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Pearl Sutton
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O you folks who have good social skills, please help me....

I’m some shade of Aspergers or something, serious problems coping with humans. I have just moved, am exhausted, juggling WAY too many things, coping with WAY too many people, am stressed beyond words and what little social skills I have are frazzled to shreds.

I need a way to say politely to people “Thank you for your idea, I appreciate it, it doesn’t work for me, (because A: you lack data about actual conditions and B: you are making inaccurate assumptions about what I consider a good end result) so PLEASE stop LECTURING with me about why I need to do it. I have WORK TO GET DONE on a time schedule and this is costing me money!!”

I don’t have time or energy or sanity for this. I have tried saying politely “thank you, I appreciate the idea, I’ll get back to it later” but it doesn’t seem to work. Part of the problem is the whole “oh, I know what’s best you, you small female” stuff. Possibly they are trying to hit on me (if so, they are failing HARD, pissing me off is ineffective.) Possibly they have good intentions but bad data or bad assumptions about end results. All I can say right now is I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS!! The guys who are standing around waiting for me to get back to directing work are costing me, the rental equipment is costing me by the hour, LET ME WORK!!

Any wise words?
 
David Livingston
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Clarity clarity and clarity. Stop being polite direct folks to do exactly what you want to do . You are paying them . When you say jump they ask how high . Other wise you find some one else .

David
 
James Smartt
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I agree with David, call everyone together tomorrow morning for a 5 minute stand up meeting, Explain to them that you are the boss, you have the experience, you were the one hired for the job,.you don't have the time or the need to explain why you want everything done the way you want it. This is not a democracy.

Sometimes you have to put your foot down, some people may walk out, some may get their feelings hurt, but all-in-all if you do not get control of the situation now, it is only going to get worse, and you will get more frustrated.

 
Judith Browning
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I don't know what this says about my social/communication skills but I thought you meant that it was outside folks, not involved in the job, that were suggesting other ways to do the work you want done?
If it is the ones hired to do the job who are complicating things, then the advice by David and James sounds like the right approach...
 
James Smartt
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If as Judith thought it is the 'outside' people paying you giving you grief, then explain to them the same way I explain to someone whose car I am working on. I charge $20 per hour to work on your car, another $20 to let you watch, and an additional $40 if you want to advise me on how to work on your car.

If by chance the outside people interrupting you are not the people that hired you, then explain to the people that hired you that the outside people are costing them money, and sugest to them that it might be in their best interest to remove those people from your way, or at least advise them to shut up and leave you alone.
 
alex Keenan
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I am not sure this is a communication issue as much as a management issue.
In my line of work many times the customer determines what needs to be done. However, I have to determine how it will be done.
So my first job is to work with the customer to develop the requirement for all the WHATS.
Once we have that we set down with the team that will be responsible for the how and come up with some alternatives.
When we have some basic ideas we go back to our primary customer contact and start fleshing out the hows.

In this case what needs to be done and how it needs to be done is decided by the customer.
Anyone who is licensed and bonded may have some issues if how it needs to be done does not follow best practices.
For if something goes wrong it could open them up to a law suite.

In my case I tend to avoid projects of this nature if possible due past experience.

I prefer to help my customers and work collaboratively.

It may be you are experiencing this situations. It could also be they are really trying to help.

Finally, you could be dealing with "I know better attitude".

In your situation, you should make it very clear before you hire, this is what I want, this is how I want it done, are you OK with that!
 
Pearl Sutton
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Thanks for the replies

The guys I have working for me I have no problems with, although I admit partly the reason I like them is because they are not problems. They are very young (high school) good workers, and willing to accept whatever weirdness I do as normal, since they don't know any better way.

The worst offender looks like I have offended him away. He was hired to cut down some trees (was supposed to be done before I got here with a moving van and and my crew, but that's yet another issue), he brought his crew, got them going, then came over to where I was working and ... I don't know, looked for people who would listen to him? If I sat down to take a break at all, he was right there, I need brain breaks from humans as well as strength breaks from work, and I overloaded fast, usually ended up getting up before I was ready to and going back to work, and giving my guys orders while he was talking to them to make them get up too. He tried to "help" us, I snarled HARD at him, ended that idea. When I overload socially I lose any coping skills I ever had, and tend to default to either walking away (and not getting the physical break I need) or getting irritated and rude really fast, saying things that don't explain things in a way others understand, and getting frustrated when that doesn't fix it.

I think what I need help on is more drawing boundaries with... peers? with people who aren't in my employ, but who I may want to be polite to, but who are running roughshod over my physical and mental limitations. I have zero problems with "this is good information you want to hear" I have problems when it turns into "I know what you must do, even though I have no clue what your goals are."

