Thought Catalog

25 People With Autism Discuss The Strange Things Non-Autistic People Do

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Note: “Neurotypical” is a term used by people in the autistic community to describe people who are not autistic.
25 People With Autism Discuss The Strange Things Non-Autistic People Do
Andreas Wagner
Found on AskReddit

1. LONG GOODBYES

“The Minnesota long goodbye. Cultural norm in the Midwest, where you say bye, chit chat for a few minutes, take a few steps toward the door, chit chat for a few more minutes, repeat a few times, until the time it takes from saying “bye” to actually leaving is over 30 minutes.”

mrawesomesword


2. BEING TOUCHY-FEELY

“Most physical communication. Like when someone puts their hand on you when they talk to you, or leans on you when they laugh. It took me a very long time to not be freaked out when people touch me, and for me to realize that it helps communication if I occasionally touch people too. I mean, I don’t have a problem with things like handshakes and hugs, but other stuff is weird.”

jpterodactyl


3. THE NEED TO BELONG

“The need to belong to a group baffles me. In my mind, being part of the group just means less time for myself.”

wezli333


4. BEING INDIRECT

“Fucking subtlety everywhere. Just be direct. Seriously. Do you want something? Say it. Does something bother you? SAY IT.

Don’t beat around the damn bush.”

Northern_Ensiferum


5. CONSTANTLY NEEDING COMPANY

“Expecting that I need company when going out to eat, shopping, working out, etc. I not only am okay with executing these tasks alone, I actually prefer it most of the time. I enjoy people, but I equally enjoy time to process my own thoughts, while also having the freedom to operate on my own time.”

tuna_for_days


6. HUGGING

“Huggers. Strangers who say ‘I’m a hugger come on,’ and I’ve been trained to hug them but it makes me so friggin’ uncomfortable and unsettled and if you refuse they just insist or think you’re rude and just thinking about it makes me upset.”

whilowhisp


7. NEVER SHUTTING UP

“It feels like sometimes I’m the only one who mastered the art of shutting the fuck up.”

CrackedGoggles


8. GETTING ANGRY AT HONESTY

“The way NTs lie and get angry at honesty.”

cyotee


9. TOLERATING THE INTOLERABLE

“Putting up with someone they don’t like or putting up with something shitty because they don’t want to come across as mean. So glad I can’t develop social skills of my own they seem like a hassle.”

envirex


10. CRYING

“The most awkward thing maybe in my entire life is having someone cry around me. I have no idea how to properly comfort them. I haven’t really cried in probably 15 years. Maybe more. I’ve had loved ones die, got married, and watched my daughter’s birth. No movie or song has ever brought me to tears. Just never had that feeling come over me. Trying to explain this to my now wife back when we were dating was like trying to teach her Mandarin. She’s from a big family of criers. Almost every big gathering or holiday someone starts crying after a big announcement or something. I don’t know how to handle it. I try to just get out of their way and let them hug until the tears of joy end.”

turns31


11. PASSIVE-AGGRESSION

“Passive-aggression can get super, maddeningly weird. If I’m lucky it’s amusing; if not, I’m having damn trouble understanding what is wrong and it makes me super anxious and angry. Just. Say. What. You. Mean.”

_fialovy_


12. DROPPING HINTS

“Don’t drop hints. I will not get your hints. Just fucking say something.”

nightcrawler616


13. CONSTANT NOISE

“People who leave the radio or the news on ALL THE TIME. The more ‘voice-like noises’ I’m hearing at any given time, the harder it becomes to pick one out and give it my full attention. To me, filling a house with vocal blather just communicates that you don’t want to talk to anyone—but I’ve witnessed NT’s attempt to hold conversations while listening to the radio. I don’t get it—just turn it off or switch to instrumentals or something, then you can hear each other better”

nupanick


14. COMPLAINING FOR ITS OWN SAKE

“My neurotypical sister sometimes talks to me about problems she’s having in her life, like with work or dating. Naturally, I try to think of ways to solve those problems, but when I do that, she gets angry.

