“Are they just being rude? Shouldn’t I be offended?” That’s how we feel, when someone ignores us, as we try to talk with them. Being ignored usually signals that something is wrong. But, what about when you converse with those on the Spectrum? Have you noticed that they often break the rules of conversation etiquette?
Sometimes our Aspies say NO! Sometimes they ignore us. Sometimes they resist and walk off — then inexplicably do as asked. What on earth is this about?
A number of years ago, I wrote about how those with Aspergers default to non-committal answers. I used a true-to-life setting where a wife beats around the bush, trying to get her hubby to go on vacation, and the Aspie husband just doesn’t get it. It’s the perfect storm for miscommunication and hurt feelings in a NT/AS relationship.
We have to remember that Aspies have great difficulty with change or spontaneity, much more than the rest of us. A new idea creates tension. In the decision-making process, we have to think it through, examine its relevance to our plans, get past the novelty, build a new paradigm to incorporate the idea, and so much more.
Non-Spectrum people create change fairly easily, even with all of the aforementioned steps, because we aren’t self absorbed. Because we have empathy, we can include the other person in our new paradigm. Into the equation, we incorporate the person asking, how they ask, and the mind of the asker.
On the other hand, Aspies don’t do any of this. Instead they opt for saying “no,” or “I’m not interested.” This buys them time to get away from our demands and to protect themselves from confusion.
There’s much more to learn about this phenomenon. If you’re a member of my Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD group, I invite you to the next international, free teleconference: Why do they always say NO! It will be held on Thursday, June 21st. We’ll be building interventions to get past their penchant for saying NO.