Jul 12, 2006

No More Chit Chat! - Part III

I was in the Men's bathroom washing my hands, and another man walked up to the sinks to wash his hands. He was a big guy with a deep booming voice, which echoed through the bathroom. So, it was hard to hear him.

Other guy: How you doing
Me: Fine

I continue to wash my hands, and then my brain pops up an alert indicating that I need to query him as a sign of good will. I comply with my brain:

Me: How 'bout you?

His boomy, echoing response was garbled because as he spoke his face was pointed toward the sink and mirror. He must have said something pleasant, because after he made his comment, he laughed a good natured deep throated chuckle. It bounced around the porcelain tile of the Mensroom like a bass player's low note during a concert soundcheck. I had no idea what he said, but I laughed as well to show that I was engaged and meant him pleasant . . . . . stuff.

He finished washing his hands before I did, and as he left the bathroom he said, "You have a good one."

In my mind I thought 'Good one what!', but out loud I said, "You too."

It was rather unpleasant as it was quite without meaning. The words were that is. I'm finding that there are whole word based rituals intended to show good will and pleasant intentions among strangers. It's not the words that are important, but the fact that you are willing to engage in the ritual and meaningfully fulfill its activities.

The person with whom you converse doesn't gain any information from it, but it creates an initial positive feeling that may allow for more substantive conversation at a later time.

Aspies, be aware! With some neuro-typical people that you meet for the first time there may be numerous word rituals required before you have any conversations that are enjoyable to you. Do you best. It is worth it, because it builds relationships.

I know, it doesn't make any sense! Remember Aspies are from Mars and Neurotypicals are from Earth. We need to learn their language. It is all worth while, when you've built some close personal friendships. Relationships in which you have invested time and effort, and the day comes that you have an absolute meltdown. Then all the effort and ritual will have been worth it, because your friends will have grown to love you and will invest in you the time that you deserve as well.

Any questions or comments? Click the comment link or e-mail me adam@sojournband.com


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