agony, autism, autistic, compensate, concentrate, engaging, groups, involuntary celibacy, keep quiet, learning, lessons, libido, minds, neediness, negative feedback, observe, obsess, obsession, pain, paralyze, progress, ridicule, sex, social ability, social aptitude, social benefits, social computer, social costs, social intelligence, social lessons, social misfits, social situations, social taboos, stimming, super power
You all know the situation…we’ve all been through it…when we were young and said something stupid in a group and were ridiculed. Intense agony! This was negative feedback and was supposed to help us learn social lessons. However, some of us didn’t understand the lesson that was intended to teach us about social taboos. Instead, we learned to keep quiet in groups to avoid the pain. So we missed learning important lessons and avoid engaging others, at least to some extent, which results in reduced social benefits (and possibly costs). For some–especially men, reduced social benefits means involuntary celibacy. No sex despite having a sex drive. Neediness. Especially those of us who are autistic.
So, what are we social misfits to do?
Autists have lower social aptitudes than non-autists. We don’t have that social computer that operates almost instantly and tells us what to do in a social situation. How do we compensate?
One of the strengths of autists is our ability to concentrate on an area of interest. If we study social interactions and try to learn the rules of society, we can make substantial progress in our social intelligence and social ability despite lacking social aptitude. Obsession is like a super power! We can use it to understand social rules and social interactions through observation and interaction with others.
Our past experiences with ridicule needn’t paralyze us. We can take steps to learn those lessons that we ought to have learned as children, but we must decide to deliberately do so, then invoke our obsessive natures to make rapid progress. We must get in social situations and observe carefully and use our minds to understand what is really going on. A reduced social aptitude need not rob us autists of adequate or even superior social ability and intelligence!
Of course, one of the first lessons will be to minimize stimming in social situations, lol.