Social Interaction and Neurodivergence Or Life as a Socially Awkward Weirdo

You know, of course, that the name of this blog is “A Socially Awkward Weirdo”. There’s a reason for that: I’m weird and I’m socially awkward. Today, I thought I’d get into social interaction and neurodivergence and how that impacts my weirdness. Really, these things show up in a few different ways, some of which I’ve mentioned in past entries. Sometimes, it’s related to executive dysfunction (like when I can’t figure out how to begin a task). Others, it’s due to the fact that I cannot get my fucking head around how others think (aka mindblindness). And, there’s the baffling array of social cues that make abso-fucking-lutely no goddamn sense. And, we’re going to talk about them today. So, buckle up, bitches, this going to be a wild-ass ride.

A Baffling Array of Social Shit

There are a thousand little things that humans employ to communicate and I seem to suck at every fucking one. Like, I can’t make eye contact. Apparently, I believe that if I do, one of us will burst into flames. Might be me, might be you. I don’t know. Okay, that one may not be autism. It’s hard to say. It’s kind of a mess inside my head. But you already know that, don’t you? And, then, there’s the handshake. What can I say about these goddamn nightmares? A fuck ton. Like, a metric one. I never know when to do it, how tightly I should grip the other person’s hand, how long it should last, whether… well, you get the point. Fist bumps, one of the few decent customs to come out of the pandemic, are a little better since there are fewer options to navigate. But, early on, I was so conditioned to shaking hands that I almost shook someone’s proffered fist. It’s funny when that happens on television. In real life? Not so much.

Socially Fucking Tonedeaf

To continue in this particular vein, I do not pick up on nonverbal communication. A few years ago, I was hanging out a local comedy club, waiting for the show to begin when this very attractive woman started chatting. Now, I am so not good at fucking small talk but I also know that it’s rude not to engage when someone else kicks it off. So, I gave it my best effort. And, it was actually going well. The conversation flowed easily. She even complimented me, saying that she’d seen me on stage and thought I was funny. Like I said, it was going well… until it wasn’t. The conversation dried up when I mentioned I had a girlfriend, at which point she “noticed” her friend had arrived. About 30 seconds after she left, I thought, “Wait, was she flirting with me? I think she was flirting with me.” She was doing all the stuff body language experts point to as signals of flirting: playing with her hair, leaning forward, laughing at the stupid shit, I said. And, I missed every fucking bit of it. Basically, the bottom line here is that if there’s something you want to know or need me to know, your best bet is to spell that shit out. In detail. Otherwise, it’s going right over my fucking head.

Read the Room, Dumbass

I have an incredibly dark sense of humor. Generally, things that horrify and/or gross out other people make me laugh like hell. Once, I was reading about the Rubik’s cube on Wikipedia and–because rabbit hole–three hours later, I was looking at an article about Joseph Pujol, a flatulist; which according to the dictionary is, and I quote, “an entertainer (sometimes considered a comedian) whose routine consists solely or primarily of passing gas in a creative, musical, or amusing manner” Now, it’s not rare for someone to enjoy dark humor, a lot of people do. Most of them, however, understand that there’s a time and place for this kind of humor Me, though? I had to tell everyone I fucking met about this delightful bit of knowledge. Some people appreciated it and laughed along with me. Others? Not so much. The skill of reading a room is one that I have yet to acquire.

I Should Not Have Said That

This one is sort of an extension to the previous item because, due to my ADHD, I’m slightly impulsive and can be a bit a blurter. You know how sometimes you say something and, as the words are leaving your mouth, you think “I should not have said that”? That’s pretty much an everyday occurrence for me. Imagine your very Baptist ex-spouse telling you that you’re going to hell for the stuff you do and before you can stop yourself, you respond, “Well, I’m sitting here talking to you, so…” (If you’re wondering if that actually happened, I plead the Fifth). It’s not always like that, however. Sometimes, I just skip over that “I should not have said that” part and double down on my original offensive comment. I have been a full fucking minute into an argument over something I said before it even dawns on me that I shouldn’t have said it in the first place. There are times when I wonder how the fuck I have any friends at all.

I Feel Like I May Have Underdelivered

So, I promised “a wild-ass ride” at the beginning of this post and, if I’m being honest, I feel like I may have underdelivered. I realize that I could be wrong, of course. I mean, I live with this shit all the time so it feels just another fucked-up day to me. But for you, it could sound completely batshit crazy. And, the fact that I wrote this over the course of a week probably colors my perception whereas you’re getting smacked in the fucking face with all this insanity in the course of about 5 minutes. It’s the difference between sipping water from a tall glass and getting blasted in the face by a goddamn fire hose. So, whether you feel cheated by the utter mundanity of my socially awkward life or overwhelming inundated by sheer fucked-up-ness of it, I apologize. Like, so goddamn profusely. I would promise to do better but we both know that’s not going happen.