In a way just writing this clarifies my thoughts quite a bit... Perhaps if I say to them a variation on what I say to my employees when I first hire them "this is only one small step in a very long, many step process. Some of it will not make sense to you, because I am looking 7 or 15 steps ahead, and what you are doing today will make sense in a year, but might not today. Tell me if you think I'm doing something that can be done better, but if I listen, and then say "no" it means there is more going on than you see here, accept that I have a plan that goes past what you see in today's project, and live with what I say to do."

Part of it gets down to people don't cope if I try to explain what I'm doing (too much data required to comprehend it, I have a hard time dumbing it down to 2 lines, a good 45 min lecture just barely scrapes the surface) but they don't cope with not understanding what I'm doing either...

I'm so tired of human contact. This is more work than hauling heavy objects around.

 
David Livingston
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"The worst offender looks like I have offended him away. He was hired to cut down some trees (was supposed to be done before I got here with a moving van and and my crew, but that's yet another issue)"

In my eyes its the same issue . Trying to cover up for his own inadequacy sounds like to me .

Dont feel guilty about needing your own time . Everyone needs their own time folks just need it in differing amounts thats all.

David
 
chip sanft
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Pearl Sutton wrote:Thanks for the replies
I think what I need help on is more drawing boundaries with... peers? with people who aren't in my employ, but who I may want to be polite to, but who are running roughshod over my physical and mental limitations. I have zero problems with "this is good information you want to hear" I have problems when it turns into "I know what you must do, even though I have no clue what your goals are."

In a way just writing this clarifies my thoughts quite a bit... Perhaps if I say to them a variation on what I say to my employees when I first hire them "this is only one small step in a very long, many step process. Some of it will not make sense to you, because I am looking 7 or 15 steps ahead, and what you are doing today will make sense in a year, but might not today. Tell me if you think I'm doing something that can be done better, but if I listen, and then say "no" it means there is more going on than you see here, accept that I have a plan that goes past what you see in today's project, and live with what I say to do."


Suspect I'm a bit similar in communication style... luckily my line of work affords me plenty of the alone time I need. One of the things I've noticed is that I have a hard time judging when and how to say, "This is my thing. This is how I do it." Or a tougher equivalent (like, "X, why don't you go do some work? I'm thinking"). Or, if that doesn't work, "Go jump in the lake" (or equivalent).

I wonder if a combination of a short version of what you're saying to your employees ("I know what I'm doing. Do what I pay you for like I tell you to and we'll get along fine") plus a bit of the tough talk wouldn't work. You'll probably get a rep, which will help you -- as long as you aren't in a place small enough that there's likely to be just one person or small company that does some thing.
 
Pearl Sutton
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" luckily my line of work affords me plenty of the alone time I need." mostly my world does let me have my own time. That's part of why I moved, so I CAN live in my own reality. Previous place I had lots of alone time, but no space to do work I can make money off of. I need both time to be alone, and a way to pay my bills.

A lot of this may just be exhaustion and overwhelm and frustration and then human contact with a very different communication style than mine.
Maybe I'm just hoping someone has magic words to stop people when I need them to. Where's your little X up in your corner so I can just close you??!

Another part of human contact is I not only have coping issues, I have severe health issues, and have spent most of the last 20 years close to totally alone, so most of the social skills I ever had are gone from disuse, then stress and exhaustion takes down what's left, and then it just gets bad and I can't step away when I have stuff that MUST be done.... I feel like my space is being invaded. And I HATE that feeling. I can maintain a certain equilibrium by doing stuff I know I need to for my mind and body, but when there are SO many things hitting me that any one of them is too much, and there are 10 of them... I fall off the tightrope that I walk daily. And want to smack some guy He didn't finish what I thought he was going to, he got the trees cut and the firewood sized logs removed, left the branches and brush piles, and maybe I'm stupid, but he's been paid, so if he never comes back, I'll consider that an acceptable price. What's left I'll cope with later. I didn't really want the logs to leave the property, but I just needed stuff dealt with, so the rest is chipper food and wood for a small mass stove that doesn't like large wood pieces.

Just sucks when you accept paying someone just to make them go away.
 
alex Keenan
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Here is a simple method that may work for you let people know to leave you alone.

You need a big ugly clipboard and a pen or something to write with.
Next print off satellite photos of where you are working, diagrams of parts lists of tools you use or vehicles you drive, Excel spreadsheet that are too small to really read, etc.
The point is to have a clip board that looks like it has important stuff on it.
When you think someone is looking to see if they can approach you just pickup the clip board and make like you are studying something.
Most people will assume you are busy and leave you along.
If they do approach, pull out something they are likely to know nothing about and ask them a hard question about it.

