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AlmaBrown
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25 Nov 2012, 9:18 am

I have a problem. When people ask me my opinion on something (that I don't care about) and I know the answer I'm supposed to give, I just can't do it right. It either comes out as quote "sarcastic" or a question. Example: "that must have been so sad for you?" I have never been able to get this particular thing right. It's also a nightmare when I'm trying to figure out if I should apologize. The apology always, always comes out as insincere.

Any tips/ similar experiences?



Mindslave
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25 Nov 2012, 9:56 am

To practice this, try to do it with people who know you, because it won't be perfect the first time, and there will be a better margin for error. With apologies, people want validation for their fears, in other words, to know they aren't crazy. If you say you are sorry in a flat voice, you are basically telling the person that he/she should feel stupid for feeling anxious about whatever they are talking about. If you aren't paranoid yourself, it will never work. The trick is to say it the best way that YOU can, and often it won't be good enough, but say it with confidence on a regular basis. In these situations, sincerity and confidence are similar enough to be mostly interchangeable.

I know this is a cardinal sin on an Aspie site, but most people are not sincere when saying sorry, they are confident. It is hard to be sorry because to be sorry about someone's anguish requires empathy, and if you have not been through the same experience, sympathy is the best you can do.

Oh, and as far as lying convincingly, to give opinions on things you don't care about, the trick is to not care. Lying convincingly means lying consistently, and not caring requires a lack of caring, or a lack of emotion rather. This is why lying is hard for Aspies.



Fnord
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25 Nov 2012, 11:10 am

Successful people never have to lie, and thus have no reason to ever apologize.

That some of them do anyway reveals only their lack of subscription to an objective morality.



aspiemike
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25 Nov 2012, 11:32 am

my shrink has pointed out to me that my sense or sarcasm may give off a negative vibe. So does questioning things since it seems you are trying to analyze why. A new friend indicated to me that you should try less thinking and more feeling. As hard as that sounds, try not to think about things too much and understand how the person feels.



AlmaBrown
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25 Nov 2012, 12:22 pm

aspiemike wrote:
my shrink has pointed out to me that my sense or sarcasm may give off a negative vibe. So does questioning things since it seems you are trying to analyze why. A new friend indicated to me that you should try less thinking and more feeling. As hard as that sounds, try not to think about things too much and understand how the person feels.


Well when someone is complaining about something that has a simple solution I find it very hard to understand why they're still upset. If you don't want to text your ex-boyfriend, then don't. There is no difference between the red shoes and the blue shoes. I don't know why your aunt won't stop drinking so why are you asking me? Etc, etc, etc... It's just really frustrating that I can't seem to get it right...



aspiemike
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25 Nov 2012, 12:33 pm

AlmaBrown wrote:
aspiemike wrote:
my shrink has pointed out to me that my sense or sarcasm may give off a negative vibe. So does questioning things since it seems you are trying to analyze why. A new friend indicated to me that you should try less thinking and more feeling. As hard as that sounds, try not to think about things too much and understand how the person feels.


Well when someone is complaining about something that has a simple solution I find it very hard to understand why they're still upset. If you don't want to text your ex-boyfriend, then don't. There is no difference between the red shoes and the blue shoes. I don't know why your aunt won't stop drinking so why are you asking me? Etc, etc, etc... It's just really frustrating that I can't seem to get it right...


Only that person knows what is best for them. They came to you for comfort and to have someone to listen to them.



AlmaBrown
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25 Nov 2012, 1:02 pm

I get that. I know what they want from the interaction even if I don't quite understand why something is bothering them. They want me to make them feel better. However, I can't make them feel better. Just because I don't understand their problems doesn't mean that I don't care about the people themselves. My attempts to cheer them up are often perceived as false or making things worse...



Last edited by AlmaBrown on 25 Nov 2012, 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Entek
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25 Nov 2012, 2:26 pm

The worst is when they come into your house and talk non-stop about gardening (a subject i have no interest in) or a film actor that you dont know.
They talk for hours and hours and ask all sorts of questions, as if you should know the answers. If you look bored or uninterested, they get upset because you arent really listening to them. I know that we expect to be able to talk to ppl about our special interests, but i do think we have a little bit of leeway here due to the AS or whatnot.
How do you talk to ppl like this? You could lie convincingly and pretend interest - but sometimes its easier to switch off and your subconcious will pick up the odd random word, which you can then just slip in here and there while they pause for breath to let them know your listening.
The knock-on effect is that they carry on talking about the subject for longer.

As previously stated, they come to talk to you about their problems, but why us? We're not agony aunts, or the village shaman waiting to offer out herbal remedies for their ailments - maybe thats what shaman used to be in days of old, Aspies - we just handed out any old rubbish hoping it would make ppl go away because htey didnt really understand it.



VAGraduateStudent
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29 Nov 2012, 7:55 pm

Lying about that kind of thing is pretty hard. I agree with the poster who suggested practicing with a friend who knows you really well. But in the meantime, you can always look down, shake your head and say any of these non-committal, "empathic" consolations:

"...wow..."
"...that sucks..."
"...I don't even know what I'd do if that were me..."
"...what do you think you'll do?" (this will just make them talk themselves out)

or ask another question to make them talk themselves out. If you appear to be interested enough to ask a question, they probably won't notice your affect, since they'll be thinking of a reply.



