Jul 6, 2006

No More Chit Chat! - Part II

No More Chit Chat! Part II

Goof ball date words:

“Drive safely”
This is usually said at the conclusion of the date. It’s really a verbal way to close the date with positive feelings. Your date or you could more logically say, “This now concludes our date.” I remember when I was still dating, and a girl would say, “Drive safe.” I would think, “What have I done that gave her the impression that I would drive in some recless fashion on the way home?”

Here’s what typically would happen at the end of the date:
Girl: Drive safe
Me: What do you expect me to do, drive up a tree?
Adam walks away.

It wasn’t until I had been married for a while that I figured out that when girls said "Drive safe," they were just making a closure statement that expressed their affection or like for me. So the words didn’t make sense to me because it was a social word. The expected response might be for me to “Thanks I will”, “Goodnight”, or not say anything: just smile and walk off.

“Do you like my outfit?”
What! are you kidding? That question always presupposes the answer of YES. The girl asking the question never, never wants you to say, “Wow, that outfit is butt ugly!” or “No, but I’m not wearing it, you are. Do you like it?” Or “No, what are my other options for your outfit tonight?”

There might be a time when your wife or some one you know very well really wants to know what you think, but there are ways to answer the question that won’t offend the typical person:
“I like some of your other outfits better than this one.” O.K. Aspie. You only want to make statements of fact. You hate speaking in ways that are meant just to stroke someone’s ego. That might not be true for you, but it is for me. But, it is probably true that there are certain outfits that you like on your wife. “I like the way you look, but I don’t enjoy that outfit on you as much.” Or “You look great. The outfit on the other hand is o.k.” Or maybe you do like the outfit, and you can say so.

But if there is a girl you don’t know really well or haven’t been dating for long, she isn’t really asking a question. She is saying “Tell me you like my outfit” in a way that saves her pride. Just say, “You look nice.” Everybody looks nice.

“Did you like my [enter food item here]?”
When I was dating, a girlfriend made me lasagna. I bet it started with her saying, “Do you like lasagna?” My mom used to make lasagna several times a year as I was growing up. Whenever she made it, dinner was a major family event. Mom’s lasagna was legendary. The only person that can equal my mom’s lasagna is my wife.

Lasagna comes in a rectangular pan. It is cooked in layers of pasta, sauce, ground beef, Ricotta and toped with mozzarella cheese. My girlfriend served me lasagna in a round bowl with blobs of Ricotta plopped on the top of the sauce. No mozzarella on top. That was not how lasagna is supposed to look (And all Aspies shouted AMEN!).

So I made the mistake of telling her that it tasted o.k., but it wasn’t like moms. I answered the question honestly and factually.

Took a while for that unhappy girlfriend to feel better about herself and our relationship.

Now as a more enlightened adult, I would either say, “It tasted good” or “It was nice”. Everything is nice to some degree.

Social talk is not precise, but is meant to convey positive feelings in a general way. Aspies, if you want to maintain healthy relationships, you will need to understand how to respond to these vagaries in a way that satisfies your desire for truth, and satisfies your partner's need for a positive emotional feeling.


Adam Parmenter

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