There are many books on non-verbal communication that may help let people know to leave you in peace.
 
Marco Banks
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Pearl,

You may want to just tell him:

"I have mild Aspergers syndrome and so sometimes I don't always read social situations well. So let me be clear with you: I don't like interruptions. I don't like small-talk. If I'm taking a break, it isn't an invitation to come talk with me unless there is an urgent question you have. But if you want to make a suggestion but are framing it as a question, please don't -- I don't find that helpful.

Perhaps we could set a time to stop and you could ask all your questions at that time. Hold them until question time. Maybe you should write them down so you remember them when question time comes. That way you know that you will get your questions answered, and I will not have to be interrupted by you.

If I say to you, "Not now", what I mean is "Not now". I'm not being rude -- I just function much better when people are not constantly interrupting and bugging me. Is that clear? Thank you for understanding how best to work with me. Now leave me alone."



 
David Livingston
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Are you sure it is you as you seem to have no trouble communicating here on Permies .
Is it possible that you are new to the area ( and a woman and small ) and some tradesmen are trying to take advantage? Happens to me in France often ( although I'm nopt small or a woman I'm english thats worse )

David
 
Pearl Sutton
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Marco Banks wrote:Pearl,

You may want to just tell him:

"I have mild Aspergers syndrome and so sometimes I don't always read social situations well. So let me be clear with you: I don't like interruptions. I don't like small-talk. If I'm taking a break, it isn't an invitation to come talk with me unless there is an urgent question you have. But if you want to make a suggestion but are framing it as a question, please don't -- I don't find that helpful.

Perhaps we could set a time to stop and you could ask all your questions at that time. Hold them until question time. Maybe you should write them down so you remember them when question time comes. That way you know that you will get your questions answered, and I will not have to be interrupted by you.

If I say to you, "Not now", what I mean is "Not now". I'm not being rude -- I just function much better when people are not constantly interrupting and bugging me. Is that clear? Thank you for understanding how best to work with me. Now leave me alone."





Marco: I will use that, THANK YOU!! That's worded REALLY well
I do try to tell people I often associate with something like that, to warn them I do not mean anything rude, I just don't cope like they do. I guess I need to start telling everyone that. The guys I was working with knew that, and know that I just cope weird. Sigh... must I start every social encounter (including ones I don't want to be in) with a disclaimer?!

I don't usually have a problem with small talk, it's when it turns into insistent lectures when I am trying to work that I can't cope. And when I'm stressed and trying to hold onto reality by my claws to keep from crashing, I cope less. I fight with "babbling" because I attempt to explain things to people so they know what I'm doing, what I'm dealing with, etc.... And there's a LOT in my head, and I get the social equivalent of "too long, didn't read." I try to communicate the way I wish people would with me, I guess I have alien wants I like data, information about why things are happening, seems to be a nontypical desire.

I do ok here because A) y'all have high enough IQs that I do not need to dumb down my language (and use more brain RAM to translate to lower language levels, it's not easy to do) B) typing is slow enough that I have time to think before I just answer the first thing off the top of my head (without remembering to translate it down) C) y'all have more guesses about what I might be planning to do, being as you understand the concepts of permaculture as opposed to strip your land type farming.....

What I wish I had is a meter on my forehead, showing how well I am coping at that instant, so people know when to not push me ("her engines can't take it captain, she's gonna blow!!") then we get to Nerf World, no one would READ the meter....

Any other coping advice would be welcome, I'll keep watching this thread
 
Matu Collins
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Great conversation, I can really relate.

Being verbally straightforward and clear is polite and is likely to achieve long term success. It might be nice to have a little card printed with the basics on it. Laminated, even. I used to carry a little notebook with me when i was younger. It seemed like men could not hear me or take me seriously when i spoke out loud but the written word sometimes got through.

Nonverbal cues are nice to have handy too

I love the clipboard idea. I have also used headphones. They don't have to be on, just in your ears. Having a physical retreat out of sight is pleasant.

 
Karen Donnachaidh
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I really like what Marco has said too. But if you are like me, I get a little flustered trying to talk in front of a group (even a small group). I find it easier to write it, then edit and re-edit until I have on paper something I think "they" will understand. I have issues with word retrieval too so writing my words helps,as I can substitute words as needed. Things spoken badly are hard to take back. Write it on a poster for all to see or make copies for all people. Good luck!
 
Nicole Alderman
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I can also relate, especially in the love of knowledge and explanation... and other people NOT caring about that at all. Though, giving an really long explaination for something is often a really good way to make someone go away. It kind of goes hand in hand with the clipboard idea. The extremely long explanation thing also works really well with toddlers & preschoolers if you ever end up having to deal with them (they ask you a question and you give them an explanation that is so long and above their comprehension that they feel they got an answer, and also don't want to hear anymore. Then they run away and play).

