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I don't have autism or aspergers, as far as I know, but this seems the right board to ask this question:

Most people around me seem to know when to say what. But I always find myself saying something that offends someone. I never mean it, and sometimes it seems to me like the right, or funny, or appropriate thing to say, but it makes people go mad. It takes me a lot of apologies to fix things, and them a long time to understand that what they understood was not what I meant.

How do you aspies avoid offending other people?

Are there rules you follow in order to avoid such situations (other than refraining from saying anything to anyone)?

I'm thinking if there are such tips, and they work for aspies, then they should work for me who's not an aspie (I'm just socially retarded -- well, my counselor described it as my being slower than other people, but that just means retarded, doesn't it?)

Note: Sorry if this has been discussed elsewhere. I'm too lazy now to look.

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Heya Stranger,

This is a really good question.

(Which is what my psychiatrist said when I asked a question he couldn't answer, but which sparked his interest.)


Right now I think my psychiatrist might think I'm schizoid, vs. asperger's, but whatever, I too have some kind of social disability.

I know exactly what you mean by offending people when I think I'm saying something intelligent, funny, appropriate.

My own DH has told me (twice in so many words, often with impossible-to-interpret body language) in the past I was being a bitch.  I never knew why he was saying that, and am still not entirely sure.

I tend mostly to laugh inappropriately, and to answer questions noone actually wants answered. 

I tend to lecture people, and in my own mind at those times, I'm helping them learn something.  Then, afterwards, I belatedly figure out they were asking "rhetorical questions" or "just talking." 

Well, if you ask a question and I know the answer, tell me again why I'm supposed to pretend *not* to know the answer??

Right now I'm at the stage of, as you mentioned, biting my tongue (really actually biting it) and trying to observe how others do this talking thing.  This means shutting the hell up and this is very, very hard.

If anyone has tricks better than this, please please let us know!!

Because diagnosis aside, I also need something that works, because although I don't hate being a literal-minded loner, I wouldn't mind just *not calling attention to myself* all the freaking time.


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I've thought about this for days trying to come up with an answer for you, or some kind of answer.  Hopefully one that isn't offensive. 

I can't.

I offend people all the time.  It's usually when I try the hardest NOT to do so that I commit some of my worst attrocities.  Don't even ASK about the toupee incident.

I'm honest and I'm factual, I'm extremly literal and to people who don't know me, I'm an asshole.  I don't mean to be, I guess it's just my personal style.  My mother always said I had no tact and my answer was always "I don't understand what my lack of social skills has to do with glue."  So often I'm misunderstood as being snarky as well.

That's the best answer I can come up with.  Sorry.


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Quite simply, I don't.

I have fallen as far in the American social structure as is posible without being addicted to something.

I am insane and everone knows it. And I don't care.

Poet, Madwoman, Artist, Saint, Demon, I practically come with a warning label. There may as well be a neon sign above my head that says "Intense, Verbose Whacko, Stay Back 20 Feet".

If you don't like what comes out of my mouth, go away.

BUT I have a slight blessing.

I'm funny.

Ye gods. I think I'm still leading in the "Crazyboards Spit Coffee Contest"

AND I smile a lot. And I have good teeth. As one now-deceased friend with perfect teeth discovered, he could get LAID using the line "Nice shoes, wanna fuck?" if he laid it on with a gleaming, rakish smile. Gods bless John Mark, he and his chutzpah and pissweeds and ability to pruduce beer out of thin air in a dry town in Fayette County, PA, are greatly missed.

That and, I have tits.

No male can resist tits. I have a button. "Hi, we're tits, and this is our person, Zon"

Probably explains why I have a lot more male than female friends.

Anyway. That's all I can say by way of explanation. WHY IT IS THAT I SOMEHOW have enough friends to fill a Texas phone book mystifies me to NO end. I have theory though, that a lot of people hang around me to find out what kind of fucked-up crazy ass thing I'm gonna do next, and if I'm gonna finally need bail this time....

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Thanks for the replies, and the link.

Zon, you would have had one more instance of coffee-spitting-on-keyboard to add to your record, but I don't drink coffee. Sorry.

I think I would like to live in Japan. They are supposed to have explicit social rules. You do this in such and such a situtation, you refrain from saying that in such and such a situation. That would be much simpler than trying to figure out what every person believes in.

Like the stupid rule I learned recently: "you don't say bad things publicly about your friends". I posted an evaluation of a friend on a public forum. It wasn't very favorable. Said friend was mad at me. I still don't get why you wouldn't say bad things about people who are your friends. I was just being honest.

Rule: I will stick to facts from now on. Not say good things, or bad things, or funny things. Just facts.

But wait, when I posted about that friend, I thought I was stating a fact. Oh well, maybe don't even state facts about "thin skinned, anxiety ridden people", like Hyppolita said.

Rule modification: only state facts, say nothing about people, not even facts.

Does that sound good enough?

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I have given up on the NT social structure.  Too many unwritten rules.  That doesn't even begin to take into account the body language and then the facial mannerisms that apparently mean so much to them.  I have attempted to mimic them or attempt to hold a "neutral" body posture only to find that one of them will find me to be holding and "aggressive stance" or constantly ask me "are you angry?" or something.

So I give up.  I just shuffle like I do.  I greet people in the ways that makee me the way that is the most comfortable and if it makes the peoples uncomfy, unfuck them.  It's their problem, not mine.  I'm only one person, they are many.  Maybe once they can bend to me.

Sorry.  I'm not feeling very good today.

Maddy the sick.

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A variation on your question: How do you know when you've offended someone?  As there are no black and white rules about this kind of thing it's easy to make ourselves paranoid and assume that we have offended someone when we have not.

Up until a few years ago I'd often go out of my way to be offensive as possible to as many people as possible just so I didn't have to deal with the uncertainty and paranoia.

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