The season of expectations - an aspie at New Year

The season of anticipation is over and the season of expectations begins.

As Christmas approaches, we hope for things, even as adults. We hope it will be all right, that we will be able to cope and that we won't get any of those awful, well-meaning presents which expect us to throw out our old, beloved possessions in favour of shiny new ones. We hope to enjoy the season.

With New Year, the goalposts shift so much it's hard to tell if you're on the pitch anymore. Suddenly, the nostalgic cheer of Christmas is replaced with a manic social interaction where people you barely know feel compelled to wish you a happy new year! grinning belligerently while you decide how to respond.

Yes, I know the response is 'happy new year', but I don't like new year and it always comes out in a mumble where I sound like I'm wishing them ill. So, I often end up doing the next worst thing and saying 'Thanks!' with the brightest smile I have and hurrying off.

Then people with their damn-fool resolutions. Please, save me from the resolutions and save yourself from having me point out you've made the same resolutions year after year and are no slimmer, wiser or richer than you were when we first met.

If asked, or forced, I admit to fake resolutions. In reality, my only resolution every year is not to get so overwhelmed in January that it takes me until March to recover. This is not what people want to hear, so I say something like eat healthily or exercise more. They don't ever question this as I'm well known for my biscuit eating and sloth-like ways.

Also, even though it happens every year (almost like clockwork) New Year as a celebration always feels like it is sprung on me. Christmas is in the shops from the end of Summer and has to be prepared for in a different way, meaning even the most narrow-focused person cannot escape the build-up to the Christmas season.

New Year is right after Christmas and it feels like the tree is still shaking in the corner when we are expected to throw off the shackles of the old year and welcome in the new. It means people have an excuse to be noisy, get drunk, dance in the street and do all manner of intrusive and sociable things which make me want to get out the catapult.

Yes, I know when it comes to the new year I am a grouch. I really am. I'm a nostalgia freak at the best of times, so new year is the reminder that I move forward without people who used to fill my life. It makes me worry that I won't be up to the challenge of the new year, the unknown lying waiting around the corner.

Really, how many of us embrace the unknown? The secret fear is that it is a beast, waiting just out of sight, slaver dripping from its jaws. The future is to be cheered and welcomed when we know what is in it. I believe a wise person treats the complete unknown with caution.

So this new year I will be looking forward to the good things I am planning. Rather than a wholesale welcome to the future, I will stand just behind the door and usher in January as if it is liable to kick on its way past.

I do wish you what you hope for in the new year. I even hope you stick to your resolutions, just so we don't have that awkward moment in April when I ask you how the skydiving is going.

Just don't expect me to be comfortable with the new year until it's been around a while. I need time to get used to new things and this is a big one, you know? Come back to me in February and I might be ready.

And don't be expecting me to sing Auld Lang Syne in a room full of other people while we all hold hands. I like to start my new year the way I mean to carry on, thank you very much.


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Understanding the Tone of Voice

I had a Tone of Voice inflicted on me yesterday. Luckily, it came with a set of instructions on what I was meant to do with it so I didn't have to guess what I'd done wrong or how I had been a terrible person - this time.

How many times do other people use tones of voice to get their message across without a set of instructions though? Many times I've been subjected to seemingly normal sentences delivered in a sorrowful/angry/irritated/name-your-poison tone of voice which made no sense in relation to what was being said.

I believe this comes under the heading of 'but you should know'.

For instance, we may be having a conversation about where to go for lunch and the words would follow what I was expecting, such as what time, where to meet, where to have lunch and who else is coming along. All of this might be normal.

Replay this conversation with the other person using a short, huffy tone, as though you just ate their last chocolate or kicked their mother's behind and it stops making sense. It becomes a very awkward conversation as I am answering questions and replying to the right things but the other person's tone of voice suggests there is another agenda.

I have found that when people behave this way they either want me to notice so I can be the one who 'starts' it by asking what's wrong or, maddeningly, they don't want to discuss what is wrong but do expect me to know what I've done.

Readers, life is short enough and tiring enough without having to play this pointless guessing game, especially when the reason behind the latest tone of voice turns out to be something we were completely unaware of or was an innocent mistake.

As an aspie of long-standing social clumsiness, I am used to being in the wrong and being to blame for things, but that doesn't mean I instinctively know each time what I have done. Sometimes, no matter how angry or sorrowful the tone of voice, I still don't know what I've done. And just occasionally I haven't done anything at all!