According to my mom, when my sister talks about those things with me, she’s not trying to get help with the problems. She just wants me to listen, agree that it sucks, and not offer any solutions.

That’s so bizarre to me. If it’s just the act of talking that’s cathartic, why involve another person? What’s the point of telling someone about your problems if you’re not looking for solutions? It’s so counterintuitive and strange.”

thecarolinakid


15. NOISE AND BRIGHT LIGHTS

“How people can tolerate such noise and such bright lights. That always pisses me off the most. Normal people stuff I can actually cope with quite well thanks to the amazing parenting skills of my mother and some great help growing up as a kid. I can typically pass as a (very quirky) normal person though that may grow harder as I grow older. I am a 30-year-old woman with the mindset (and dress sense) of a 12-year-old boy. But anyway… it’s the bright lights, the loud noises, the overwhelming environments that most people seem to be able to tolerate.

At work, there’s another autistic guy who works with me. It’s funny, we both complain about how excessively bright the lights are and how we want them switched off. We complain about the background noise. We went peace, DARK and quiet to do our jobs. Nobody else cares. As a child, I couldn’t even enter a supermarket as the fluorescent lights would make me scream. Worst part is you can’t tune background noise out. Not if you have autism. Life is just an overwhelming kaleidoscope and you just have to work out a way to cope… needless to say I never leave my apartment unless I absolutely have to and honestly, I’m amazed I can even hold down a job. The only reason I can cope is because I work part time.

So it’s more sensory for me than anything. I also cannot socialize that well, but I’d say I’m proficient for an autistic person. It’s the sensory stuff I have trouble coping with. I want every place I go to be dark and quiet all the time haha.”

sparkly-pinecones


16. SPONTANEITY

“Being able to spontaneously do something instead of plan it out. I would prefer at least a week in advance of knowing what’s happening but I’m trying to cope with the fact that that’s not always possible. Spontaneous plans do still stress me out though. How do NTs just dive into something social and not think anything of it?”

stupidshamelessUSA


17. OBEDIENCE TO TRADITION

“Not asking why. Doing things just because it’s social convention or ‘tradition’ and not questioning it. I’ve always found that weird, and I think it can be quite harmful. People will do something that’s bad for them just because it’s the done thing, when there are a million other ways of doing it that are not harmful, or when it’s something they don’t need to do in the first place.”

RonnaTT


18. SMALL TALK

“My wife’s big family loves to sit around the dinner table and just chit chat for hours after they finished eating. I can’t do it. I just don’t understand it. They all live within 20 minutes of each other and see each other every week or so. It’s not like everyone is coming from across the country to meet up every 6 months. There’s not 3 hours’ worth of conversations to catch up on. I usually eat in like 20 minutes and then go upstairs to play video games or whatever with my nephews.”

turns31


19. CLUB LIFE

“I understand how people enjoy nights out at clubs- but I quite honestly find the idea just so confusing. You pay money to get into a crowded hot and very loud room- you try to talk to new people but can’t hear them- and you buy overpriced drinks that you will inevitably spill inside said hot and crowded room.”

cheap_peep


20. ENJOYING THINGS CASUALLY

“People who can watch a TV show or have a favorite animal or play a videogame and just… not have it be a special interest. How do you do that? When I like something I need to know everything about it and there isn’t a minute goes by that I don’t think about it or reference it somehow. How do people just consume content in moderation? What’s it like just enjoying things casually? Don’t you feel guilty when you change interests and one of your previous interests gets shelved because you’re focusing on something new? I don’t get it.”

wowlame


21. VENTING

“Venting.

All the days my mother just vents the things that happen in her day but every time I want to give her some advice or a solution to the problem she just ignores me and keeps talking. The same goes for a lot of people, just rambling about their problems without really looking for a solution

I kinda understand why they make that but I just hate it. Why you wouldn’t want to hear solutions but expect people to listen to you?”

