level.

In salary and other negotiations, suggesting a number will often influence the final deal. That's known as anchoring.

For example, in a simulation, people applied for jobs as administrative assistants and said that their last salary was $29,000 - which often guides the final pay offer. Some applicants joking said they wanted to earn $100,000, while others didn't. The ones who made that joke were offered an average of $35,385 - 9% higher than the average of $32,463 among those who didn't.

Even when the employer rationally knew that $100,000 was so unrealistic that the applicant must have been joking, that number implanted a feeling in the employer's head to focus on high numbers. The employer may have expected that the first set of applicants, while joking about the specific $100,000 figure, would still require higher salaries to come on board. In other words, the employer's feelings went well beyond the objective meaning of the numbers, and shaped their behavior.

When dealing with people, we need to focus on their feelings, not just the facts. In a conflict, feelings often win.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New Column - Building Bridges!

Autism After 16 is a new site full of resources for adult Aspies and the people who love, work with and play with us. Check out my column, Building Bridges, for ways Aspies and NTs can both accept and be more acceptable to each other.

The founder and editor, Merope Pavlides, a veteran journalist, has an Aspie adult son and does private consulting regarding autism spectrum issues.

Please let me know what you think!

(Folks anywhere near the East or Gulf Coasts or the Blue Ridge Mountains - please stay safe and dry!)