I also struggle with coping in stressful situations, and wish I had a meter that told people how well I was coping...and that they actually cared about how well I was coping. There's a lot of people that, once they know you have a weakness, they will try to exploit it. For that reason, I wouldn't start out every conversation saying, "I have aspergers" because people might think you weak and walk over you, which is not something you need when you're trying to employ or contract people. You also seem to be working with mostly men, and I've found that (as an aspie), it's a whole lot easier to communicate with men because you can be blunt and growl at them, and they don't really take offense. Women, however, are another story...and I have NO idea how to deal with them.

As for the men hitting on you, being entirely oblivious to it often seems to help. If they compliment you, say very absent-mindedly, "Thanks, now lets figure out how we can chop down that tree." Ignoring all advances and acting like they didn't happen seems to work with most men, at least in my experience. If you tell them off they may think of it as being "Hard to get." If you engage the compliment or romantic discussion, they might think you're interested. For instance, if they give you flowers, go into some long description of their uses and put them down like they mean nothing...or chop them up for mulch ("Oh, thanks, that'll help nourish these plants over here"). Your weird responses will confuse them, and they will likely leave you alone. Burying yourself in your clipboard will also help. For employees or contractors that do this, you can also be blunt and say that there is work to be done and if they won't do it, then you'll find someone else. Men often respond to bluntness, while women do not always (I have no idea how to interact with most women!)

You can also say, "I'm sorry, I'm busy pulling weeds (or whatever) right now, and can't talk and pull weeds at the same time."

Also, for when you're overwhelmed socially, you can do what my husband does, and just say you need to use the bathroom, and sit in there for 30 minutes "pooping" while you read a book or plan things in your head or just have silence. If they ask what took you so long, just say you have bowel issues, and "You want more details?" They should back off. (And, if you don't have bowel issues and hate lying, just think of it as a simple statement of the fact that your bowel does have issues...it issues poop).

Or, say, like many people (at least, I read about a lot of people, mostly women, doing this), say you have a headache. I think most people will accept that excuse, even if they think it's just an excuse.

I hope that helps, and I totally feel your pain.
 
Sebastian Köln
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Pearl, could it be possible to get a second person who understands your work but has orthogonal skills (especially communication) to work as a leading team?

I had to coordinate some tricky stuff at the university and was doing this together with a woman who knew how "not to invade your space".
It was far more efficient and less stressful when both of us worked together then when one was working "alone".
 
Rodger Pilkington
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I think Marco's post is lovely, though quite lengthy.

If this is indeed still an issue for you after a year since posting, providing lots of detail really helps.  I have found that often when people ask for advice of the people-interacting kind, the information is not in a useful  context.  For example, if I can hear or see and interaction, I can help much better.  This has only been the case for me after spending time studying and being mentored regarding people-interactions as an "undiagnosed" human with aspbergers myself.  Humans are weird.

I am unfamiliar with your context, I admit, so I don't know if anything I could add would be useful.  I have personally found that being direct and unapologetic about my boundaries is useful, and that people I help do the same (in their own way) are satisfied with the outcome.  I don't recommend manipulating others with lies or half-truths, as fun as they are to try.  But that is my choice, and I value knowing that others view me as honest.

Tell me if I am barging in unwanted?
 
Pearl Sutton
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Hi Rodger, you most certainly are not barging in unwanted.
Reread my reply to Marco, that makes most sense of a lot of this. I'm trying to word something complex this morning before my caffeine kicks in,  so bear with me. Oh, there's good words for it, in Permaculture you fix the system, to keep things from being a problem at all, if you have good swales, you probably don't need to irrigate, I'm trying to fix the system here, so I don't have to fix the specifics all the time.

The reason I didn't give more specifics was the exact incident that had me so pissed off was just a particularly bad variation of a constantly recurring problem. Fixing that one incident is less important than figuring out how to keep this stuff from happening all the time. For example, I have moved to a place where I am doing permaculture on my land. When something has to be dealt with, and I am in a VERY new to me environment, if I ask anyone for help, their answers are always along the lines of "spray it with Malathion." Which is fine, I guess, not helpful to me at all. I thank them nicely, and look for a different answer. There's a certain type of person though, who get REALLY insistent that I MUST spray it, because it WORKS, DAMMIT! I'm doing beyond organic, I am not spraying with anything. I can deal with spraying being their answer, I can't deal with their emotional reaction to my not wanting to use it. The spraying stuff example is a low end problem, most people can grasp "organic, not going to spray" but most of the things I do don't explain in a quick answer, and people don't really want to hear the actual reason, as it's too complex and has a high learning curve. But when they get annoyed at me for not doing what they think I should do, I'm just lost.

