I have recently been told by my employer that I sometimes respond sharply to my colleague, this is normally when I'm trying to do other tasks. I dont mean to be rude is this my Aspergers or am I rude I am trying to alter my behaviour but find it difficult.
I'm sharp when interrupted; pretty sure this is an aspergers thing. I find it very uncomfortable when my train of thought is interrupted and along with my state of hyper-focus on the task in hand (the one being interrupted) I simply do not have the ability to moderate my speech to make it less so.I am very open about the aspergers, though, so most colleagues (once explained) accept that this is a thing and that I don't mean anything negative by it.
I have no idea what I sound like when speaking. It has been said that I can be a bit blunt. The more frustrated I get with people, the more blunt I become.
If someone asks me a question I answer it as quickly and concisely as I can. That just seems like good manners to me. It drives people nuts for some reason. Also if I don't know the answer to a question I'll say "I don't know". Would people really prefer me to talk rubbish for a while rather than saying " I don't know "? I try very hard to fit into the neurotypical world but I draw the line at wasting my own time talking a load of *** (he said abruptly).
I'm actually not bad at talking a load of ***. I've noticed other people doing it, so assume it's acceptable to speculate, mouth off, and so on merely to fill one's niche in the conversation.
I probably do find it hard to juggle two claims on my attention at once, so yes, I may be sharp, but rarely get complaints.
Stevie, do you have examples of things you have said that people thought were rude? Sometimes it's not what you say, but the way you say it, or the context.
It's the 'reciprocal social interaction' that they look for in tests, that sounds so simple and obvious that I can miss it.
In my case, I've noticed I can kill a conversation with people I don't know well. I may change the subject to something I'm interested in, and that's usually accepted. But sometimes I throw something directly relevant into a conversation, and anecdote or obscure but illuminating bit of information, and there's a silence, not because of what I've said, but because I didn't leave 'conversational openings'. This is a type of 'bluntness' that might cause minor offence or people putting one down as a bighead. I should probably have an open-ended question in mind when talking to avoid that awkwardness. (An objection to that is if it's something you're really interested in, you've probably already investigated the answer. That cannot be true all the time though, particularly about personal stuff, unless you're a stalker.)
Sounds familiar to me. When I'm interrupted from a task that I'm focused on, my brain seems to struggle to go into "social analysis mode", so my interpretation of what's being said and how I should answer is very factual - the part of my brain which would normally mask my autism and consider the social consequences just doesn't get engaged in time. There are times when I'm hardly even aware that I have spoken to the other person; I'll find myself minutes or hours later thinking to myself; "Did I just speak to X? What did they say? What was my answer?". This can even be for the simplest of things; if someone asks me "how are you?" when I'm flustered, it's not unusual that I'll respond with something like; "hot", "cold", "sweaty", etc.
I think that the problem very often is that non-autistic people are looking for implied value judgements and "reading between the lines"; but when my "social processing" isn't on-line, I don't take any of that into account and expect my response to be judged literally for the words that I'm saying - any more than that requires a shift in attention that is difficult and time-consuming, especially if I'm desperate not to lose the "flow" of whatever it is that I was doing at the time.
Trog's quite right on this. I had a similar thing in work, when I'd undertake a stressful task and colleagues - seeing I was getting stressed - would then attempt to engage me in personal conversation. If was an attempt to relax me on their behalf, but they would be shocked when I'd snap back or be quite tart. The reality was that they were merely putting extra demands on an already overloaded system.
For me, it's all about processing. If I'm working, then I'm expending an awful lot of cognitive processing power on the task at hand. If you then try to speak to me amidst that, you're asking yet more of an already burdened system. So, I'm going to speak to you in the shortest possible way in order to minimise the time I spend under duress, so I can return my attention back to the task at hand. After all, bear-in-mind that we autistics are prone to 'monotropic attention', so it's unfair to expect us to engage in social interaction at the same time.
The problem is as Trog says - insomuch that the neurotypicals will then place value judgements on your behaviour - most likely negative value judgements - as opposed to seeing it as a processing of sensory data.
I suppose that's were you're going to have to try and explain things to your colleagues, as a 'PR' exercise or damage control. A useful analogy I sometimes use to explain autism is to imagine people as computers. I can do the same things as neurotypicals: I can cook, shop, drive, hold down a job, pay the bills etc. For them to do so in typical day-to-day life, lets say it takes them 10 different software packages operating simultaneously on the computer to do so. For me to do the same things, it takes maybe 30 or 40 programmes running simultaneously. It slows the computer down, results in more glitches, and you can practically hear the fan whirring away to cool down an ever-increasingly overloaded system, that's frequently on the verge of crashing!
Ask your colleagues what they think would happen if a computer already struggling on running 30 programmes simultaneously is then asked to load-up yet another one?
Thank you for your reply, not so good at examples last week I was working hard on something I answered my colleague sharply and my boss pulled me up for it. I didn't even realise I'd done it, I'm now expected to change my behaviour so not to hurt my colleagues feelings I was also made to apologize still unsure what I did.
The computer example is excellent thank you it explains it in a way I understand.
Yes, I like the computer analogy too.
The problem that I have switching tasks often feels like I have to decide which current apps I can shut down to save CPU power, save and close all of those, start the new apps that I need to use, then spend a while rearranging all the windows so that I can get at everything I need. During those seconds, nothing from the other person really reaches me; either I have to ask them to repeat what they said from the beginning, or a "stock answer" comes out of my mouth without me really noticing it. I have been in trouble quite a few times at work for saying "OK" to requests to take on another task and then having no recollection of making the agreement - it's like dismissing an annoying pop-up window; there's no conscious thought, just a reflex muscle memory that clicks the "OK" button to make it go away!
Hi Togluddite. This factor of multi tasking of doing social stuff while concentrating on a work task i find incredibly difficult. It has been something i have noticed in my current job and has always caused me a great deal of stress. A simple task of trying to.photocopy 14 sets of 2 double sided worksheets so they are stapled together from an original becomes difficult when someone pops over with "hi how are you did you get me email?!" The worksheets end up coming out wrong and i feel frustrated because a)ive wasted paper b)i need to spend precious time doinh it again and c)tje social interaction wasnt meaningful bevause i couldnt focus 100pc on it. If this is in the morning it can put me on the back foot for the rest of the day.
This is just one example of interrupted tasks but i wpuld be here all day. You get the idea. Usually it happens more than once yjroughout the day.
Before i had read about AS i had many thought processes about it and tried ways to manage it a) cant they see i am busy? Why cant they leave me alone? But i need a way to manage this... B) stop what i am doing and engage in the interaction. This put me on the back foot still as it was taking time out of the task then concentration to get back into it. Anyway i was accommodating myself to others, why couldnt they do the same for me? C) after reading inyo AS thinking maybe its my body language which isnt strong enough. So made a concentrated effort and this seems to be paying off e.g. not looking up or pretending to ignore then go "sorry what were you saying? Or "il be with you soon" or just general uninterested "ohhh riiiight". I have found this to work because its probably what other people do themselves.
I think its because you treat people how you yourself want to be treated. They wouldnt be bothered by the interruption so its never occurred to them it might bother others. Similarly if i see someone busy i wouldnt interrupt them cos i myself dont like to be interrupted.
I am still unsure if i havr AS but the more i read the more its helping me to manage life.