In The 6
I don’t do lots of people all at once, l don’t like crowds and l certainly don’t like masses and the ultimate ‘don’t do’ is uncontrolled masses, crowds or even groups. Additionally, l don’t like unregulated noises and this means that can be anything from a dripping water tap to a group of rowdy excited kids to a constant dog barking in the neighbourhood. It is overwhelmingly stressful to be physically social, l get headaches, and l need downtime to recover.
In small doses, l can manage people but as said anything higher than maybe 5 [maybe] and l am already looking for exit signs.
The strange thing is l am NOT anti-social as some people tended to think, l am selectively social – l am choosy who l am social with and when, and how.
Furthermore, l am actually a really sociable chap, l can talk to people l have never met and l don’t have that shyness that many people encounter – l have a gift – and that is, l can find out things about people l don’t know – do you know how?
I speak to them, but l don’t speak to them in the usual social manner, no – l attend to them in a clinical fact finding way and by doing so and listening to everything they say, as well as observing their body language and detecting small details – every detail – l can deduce things about them.
I am a bit like the Sherlock Holmes character that Benedict Cumberbatch portrays in the television series – not to the savant type approach that he displays, but my skill set is like a diluted form of that. Truth is, many on the spectrum also have this ability to observe and noticed miniscule details.
What’s this got to do with being social though?
1] Because l can talk to people and not care about status, because in my eyes everyone is equal, so a tramp is a king and a king is a tramp and l can talk to both in the same breath the same way and …
2] … because l am not being specifically ‘overly social social’ but ‘clinically social’, l am able to be friendly social.
I think other Spectrumites might be able to understand this more easily.
Over the years l have known lots of people, l have had lots of friends according to those lots of friends, that’s not according to me though – no! It’s only according to the lots of friends who think we are friends and l have neither agreed nor denied it, because it mattered not. I knew who l was friends with and who l wasn’t.
Others have said of me that l am gregarious, affable, amicable and approachable and openly friendly and l am, even if l say so myself. I am polite to people, l have no reason to be rude to them, and even if they are rude to me, l don’t tend to react, it is ONLY if they insult me that l am rude. But that doesn’t happen often, because in order to insult me, l have to either like you or be friends with you and if l am not then it matters not what you say, because what you say doesn’t matter.
Fact is, l have very few close friends – and at the time of writing, l can easily say that l have no close confidants or people that l have known since leaving school – but that is not uncommon on the spectrum and less so with Aspergians like myself – we don’t carry people for the sake of carrying them. People have to be useful, and when they are no longer useful, then what is their purpose – why hoard them like some people do??
I use a term ‘in the 6’ it’s my term to describe people within my zone, some refer to it as a target or a dartboard it’s all reflective upon how principally you view friendships. You see for me, l have never in my life been able to drop all the fingers and the thumb on either hand and say with the other hand on my heart that these five are my closest buddies because it’s never happened.
I have casual friends, acquaintances and colleagues, l don’t have buddies, l don’t have close soul binding bonds with anyone. I keep my real friends very close to the centre, and they will remain in the 6 for as long as l am focused on them, but if they stray or straggle out, then they fall into the outside 6 box, and they are no longer a major concern of mine.
Social media is easier to handle with regards sociality – the people are really small [as in l imagine them to be tiny voices inside my computer] and not in front of me, there is no unregulated chatter or painful noises, because the people – my community, my social network is manageable and this means more easily handled which is way better.
So you see, l am not anti-social, l am just socially selective and sometimes people are not selected it’s that simple really. I do persons not people, because people overcomplicate simplicity equally as much as being social is overrated!
How about you?
How do you view it all?
Rory Matier – The Tee Shirt Blogger
Ps: These posts are my views on my autism/Asperger’s, they may not be everyone else’s who is on the spectrum.