Does anybody else feel like they don’t have normal interests

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MiloTheStrange
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19 Apr 2021, 12:23 pm

An implication from the one of the criteria for Asperger’s: “Encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal in intensity or focus” is an obsession with a very specific topic that may be abnormal and to the exclusion of other activities.

Now, plenty of aspies I’ve met seem to know a good deal about a lot of different things, such as celebrities, pop culture, books, movies, video games, sports, clothing, food, and other common everyday things. I’ve always felt severely lacking in this area, as in, I don’t know much outside of my narrow obsessions, which can sometimes be obscure to the point where literally nobody else is interested in them (such as my school’s grading system). Sometimes my obsessions line up with something from pop culture, such as Steven Universe and The Simpsons, but even then I find that most people watch many shows besides those and as a result, have much more that they can talk about with everyone besides me. Basically, my interests make it feel like there is little I can connect with people on, and little I can talk about or share and relate to others with. I see others able to talk about a wide variety of topics, and I cannot join the conversation as I know nothing about the said topic. While this is the implied result from having narrow interests, it doesn’t seem to be something that I see in aspies very much, which makes me wonder if my experience is normal for Asperger’s or if it’s just something unique to me. Also, what can I do about it, realistically? How can I relate to others better, since I cannot force myself to learn about something that I am not truly interested in. Also sorry if this is the wrong place to post this.



dragonsanddemons
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19 Apr 2021, 12:52 pm

I think the closest I’ve gotten to a “normal” interest is animals, but even there my primary interest (as a female) was arthropods. I distinctly remember one time at recess showing some other girls a beetle I’d found and being completely baffled when their response was “Eew!”

As for “pop culture,” my interests tend to be things that used to have some popularity but don’t have as much by the time I discover them (according to my interests, I should’ve been born fifteen years or so earlier, so I’d be old enough to have access to my interests when they first came out; incidentally I share a birth year with several of my interests). Or super specific, such as one particular Pokemon (that is not Pikachu). I love body horror, but am not particularly interested in other kinds of horror movies (possession/haunting and slasher movies tend to basically be the same as all the other movies of that ilk, I got bored of it pretty quickly, there has to be something different that I find interesting for me to be, well, interested - and I’ll stop there before I go off on even more of a tangent :lol: ).

I used to attend a social skills group where most of the people there had Asperger’s/HFA back before COVID and lymphoma, and I was usually shut out of conversations there because they were about things I have no interest or knowledge in. Plus it was really designed for people who are ready or will soon be ready to work, live independently, etc, and such things are completely off the table for me, ever, but that’s a whole nother topic.


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Mona Pereth
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19 Apr 2021, 1:17 pm

Hi from a fellow New Yorker!

MiloTheStrange wrote:
Basically, my interests make it feel like there is little I can connect with people on, and little I can talk about or share and relate to others with. I see others able to talk about a wide variety of topics, and I cannot join the conversation as I know nothing about the said topic. While this is the implied result from having narrow interests, it doesn’t seem to be something that I see in aspies very much, which makes me wonder if my experience is normal for Asperger’s or if it’s just something unique to me. Also, what can I do about it, realistically? How can I relate to others better, since I cannot force myself to learn about something that I am not truly interested in.

I'm similar to you. Totally out of touch with most of pop culture, and I've been that way all my life.

But I've managed to have a reasonably good social life, by leveraging my special interests, e.g. by organizing groups and creating resources devoted to same.

For at least one of those special interests of yours that are shared by at least some people, I recommend that you:

1) Create a well-organized website devoted to one of your interests. Begin with a well-organized list of links to the better already-existing websites on the topic. Then add pages that share your own personal perspective on the topic, and perhaps also a news page with brief summaries and links to relevant news stories. (I, and other people, here, can give you more detailed advice on building websites if you ask about this in the Computers, Math, Science, and Technology sub-forum.)

2a) As soon as the pandemic dies down, use Meetup.com to find and join a local groups devoted to your interests. Being the author of a relevant resource will help you interact with people, by giving you more things to talk about, although you should ask the leader's permission before promoting your website in any way.

2b) If such a group does not already exist, or if you are dissatisfied with the already-existing group(s), use Meetup.com to create one. (I'll give you more detailed advice on this if you ask.) If you choose to create a group, consider carefully how it will differ from other groups that already exist. Be that as it may, here in NYC, it should be relatively easy to attract members.

3) Try to learn leadership skills. If you're like me, you might find leadership skills easier to learn than some of what most people consider to be ordinary social skills. (See this page on my website, containing links to various leadership skills tutorials. See also Autistic-friendly social skills vs. blending in with NT's.)

What are your current main hobbies / special interests, by the way?

Also, what is your career goal, if you've decided on one?

EDIT: I just now noticed, in another thread, that you are concerned about your ability to attract women. That being the case, both the suggested website and the suggested Meetup group should, if possible, be devoted to a topic that is of interest to a substantial number of women as well as men.


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Last edited by Mona Pereth on 19 Apr 2021, 4:40 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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19 Apr 2021, 1:36 pm

My interests ARE "normal", they are just not very popular.


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19 Apr 2021, 1:41 pm

If everybody, all the time, had "normal" interests, we'd still be in caves hunting every day for our food.

It's the eccentrics who inspired the exponential growth, in many ways, of humanity.