GHDR Note: On "Lacking Relatability"

Posted Wednesday, November 30, 2022 by Sri. Tagged GHDR

In my last journal entry on GHDR insights, I distilled my emotional challenges into lack of x statements for which I have hypothetical mitigations. I've thought of a new one, lack of relatability, which I've added to the bottom:

  • lack of motivation is an executive function impairment (ADHD). I have known for a long time that it's much easier for me to work on a project where I am working together in real-time with other directly-engaged people. I have mitigations for memory/focus/time dysfunctions, but the motivation impairment can not be mitigated in the same way.

  • lack of connection is the result of combined neurodivergent lived experience (ASD), mental intensity (ASD), deep cognition (ASD), and a preference for mindful people that intentfully communicate as their authentic self.

  • NEW! lack of relatability comes from the way I view/experience the world. It is a lack of shared priorities, ideals, goals, and interests with respect to the general public. It's similar to "lack of connection" which is "the connection/feeling I have toward others". By contrast, "lack of relatability" is more about "how others can relate to me".

Digging Deeper

Lack of relatability is perhaps a side effect of being "too weird" for people. A few days ago I made a big list of weirdnesses that I thought affected my general relatability; these are the ones that apply to "how I view/experience the world":

  • I have a tendency to model the world and look for the meta patterns that others can't see, applying deep cognition to synthesize new or unseen ideas that can be reified through action.
  • I scrutinize my emotions to find the underlying ideals that ground my sense of self, even when it's difficult. This has led to high emotional intelligence that helps me "see through" people in ways that can be discomfitting.
  • I have entrepreneurial aspirations and have long held a desire to create environments that create positive feeling that leads to positive insight and action.

I don't think that this is a typical loop for the average person that likes to be part of a group bonded by shared interests, culture, and conformance to a belief or ideal. My lack of relatability may also be due to my intense focus on individual competence that's powered by unrelenting analysis of logical and emotional experiences. This can turn people off if I don't watch myself.

Recently, I started maskingThis is the hiding of one's atypical traits to fit-in with a group to avoid . This is of particular concern to neurodivergent people (e.g. those diagnosed with ADHD/ASD traits), who have often been told they are not normal and have learned to hide their atypical traits to avoid discriminatory/condescending treatment by the ruling neurotypical majority. It is incredibly exhausting. to ease social interactions, which is something I had never actively done before. Becoming aware of my "lack of relatability" gave me the feeling of cringe, which made me start "editing" my interactions with people to avoid boring or overwhelming them. While it seemed to result in smoother interactions, it bothered me because I believe strongly in being one's authentic self, and masking is about limiting the expression of that. Isn't there a conflict here?

I don't think there is a conflict. That's because I'm a freelancer that keeps my own hours working at home, and therefore am not under pressure to conform in a workplace. Besides, I was bad at it because of said "lack of relatability" that disrupted chains of authority, and once I realized this I started freelancing as a way to not inflict discomfort and pain on peopleAdmittedly I also liked the freedom of what I chose to work on. I value this over having regular income and have adjusted my living accordingly.. Projects are generally short, and I could focus on delivering results rather than hoping for connection or being understood. I became very selective about my projects and avoid mismatches between my world view and theirs.

Mitigating "Lack of Relatabilty"

I think I can reframe my masking behavior as a means to create a smoother social interaction between me and the neurotypical mainstream. Before, I was very sad about "never being seen and/or understood" because of my "weirdnesses" pushing people away. Now, I can see it as a mitigation that serves my interest, which is connecting people in the intentful spirit of All the Animals are Friends.

That doesn't seem bad at all! Hooray! ❤️