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"Like a graveyard...
... people dig me"
On social "strategies" 
14th-Sep-2007 04:07 pm
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A post by benjasattva and subsequent conversations with Erin about its subject matter. Sorry, his post is friends-locked, so I cannot link you over.

It appears to me that there are people who can detach themselves from their social interactions and gauge how things are going and what they could do to affect it in a reasonably objective manner. That is, they seem to have a meter on the inside of their head that tells them whether they're making any forward progress (in romantic or platonic directions), and what a good course of conversation/reaction/&c. would be.

I am not one of those people. Generally all my planning ends once I actually start talking with a person, and even then, it's minimal: "What would be the least annoying/disquieting way to get this person's attention?" "Are they likely to be in their current conversation for too much longer?" "Are they single and/or attracted to my gender [if they are female and I'm interested, of course]?"
Once in the conversation, I run entirely on autopilot. Whether I bring things up is based solely on their relevance to the topic at hand and whether there's a "slot" available for me (Oh goodness, I just used TDMA terminology...). While I have a rough idea of when I'm making someone uncomfortable, I can't really assess my current status in their worldview until long after the conversation is over and I've had the ability to observe their reactions to me and compare them to their reactions to others, and where I judge them in that person's hierarchy.

This, of course, does not hold via IM (but can during email).

Which side of this social divide do you sit? Is it possible to jump to the aware side without losing the apparent spontaneous character? Am I the only one like this? (Of course not!)
Comments 
14th-Sep-2007 08:47 pm (UTC)
I'm almost always in planning mode. It's like The Terminator, where your HUD gives you possible responses to give to incoming stimuli. Sadly, my meter is broken, probably because people don't really seem to give cues to suggest what the right replies are. Conversations are frustratingly nondeterministic.
14th-Sep-2007 09:57 pm (UTC)
Ive got the meter
I can plan or plot according to who the person is, and what i think I can get from them. I have had a few people in my life who short out my meter and I just turn into an idiot
14th-Sep-2007 11:13 pm (UTC) - Re: Social Strategies
Thank you for respecting my privacy and not paraphrasing or quoting.

If done properly implementation of social strategies should leave you appearing spontaneous, however, anyone who is actually paying attention to you with a heightened understanding of reality will notice that the situation is moving to smoothly and that you are NOT real (authentic). There are secondary strategies that can be substituted when you arrive at this juncture, or you can choose to have a relationship with someone just as aware as you, or you can "turn if off".

A solution to avoiding the social strategies is to surround yourself with friends and loved ones who are immune to it (usually because they are too aware).
15th-Sep-2007 05:15 pm (UTC)
This sounds very much like empathy - the ability to mirror the feelings of another person, based on their body language, tone, and mannerisms. In general, people with Asperger's lack the wiring for empathy, and in a highly functional person with Asperger's, it can be like an extreme example of what you've described.

My guess is that the relative degree of empathy in a person can vary - disorder on one end, highly extroverted folks on the other. I tend to be someplace in the middle.
15th-Sep-2007 05:47 pm (UTC)
I see empathy as more of a literal "feel what the other person feels" thing, which I do not lack. Rather this is a rational assessment of the emotional state of another, instead of a emotional resonance.
17th-Sep-2007 06:17 pm (UTC)
Similiarly I find it very difficult sometimes to convey to people when they are making me uncomfortable without coming across as rude. Particularly if its someone I really don't want to not be friends with.

Personally, I don't care to strategize; or try to force things one way or the other. Sure I can tell if I piss someone off and I'll try to remedy it. But, it just seems like entirely too much effort to try to "direct" a social situation. Just be. People will like you for who you are and those who don't probably aren't worth the effort. People who are constantly performing are annoying anyhow.
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