“The Art of Conversation!”
One sided conversations and Asperger’s seemingly walk hand in hand, l know in the past it has been true of me. It has never been a deliberation with any intent, l think it is simply a case of not always considering another’s viewpoint. And even then, that is not entirely true of me, it is not that l don’t care for another’s viewpoint, but if we are engaged in a deep meaningful conversation about a subject l either love or am fascinated with, sometimes l cannot help but blurt out something!
In fact blurting out is something that has got me into trouble before – at times l am like a child who cannot contain themselves! Sometimes for me it’s a bit like that Jim Carrey film ‘Liar Liar’ where he is fighting to not say anything, but something just blurts out!
Many a time in my past ‘family and friends alike’ have likened me to a Labrador in so far as always wanting to have the last word or always wanting to be right. This is NOT true, if l am wrong l am the first person to admit to it, alright sometimes reluctantly – but l will not contest someone else’s logic if what they say is truth. But equally if someone else is wrong and l know them to be wrong, irrelevant to me if it is classed as blunt, intrusive, appropriate or not l will not waste any time in informing them. I have been told that this is not acceptable behaviour. And l have to ask, ‘Why not?’
We live in a society that steadfastly demands honesty and yet when it is awarded, they shy away and look shocked, so the truth is that for many people, they prefer to receive lip service – go figure “Does my bum look big in this?’ If you don’t want to know the truths then don’t for goodness sake ask that damning and misleading question.
I am not so guilty of dominating conversations these days for in truth l hardly speak to people directly anymore as l find it stressful, boring, mentally challenging and tiring. I love stimulating conversation, deep meaningful shit. I want to hear about things, facts and figures, l want to get to know the person, l want to be enthralled, excited, turned on intellectually – l don’t want to hear about the weather, or silly soaps, l care not for the likes of Emmerdale, Coronation Street or Eastenders as it bores the living crap out of me. But hey if that is what rocks your boat then so be it.
Basically l am not built for idle and anal banter about nothing – sure l can enjoy a giggle – but not to the extreme. Many Aspies l have met are the same, we want to learn, not feel bored with people. Many a time if l have nothing to say of any worth then l will be quiet anyway as is. As l have aged l have learned to tolerate more banality in my life, it is what forms most of normal societal conversation. Boring conversation seems to me to be a little like foreplay for some people – or like guys of old drinking a few bevvies before attaining the courage to hit the dance floor.
Silent speak is probably my best friend these days and of course it allows for a certain level of control to my impulsive behaviour. And what is silent speak? Writing of course, l tend to be more socially active if l am writing. It is of course way easier than struggling to hold a conversation.
But silent speak is no consolation for not actually engaging in conversation and especially in more than one worded syllables. I have become crowd shy in the last year, distancing myself from actually speaking to people, friends and family.
A couple of years ago l used to thoroughly enjoy almost nightly Skype conversations with my World of Warcraft online gaming gang. I guess thinking back l was guilty of dominating the conversations back then, but only in so far as being able to hold my own with in-depth specialist subjects – for me it was gold making. I was one of the lucky few who was a multimillionaire in game, and accruing 50k’s worth of gold in a single day through in game sales. And because of this, l had become a sort of guru, knowledgeable to that niche. I could speak earnestly and with authority on how to make gold and hopefully my knowledge would help others.
I was always asking if l was being too intrusive to the conversations or guilty of stealing air time, and perhaps politely they answered that was not the case. However, my thoughts were always along the lines of a question no matter how small deserved an properly detailed answer – maybe it was a TMI scenario [too much information] but to answer in a trivial manner or simply award a yes or no, seemed pointless. I felt obligated to answer, irrelevant to whether it was too long or even boring. But l am terribly verbose in real life as is, so l cannot simply change my stance when talking as indeed when writing.
To a certain degree l can hold my own in many conversations and on many topics or subjects – l tend to know a little about a lot, but a lot more about the little niche interests.
Woe betide anyone who asked about Asperger’s as this too was and is a subject that l now know a lot about as l am constantly researching. And of course that is the difference; many people don’t tend to read research or delve into as much as l do, and so their conversations can be dull. This must sound terribly pretentious but it is not meant to be read as that, it is simply black and white truth.
It is not that l don’t like to speak or engage in conversation, l do, and l like it a lot, but as said these days l have become very aware of dominating conversations and so l try to not do that anymore. Not everyone enjoys what l class as a non-grey conversation. By this l mean that many a time l can be interpreted as brutally honest, equally as naïve and basically – blunt, direct and to the unknowing – inappropriate! Many people tend to throw the phrase inappropriate down and it is unfair! I do not deliberately set out to be rude or insensitive or come across as pushy, but it can be seen as this.
As said, these days l attend more to writing socially than engaging socially, l should engage moreand the very few friends l have that l consider more than just colleagues are tolerant of my behaviour and have become used to my long absences. I write more these days than actually engage in artful conversation, and sometimes wonder if l will some day one day simply forget how to speak.
There are a lot of quirks and irksomes with Asperger’s syndrome and l know ultimately l need to work on my habits more. I need to remember to engage people and should lower my level of expectations as indeed they have to for me. I will always be seen as at times inappropriate, blunt and rude to those who don’t know me that well. But apparently from those who do know me and accommodate me, l am well worth the effort and patience.
How about you, the reader – are you socially active and regularly engage in the spoken expressive arts of society? Do you get easily bored with dull conversations and like intellectual and stimulating social discussion? Or perhaps like me, you don’t talk to a lot of people day in and day out? Perhaps once more, like me, you prefer communicating through the written words of digital sociality?