So I would like people to do what I have often requested and just spit it out. Tell me the problem, lay it in front of me and let me look at it. Let's talk about it like grown-ups and not behave like a small child who needs persuading to do what is good for them.

Life is so much easier if we just use the tone of voice to match the words we are speaking at the time and not the tone of voice to match the internal monologue which, to be honest, no one else can hear.


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The Christmas Aspie

The perfect image of Christmas, what would it be? So many of them are full of joy and colour, light and noise. Where did the solitude go? The safe places? The get-out clause (no pun intended) which means you can vacate the scene if it's all too much?

No stone is left unturned at Christmas when we are meant to be brighter, better versions of ourselves with more kindness and time to spare for our fellows. With this level of pressure, is it any wonder that aspies don't cope?

It all changes at Christmas, when the normal rules don't apply. You can't avoid your obligations or say you don't feel like it - if you do, then you have Failed, readers, failed at Christmas! How dramatically awful!

I don't want to fail at Christmas, I just want a Christmas that suits me rather than shaping the season to fit everyone else.

I don't do parties, or even gatherings. I don't care about cards, so rarely send them. I like fairy-lights and tinsel, the glittery side of the season. I like to dress the cat up and take his picture for Facebook. I like to take the dog out in his Santa suit.

I don't really want to interact with real human beings dressed up for Christmas as that tends to bring out the hugs in people and the kisses and the pushing to have a drink, when I don't drink anything stronger than Tropicana.

I like the old fire at Christmas, the light in the darkened room, the sense that this season brings us closer to all the people who went before, sitting in their safe places while the wind howled tales of dread and demons.

I love the lights on the trees as I pass by, the feeling that they bring some element of magic to our winter nights, reminding me of childhood days when I went fairy hunting in summer and laid traps for elves in winter (sorry, yes, that was me).

I really like the idea that Christmas is a time of giving, of becoming a little of the person you hoped to be, without caving into the pressure of doing what you think you should. There is such a vast difference there.

Most of all, I like the quiet days after Christmas when everyone has gone home and I am safe to sit by the fire, dreaming away the time as winter slumbers on.


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Completely alone

I have the perfect present for you: a secret door leading to a normal room. There isn't much in there, we're not talking about somewhere to hole up for hours at a time. But it is completely private.

You don't have to label it as your own. There's no need to tell people over and over again until you are sick of the sound of your own voice Not to Come IN. It doesn't have to be locked because no one else will ever see it.

Can you imagine it, readers? Complete privacy in the confines of your own home. No need to think about keeping people out or hiding from the world. Just a simple door to a simple room where you can be wholly, utterly alone with no chance of anyone knocking to see if you want toast or a trip to the shops or to get around to those jobs you've been putting off.

You see, sometimes hiding under a blanket won't do and it takes agility to make it behind the sofa in time. Windows are necessary in a house but really have their drawbacks, unless you splashed out and got one-way glass.

Sometimes, you need an extra door for no one but you where it is truly safe and really your own. Not just until somebody else needs you or thinks you've been alone for long enough.

Readers, close the door softly lest they hear it click and come looking. And don't come out until you're ready.


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How to talk to non-aspies

Someone found my blog by searching 'How to talk to non-aspies'. So many people find me by searching the opposite - how to talk to aspies. It struck me as much more useful to learn how to talk to non-aspies, as it's something so many of us struggle with.

Non-aspies hold positions of great power, in society and in our lives. They are the coping ones, the managing, the holding down the job, two kids, mortgage and small pottery business while we aspies struggle to manage the new tap on the bathroom sink, let alone going out to conquer the universe..

Talking to non-aspies can be complicated as they often want to know things but have a very poor way of expressing themselves. It is the non-aspie who needs to know what on earth you find difficult about the new tap and learning how to tell them, in ways they will understand, can seem like an uphill struggle.

When they ask why the bathroom is flooded, we tell them the new tap did it. Of course, the tap had an aspie attached to it at the time, so the non-aspie will try again: Why did we flood the bathroom?

At this point it's very tempting to wonder (perhaps out loud) if the non-aspie is stoopid. I mean, we already told them the tap is to blame. Obviously! But what the non-aspie is looking for is the reason why we, the attachee of the tap, managed to flood the bathroom again.

