Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What socialization is like for me

A lot of times I think I should stop throwing the word "aloof" around so much and start using the term "high function autistic".  Although, from experience, I can tell you that a lot of aspies and autistics are quick to throw a shit fit on me if I include myself among them.  To the person who cannot socialize at all, my level of function looks like a blessing.  For my part, I think it's worse, simply because I am tantalizingly close to a normal level of function, but still far enough away from it to know I'll never really obtain it.

What makes it really painful is when I hit that moment of realization with a woman trying to flirt with me when she suddenly gets the "oh . . . so this is how you're gonna be" look on her face.  It usually happens when I fail to escalate as quickly as women expect me to.  Which continues to astonish the hell out of me because, short of just going ahead and actually physically raping them right on the dance floor without even saying hello, I really don't know what faster pace I should be going for.

What's painful for me is that I don't present to others as autistic.  Especially since I have gotten my shit together, I present as more of a successful guy who is dreadfully bored with the world around him.  That, in itself, is true, so never get me wrong on that account.  While it is true, it is not the whole truth.

The thing about socialization and sexualization for me is that my level of autisticness is like having a bum knee that can hold up for a couple hours.  The difference is that if you have a bum knee and you tell everyone to ease the fuck up so they don't have to carry you ten miles through the woods on a stretcher, people will accommodate that request.  If you have a bum socialization muscle, on the other hand, you're pretty much fucked.  Human beings have no issue slowing down a hike to let someone with a bum knee cope.  But humans value their brutal pace of socialization way too much to provide the same level of deference to a person who struggles to socialize.

That's what happens to me.  When I have to socialize, I try to rest my socialization muscle as much as I can.  I have to sit down and rest my socialization muscle every couple miles or the whole edifice just buckles and I can't hold it up anymore.

This can be difficult because people identify me in a lot of important social roles.  For example, I have the misfortune of being easily identified by bartenders as the older guy who can quell the young hotheads in one of my social circles.  So when one of them is being fucking stoopid, guess who gets stuck preventing an incident? 

When I'm being aloof, I do it as a public service.  Once my socialization muscle has buckled, I am the standard issue reactionary autistic who cannot stand anything.  This Saturday I was out with friends for an overly long time.  We started at 6:30 pm and did not fully disengage until 2:30 am.  Just after midnight, I physically threatened a friend I have known for years if he tried to touch me again.  Simply put, my socialization muscle had buckled.

Worse, in this case, I was on the hook to provide a ride for someone whose ride to the place had already left.  This had not been the plan, but people know me as someone who is easy to prevail upon for help.  Hell, by the time the night was over, we had helped two strangers start a car, also.  Aspies can't stand to see something not work.  Consequently, we're quick to provide aid simply so we can wipe the non-functioning thing from our minds.  Likewise, we don't see any social downside or personal danger in dealing with stranger.  So it's just very normal to us to go through life tinkering and fixing and fucking with things and trying to make shit work.

But it all puts pressure on that socialization muscle.  The socialization muscle just keeps getting red and sore and starts to suffer catastrophic failure in a matter of minutes.  It's like watching a bad disaster movie where you can see one crack in the bridge.  Then a suspension cable goes flying.  Then a whole section just drops into the bay.  Then the whole fucking starts collapsing as everyone goes running for their lives.

The worst part is that I am incredibly practiced at socialization.  Frankly, I'm very good at it.  Particularly when I was in my late 20s and was trying to build my business, I had to get good at it.  It was a swim or die proposition.  I just couldn't go through life being a broken autistic fuck-up who could never hold down a real job.  Something had to give.

In the process of building a business, you talk to people.  Lots of people.  You cold call to generate leads.  Leads mean meetings, contracts, designing things, and so on and so on ad nauseum. 

The two hour mark was always meetings started getting bad for me.  That or the out of the blue "why the hell isn't this the way I want it" phone call.  Or the person who thought they were going to give me a lashing after I apologized.  At that point, I just don't give a fuck.  I've been threatened with law suits, various acts of tortious interference, and flat out financial ruin for non-compliance.  And my default answer is always the same: fuck you, do it.

Eventually this evolved into a flat policy of shedding bad clients.  And then as I made more money, I started shedding whole sections of the business simply because they only attracted people that fucking annoyed me.  Eventually it all got to the point where the business proved surprisingly self-sustaining with a very limited set of loyal clients.  And then I expanded out into other sides that required less direct human interaction.

The thing is that all that practice doing business trained me to feel the moment that my socialization muscle is about to buckle.  I'm very sensitive to when that's about to happen.  Oddly, it tends to just anger me more knowing this because I feel like that people who know me and claim to care about should know better than to keep laying the burden on that socialization muscle.  They don't, of course, because humans getting their dopamine fix from fun times and chatting and circle jerking about pointless shit don't care.

That's what socialization is like for me.  It's like having a bum knee and watching some asshole decide to throw an additional 30-pound pack on my back right at the moment I absolutely know the knee is going to buckle.  It's one of the primary reasons that I resent other human beings and prefer to be left alone.  So now you know.


  1. Have you tried a site called WrongPlanet.Net?

    1. Yes, I have. Not actually a big fan. Too many aspies engaged in a circlejerk, frankly. Way too many people who wants their feelings soothed and won't take real advice and try to apply.

      As a community, WP does not feel healthy to me at all.

  2. I thought guys were spared from "frivolous" socializing, but alas, it seems both genders suffer from that. I share your detest of such socializing. It just seems fake, strenuous, stiffled, pretentious and BORING, unless the company proves to be interesting otherwise, which is quite rare.

    I dont know about your culture, but in mine, a girl is expected to act uber feminine and interested solely in the follies of securing a husband; as you can imagine, she is expected to be obsessed with the latest trends, i.e. according to what the suitors in our society expect, be it in her state of mind, body or even interests.

    I've been accused of being an autistic girl because I wish to stay at home to read and watch whatever I want, instead of engaging in commonplace verbose of jewelry, clothes and human body aesthetics propagandized by the media. Seriously, sometimes I try to accommodate and feign interest but no faster do I zone out and wish to return back home and indulge in my own interests. I just wish they leave me as I please and not be so critical and judging. They keep saying that my behavior will bear me no suit lest I remain that "masculine"; I beg their pardon? What need do I have in a suitor merely interested in the physical realm? Surely he can find another girl he can fashion to his liking.

    How did my post get this long? It seems I strayed off-topic.. oh well.

  3. you precisely describe my thought process while socialising. having reading your previous posts i know you are not a fan of the MBTI but i can see a lot of me in you and i get the same socialisation fatigue you do, particularly in high energy draining surroundings or people. i would based on your writing have you as an INTJ.