-Mavoko-


22. PRETENDING TO BE NICE

“Acting ‘fake,’ especially pretending to be nice/friendly to someone when they really hate their guts and will talk shit about them behind their back. One time I was with a group of people having a seemingly nice conversation, and when two of the people left the remaining two were like, ‘Ugh, I can’t stand her. That was so awkward lol.’ I was shocked, as I hadn’t picked up on the hostile air at all I can’t do it myself—if I’m nice to someone, it’s because I actually like them (or at least they haven’t done anything bad as far as I know). If I don’t like a person I’ll just avoid interacting with them as much as possible so as not to be rude in case what I’m thinking slips out :P This is also frustrating because it makes me worry sometimes that people who are nice to me are just pretending for whatever reason and actually hate me. TvT”

dissgusting


23. DOUBLE STANDARDS

“Context-sensitive double standards.

When you do it, it’s bad. When they do it, it’s okay.

Why? Explain please. If it’s okay for you to do this, why is it not okay when I do the same thing?

Here’s a more personal example. We had a rule between “Tattling” and “Telling”. “Telling” was okay, because you were telling on someone out of concern for their wellbeing (i.e. “Mom Mom Timmy’s playing on the well you told him not to”), whereas “Tattling” was telling on someone to get them in trouble. (“Mom Mom Timmy hit me”)

When my sister made this really really mean “Opening Night” play about me, and I told on her, I was in trouble for “Tattling”, because I was telling on her for doing something mean and I was trying to get her in trouble.

But when I went on a deleting spree on my sister’s Neopets account, and she told on me, I asked why she never got in trouble for telling on me – because according to the rules, “that was tattling. She did it to get me in trouble.”

Apparently, because I “did something very mean and intended to hurt her”, that was not tattling. And yet when I told on my sister for doing something very mean intended to hurt me (i.e., writing that play), it was “tattling”? Explain, mom and dad Explain

If it’s “When you do it, it’s bad”, then again… I wanna know why.”

CrazyCoKids


24. HIDDEN MESSAGES

“The way they speak. It’s almost like no neurotypical speaks plainly. There’s always another message hidden behind whatever they’re saying. I don’t get why they can’t just fucking say what’s on their mind?

If you’re angry at me, why are you giving me subtle hints instead of flat out saying ‘This makes me angry’

Why do people react weirdly if they ask how your day was and you say it’s pretty shitty?

Why can’t people just say they’re not happy, or they need something, instead of hinting an insinuating it? I just don’t get it.

A lot of people think I’m blunt (and my mother especially always apologizes for me in gatherings saying ‘Oh you know how he is’) but in reality, I’m just saying what I actually think.

What’s the point of the hidden second language?

Also, why do neurotypicals touch each other so much?”

PandeanPanic


25. SMOKING AND DRINKING

“Asperger’s here, it’s surely just me, but I don’t get people who smoke or drink. What is the point of it, if doing so just adds another risk of something bad happening to you/your health?”

fizio900


26. ARROGANCE

“Arrogance of any kind really gets under my skin so when I meet neurotypical people who feel the need to boast about how great they are because of completely meaningless stuff. It makes me mad and want to tell the person to shut up and get over themselves because they aren’t as special and amazing as they claim.”

ChunkyMunky666


27. EYE CONTACT

Eye contact. I can never keep eye contact on someone for more than 5 seconds. Neurotypicals can look someone dead in the eye for ages and I don’t understand how. Granted it may be my ADHD doing this instead, but I do have ASD as well…anyway, just how?

Also, why can’t neurotypicals be more direct? As many people have said already, why can’t you just say what you want to say? Why do you have to twist words around to make it awkward?”