They want to know what we did, you see. They want to find out how it is possible for an intelligent person to not be able to use a tap simply because it is different from the old one. And also, while we're at it, they want to know why we left the tap on long enough for the bathroom to flood.

Instead of asking these things, they ask why we flooded the bathroom. This implies a level of blame we simply refuse to recognise. The tap is at fault, the water from the tap flooded the bathroom. Our presence in the vicinity has little to do with these facts, it could have happened to anyone (it's always us, though).

Don't ask me why non-aspies prefer to speak in code instead of just going for the real questions. I think perhaps they have some kind of social awareness issue, where they expect others to guess what they are thinking without having to say it. They maybe think we are all on some giant psychic pulse where we know the insides of their heads like the insides of the biscuit barrel.

So, when speaking to non-aspies I suggest you keep it simple. They like answers, even though they often claim we give the wrong ones. Try asking them what they want to know and see if that clears it up more quickly. Rather than guessing what they want, say something like, 'Did you want to know why the bathroom flooded?'

As we've discovered, they want to know why we flooded the bathroom, so turning the question around is likely to get their attention, even if they appear a little agitated at having it returned to sender.

Once you have their attention, do not abuse this privilege by asking them how they expect you to cope with a new tap when they know full well you don't read instructions. And don't moan on about how much better the old tap was when you know it leaked for two years. Try asking them to watch you use the blasted thing and see if you can figure out why it keeps flooding the bathroom.

You see, talking to non-aspies does involve focus and dedication on the part of the aspie. It's always worth repeating what they have said to see if you have it right, and then keeping calm when they lose theirs. This method does work in the end and means you will both be focused on the questions that matter, rather than spending half an hour of your precious time waiting for the non-aspie to figure out which question they really like.

In the end, talking to non-aspies requires patience and some foresight. Keep in mind their habit of dodging the real questions and try to make them hone their attention so you can help them understand what you are saying.

Remember, they always assume you know exactly what they mean, regardless of the many times you failed this test before. And they haven't yet figured out not everyone is psychic.


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Susan Boyle and Adults with Aspergers - Mumsnet featured blog post

(This blog post was originally published on the Mumsnet website as a featured blog post and later blog post of the day)

When I first heard that Susan Boyle had been diagnosed with Aspergers, I had to stop and remember that this was something new, that she hadn't been an aspie before. To me, she has always been 'one of us', in her way of speaking and presenting herself, her difficulties with the world and her unique talent. The public Susan seems very much like the private one would be and this is the first place we stumble, as the public aspie is only what we have learnt to show the world, no matter how honest and direct we might be in all things.

In many ways, being an adult aspie is like being a ping-pong ball in a tennis court. You know you have the shape about right, you know you have to be batted about by life and bounce back, but somehow you don't quite fit. You get thwacked with a racket and find yourself shooting out of range, lying in the corner with the dead leaves and a lost shoe while the proper tennis balls whizz about, making it look easy.

Being an adult aspie can be a very lonely, isolating experience, especially as a woman. Women in general are good at holding things together; they manage their lives and the lives of their families, they do jobs, school runs, care for relatives and make everything all right in time for tea.

All of us have extra stresses which make life complicated and I would never want to diminish what other people have to go through. It's just I know I speak for many other aspies, men and women, when I say that managing  life is hard enough without any of the normal stresses, let alone the extra ones that life occasionally throws at us all.

On a good day, I could run this country or figure out a cool and exciting way to populate Mars; on a bad day I can't open the door to the postman without feeling like sandpaper is being rubbed across my psyche.

Getting a diagnosis of aspergers can be a very important first step in understanding why you feel the way you do; it can be the vital push you need to help yourself cope with life and become the person you always wanted to be. Fulfilling your potential begins with knowing where to start looking for yourself.

Sometimes, what we all need is  information which tells us it's okay, it's all right, we were meant to be this way. We need permission to love ourselves, to see in our quirks and eccentricities the kind of light other people have always seen in us.

In her interview, Susan Boyle says "I think people will treat me better because they will have a much greater understanding of who I am and why I do the things I do." This is what she hopes will change. She does not want to change herself and thinks the diagnosis will not change her life - she simply wants other people to treat her better.

I hope she gets what she wants, I really do, but in my experience people see the adult first and the aspergers often somewhere else down the line. We are fully grown, we are expected to behave like we know what we are doing. And often we do!

