Socializing as an Autistic: The Burden of Second Guessing

It happens like this. One day I ran into someone at a gas station that I had not seen for a while. It was nice to see them and I enjoyed seeing them. However, as I drove away, an old familiar though process kicked in. —

  1. Did I say the right things?
  2. Did I forget to say something?
  3. Should I have extended my hand for a friendly handshake?
  4. Should I have given a quick hug?
  5. Did I look at the person’s face enough?
  6. Did I look at their face too much?
  7. Did my eyes dart around too much and make them uncomfortable?
  8. Boy, I sure hope that they enjoyed talking with me.
  9. And so on…  

This is the burden that I seem to have to bear during, and after, nearly every social interaction that I have with people. I feel so out of place, like a fish out of water.

Even though people should understand that my social skills will be spotty because I am Autistic, I rarely come away from social interactions without second guessing myself.  

I don’t know if I will ever be able to feel like I am totally getting these things right. Please know that I am concerned about doing the right things. Please know that I really do enjoy catching up with my friends. Please don’t ever get the idea that I don’t like you if you see me being awkward, or uncomfortable, during any social encounter. I really do like talking with you even if I am not that good at it. I am friendly even if it doesn’t’ always seem readily apparent. 

Thank you for your understanding of my Autistic social anxieties. Please remember that I am trying hard to do the right things. My mind is racing behind the conversation to come up with the right words. Please allow me a little extra time to process my thoughts. Please know that I value your time, attention, and friendship. 

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Categories: Autism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Socializing as an Autistic: The Burden of Second Guessing

  1. merelyquirky

    That is almost exactly my thought process/anxiety attack. Thanks for saying so well why I find social situations sooo exhausting.

  2. Elizabeth Stephenson

    As the Mom of an Aspie, may I add, “tell me about yourself. Sometimes I forget to ask or don’t know WHAT to ask, but I’m intereted!”

  3. Canuck Mama

    I dont want to diminish your feelings and thoughts, but I wanted to re-assure you that many NTs have some similar thoughts, especially those of us who are introspective and analytical.

  4. lia...

    i am not autistic and i relate

  5. Exactly! Thank you for writing this.

  6. Hi5! Happy Autism Awareness & Acceptance!
    ‘EnoyHi5!Autism’ social networks are featuring this ‘Autistic Aloha’ at http://enjoyhi5autism.blogspot.com, and on http://www.facebook.com/EnjoyHi5Autism.

  7. Pingback: Socializing as an Autistic: The Burden of Secon...

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