The Difficult Art of Social Interaction

If only it were that goddamn simple

Okay, you all know how important my morning routine is to me, and a big part of mine is watching CBS Mornings. The format and the subject matter are generally interesting and I like the people–there was a brief hiccup when Nate Burleson took over for Anthony Mason (because I fucking hate change of any kind), but Nate won me over pretty quickly. Because of all of this, the show is comforting and a necessary part of my morning. Another aspect of CBS Mornings that I enjoy is the newest series from Steve Hartman, “Kindness 101”, where he features inspiring stories about, well, kindness. This morning, they ran one that got me thinking about just how fucking hard social interaction can be for those of us who are neurodivergent.

We Dine Together. Do We Have To?

The piece in question was about inclusion and focused on a young man named Denis Estimon and a club he started at Boca High School in Boca Raton, Florida. The club, “We Dine Together“, works to ensure that no student feels isolated and alone by having members eat lunch with kids who they see are eating alone. And, I have to say, I’m goddamn impressed. Estimon started this club when he was a popular high school senior and my experience of popular high school seniors does not fucking jibe with that sort of thing. Hartman, in the report, pointed out how much of a game-changer a little honest, earnest, attention from the popular kids can be for someone who feels marginalized and alone. And, I thought, sure, if you’re into that sort of thing.

The Last Fucking Thing I Want

I, however, am generally not “into that sort of thing”. To be perfectly honest, my ideal lunch period, whether at work or school, is a nice, quiet, secluded interval where I can rest and recharge a social battery that’s been drained by all the clueless, intrusive assholes that seem to populate my world. Social interaction is, to put mildly, over-fucking-whelming, containing a thousand little nuances that have to be navigated in a specific way or I come off as weird. It is, frankly, exhausting. Often, disconnection is a way of staying sane. So, as much as I appreciate it when someone makes the effort to reach out to me like the kids in “We Dine Together”, it’s usually the last fucking thing I want.

Okay, Sometimes I Do Want It… Until I Don’t

Okay, so it’s the last fucking thing I want… until I do. Because there are times when I crave social interaction like a certain former president (and, I just threw up in my mouth a little) craves the media’s attention. The thing is, though, I want that interaction on my terms. Like, talk to me, pay attention to me, be with me, all the fucking things. And then, when I’ve had enough, go… the… fuck…away. Right goddamn now, too. Do not pass fucking go, do not collect your two hundred goddamn dollars, and go directly to jail, you chucklefuck. And, it happens just that damn quickly, too.

It’s Not All Rainbows and Kittens

I’ve made no secret of my awkwardness in the social arena, with multiple posts laying it out in excruciating detail. While there are benefits to being the way I am, it’s not all rainbows and kittens. There are also some shitty aspects to it. Like the fact that I have a hard time making connections with other people and I often feel like I’m on the outside looking in. It’s a side effect of not understanding social conventions. Like just inviting yourself to things the way neurotypicals do. What the fuck is up with that? It’s like, you guys want to go to a function, so you just show the hell up. Meanwhile, I’m over here like a goddamn vampire, unable to join in unless I have been explicitly invited. The fucking struggle is real, y’all.

Social Interaction is a Bitch, But It’s Unavoidable. Goddamn It

The title of this post is “The Difficult Art of Social Interaction” and, damned if that’s not accurate. I don’t like social interaction and I am so not good at it. Do you know how thrilled I would be if there was a way I could just forego it altogether. No? Try “beyond fucking measure”. But that’s not really possible, is it? Because, as long as I live in a society, I have to interact with you fuckers. And, that takes skills that don’t come easy for me. “Happy little trees” aren’t my forte. “Large, angry rocks that I can throw to make you keep your goddamn distance” are more my style. I’m working on that but you might not want to join me for lunch anytime soon.