How awkward we are, looking like adults and usually acting like them, only to go on and have a meltdown in the middle of Tesco because that old woman pushed past me again and hit my bag and the lights are too bright, the self-service tills are making too much noise and where on earth was I meant to be going after this?!

What adults with aspergers need, above all things, is just what Susan says she needs - other people to be kinder and more understanding, so that we feel safe to break down and then be picked up again. For all the days when I have the sun shining on my face, I would give an awful lot to have someone near on darker days, when my hand shakes as I go out of the door.

We can learn to work with our aspergers and grow as people but might always have that sensation of being spun away from everyone else. We need to feel that even as we are spinning and the world is flying out in every direction, that we will come to rest and be able to stand up, dust ourselves down and try again. And that someone will be waiting nearby, to make it a little softer and a little kinder while we live our glorious lives.


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We have to be our own hero

There is a scene in Spirited Away when Chihiro has to face her fears and use a massively steep flight of stairs. It is old and rickety too, so every move she makes feels like she will catapult herself off the edge and to certain death.

When she first uses the stairs, she sits on her bottom and tries to shuffle down, one by one. This is safe but she is still petrified. Later she is forced to run down them: she doesn't intend to run, it's just that once she's on her feet, momentum gets the better of her and away she goes.

Once she starts running, she has to speed up or fall, there are no other choices. She runs faster and faster, little hands in the air and hair flying out behind her, going almost too fast to know if she is succeeding.

At the bottom she is on a wider ledge and feels safer, but then has to move on to the next unknown part of her journey and face more challenges. Throughout Spirited Away, Chihiro is constantly challenged, physically, mentally, emotionally and has to grow and adapt to survive and to save her parents.

By the end of the film she has progressed so much that she can save her parents without doubting herself. She has finally cast off the shackles of who she was and is ready to embrace her new life. She has also learnt to appreciate what she had before.

Yes, I feel this way on public transport too

This is what so many of us aim for, to be able to get past all the hurdles and be there, at the triumphant end of the movie when it has all turned out well, we have saved the day and now understand ourselves and our place in the world. It sounds like a human version of perfection, to have this sense of knowledge, composure, belonging.

I admire Chihiro in this movie. I like that she isn't afraid to show her fear, that she isn't a go-getting hero who faces death and never quavers. She just keeps on trying: resolutely and with as much confidence as she can muster, she pushes herself towards every obstacle and hopes it will be all right in the end.

I really hate lifts

That is how it really is, as the heroes of our own stories. There is no magic pill or fairy godmother. There are people along the way who can help, but mostly we have to help ourselves. And there are many challenges which feel like a long, rattling, angled staircase which we have to use or die.

I know many days as an aspie feel more like the middle of this film and not the end. How often I feel like I'm on that staircase, hair flying out behind me, hands raised to keep my balance as I catapult myself into the next unknown. The only control I seem to have is to run or fall, and sometimes they turn out to be the same thing.

Other people are always the problem

Readers, here's to all those times when you felt the stairs move under your feet and had no one waiting to catch you. I salute us all for still having the courage to run down them, even if it was a forced choice and not a decision.

In the end, if you are running for your life, it doesn't matter where you started. You are doing it and hoping for the best. Heroic finale or not, every challenge is worth appreciating, and so are we.


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Tis the season to be aspie

The usual Christmas things apply at this time of year and one of those is the time-honoured penance known as Christmas Shopping. Personally, I buy online and any shops I visit are because I want to savour the atmosphere, or get some nice decorations. And then I go as close to closing time as possible.

Last week I found myself the designated driver for a Christmas day out with my mother, IT Teen and IT's new girlfriend (hereby known as IT Girl). We were all going in my car to a big shopping centre on the other side of the country. What fun!

After a full journey of trying to be sociable and not grunt when someone talked to me, we arrived at the shopping centre. Only then did I remember something fairly important: I don't actually like shopping!

IT and IT Girl dumped us in favour of a romantic day without me and my mother pretending not to watch them. I spent the next four hours wandering behind my mother, walking through massed crowds of eagle-eyed shoppers all piling unnecessary STUFF into their baskets.

It was like a strange, alternate reality where I was faced with behaviour not familiar enough for me to copy. I felt completely alienated.

At one point, in the glory that is Primark, I took a look around me and just couldn't do it. Off out the shop I went to the walkway outside. Still too many people but room to breathe. For a moment in there it was as if every face was lit with an uncanny and manic light, full of strange emotions I would never feel and none of them quite human.

