Ways autistic traits impact my daily life #5
(ps pre-script, I found this book recently and it was super informative about autism. I enjoyed it.)
Is it normal for people to know what to do in a conversation?
Like, genuinely. Is that a capability people have?
I know that some autistic people have a “social rulebook” in their heads, where they’ve memorized the right things to do and say in social settings. For me personally, I don’t call it a “rulebook,” that word doesn’t quite fit. I have something more like a series of steps, “if this happens, then I need to do this.”
For example, if someone asks me a question about how my day’s going, it’s not instinctive for me to ask them in return how their day’s going (is it instinctive for anyone? I honestly don’t know). But I know it’s expected of me to ask, so I do my best to.
The only reason I know what I should ask in a small talk conversation, is because I’ve listened to small talk conversations countless times and can mimic the things people say.
But I don’t get the point of someone saying they had a nice weekend, or that their morning has been “okay, how’s yours?” Like…great, I feel like you’re lying though, can we talk about how we’re actually feeling?
I’d rather get to the truth of how we feel about our lives, instead of exchanging pleasantries. Because exchanging pleasantries gets exhausting.
It’s like, pretend conversations are a dance. I often stutter a half-beat behind, my thoughts preoccupied with fearing I’ll forget the steps, which I memorized by rehearsing them in the bathroom, after studying other people dancing from my seat by the punch table.
If conversations are a dance, there’s probably people who know how to freestyle elegantly to the music, but I’m not one of them.