Tuesday, May 2, 2023. I've been thinking about how my apparent autism has affected my behavior, specifically whether or not I mask. Masking as I understand it is acting a certain way to reduce the social friction that occurs when one acts as their normal unfiltered self. There are a few things that I have to watch out for:
- Directly saying what I think
- Communication focused on correctness
- Oversharing the intensity of my interest
- Radiating frustration when faced with unorganized thinking
I was clinically diagnosed as being on the autism scale only recently, and didn't think of these as being problems before, so I didn't mask them. On reflection I've come to realize that "neurotypical people" have different priorities: affirming social bonds and by extension social safety. Their senses are very attuned to the social signaling that goes between people and how this affects relationships. This is not something I am innately sensitive to, always confused by how people said things they did not genuinely feel, or communicating nothing of meaning at all in their small talk. Over time I learned to observe how people acted in public social situations and got better at it, but it was until this week that I learned that it was the social affirmations that were being communicated; data and meaning were secondary concerns relative to signaling continued social affirmation with an agreeable tone of voice. This TikTok by creator @sarabstrange is the source of this insight; here's her Social Scripts Translated skit that set me on this line of thinking.
So... what are the ramifications of this insight?
- DIRECTIVE 1 - I can make sure I am providing the affirming social signaling with the agreeable tone of voice.
- DIRECTIVE 2 - I would also have to hold back on speaking directly, pursuing correctness, exhibiting intensity, and handling unorganized thinking in a way that does not seem disagreeable.
I have mixed feelings about this.