I waited outside until the demonic visualisation had died down and tried again. Weaving my way through the crowds I found my mother clutching a bag full of shopping and looking at me along the edge of her nose - you know the look, when people understand you're going to have a meltdown and are trying to work out if they have enough time to take you somewhere less populated.

I coped with the rest of the day, mainly by zoning out as much as possible. Unfortunately this meant I wasn't really present or a full part of our day out. It's a shame when you have to choose between not coping at all or disconnecting as a way of struggling through.

Next time I might take a book and schedule myself some time alone in the car. Or I'll bag a table in a nice, quiet cafe and growl at anyone who tries to join me. However much I don't like shopping, I'm likely to be the driver again next Christmas, so I might as well plan my strategy now. Maybe by then I'll have learned to love shopping. Loving crowds, though? It's never going to happen.


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Aspies are still liars...

Ever since this blog started, people have found it by searching 'aspies' and 'lying', along with the expected variations like 'are all aspies liars', 'lying aspies' and 'dishonest aspies'.

Lots of people are dishonest and lots of people lie - and aspies are people, you know. So, before I defend anyone, better to ask if your particular aspie is a liar, rather than do all aspies lie. But yes, I know what you mean.

It can come across as lying, can't it? The evasive look, not meeting your eye; the inability to commit or to answer your questions in the way you expect. The strange, complicated conversation you had when you tried to talk about something really important and ended up coming away with a new recipe for brownies instead.

We can be very. very evasive, I admit it. I can evade with the best of them, from avoiding any eye contact at all to actually fleeing the scene. It's all just part of the fight or flight reaction, and aspies FLY.

If I think you'll want me to have a heavy, in-depth talk about the state of our relationship, I'm flapping those wings before you've even finished the first sentence. If I suspect more is wanted of me than I am willing or able to give, I take a look around in case I need to run before I can launch.

Especially if I'm confused as to what someone actually wants, and I'm worried about it; then it makes so much more sense to flap off in another direction and wait for things to feel normal again before I show my face.

It's not lying, it's evasion and the difference is in the intention. Liars set out with a deliberate intent to deceive, often for their own gain. Evasive aspies just want life to be uncomplicated and to be able to move onto the next stage without having to work out the perils of this one.

Evasion and lying are like two small children in kindergarten. They both took a cookie from the tray before the teacher told them to. The liar took it and lied, because he wanted that cookie and he was ready for it now. The evasive aspie took it because she was passing and saw cookies and hadn't the teacher said they were all going to have cookies later? Was now later?

Having discovered now was not later, she becomes the evasive aspie, keen to get out of the latest trouble with no real clue as to how she got into it in the first place.

The trouble is, lying and evasion often end in the same way, with someone looking at you as if they're disappointed and you feeling like a big problem.

Lying and aspies may lead you to asperger blogs online but don't let the same search take you the wrong way when it comes to your own aspie. Make sure you know the difference between deceit and confusion, between subterfuge and fear. They may look the same from a distance but take a closer look and with less anger in your heart.

We are only people, in the end, and so are you.


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The politeness balloon

Sometimes I wish everyone was as direct as an aspie. For all the times we miss the point and get it wrong and say the worst thing that comes into our heads, we spare people the run-around of a pointless conversation-loop.

I have just had one of those infuriating conversations with a non-aspie where they have a specific thing they want to know. They have it right there, sitting up-front in the big boy chair, waiting to be seen and answered. So, what do they do?

Rather than be honest and find out what they want to know, I am subjected to a mind-numbing exchange of questions and hum-herm-ah comments where my answers to the questions obviously aren't hitting the mark.

That's the funny thing about not asking a direct question, though - you don't tend to get a direct answer!

Am I meant to know what it is behind the questions? Or am I meant to be seduced into something resembling politeness and not be offended by them asking directly? Am I happier, now that we have gone all around the houses, back out the side gate and down the lane to Aunty Joan's before getting to the right answer? Do I sound happy??

If this conversation had been with an aspie, it would have taken a few seconds.

Aspie 1: 'Oh yeah - hang on, my shoe lace has done that thing I hate - there! Now, what time are we getting back from Mars on Friday?'

Aspie 2: 'Probably about five, I have to detour to Pluto to pick up my new hum-a-bing.'