InvaderGiroro


28. TALKING WHILE EATING

“When NT people want to sit and talk during mealtimes I’ve perfected the art of disappearing in college at lunchtime just so I can sit in peace to eat my food without the drain of maintaining a conversation.”

Mrs_SnuffleSnout


29. NEGGING

“I really don’t understand why they act a certain way, hoping I catch up on the opposite. There was this dude, for example, who had a crush on me. He would treat me like shit and rarely be nice, and he somehow expected me to pick up on that ?? I also don’t get whether I’m supposed to be direct or not. Every single neurotypical I’ve met tells me it’s a good thing to be honest and straightforward. Now, I’m as blunt as it gets, and I end up getting yelled at/mad at for it. Plus, they tend to do the opposite and dance around things instead of ever saying what they mean, and still hope I get what they’re saying. Why ?? And why do you touch me RIGHT after I clarify I’m uncomfortable with it????”

alienblooded


30. NO RESPECT FOR PERSONAL SPACE

“A lot of them seem to have no regard for personal space. When I sit down on the bus and put my bag on the seat next to me it is because having people too near to me gives me panic attacks. It’s manageable if they don’t touch me though. I can listen to music or play my DS to help keep myself calm and manage my sensory information load.

But a lot of NT people invariably seem to think that, even when there are plenty of other seats on the bus that do not have bags on them, they are somehow entitled to ask me to move mine and then, because I often do as I don’t have the spoons to argue, they fill out the available space and press against me.

This invariably leads to me having a panic attack where I freeze up. I will try to move as far away from them in the space as possible (i.e. towards the window because I always take the window seat if it’s available) to try to minimize contact. Do they take the hint? Do they fuck. They spread out, continuing to fill out the space until I’m stuck trying to pancake myself into the fucking bus window because this inconsiderate cunt has the total empathy of a lobotomized penguin.

Ok, that turned into more of a rant. But this is a problem I face on a daily basis.”

tiberiousr


31. MAKING THAT ‘UHH’ NOISE WHEN THEY THINK

“Inappropriate words, like why can I call somebody a jerk and not an asshole they are both insults. I also don’t understand why some people make that ‘uhh’ noise when they think. It makes no sense why they can’t think without making noises.

Edit: I do not understand why someone would use cigarettes and other things that cause harm to one’s body.”

Ijustpretendtocare


32. WHITE LIES

“I don’t get ‘white lies.’ Why would you tell someone the drawing they made looks exactly like their beloved dog rather than what it actually looks like which is a weird lumpy seal?

Or why say their new haircut makes them look gorgeous when in actual fact it’s the ugliest most uneven piece of shit you’ve ever seen?

I don’t get why it’s so bad to tell people the truth, and if you do then you’re labeled as rude and inconsiderate.”

AspieCat92


33. TRYING HARD TO BE NORMAL

“I’ve always wondered why neurotypicals try way too hard to be normal. Me, I’m a woman, and fuck what everybody else thinks, because I will dress how I want and when I want and yes I have standards on how I dress.

Also, similarly, why do they think of us as weird? Why play by society’s outdated rules? Be trendy, I say. Be weird. It’s okay.”

ByeByeFlutterPie


34. FEIGNING LAUGHTER

“Feigning laughter or smiling when you’re not interested. Sometimes I really can’t tell whether you’re genuinely interested in what I’m saying, or whether you’re just trying to get me to go away. But if you fake laugh or smile to something I say without it being genuine it absolutely destroys my self-esteem. Why would someone be that cruel and not just tell me that they’re not very interested in what I have to say. I won’t be offended or anything because you have different interests than me. It’s so much easier to just be blunt.”

FriedCockatoo


35. JEALOUSY

Jealousy. I just cannot grasp it. Especially being jealous over someone you claim to LOVE, seems kinda self-contradictory.

I mean either you love someone and wish the best for them, or you are jealous and wish to prevent them from getting the best, unless it’s from you and for your benefit too.”

Freevoulous TC mark

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