It's more, I think, that I'm running a really different reality, and it's got some REALLY complex parameters (my health, my mom, my sanity, the work I can do, what I want from what I am building, some weird tech, etc) and my goals aren't the same as theirs. Someone got mad at me, told me I could get my pasture cut and baled and make money off it. I thanked him nicely, said I didn't know that people would do shares around here, I'll keep it in mind. Then he got all annoyed at me for not jumping gratefully on the idea, started throwing out bullshit numbers. He said I could get 140 bales {off 4 acres of mostly uncuttable area, uh, no} and that I could get 100.00 a bale {they sell for 3.00 each here} and I was THROWING AWAY $1400.00!! Um. let's see. First, no, your math is utterly wrong. If I got 25 bales off of this I'd be surprised, it's more scrub and rocks right now than anything else, and no one in their right mind would risk their equipment on that. At 3.00 a bale, that's 75.00. AND I'm doing beyond organic permaculture, and am looking for good, clean, not sprayed, organic inputs. Anything I baled off this (which hasn't been sprayed in years, which is part of why I bought it) *I* would be the person who wanted to buy it. If I knew of anyone around here baling unsprayed hay, I'd be seeing how much of it I could afford. I'm trying to not let any of my production leave the property right now, because I'm getting it back up into shape. So thank you, no, I will NOT be making 1400$ off this (or actually, half of that, the cutter gets half) and quit yelling at me!! My priorities are to keep improving the soil organically, not making cash and allowing good organic inputs off the property.

And I melt down, and say rude things. That man will never be welcome on my property again, for many reasons, that was just kind of the final straw. I'm overworked, exhausted, started by politely thanking him for the idea, when I didn't have energy to do so, and then he yelled at me. WTF. I have no coping skills for this. So what I need help with more than anything is figuring out how to fix the system of human interactions, so I don't have to keep fixing specific issues. Fairly soon I'll be building my house (the codes weasel is another problem entirely, I have zero clue what to do about him, that's been bad communication from day one, and he refuses to meet with me at all) and I'm going to be dealing with things like "these are called earth tubes" and "making it handicap accessible for MY problems, not for ADA compliant" and I'm not looking forward to a lot of it. I wish I could just be left alone. I wish I could do it all myself. It would be SO much easier.

So ideas I'm  looking for is how to cope with unfamiliar people, who run a very different lifestyle, most of whom are very nice, and I'm just alien, some of whom get annoyed at me for not obeying them. And then we get into the paternal "I'll take care of you little girl!" and the "hey babe, you need a man around the place" (I might, but it won't be some low IQ cretin, thanks anyway) and I just get tired of it. I think I started this thread hoping that someone would have some magic words to just correct the underlying problem. Like "swales" fixes irrigation problems. I plan, as soon I have a house and some breathing space, to find someone I can work with for my business who is good at human interactions. I think a lot of my frustration is physical exhaustion, plus juggling a LOT of things in my head, plus unfamiliar interactions, and I'm just overloading, and I plan to live here for the rest of my life, I want friends and feel like I don't have enough stability to deal with anyone.

Anyway. That's my "enough tea to make me babble, maybe not enough to make me make sense of a complex issue" rant for the morning
 
Rodger Pilkington
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I had read your response to Marco, my apologies for not referencing anything specific.  It has been a year since this thread was added to and I didn't want to assume things were not resolved.  I truly understand challenges with repeated social interactions that go badly (that I had no idea why).  My stories are different, and I have many.

I want to make sure I understand correctly.  Please let me know if I am on the right track with the following observations.  They may seem blunt, so I will admit that whatever I am seeing I have either experienced, or currently experience:

1.  You want a systems-based simple solution
2.  You have health challenges that result in fatigue, and when fatigued you lose your patience/capacity with social stuff.
3.  The humans who are creating these challenges are male (I saw no references to women)
4.  When overloaded, you lose some/all self-regulation and can't think effectively (a key ingredient for you to deal with social stuff)
5.  You are in a new community, and haven't built a support network yet (regardless of whether you want to or not)
6.  Anyone who doesn't understand why you are ignoring their advice, you see as not worth your time
 
Pearl Sutton
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Hi
1-5 are accurate, yes, worded well and thought out well.
#6 you have as:  Anyone who doesn't understand why you are ignoring their advice, you see as not worth your time
That's inaccurate.
#6: Anyone who gets angry at me for not obeying advice that is not relevant for my situation, due to being based on inaccurate data/assumptions, baffles me, frustrates me, and I slide back into #4 (overloaded). I politely thank them, and I don't say anything negative, and usually I try to not even let them know I'm not going to do what they said to, but when they get vehement about what I MUST DO because it's RIGHT, DAMMIT!! ... I am at a loss.

