We've all been there: you say something offhand or ask a question and away they go! The aspie who lectures is often avoided second only to the aspie who loves to share their obsessions.
Many non-aspies think this tendency to lecture people is a part of being an obsessive aspie - it comes across that way, after all. To the outsider, the aspie in mid-lecture looks very much like the aspie in mid-obsessive monologue. There is the same bright gleam in the eye, the same body language, often the same mannerisms, all designed to make the listener pay greater attention and go away converted.
It might surprise you to know that aspies who give lectures are actually far removed from just sharing their obsessions. The difference between an obsessive monologue and an informative lecture are apparent if you look at the intention behind them.
The aspie who wants to share their obsession truly wants to convert you. They don't want to just tell you about their great love and its many wonders; they want you to love it too, at least as much as they do. There is a fervent expectation running through the aspie's whole being as they share everything they know about their pet subject.
The aspie who lectures you does so only for your own good, to help you or to save you from something. The subject of the lecture will be close to the aspie's heart, but more often from hard experience. They want to help you avoid their mistakes or learn from their triumphs.
The fact that a lecture and an obsession often come across as the same thing is a source of frustration in the aspie world. Imagine if you had to give a talk on fire safety, knowing that it could save the lives of your audience. And then imagine giving the talk while your audience tries to get away, talks over you, checks their phone, changes the subject or suddenly sees someone they know and tries to escape.
How would you feel, knowing you were telling them something important only to have them behave as if you were some mad bloke they met on the bus, with a ticket collection? It isn't good, is it, to have important information treated in the same way as your easily-dismissed obsession.
The aspie is seen as an inconvenience at times, to be humoured and guided away from their troublesome pet subjects. We know how it is. However taken up we are with sharing our obsession, we can still tell when you're trying to get away or not really listening. We just can't often resist the temptation to keep on trying until you see things as we do.
It is far worse, though, to have something important to share and be treated in the same way as always. Do you not even listen to the first sentence? Do you switch off as soon as we start to speak?Or is it the subtle change in our body language that tips you off and sends you running?
I've had the experience many times of trying to give someone information that could save them a whole load of trouble, money or hard-earned time, only to be dismissed or humoured, as if I was a five year old explaining how butterflies come from caterpillars.
Worse, sometimes the information is treated with derision or impatience, as if what I have to say cannot matter, because it comes from me.
I've reached the stage where, with certain people, I hold my peace and let them get on with it. I know I can help them, give them at least part of the key to solving their problems or advancing more quickly. But you do get tired of being ignored, you know?
So, don't be too quick to vacate the room if you meet the lecturing aspie. We might not be at our most scintillating in lecture-mode - it is possibly one of our most boring settings - but if you stick around and listen, you might find out something useful.
And like all good lectures, you should at least look as if you're paying attention, because you never know when we will be asking questions afterwards.
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