I Can’t Win
Posted by JF
I’m often seriously misunderstood. I’m not antisocial, it just seems like I am because I have Aspergers. I want to talk to people and be liked, but I’m deathly afraid of doing something weird and screwing up. So I avoid talking to people, but I hate the awkward silence that comes with it. And when I just can’t take the silence anymore, when I swallow my fear and reach out, I feel completely foolish.
I take my son to preschool almost every morning. Whenever I’m there, it seems like all the other parents are friendly, making small talk and what not. They’re doing basically all of the stuff I can’t do, which of course makes me feel inadequate and stupid. So I usually get him ready to go into class and rush out of there as soon as I can, which then makes me look antisocial and unfriendly. Which is wonderful, because the one thing I want above all else is to look like a total and complete dick to these people.
Today I tried something different. I was the first one there with my son today, and one of the other dad’s came in behind me with his daughter. The awkward silence was PAINFUL. So I started chatting. Yes, me. CHATTING. And it was as bad as you’d expect. I don’t even remember what I was talking about, but I kept getting those half-hearted laughs you give someone when you don’t want to hurt their feelings but you just want them to shut the fuck up so you can get back to living your life uninterrupted by the weirdo who won’t stop talking to you.
It sucks. I’m sure a lot of us Aspies are like this: desperate to reach out, yet unable to do so in a “normal” way. So we wall off. We hide. Until we find out that you’re interested in something – ANYTHING! – that we can talk about. That’s why Aspies will talk your head off; we don’t want to lose the feeling of connecting with people.