Why don't you just grow up?

We've all been asked, 'When are you going to grow up?' So, knowing how aspies like to be prepared for difficult conversations, here is a handy guide. Keep it in your pocket and when someone asks a trigger question, whip it out and refer to it. They might be a little impatient for your answer but that's their problem. They asked a question so they can have an answer, in a minute.

Please note, not all answers are suitable for all questions. Do try to exercise judgement and don't mix them up just to make the conversation more interesting. You know how that turns out.

1: When are you going to grow up?
Usually asked in an exasperated tone. This means the person doesn't expect an answer, they simply expect a magical transformation. But they still want you to speak, so try:

When I feel like it! This may not inspire confidence in your listener.
I am grown up! Invites specific, awkward examples of why this is not true.
Gah! Insert your own special word to go with hand-flapping, head-holding and running off to dark corners.
Please don't speak to me that way. Very worrying for most people, they don't expect you to be grown up about things.

2: Why can't you just grow up?
It makes little sense but this is actually the same question as number 1. Yes, I know it invites a different answer. I mean, asking why you cannot grow up means you could explain how hard life can be or why you did a thing. People don't want to know that, they just want to exasperate at you.

Explain why you find grown up life so hard. Regardless of them not wanting to know this, their badly-phrased question can be used as a great way to discuss issues important to you. And there's no point in them arguing because, technically, they did ask.

3: You should try growing up!
It becomes ridiculous but yes, this is also number 1 wearing a different hat. This question is definitely more combative though. The asker wants to goad you for not being a grown up as well as pointing out you are immature. Obviously, having this agenda and not being able to properly phrase a question means they are not doing a great job of being mature themselves. If you really have to respond, try:

If you will, I will! Not the best response but usually the one quickest to your lips.
I don't want to! People expect this from you. If you feel like leaving quickly, then give them what they want and then leave. If you want to seriously annoy them...
Say nothing and leave. This works well and often means the next time they ask they will word it better and be less antagonistic.

4: I can't believe you still haven't grown up!
Said in a very grown up manner, as if there is only one grown up in the room, or in the square mile surrounding you. (In case you didn't know, they are meant to be that one grown up).

This question seems to assume you have been given some time to grow up and failed, or were given a chance to change and failed. It assumes failure. And by assuming failure, it equates being a grown up with success. SO many issues and upsets stem from this assumption!

Leaving without arguing is the best approach, however you could also try:

Do you know how much that upsets me? I know a lot of people think you are being immature by saying you are upset - how convenient! If you are being immature then they can ignore the fact they upset you. Don't expect a great answer to this, mostly it will be reasons why you brought it on yourself.
I am doing the best I can. This is often so true it hurts. We're all usually doing the best we can. Explaining this feels like the right approach and can make the other person stop to think. Not always, though, so do have your shield ready?
What, you don't have a shield?
Yes, you do, you just call it something else.

5: Why are you being such a baby?
Oh yes, this one shows its face sooner or later. You can have the most growny-up grown up in the world in front of you and these words will come out.

Why are you being such a baby? Well...

Life is really hard right now (this day, this minute, the last 2 hours, whatever time frame fits). Be optimistic and explain, if you like. Being called a baby isn't the best starter to a proper discussion but maybe you can shame them into it.
Please show some respect. Yes, optimism again. This might work, you never know. At least you called them out on being disrespectful.
I'm not being a baby, that is unfair. This one can be another discussion starter. Why would you discuss with someone who calls you a baby? Perhaps because they wanted to hurt you and are being completely childish - it's worth a minute of your time to raise yourself above this before leaving.

And then leave.


 A Guide to Your Aspie

 How to talk to your Aspie

My books and writing blog, with free stuff.
Find me on Facebook.and Twitter!


Being hypervigilant sounds like some kind of super-power. Instead of waiting to see how someone reacts to what you do or say, just study them hard before doing anything and then make your next move. This has the added advantage of giving you vital extra time to rein in any eccentric actions and to re-read your planned response.

Conversations or interactions can only be made better by hyper-vigilance. Watch, watch, watch deeper, watch better, work 'em out, make them squirm under your laser-like stare, make them feel like the surface of the sun is searing down on their upturned face, make them yours and yours alone for the moment it takes to work out what they are feeling.

Yes, and then? Shall I tell you? Then, after all that god-mode watching you have a good idea of how the other person is feeling and how they are reacting to whatever you have already said and done. But, well, what if you haven't done anything yet and you can see they are upset? Or what if their reaction is totally at odds with you and your part?

It's all very well studying your victim but what use is it if you know how they feel but have no idea why they feel it?

Suddenly you are left in the all too familiar territory of Confusion. You said this and they frowned but you don't know why they frowned because this was a good thing and also mild and kind of normal but there they are, frowning. You try again, building on the this with more goodness, mildness, more normalcy. Nope, it's worse, they're frowning more! What the heck?!

There's usually a point at which hyper-vigilance disintegrates, blowing away in the winds of Confusion and leaving you with the certainty that no matter what you try to do, it will end up wrong.

No, you can't let it end! Looking back at the frowning person you try once more, try again to bring in the good thisness you hoped for before. Right, yes, is that better? Staring, waiting, the mini-moments slipping by as you focus on the frown lines and that weird way people have of not being able to hold your gaze after all the times they told you off for avoiding eye contact.

The conversation ends, the frown is lifted long enough for the other to leave, making vague comments about having something to do. Your great subject of conversation, your perfect this lies completely ignored at your feet. Anger steps in.

'Why don't you want to talk about this?' you ask, harshly and hurt.

The other person turns, another frown replacing the first, this one just as familiar - disbelief.

'I wanted to tell you about my problem!' they spit out, exasperated.

You shrug helplessly - people! 'Why didn't you say then?'

'I tried!' they cry, waving their hands a bit like you do at the dry cleaners. 'I just couldn't get a word in edgeways once you started talking about this!'

They start to walk away, pausing only to call back, 'And anyway, you won't stop staring at me! It's off-putting!'

Yes, hyper-vigilance is amazing when it comes to working out if people are happy, sad, angry, cheesed off or want to smack someone. Unfortunately, hyper-vigilance is rubbish at telling you why someone feels any of these things and gives you little warning that the person they feel like smacking is you.

It's all very well to be able to study people so closely they could be the only other person left alive: it's quite another to expand that into a real-life, useful piece of information. All you are left with is the knowledge they are scowling and that the reason could either be you, someone else or a tummy-ache. Or none of the above. Or all of them. Or just because they are good at scowling.

Who knows? I can only keep on studying them and hope I find out someday, without having to be told. This is why my chosen super-power would always be mind-reading as that seems to be in the most demand. Either that or invisibility, then I could just  avoid Confusion and go for free ice cream(and the many other things we would all do for free if we were invisible).

Until then, I'll keep watching, and watching, and watching some more. It's all bound to make sense one of these days.


 A Guide to Your Aspie

 How to talk to your Aspie

My books and writing blog, with free stuff.
Find me on Facebook.and Twitter!