A few days ago I posted a link about Bristol City Light Festival on my Facebook page. It’s happening in March and I was hoping that possibly me and John will be in a position where we could go there together (John lives in Bristol) and spend some nice time there, both during the festival and after. I didn’t post it for John to see, he doesn’t use Facebook. I post it for myself to remember. And guess what? I forgot!
However, the link was public and today a man I don’t know started a conversation with me underneath. He said I look pretty (god bless him he didn’t see me today) and I was just saying things like ‘Thank you for your comment. Take care’. He insisted to add me to his friends list (what for?) and again I was like ‘Thank you for your interest. Take care.’ He finally sent me a friend request. What for? I’m not interested in being friends with a guy who doesn’t listen to what I have to say.
Anyway, in the past I’d be really blunt about that, but now, being a blogger who’s trying to focus on communication (even if it’s autistic communication) feels like I need to try and be polite. Nothing better came to my mind though. I wonder what neurotypical person would do in that situation. I guess I could have just ignored that comment, but I didn’t want to. I wanted to create a situation where that guy would get the message. I was not successful and I don’t quite know why. Possibly it’s not my fault? I guess if he was really focused on hooking up with someone (what else he would talk to a stranger for?) he would likely ignore everything that is being said to him – that’s how guys obsessed about getting laid behave.
But what I was trying to say here is that I made an attempt on creating a hint based on patterns naturally occurring in communication. I believe people say ‘take care’ when they mean ‘goodbye, I’m unlikely to speak with you again any time soon’. This is how, we, autistics, can create hints. This is also how my diagnostician used to talk to me, which I found very refreshing. But then, when I spoke about it with The Friend, The Friend said I must have misunderstood! That was very frustrating, I was like, no, she is language and speech therapist focused on how autistics communicate so if I understood it this way it must have been what she meant. It is so annoying when people don’t understand.
So I worked out how autistics can create hints and also that neurotypicals may not necessarily understand them. But then how neurotypicals create hints? I think I sometimes understand them, but not always. At times I may understand them but will feel annoyed.
I remember once, when I still worked in my previous job, although it was a few years back, possibly even before I realised I’m autistic, I came for a late shift and the manager started telling me about a party that they had on a morning shift. She mentioned that I ‘lounge needs hoovering’ (that was normally done on early shift) and that ‘party was real fun.’ I did understand quite quickly she’s asking me to hoover after the party (loads of crumbs were on the floor) but the way she said that seemed to me like if she meant that I should hoover because party was fun. But fun (so music, laugh, clapping hands) doesn’t need tidying after, does it? Also it seemed to me that she’s not saying it directly because she thinks I won’t want to do that. So her indirect communication made me think that she assumed I’m lazy and that’s what upset me.
It will be great to know how neurotypicals actually communicate, because for now we only know that they use hints but no one ever explained to us how this is done.