I'm not Aspergers, I'm somewhere on the spectrum, I'm sure, but not there. I have weird damage to my brain from seizures that has some REALLY complex effects, including my brain runs 8,000,000 miles per second, and I have a HARD time gearing down to anywhere near a human speed. I am deaf to most social cues, I have learned to figure out a lot of them intellectually, but it's not easy. When I am working, especially when I was doing stuff like the situation that prompted this thread in the first place (trying to unload a huge moving van full of stuff into the right places so things can be found and dealt with for the next few years, within a time limit, going over the time limit costs a lot more money, my crew is costing me money, I am the bottleneck in the process as I am the only one who knows where I want things, my crew is a couple of high school kids who are great and sweet but don't understand what I'm doing in the least and must be directed every step that I don't physically do myself... etc, and that's after a WHOLE lot of crap involved with a filthy, non-renovated rental, I haven't slept more than 3 hours a night for a month due to health stuff, and 2 years of packing houses and multiple deaths...) it is SO hard to keep my balance and sanity to start with, add someone yelling at me because I'm not obeying them about things that are not relevant to my life... and I just want to scream. And every time I sat down to take a break, I got pressured again, despite anything I said (one of the high school kids "He just isn't listening to you, is he?" "no. no he is not.")

So anyway, I DO try, and I can fake social skills to a point. but when I get yelled at by people who might mean well, might not (I have no clue, I can't tell) I have no idea how to cope. My usual defense is a bright smile "Thank you so much!" and I go about my merry little way. Doesn't work when you are being yelled at. Thanking them pisses them off more.

How's that for random input?
You are making more sense of it than I am, your numbered points make a lot of sense to me. I'm glad you are commenting here.
The important one was #1 (modified) I need a systems based solution.  I need to figure out how to keep from ... whatever I'm doing that's getting misinterpreted and setting this kind of stuff off. I really have no clue. Maybe being a smart female is upsetting their testosterone? I don't know. I am not going to play stupid, I have done that in the past, didn't like what it turned my head into, and when I went back to being myself, people were blindsided. (It is occasionally a useful skill to look stupid in this society.) When I am busy and juggling a ton of things, it's obvious I have an IQ, too many balls in the air at all time to pretend otherwise, and not enough physical/mental energy to add many more.
The best systems based solution I can come up with is I am looking for someone I can work with who has good social skills, although more marketing skills, for when I can produce sellable items again. I find production of things easy and fun, selling things a horrible chore and my idea of hell. I have done it, often. I hate it, and don't consider it the best use of my time/talent/skills to do my selling. So basically, hide, avoid the problem. Which is really not a solution at all.


I look forward to your input.
 
Tim Bermaw
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Pearl Sutton wrote:but when they get vehement about what I MUST DO because it's RIGHT, DAMMIT!! ... I am at a loss.

The problem is the solution.

Him1:  "Look, I'm telling ya, Roundup is the only thing that'll get rid of those things!"
You1:  "Oh, I'm sure you're right... glyphosate will knock them down in a couple of weeks.  The problem is with the co-formulants that aren't inert.  Once exchanged by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi for photosynthate derivatives, they are transported by vascular plants through the phloem and end up in the cambium layer."
You2:  "Since I make soap from bark that means I'd end up smearing the stuff all over my skin — which could trigger a seizure.  Last time that happened the hospital bill was a couple of thousand dollars."
You3: <look down at ground, with a slightly sad or depressed expression on your face... after a few seconds, take a deep breath>
You4:  "Look, even though it might not be the best way to do it, let's do it my way.  If things go wrong at least I won't have any reason to blame you."
Him2:  "Well, ok.  It won't work as well, but if you have medical issues then I guess you've gotta be careful."
You5:  "I don't really have a choice.  Now, how about we get this done."

