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Jayo
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23 Dec 2013, 7:26 am

Does anyone come up against this problem sometimes like I do? Often, with co-workers or my wife or occasionally with a friend or family member, I have to repeat myself like even three times. I know that I'm enunciating clearly and not stuttering, and feel (or felt) some conviction in what I was saying, I've often gotten a reply "I don't understand, what do you mean (by X)?" And these are not especially long-winded statements or explanations I've given.

I know that in the "NT World", that often "I don't understand" means "I don't agree with this at all" and maybe there's something in their nonverbal nuance that I'm not absorbing. Something with an annoyed tone of voice maybe, but one could conceivably use an annoyed tone if they genuinely didn't understand something, not necessarily because they didn't agree with it. Personally, I think it's very passive-aggressive to tell someone you don't understand something if you actually do, and you just disagree with it. If somebody told me "I have a different opinion on this" or "actually, I see this somewhat differently" - then I wouldn't hold it against them. But it just upsets me when they use "don't understand" as a cover for something more negative.

Of course, I've entertained the possibility that they might not understand what I say b/c it's not relevant to the central theme of the discussion (at work mainly) - it's that parts-to-whole issue that we struggle with, or central coherence as Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen wrote about. Other people can intuitively see how something spoken fits into a larger whole with relatively little effort compared to us; we might not see it right away without conscious analysis (which we don't have the time for in a normal exchange of dialogue w/o appearing spaced out), so that's one more factor contributing to our being perceived as having poor communication skills, unfortunately.



Pretzle
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25 Dec 2013, 11:44 am

I'm not sure it's the same but I get a lot of confusion in shopping situations.

For example when a cashier asks me whether or not I'd like a bag (or buy saving points, or get the receipt) I say clearly (or... at least I think I do) yes or no. They don't seem to get. This happens all the time. Maybe it's because I say 'no thanks' or 'yes please' (the thanks + please are not as common in the language I use in daily life) so that confuses them? But I started to say 'no' and shake my head in addition to saying no (or nodding for yes) to make it clearer. It always freaks me out when I have to repeat myself... or repeat myself twice.

And 'random thoughts' (seemingly random for outsiders) are a big one. If I've been thinking about something for minutes (or much longer) and 'suddenly' say something about those thoughts out loud, my partner is not always prepared for 1) me speaking and 2) the topic I'm saying something about. That combination can make it difficult for him to understand what I'm saying.

On the flipside, I've also had situations in which I could simply not understand what was being said. I've asked people to repeat themselves 3 or 4 times, and if by that time their utterance is still just a mess of sounds instead of words with meaning I usually give up. It doesn't happen often, but it's something I vividly remember because it's kinda weird and scary.



Ashariel
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25 Dec 2013, 3:12 pm

Yeah, I always have to repeat myself. I think I don't use enough inflection or emphasis in my voice, so it comes out sounding like a monotone string of syllables. :/



CockneyRebel
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25 Dec 2013, 3:42 pm

I've been through many similar situations myself. I usually find that the people I have to repeat myself to the most are usually typical younger women who are lazy listeners and are preoccupied with themselves. They remind me of the girls that I went to high school with.


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ASS-P
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23 Jun 2015, 3:34 pm

...Well .
Well .



boredome
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23 Jun 2015, 3:42 pm

I talk softly so people never hear what I say, and I often get told to repeat myself several times in a row. It infuriates me so much that I don't even want to have conversations with people and whenever someone asks me "what?" I want to tear their f*****g head off.

conversation is difficult


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LittleBlackCat
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24 Jun 2015, 5:39 am

My husband has told me (sadly on more than one occasion) that I don't need to repeat myself. The people I have been conversing with apparently did not respond not because they failed to hear/understand me the first time but because they simply weren't interested in what I was saying. Maybe this is a possibility on some occasions? (Comes under the autistic trait of not being able to tell when the listener is bored.)



Campin_Cat
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24 Jun 2015, 8:07 am

Well, since you said: "Of course, I've entertained the possibility that they might not understand what I say b/c it's not relevant to the central theme of the discussion (at work mainly).....", I'm thinking their saying: "I don't understand" MIGHT mean "I don't care", or "What does that have to do, with anything"; and your repeating yourself, in hopes of getting them to understand, only makes it even MORE frustrating, for all involved.









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MiLK
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24 Jun 2015, 9:03 am

Have you also considered that this may be not something to do with you being autistic but rather a cultural phenomenon? In my country we tell each other usually how things are but I know from other cultures that they don't like to use a direct approach where they even flat out lie that they would do something when they knew they wouldn't. Just to keep "relations" or the face of it smooth.



Paladin99
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24 Jun 2015, 9:20 am

I was very often misunderstood when I was younger, but nowadays I try my best to speak clearly, with a bit of cynical humor when I find it appropriate.
If I'm stressed out or people claim to misunderstand me, I bluntly ask whether I should repeat myself or they disagree with me. I found that directly and openly, yet not aggressively, admitting it's hard for me to understand some small things like certain nuances tends to make people more sympathetic and considerate towards me, and as a result they tend to be clearer with their intents.



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24 Jun 2015, 10:19 pm

Like LittleBlackCat, I learned some years ago that when nobody reacts to something I have said, it is usually because people were uninterested, embarrassed, or disapproving. Repeating the gaffe is counterproductive. It's best to move on, and ask my wife about it later when we're alone.

Sometimes, though, I just didn't put enough inflection into my voice, or "buried the lead". It's hard to tell the difference, though. Sometimes someone will say "what?" and I will try again with more inflection and leading with the most interesting point (or at least, what I guess might be the most interesting point to them). That often works.



compiledkernel
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24 Jun 2015, 10:33 pm

I get asked to repeat myself a lot.

Mainly because I tend to communicate in a very logical manner. This is often taken as unemotional, and those who are expecting emotional communication and get none, often become frustrated by this fact.

It usually means I have to communicate whatever it is differently. I attempt to do so, and as its still a logical expression, and emotional communicators ask me to repeat myself again.

This is likely why , as on a previous post, I tend to avoid conflict, those types of communication often become emotional, repetative, and not easily understood.


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Cyllya1
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25 Jun 2015, 12:52 am

Did they seem to not understand the actual words, or did they seem to understand the words but not the idea you were trying to communicate? Because, if they heard the words fine but didn't get the idea, you shouldn't repeat yourself. If they didn't get it the first time, saying the same thing again won't help. You have to find a different way to express the idea (or drop the topic).


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