Jump to content


Photo

50-something female with Aspergers

40 50 60 older female Aspergers London meet social skills fit in

  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 Gina3

Gina3

    Salisbury Hill

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Hertfordshire

Posted 20 September 2013 - 02:01 PM

Hi all,

I’m new to this forum and joined because I wanted to communicate with - and possibly meet - women of a similar age to me (mid fifties) with Aspergers. I have a couple of male friends, who I can confide in, but no female friends, just a few colleagues and acquaintances.  It would really be something for me to have a female friend I could trust and be myself with – something I think most women take for granted.  I suppose I’m a typical Aspie: I love science, sci-fi and animals, and have, I've been told, ‘the social skills of a wombat’ (although that’s probably unfair to wombats).  I’m in my mid-50s and pass as more or less normal, albeit as a shy, anxious type, but I am SO tired of trying to fit in, and beating myself up every time I commit a social faux-pas.

Gxx



#2 Tanya52

Tanya52

    Ben Nevis

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 312 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:UK
  • Interests:cross-cultural communication

Posted 23 September 2013 - 10:30 AM

Hi Gina,

 

Welcome aboard, nice meeting you. I know what you meant about missing on women companionship.   I’m a woman of your age and often feel this way too.  I think that it’s a part of my “deal” in communication.   I’ve done a bit of a research in this field and understood   that many  women are very good observers, clever with reading body language, face expression and other paralinguistic signals.

 

 I guess, when I unwillingly send my mixed signals creating micro-confusions, they just cut me off FOREWER.  It might sounds cruel but I think many women have their personal well defined agendas in communication that not easy to overrule.

  

I wish you to find good key palls

Tanya :)

 

 

 



#3 Gina3

Gina3

    Salisbury Hill

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Hertfordshire

Posted 23 September 2013 - 05:57 PM

Hi Tanya

 

Thanks for your reply.  I think I need to follow your example and do some research into communication, maybe starting with a book on body language, as I’ve been meaning to do.

 

I’m quite hopeless at communicating with other women: sometimes I’m too familiar, which offends them, but mostly I think I appear cold and/or nervous - I don’t usually attempt friendship overtures as I dread the inevitable rejection.  I know that sometimes I bore people – I ramble on about things that interest me and don’t realise until I notice their eyes glazing over, or the stifled yawn.  Sometimes I attempt small talk, to ‘fit in’ but I’m no good at it (when I try, I even bore myself).  Sometimes I over-compensate and come across as trying too hard or trying to shock.  Whatever it is I get wrong, I can only guess later on.  Usually I have no idea I’ve pissed someone off until they either ‘tell me off’ (very humiliating, especially as I’m in my fifties now!) or start avoiding me.

 

For some reason, men don’t seem to get upset (why is that?) and I can just be myself with them. Consequently I’m relaxed with men and find it easy to be ‘mates’ with them, which seems to be another thing about me that women don’t understand and maybe don’t like (perhaps they see me as some kind of man-eater, who doesn’t like competition with other women. I'm not ‘one of the girls’) but what can I do?  If I didn’t have my two current male friends, I would have none at all!

 

Putting a message on this site is itself quite strange and stressful.  As soon as I did it, I wanted to delete it (but couldn’t figure out how).  I’m not used to being open about any of this and felt like a mob of NTs would march up my street with flaming torches, and denounce me for being neurotic and self-obsessed.

 

Thanks for your good wishes, Tanya, it’s encouraging.

Gx



#4 Tanya52

Tanya52

    Ben Nevis

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 312 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:UK
  • Interests:cross-cultural communication

Posted 23 September 2013 - 08:04 PM

Hi Gina, :)

 

I’m sure that you’ll be able to improve, and trust me it worth a bit of effort.  They say that aspies are a bit weak on social creativity.  It’s very true!  But for every obstacle one can design a personal strategy.  My favourite is a copying strategy.   I carefully  observe the target  person I’d like to copy and practice their behaviour patterns  until it gets default and fun.  This way I don’t  need to invent my social identity  from scratch.  There’s nothing wrong with it from my point of view.  I didn’t make the rules of social protocol and it’s only the winning strategy I’m after.  It helps me to tune my greetings,  smile,  intonation and eye contact to the right frequency.

 

I agree that  it’s much easy to communicate with men because they think differently and often don’t pay much attention to reading paralinguistic signals.  Sometimes men only interested in their own opinions, that can gives us some space when  we don’t know how to respond. Talking about competitiveness, I’ve met some very competitive men unlike many women who are brilliant collaborators.

It’s OK to be a bit nervous at first, this will pass.

XXX

 

 



#5 Gina3

Gina3

    Salisbury Hill

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Hertfordshire

Posted 29 September 2013 - 09:20 PM

I know what you mean about women collaborating, I once worked with 11 women at a charity, and they were super-efficient team-players, and yes, you're right, men can be very competitive.

 

Sometimes I find myself adopting accents or mannerisms from the person I'm speaking to without intending to!  I'm trying to imagine your coping strategy in action .. who would the target person be?  Wouldn't they notice you were borrowing their behaviours? Can I ask, what kind of people do you find you can be your true self with?

 

I can do the formulaic social stuff, more or less -  I recently got some tips from an old copy of Debrette's Etiquette for Girls e.g. how to do the kissing on the cheek thing: 'present the right cheek first ...'  but after that it gets complicated.  I find trying to socialise with groups of women really exhausting as, by the time I think of something to say, the conversation has moved on, and if its in a noisy venue, I can't even hear half the things people are saying because of the background noise. One-on-one with women is even worse, as I feel incredibly tense, and I can't just be 'the quiet one' as I am in a group.  I think I need a brain transplant!