Him1
  • they confidently assert their position

  • You1
  • agree with their position — this satisfies their ego; what you subsequently say isn't seen as an attack
  • cite the most logical reason that supports their position — what you subsequently say isn't seen as a direct attack on their position, either
  • pick a related/peripheral aspect and destroy it on a technical basis using language they are unlikely to understand — this will confuse them, let them know you've looked into it long and hard, and give them no technical come-back

  • You2
  • connect a 'feminine' activity... then a neutral issue... then a 'masculine' issue — no male would object to the former, they can relate to the latter, and the middle one is common ground that just bridges the two — you're reframing your problem in a way that [any generic male] can understand

  • You3
  • generate sympathy then display determination

  • You4
  • portray your position as an inferior one — reinforces the fact that you think they are right
  • protect the relationship — no-one wants to be held responsible if something bad happens to you after you follow their advice

  • Him2
  • they will want to reassert their position and make sure that you know your position is wrong or suboptimal
  • they may also want to seem compassionate or like they are doing you a favour by letting you have your way

  • You5
  • agree with whatever reasoning they use, accept responsibility for not following their 'good' advice, issue a call to action
  • under no circumstance should you look happy or excited about getting your way — your way is inferior, you know it, but due to reasons beyond anyone's control, you have no option

  • embrace > extend > confuse > reframe > emote > resign > protect > accept > act

    That should get you out of most of those types of situations in less than 60 seconds with minimal stress.

    In a nutshell, what you just need to do is:
  • agree with the person (to avoid insulting their ego and getting bogged down in a taxing and pointless debate)
  • control a short narrative (start with something they can't understand, pass through your position, end with something they are certain to agree with)
  • appear unhappy (that you could not follow their sage advice due to circumstance beyond anyone's control)


  • "Getting their help" is not dependant on "making them understand and/or agree with you".

    They think they are right.  Let them continue to think that.

    The problem is the solution.
     
    Rodger Pilkington
    Posts: 12
    Location: Perth, Australia
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    I have a few suggestions based on your feedback.

    First up, there is a chance that there is a dynamic I am not aware of, not being familiar with the community you find yourself in.

    I won't rule out sexism, just putting it here so you know I consider it possible, though I think it unlikely.  Based on your description, it could be the case that these men who want you to do what they would are used to bossing around women (getting their way).  Since I am not a woman I am probably not a good judge of how this might influence the situation.

    I have a suspicion that there is body language you are using that is being seen as ignorant or arrogant or some variation.  If you can, I would get someone to video yourself in one of these situations and you can get an accurate look for yourself.  You can also get someone to demonstrate what they see.  Most humans are good at mimicking others, so this could help.  If you do this and can't find anything,  I suggest noting down things in dot form.  "I said this"  "He put his hands on his hips", and avoid interpretations of those actions.  Interpretations are made up (we all do it) and can be socially problematic.  See if you can find a pattern,  or the moment when things became a problem.

    Since you are in a new community, there will be a tendency for the locals to assume they know best, especially if you are moving from an urban life.  I agree with Tim, in a way.  I know you are doing a version of this already, because you are a nice person and don't want to cause trouble: Agree with the person.  Be honest.  You ARE agreeing with them, that their suggestion works, that it works well for them.  That is their experience, and accept it.  If you dismiss it (verbally or otherwise) then they will need to justify it to save face and defend themselves.

    See if you can create a useful support network.  Permaculture is much better in a group anyway, in my opinion.  A network can let you know which contractors are good people and shield you from poor behaviour/workmanship.

    Can you arrange for someone you work with to step in and help with challenging people when you get overloaded?  Setting up a system along these lines can reduce the stress in the first place and help your work day.

    No matter how full-on your day is, if you overload you'll be no good to anybody.  Make your recharge-time your priority and don't compromise.  Set up things to make sure you are looking after yourself.  Talk with your regular workers and let them know your boundaries, what you will do and what you expect in those times when you need to step away to keep your well-being intact.

    Do you have solutions to correct your health?  Poor health can result in reduced thinking capacity, a short fuse and easy overload.  The brain is just another organ and it can get sick just like a heart or liver.  I too experience poor health and those pesky brain-not-functioning-like-I-want symptoms, and I am currently focused on fixing this.

    The rest I can think of  will take effort.  My situation is different of course, but I know I had to study the subject, and work out step-by-step how to interact socially so that people would stop being creeped out or weirded out by me.  Basically, it's a bad-news situation here.  If you want other humans to do what you want, you have to learn how to be one, at least enough that you can be your quirky self without generating challenges due to their human expectations of social interactions.  There are no short cuts, other than being one of those humans who is wired to pick up on all these things without explicit instructions, though that has its drawbacks too.

    Is any of this helpful?
     
    Pearl Sutton
    Posts: 135
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    Rodger: Thank you!
    I'll put some thought into all of this, I'll drop into PM to continue the conversation.
    Awesome feedback, very well thought out!!
    Good ideas for anyone having issues communicating.
     
    Jen Fan
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    There's a few too many responses here to read them all through, my apologies.  I'm gonna go a different route with this.