Aspie 1: 'Great! I need to be back before six so that's perfect.'

There, wasn't that easy? No one was hurt, it took no time at all and we even had a few extra seconds for re-tying shoelaces. Isn't life simple when you ask the question that is really in your mind, instead of all the little questions that are meant to make life softer?

Of course, I am being generous to aspies. I know that half the time the aspie wouldn't ask the question and only remember they needed to be back by six when we were still trying to get out of the Mars carpark at five-thirty. But, in general, if aspies are not ditracted by the shoelace before they speak and if they remember to speak in the first place, then a direct question will be asked - and answered.

Now, non-aspies, please, I beg of you, take it on trust that we are unlikely to be hurt or discomfited by a direct question. It is the shimmying around with the politeness balloon that drives us absolutely crazy. Really, it does. Be offensive if you like, but be quick about it and be honest. Then we can all get on with our lives!


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Communication is like a bucking bronco

There are two things needed for an honest conversation and only one of them is honesty itself.

The second thing you need, a vital ingredient to making the honesty work, is the ability to express yourself. Without this ability, honesty becomes just a momentary bolt for the door, or a brief splurge of feelings, as and when they happen.

It's rather like saying to the bread dough, 'Now, Dough, I've held up my part of the bargain: you have yeast, an oiled bowl and I've kneaded you straight through five songs and an ad break on the radio. Whenever the heck are you going to start rising?'

The bread would feel even more deflated at this, having no idea why it can't rise. Imagine the sad lump of dough in the bowl, still not touching the sides, still as you left it an hour ago. What can it be doing wrong?

The bread knows you did everything you could. It knows about the yeast, the bowl, the kneading. It remembers the endless radio noise as you went to work. It realises that now all it has to do is hold up one small part of the bargain, and rise.

What it doesn't know and what you forgot is that it needs some warmth too.

Without warmth, you will probably get some rising, eventually. You will still mainly have a sorry sight in the bowl though. It wasn't the dough's fault that you forgot it needed warmth, it only understands part of the process.

Okay, aspies are not bread dough, though we also require some warmth to grow. What I am trying to explain is, we rarely have the full picture, not when it comes to ourselves.

Sometimes, we are desperately wanting to express ourselves and be honest and all we manage is a small sentence on  how we aren't feeling too good. Often we divert and think we are ill instead, thanks to the twisting stomach and the frantic headache brought on by nerves.

Someone else might need to step in and remind us why we don't feel happy, or to ask pointed, direct questions to get to the heart of the matter. It is no good expecting answers when you haven't asked the right questions. How many times have I wondered, long after the event, what someone really wanted to know after a conversation with them! If only they had come out and said, without expecting me to remember or know.

Other times, people don't want you to be honest so they avoid asking the important questions, instead pretending to themselves (or conveniently deciding) that if they don't ask and it's really important to you, then you'll bring it up yourself, without them having to risk the question.

This is where stupid hurt feelings come in, as when the aspie trips gaily on their way, oblivious to all this tortured sub-text, the best beloved is left in the dust, full of self-pity at their heartless aspie and wondering what they did to deserve such cruelty.

If you would like to know how an aspie feels, ask and risk rejection or horror or the sight of heels disappearing in the opposite direction. But also be prepared to prompt and help along the conversation.

Do not push in and say, 'But you said you were desperate to go to Valencia!' only to have your aspie remember, quite clearly, that it was you who was desperate for a holiday in the sun. Try instead, 'What exactly worries you about Valencia?' (I have nothing against Valencia, by the way, feel free to go on holiday there with my blessing).

Be brave and ask questions, be forthright - give honesty in the hopes of receiving it. And do not, in any way, play games, expecting your aspie to know what their part is or that anyone is playing at all in the first place.

Above all, remember that communication is a constantly evolving, tumultuous beast, only dressed blithely in summer clothes because the human race decided communication had to be a civilised thing. In real, human relationships, where people want to communicate, not just get along or pretend to be friends, then communication is a primeval and vital component, ever-changing to suit the needs of the moment. It must be ridden like the bronco, steered as well as you can, holding on and feeling for the next move before it even happens.

This, after all, is what communication is like for aspies most days of the week. Try it in its basic, pre-dawn form and see how well you get on. At the very least, you'll start to see each other in a new light. Being kicked off into the dirt can do that for you.


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