Monday, January 5, 2015

Just Follow the Script

The Asperger's traits addressed in this post include:
*Boredom with small talk
*Following scripts when interacting
*Difficulty expressing emotions appropriately
*Intense loyalty to friends

To illustrate the way Aspies follow scripts in social situations - sometimes inappropriately - I will tell the story of how my friend could have badly hurt my feelings if I hadn't been an Aspie myself and understood where he was coming from.

I called up my friend and asked if he and his brother would come over to my house the next day. "I have decided to have my dog put down," I said. "She has just been sick for too long, and she's starving to death. It's the right thing to do. . . . But I'd like to have you guys over to give me something to do to keep my mind off it. I've already cried enough."

"Sure, we'll come over," my friend told me.

When my friends got there the next day, my doggie had gone to doggie heaven, and I didn't really want to talk about it. That was why I'd invited the guys, knowing that if I invited a girl, she would be all sympathetic and weepy, whereas the guys would be practical and dry-eyed. My theory worked. They did not ask any questions about how it went at the veterinarian's office.

However, my friend DID ask an innocent question that could potentially have made me mad at him for good. He asked: "How was your day?"

The first thought that popped into my head when he asked that was, "How do you THINK my day went???" Then, the second thought as I saw his face cloud over, realizing what he had done, was: "He's just following a script. It was thoughtless, but he definitely didn't mean to hurt my feelings."

I breezily responded, "I went to the library and borrowed a few more books." And the crisis was averted.

Next time one of your friends says something that hurts your feelings, check and see if they're following a script. "How was your day?" is a standard question that people ask at dinnertime, and if you're not one for small talk, simple questions like that can pop out at the wrong time occasionally. Live and let live. We've all made bloopers.

How this topic relates to Christian living:

John 14:19
Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.