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4 years ago  ::  Nov 21, 2010 - 1:06AM #1
Bezant
Posts: 1,338

I know someone I'll call Jack. Jack is frank, generous, friendly, keen, very intelligent, highly creative. However, after one or two in-depth conversations his poor social skills are clear.


In a conversation (or small talk) he dominates and drags out the discussion without realising when the other person doesn't want to continue.


Jack often brings up personal subjects or interests inappropriate with the present circumstance. He's also loud.


For example. During a film he started a long, very interruptive chat with a friend of ours about his parents' anniversary gift.


I ran into him during a pool game (with someone else) and I couldn't pot a shot because he went from small chat to a verbose and one-sided discussion about his anxiety over his research.


Generally people don't want to keep listening, but feel impolite ignoring his banter or telling him they don't want to listen. As a result of discomfort and annoyance they a) ignore him, b) become very uncomfortable / bitter towards him, c) dismiss him as an idiot. Unfortunately, he has no close friends because it is actually like being a therapist, and most people--myself included--are barely patient enough to keep our ugly responses to ourselves when he makes an inappropriate comment.


Some more thoughtful people have considered he suffers autism. I'm aware of the pitfalls of "diagnosing" what's "wrong" with him, I'm no expert, but because his social skills are so poor, I consider the possibility. From what I know and have read about autism he doesn't fit the traits. But he does fit those for Asperger's Syndrome. Even he's described himself as "different."


What's the best way, without being overly rude or insensitive, to interrupt him?

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4 years ago  ::  Nov 23, 2010 - 10:15AM #2
Susan4168
Posts: 5

Hello,


You are right to want to be extra sensitive with 'Jack', this behavior is very much Asperger's Disorder. Unfortunately he has become accustomed to this type of relationship he has with people and any interuption might crush him. Has he ever been introduced to Autism Support Groups? Have you ever "delicately raised" the issue with him? If so, what was his response? Do you know if the trait runs in his family? If this way of dealing with people is "normal" to him, but he has a sense that it's not quite right,  then he learned by example and knows that he is different but not sure how to sort it out. If he starts to meet others who are more like him who understand they need to be more flexible or learn more social skills to "not be so different" he will transition without feeling as if his identity is/has been so out of the ordinary all along. If he is suddenly told or awakens to knowing it abruptly, he may become suicidal.  Is he physically sick? Has he always had a chronic health problem? You may start with helping him to find a new interest in cooking more healthy? Does he have in interest in Holistic Healing? Supplements such as Fish Oil, Vitamin D3, helps with inflammation and anxiety, Meth B-12 Injections helps with communication (although it can be quite costly) as Insurance will not cover it unless there is a physical deficiency, but alot of times this can be masked by other supplements, Folic Acid being one. With Autism, he may be able to have internal processing of what is being said, just not able to express what he has heard. This can be very frustrating for both parties. It sounds as if you are a very dear friend and supportive of the spirit which is trapped, if every conversation is centered about consolation of anxiety, his spirit may have never been nurtured properly, environmental toxins can block alot of messages coming in and going out, it's no one's fault. What type of research does he do? If you introduce a new topic to him, you could say that it is more research for him to encounter and maybe he will embrace it whole-heartedly. If he is younger, born between 1990 and 2000, he may have been affected by too much Mercury and it affected his Neuropathways and signals getting crossed in brain processing which can create Obsessive-compulsive tendencies and communication error, his hippocampus may not have been able to expand and grow properly, the area of the brain which processes the "reward center", certain topics do this for him, you could listen to podcasts on itunes under The Voice America Talk Radio Network with Teri Arranga, a recent podcast entitled Neurological Reorganization for Brain Injury: The Relationship of Structure and function with therapeutic applications, with Sgt. Goodchild, Jr. is excellent in explaining how to help "fix" this problem. Hope it helps! Please write back and let me know how it progresses. Thank you for posting this!

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4 years ago  ::  Nov 24, 2010 - 3:56PM #3
Bezant
Posts: 1,338

Hello Susan


Thank-you for your response.


I should clarify that although Jack considers me a friend, and I know a fair detail about him, I've not known him long enough that I consider him a close friend, and furthermore, I'm not keen on it. Sounds rude, but I'd rather be honest to myself and not make a friendship from guilt or pity. It does not mean I write him off altogether or dislike him.


If Jack suffers from AS and is aware of it he hasn't said so, and I haven't raised the matter with him. From my observation he's not aware that his behaviour is odd, but he knows people find it odd.


Furthermore, it seems he's somewhat in denial about his behaviour; maybe not so much in denial when he thinks of himself privately, but certainly in what he says of himself publically, if that makes any sense. For example, when asked why he's always been a bachelor, his answer was that his standards are too high. That may be true, but it's also his eccentric manner.


I understand why he wouldn't, but IMO if he has AS he should be upfront about it. I don't know of a way to "delicately raise" the issue and I think it unwise.


As for Jack's background he's from a good, tight-knit home but clearly been stigmatised and mistreated in his "friendships."


I raise the question because many people have figured the only way to interrupt the conversation politely is to avoid Jack the first place.

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4 years ago  ::  Nov 25, 2010 - 12:25AM #4
Susan4168
Posts: 5

Hello. I truly understand that no relationship should be initiated/continued out of sympathy. And only if you are comfortable enough, another view/angle of it could  be broached.  Being this forum is in the realm of spirituality, not necessarily religious, there 'could' be a higher calling here. You may not have to be the direct link to Jack getting the help he needs but otherwise connecting him to the right sources to help him grow. If open to it, ideas, connections will just happen to fall into place. In the meantime, be open to a deeper friendship if time allows it. There is an opportunity here for both to become more richly fulfilled.  I cannot be aware of how much you may know about Autism Spectrum Disorder, Aspergers Disorder is on the higher end of the Spectrum. Ones who have this 'trait' come across as being very eccentric-self-centered, but also extremely focused, passionate, when if given the right tools or relationship would be allowed to expand their views/bridge-building skills, communication skills. The statement, "his standards are too high" could be a cover for, although I don't know why, I am internally anxious about relationships and if I get too close to someone and give them my total heart, if I have picked the wrong person, I could be humilated if they don't understand there is another matter at heart/ true problem,  and would devastate me to regression and being closed off to the idea of love as being anything but good. Many are stigmatized by the label Autism. A true Autistic person/Aspie may never know they have Autism since they have always been made to believe their thinking has been correct all along.

