Sunday, 21 August 2011

Social Interest Triggering Social Skills

Apparently, there is no way at all I could have autism (or any other developmental disorder) given my childhood history, and general present abilities, says my psychiatrist. This was quite a...well it wasn't so much a revelation as much as an annoyance. When I was young I was just completely spaced out. I don't know if any other children were to that extent, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't what most other kids felt like, simply because they gave a crap about interacting with each other. I didn't. Now don't get me wrong here, it's not like I loved myself that much. I didn't really have any conception of myself at all, just like now - generally I'm guessing I probably would have been like other kids, have my imaginary friends not been ten times more interesting than them. But still, when I tossed those comrades in the trash, I found out that, for some reason or other, I wasn't exactly socially fit. Rituals and methods of interaction just sped right by me. Though from watching a lot of TV, I knew what most of them meant, and what to do when, I simply didn't do any of them because I really just didn't feel the need. I just didn't care at all. Now eventually, being friendless and alone, I did come to start pretending to be like other people, but that took a while to really become keyed into me. Still, even now, some things just don't come natural to me. I have to force myself to thank people, or to say please, for example. I just find all these rituals so damn empty and meaningless. The bulk of social interaction is not information exchange, as I once thought, it's actually a really pitiful kind of mutual masturbation. But since I am wired in such a way that I want that, I'm pretty much stuck having to kick myself into gear whenever someone starts talking to me. With the autism thing gone, I'm really at a loss at explaining why exactly this is. I'm thinking right now it's probably something to do with the fact that my life feels more like a movie than a video game - I forget I have to act sometimes to get results. And sometimes, I'm simply just so disinterested in what most people have to say I just can't be bothered putting up a front. But in case I'm wrong, I'm wondering if any of you have specific things you're not good at, socially speaking - small talk, formalities, teasing, making new friends. I'd hazard a guess and say that most of you don't even think about these things when you do them - they just come naturally to you. The difference is, really, they only come naturally to me when I'm interested in what other people have to say. When I'm not, my social functions just switch off, as if to maintain power. But you are antinatalists, and so it should be okay for me to expect that you have a lower tolerance for tedious crap than the average person. So, what I'm wondering really, is whether any of you have points where you simply cannot be bothered reacting in a socially acceptable manner - where you may have to force yourself to even try being pleasant to others. My hunch is that you don't, and the whole "Does thinking about things philosophically make people less tolerant of meaningless actions?" post can be binned before it's even started.
See also: Friendship and its Discontents


  1. I don't really want to make friends. I mostly only keep one friend in real life, if that. I just don't care that much. I'm also very bad at it.

  2. Have you ever heard of Aspergers Syndrome? I sometimes wonder if I may have a mild case of it, or it may just be that I can't tolerate the trivia of the everyday, particularly when it's all of a cheery, upbeat nature.

  3. What do you guys score on Baron-Cohen's AQ test?

  4. 17. I've done the test before, and I got in the high 20s then, but back then I was a lot more antisocial.

  5. In that case, I think you may be Schizoid (look it up).

  6. I am rather incapable of furthering small talk and other than family members of my own generation, I have known no "real life" friends after high school. I have been rejecting more and more formalities (I don't even make introductions anymore, as I tend to get away with being familiar with strangers), yet I tend to feel compulsed to be humoristic (outside of serious discussion), perhaps to compensate for my inability at generating small talk, and, as boredom builds up when I'm obliged to stay around others, I try to stear away conversation from those all-too-common trivial points of interest (car stats, football scores, obsolete gadgetry, throwing parties, dancing, exchange nags about the enemity felt for or from some individual, praising idols, photos of people doing things or being somewhere else, ...), I mostly cannot relate to.

    But then again, I AM found to be autistic (HFA/AS) and "having" OCD by a host of psychiatrists in my early 20's.
    Guess for many a natalist, that would make my life "not matter", when observations and evaluations are made about life.

    Also, I did that AQ test thingy once, but it will tell you you're the inbetween thing, if you learned even a sub-standard set of social skills.

  7. Huh. I have a lot of friends, but it's still more chore than pleasure to socialize with people who aren't cognitively similar to me.

    I find that sex is a great social motivator.

  8. "I try to stear away conversation from those all-too-common trivial points of interest (car stats, football scores, obsolete gadgetry, throwing parties, dancing, exchange nags about the enemity felt for or from some individual, praising idols, photos of people doing things or being somewhere else, ...), I mostly cannot relate to."
    This is brilliant. The vapidity of modern people absolutely destroys my resolve to fit in. Sometimes I manage to get them to start talking about something vaguely interesting or unique, only to have them catch a whiff of football or some other inane popular pastime, resulting in me getting expelled from a previously enjoyable conversation. I think most of my social misgivings are essentially due to my unusual set of interests. Also Bazompora, start a blog!
    And yeah Sister Y, you've really hit the nail on the head. Most people are too fundamentally different from me (sense of self, popular interests, lack of introversion, no social anxiety etc. etc.)for me to ever have a good time with things. Not that I'm complaining. Not really caring much about these things is what got me into this situation in the first place, and it's also the same attribute of my personality that means I don't really mind being this way.