    I'm a relatively high functioning Aspie.  If you do have Asperger's that DOES need to be a lens you look through as far as social coping.  It's not as easy as "just stand up for yourself" or "just be firm" or "just learn to communicate better".  An Asperger's brain is literally different from the neurotypical brain.  While there is no ASD 'norm', we all process socialization differently from NT's, and often times with more difficulty than the rest of the world.  For me, most people I run into feel more like wild animals, functioning from a place of fear and self-preservation, than understandable humans.  I struggle to even talk with them, nothing they say or do makes sense to me.  And people who get up in my business with their "opinions" about me and what I need to be doing absolutely frazzle me.  It doesn't help that I don't always process voices/language properly and can literally not be understanding their words.   I've learned to cope without snarking, but it's taken many years (and owning a business where I'm not allowed to act out helps immensely :B).  You may or may not ever learn to speak their language, but you will need to build some coping and social skills to deal with the incidences in a productive way (for yourself and others), otherwise interaction will forever risk turning into internal social-emotional hell.

    Have you tried asking about coping skills and social growth on a spectrum-focused forum?  Lurking on the forums and reading other people's journeys and struggles can be immensely healing, or take it a step further and put yourself out there and ask some questions of your own!  The AspieCentral forums are a great place.  Talking with people who "get it" when you try to convey what having a meltdown looks like, or who understand what triggers are, and who can share their own perspective with dealing with these things is an invaluable tool.
     
    Jen Fan
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    Rodger Pilkington wrote:I have a few suggestions based on your feedback.
    I won't rule out sexism, just putting it here so you know I consider it possible, though I think it unlikely.  Based on your description, it could be the case that these men who want you to do what they would are used to bossing around women (getting their way). 

    That's literally sexism...   just sayin' :)

    Rodger Pilkington wrote:
    I have a suspicion that there is body language you are using that is being seen as ignorant or arrogant or some variation.  If you can, I would get someone to video yourself in one of these situations and you can get an accurate look for yourself.  You can also get someone to demonstrate what they see.  Most humans are good at mimicking others, so this could help.  If you do this and can't find anything,  I suggest noting down things in dot form.  "I said this"  "He put his hands on his hips", and avoid interpretations of those actions.  Interpretations are made up (we all do it) and can be socially problematic.  See if you can find a pattern,  or the moment when things became a problem.

    If the OP is on the spectrum or does have ASD, body language may literally not make sense.  I personally, despite intensive attempts to research and learn, am literally clueless about body language.  It doesn't register to me in any way, I don't see it, I don't read it, and I don't exercise the language.  My brain is apparently incapable of comprehending human body language.  I just wanted to put that out there- sometimes when we are struggling with these things, when others recommend a course of action to remedy it without understanding the impossibility, it becomes very frustrating!  I'm not saying it is or is not impossible in her case, but just giving some weight to the other side of the scale ^_^ 

    Besides all that; just because you might seem ignorant or arrogant to someone does NOT give another a reason to disrespect you.  There isn't an excuse, and someone else's inability to socialize in a respectful manner doesn't become your short coming if you feel frustrated by it.  It's always a balancing act...


    Rodger Pilkington wrote:Since you are in a new community, there will be a tendency for the locals to assume they know best, especially if you are moving from an urban life.  I agree with Tim, in a way.  I know you are doing a version of this already, because you are a nice person and don't want to cause trouble: Agree with the person.  Be honest.  You ARE agreeing with them, that their suggestion works, that it works well for them.  That is their experience, and accept it.  If you dismiss it (verbally or otherwise) then they will need to justify it to save face and defend themselves.


    This is a good point.  In these situations I find myself agreeing with people just to shut them up.  I loath the thought of lying, but a muted "mmhm" or a head nod and a "yeah, yeah" is often enough to appease the ego-obsessed individual.  You don't 'have' to agree, just give them what they want so they can go on their way and then keep to your own path :)  I had a neighbor once who was on my case about how my shrubs needed to be trimmed, and another on my case about how I had weeds in my yard (coming from a guy with no lawn and ample tall weeds).  They were just exercising control over the short lone female next door- I mean, "trying to help", of course.  I would just make direct eye contact and strongly but unconvincingly agree with them about ALL OF IT.  And then do nothing.  And it made them very confused, to my delight.  "She seems like she gets it, but I can't quite tell if she does or not" was their parting thoughts.  I'm never going to convince them I'm not a hapless hopeless female, so why bother trying?  Don't be in it to impress anyone.  Those who are already unimpressed will never change their minds without first changing their hearts. 

    Rodger Pilkington wrote:
    Can you arrange for someone you work with to step in and help with challenging people when you get overloaded?  Setting up a system along these lines can reduce the stress in the first place and help your work day.


    A "social spotter", a wonderful idea!  Find someone who understands your limitations or frustrations and can step in without much prompt to handle obstinate or persistent men/people.  That sounds like a really good solution for the moment!
     
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