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 15, 2011 - 1:20PM #5
Paganprincess
Posts: 30

Why does there HAVE to be anything wrong with him other than very poor social skills?  Whether we realize it or not everyone is TAUGHT social skills.  They don't magically happen.  Just as with any other subject some do better taught one way and some another way.  Jack could have just missed out on understanding what is expected of it and is trying to wing it.


From what you said he understands something is wrong, but doesn’t understand what or how to fix it.  Think of it like being lost in a maze, others know the way out and instead of helping you figure it out they are avoiding you are worse, laughing at you.


There is an old saying that the only person you have a right to change is yourself.  I think this might apply here.  Instead of fixing Jack how about working on your problem of asserting yourself.  He is too loud, how do you deal with that?  He is inappropriate during a movie, what do you do?


Many people have difficulty handling conflict.  They don’t understand that there is a huge difference between being assertive and being aggressive.  Jack is too loud, simply say something like could you please speak softer my ears are sensitive or whatever is right for you.  He is inappropriate during a movie, how about saying, “Hey, guys (there were two people in the gift discussion), we are watching a movie over here!  We can’t hear!”?  What has been done in both cases is change it from what is wrong with Jack to telling Jack what you need from him.  Again the difference between being aggressive and assertive being with someone.


There is a book called, “Your Perfect Right: A Guide to Assertive Living” by Robert E. Alberti and Michael Emmons that I highly recommend.


None of this means that Jack doesn't have other problems, but regardless of what problems Jack has treating others with respect is finding out what YOU need from them and asking them if they are willing to give it to you.

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3 years ago  ::  Jun 25, 2011 - 8:01AM #6
Susan4168
Posts: 5

Mar 15, 2011 -- 1:20PM, Paganprincess wrote:


Why does there HAVE to be anything wrong with him other than very poor social skills?  Whether we realize it or not everyone is TAUGHT social skills.  They don't magically happen.  Just as with any other subject some do better taught one way and some another way.  Jack could have just missed out on understanding what is expected of it and is trying to wing it.


From what you said he understands something is wrong, but doesn’t understand what or how to fix it.  Think of it like being lost in a maze, others know the way out and instead of helping you figure it out they are avoiding you are worse, laughing at you.


There is an old saying that the only person you have a right to change is yourself.  I think this might apply here.  Instead of fixing Jack how about working on your problem of asserting yourself.  He is too loud, how do you deal with that?  He is inappropriate during a movie, what do you do?


Many people have difficulty handling conflict.  They don’t understand that there is a huge difference between being assertive and being aggressive.  Jack is too loud, simply say something like could you please speak softer my ears are sensitive or whatever is right for you.  He is inappropriate during a movie, how about saying, “Hey, guys (there were two people in the gift discussion), we are watching a movie over here!  We can’t hear!”?  What has been done in both cases is change it from what is wrong with Jack to telling Jack what you need from him.  Again the difference between being aggressive and assertive being with someone.


There is a book called, “Your Perfect Right: A Guide to Assertive Living” by Robert E. Alberti and Michael Emmons that I highly recommend.


None of this means that Jack doesn't have other problems, but regardless of what problems Jack has treating others with respect is finding out what YOU need from them and asking them if they are willing to give it to you.





Thank you for posting this!  I know someone as well who is very much like "Jack". With Autism, it is very hard to grasp even the simplest lesson unless gone over again and again. One moment it may appear as if they "got it" only to have them regress back to misunderstanding or not able to express it the very next day.  What's sad is the opinion that when manners are taught at a young age, they will "always stick with us" regardless of life's stressors and physical ailments.  Even some parents have been heard to say, "I know I taught you manners" in a discriminating tone. We must remember, every person, not just an Autistic person, but may be more so an Autistic person, that "when you have met a person with Autism, you have only met ONE person with Autism" because we want to find the common ground so badly, we tend to "forget" that EVERYONE is wired differently.  Focus groups tend to do this, we are taught we are all here to "relate" to one another, we get "hyper-focused" that we must find the similarities all the time, instead of finding the gift in what is different about them. 


So I agree with you in that, the only person we can change is ourselves, and we need to find out why that makes us so uncomfortable at times.  I will be downloading the book you listed, Thank you for that. 

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3 years ago  ::  Jun 25, 2011 - 12:41PM #7
watcher59
Posts: 1,606

I agree with Paganprincess.


Jack just needs to be instructed in appropriate behavior and conversation. To use the pool game as an example; What is impolite, objectionable or offensive about acknowledging Jack, showing interest in his conversation and politely asking him to table it until you finish your game?


I have a 13 year old nephew who behaves the same way. Gentle correction usually works to alter his behavior. Firm, consistent, enforced boundaries always works. If you consistently enforce your boundaries Jack will either alter his behavior or avoid you.

How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!
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3 years ago  ::  Nov 05, 2011 - 8:41AM #8
Karma_yeshe_dorje
Posts: 12,804

Bezant:


I read you complaining about perceived wrongs in another party. But I hardly notice your own part in this. What is going on for you? What makes any difference to you about how another person's brain functions? How are you feeling? And what are you doing differently?

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