Tyri0n
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30 Nov 2012, 7:31 pm

Mindslave wrote:
To practice this, try to do it with people who know you, because it won't be perfect the first time, and there will be a better margin for error. With apologies, people want validation for their fears, in other words, to know they aren't crazy. If you say you are sorry in a flat voice, you are basically telling the person that he/she should feel stupid for feeling anxious about whatever they are talking about. If you aren't paranoid yourself, it will never work. The trick is to say it the best way that YOU can, and often it won't be good enough, but say it with confidence on a regular basis. In these situations, sincerity and confidence are similar enough to be mostly interchangeable.

I know this is a cardinal sin on an Aspie site, but most people are not sincere when saying sorry, they are confident. It is hard to be sorry because to be sorry about someone's anguish requires empathy, and if you have not been through the same experience, sympathy is the best you can do.

Oh, and as far as lying convincingly, to give opinions on things you don't care about, the trick is to not care. Lying convincingly means lying consistently, and not caring requires a lack of caring, or a lack of emotion rather. This is why lying is hard for Aspies.


It depends on the lie. Utilitarian lies are easy because they can't read your body language. So so easy to deceive NT's; it's not even funny. It's empathetic lies that are hard because you HAVE to express emotion for it to work, and most of us cannot use prosody.

It's hard to change the tone of your voice. That's probably a good portion of your problem. It is for me.



AlmaBrown
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30 Nov 2012, 8:11 pm

VAGraduateStudent wrote:
Lying about that kind of thing is pretty hard. I agree with the poster who suggested practicing with a friend who knows you really well. But in the meantime, you can always look down, shake your head and say any of these non-committal, "empathic" consolations:

"...wow..."
"...that sucks..."
"...I don't even know what I'd do if that were me..."
"...what do you think you'll do?" (this will just make them talk themselves out)

or ask another question to make them talk themselves out. If you appear to be interested enough to ask a question, they probably won't notice your affect, since they'll be thinking of a reply.


Practice would be nice. Unfortunately, I don't have anyone to practice on. My family is... odd. So I can't practice with them. My one friend has her own problems to deal with and it would be awful to practice on her since most of my issues with this occur when I'm talking to her. I don't have anyone else I trust to practice with so I may have to accept that I will always end up feeling humiliated/frustrated when it comes to this.

Allowing people to talk themselves out is something I'm used to. It's just when they want my input. After the two minute mark of a conversation, if it doesn't interest me, I lose the ability to multitask.

I can only do manage keep up with one of the following:

a) maintain eye contact
b) listen to what they're saying
c) compose a response (list of possible responses)
d) read their body language/facial expression

If I maintain eye contact, I look like I'm listening but when they ask for a response, I'm at a loss. If I try to keep up with what response is expected of me, I end up behind in the conversation and it seems like I don't care. If I listen, I am startled when they ask for a response and unable to put the required emotion into my response. If I read their body language... well that's actually the worst option because then I just look completely insensitive. It should be noted that my failure to do so has led to some nasty situations. Usually I go with option a) and hope for the best. People seem to want the appearance of a listener the most.

Juggling these four activities leads to stress on my part. I'm ashamed to admit that I can panic at times, feeling overwhelmed. If they persistently ask me a question, it gets worse. I should note that I am typically very good at facial expressions so I know quite well when I've hurt someone... *sigh*

On apologies. I'm not sure when to give them. I never need them for myself, in fact I'm usually just annoyed when someone apologizes to me. I use them too liberally. I apologize whenever I notice that I've upset someone (although they're not always actually upset). If it's something serious, I often don't know what I'm apologizing for and that comes across to the person I'm apologizing to.



bigwheel
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30 Nov 2012, 8:34 pm

I tend to appeal to Thumper's Mother on deals like this. If you dont have something nice to say keep your mouth shut..lol. paraphrasing. Or as somebody say the Eyetalian Mamas train their children..You got twoa ears and one mouth so shutta your face..lol. Which hearkens me back to one of the best tips my dear Deceased Daddy was fond of saying..It is far better to remain silent and be thought a fool..than to speak aloud and remove all doubt. Think he borrowed that one off a famous person. Uncle Ben maybe? Sterling advice. I am going to start following the program one of these days.



hmstmil
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01 Dec 2012, 5:47 pm

AlmaBrown wrote:
I get that. I know what they want from the interaction even if I don't quite understand why something is bothering them. They want me to make them feel better. However, I can't make them feel better. Just because I don't understand their problems doesn't mean that I don't care about the people themselves. My attempts to cheer them up are often perceived as false or making things worse...


Sometimes it might not be the right thing to do to try to cheer them up. If a person is very upset over something, and you are trying to get them to get over it, they might think you are implying they are wrong for feeling the way they do.

They are coming to you because they want you to make them feel better, yes. But most of the time, what makes them feel better is telling their story. For a story to be told, it must be heard. That is what they need you for. The more you appear to care about what they are saying and how they are feeling, the more they feel "heard".

It can be hard to show them you care when you don't understand the problem. It might help to try to make yourself accept what the person says as fact instead of trying to make sense of the feelings they describe. I think of it kind of like a geometry proof. Certain facts are given as part of the problem. Your job is not to evaluate whether the given info is true. You just take it for granted that it is true, because doing so is necessary for solving the problem.

Your thought pattern is going: "you're upset about your ex being a douche? Why?" Instead, try, "Okay, I see that you are upset. You are my friend, so I care that you are upset. Nevermind that I personally wouldn't be upset in this situation. I will listen to you talk about it bc I know you want to feel like someone hears you/understands."

Then you have the issue you mentioned in your original post- how to lie convincingly. You don't have to lie. You just have to change focus. Your friend is hurt and listening will make her feel better. Try hard to show her you are listening: nod occasionally, avoid looking distracted while she's talking, ask her questions and most of all, validate. Validate her feelings and what she says.