#6 mumtoadozen

mumtoadozen

    Salisbury Hill

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Interests:Forensic science. Passed my level one diploma with honours, level two diploma with highest honours and near completion with my level three.
    Enrolled on a BSc Honours for Criminal and psychological studies with the OU starting in October.
    In my spare time I'm a homeschooling mum with a passion for all things crafty.

Posted 30 September 2013 - 02:34 PM

Hi Gina :)

I'm a 42 year old Aspie ;)

I can relate to a lot of what you've said and only have two close female friends (though in honesty I'm a tad tomboyish and so are those two friends so it helps)

Hope to get to know you better

Chell

#7 Tanya52

Tanya52

    Ben Nevis

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 312 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:UK
  • Interests:cross-cultural communication

Posted 30 September 2013 - 10:33 PM

Hi Gina,

 

I was thinking about you this afternoon, thanks for your reply!

 

 I guess  I was very lucky in my life to meet  some smashing women and girls, who weren’t my friends, just made me feel good and took care of me when I was lonely and poor.  Many years ago I was a p/t student and worked full time.  My salary was so modest that for 2 years I couldn’t afford a second pair of jeans.  One girl who worked with me helped me to buy some closes for a fraction of its price and another one helped me to get inexpensive trip to a youth camp that I could have a rest bite and to enjoy myself.     They did it because they could help and because they were kind and supportive.

 

The person I copy isn’t a woman but a  young man.  He’s natural and I NEVER saw him angry or ironic which is pretty unusual for a man in this culture.   Everyone likes him, because his voice and manners project respect and dignity  and above all  he’s also a high achiever in his professional  field.

What you described  as adopting someone’s accent or body language is a very normal practice which in sociolinguistics  known as accommodation.  There’s nothing wrong with it and all of us do this from time to time.

 

You certainly don’t need any transplants, just try to observe when you’ve got a chance how other  ladies chat in a small group of 2-3 people. I know that it’s hard but not only for you, I’ve got the same obstacles.   You might want  to practice along crafting a small talk 1-1.5 min.   The safest topic is “the weather”.   An eye contact is very important and your charming smile would be an ice breaker.  Before I had problems with making eye contact, but now I need to remind myself not to stare.

 

Tanya X



#8 Tanya52

Tanya52

    Ben Nevis

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 312 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:UK
  • Interests:cross-cultural communication

Posted 01 October 2013 - 09:27 AM

Hi Gina,

 

I don’t know if my professor eve noticed that  I “borrowed” anything from him. In any case I adopted his micro strategies  as a part of my social identity and it’s totally me now.  I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.

 

2 years ago I run a sociolinguistic project with 2 groups of women and observed that  the primary objectives  of their successful communications is maintaining their social identities.   It’s obviously this BIG and it’s how they do stuff in practice.  When you do your research, you try to understand people and judging them doesn’t help.     The best option is to shift to their point of view trying  to examine how they might feel or even think.

 

I’m not sure if I answered to your question, but I don’t feel awkward or unnatural  in interactions unless of cause people teasing me,  being ironic or patronising but confrontation is a different topic.    


Edited by Tanya52, 01 October 2013 - 12:13 PM.


#9 Gina3

Gina3

    Salisbury Hill

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Hertfordshire

Posted 02 October 2013 - 09:27 PM

Thanks for your message Chell

It's amazing and very impressive that you find the energy for your studies as well as all the home schooling.  Forensics must be fascinating, although I have to admit my only knowledge of it comes from watching Dexter, and I suspect that's a tad glamourised! It would be nice to know you better too.

 

Hi Tanya

You've obviously thought about this a lot, and know a lot about sociolinguistics.  I find that reading about things only gets me so far though.  My ideal scenario would be to actually role-play these situations and have objective observers say: "You got this wrong."  or "Try doing that."  I have a kind of super-NT partner, and I've observed him for years, to 'see how he does it' in social situations, as he's extremely good at it, but I could never get the positive reaction from people that he gets.  He tells me that I come across as abrupt sometimes and forget to engage in social pleasantries, which I'm trying to work on.  It's hard work though, when it all feels like an act, rather than being effortless and innate as it seems to be for him.

Gxx



#10 Gina3

Gina3

    Salisbury Hill

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Hertfordshire

Posted 02 October 2013 - 09:36 PM

PS  Sorry, Tanya, I forget to say, I'm not sure what a sociolinguistic project means - was it to do with social skills?  (excuse my ignorance!)x

G



#11 Tanya52

Tanya52

    Ben Nevis

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 312 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:UK
  • Interests:cross-cultural communication

Posted 03 October 2013 - 09:51 AM

Hi Gina,

 

Sorry for loading  you with linguistic jargon , it’s not nice and I came across like an arrogant snob.

Sociolinguistics is basically  a linguistic approach to social sciences.  It investigates some important topics in communication like:

Language and gender

Dialects

Language and social stratification

Bilingualism  and so on

 

In reality I know not that much. Our English department’s major is Stylistics which is not me as I'm interested in applied linguistics. 

 

Your ideal scenario is my ideal too, in fact, it’s exactly how they train ASs on the social interaction workshops.  As you can imagine this kind of a training can’t be a cheap  option and there’re a very few good qualified professional coaches around.   I know that Patsy Rodenburg and her colleagues at Central Speech and Drama  were helping some people like us, but I’ve never did any myself.  The good speech coaches are in a very high demand and could make some serious money for example on politicians or TV presenters, especially now when social networking is so BIG.

       

http://www.cssd.ac.uk/study/short-courses/business-bespoke-courses


Edited by Tanya52, 03 October 2013 - 10:03 AM.


#12 Gina3

Gina3

    Salisbury Hill

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Hertfordshire

Posted 05 October 2013 - 08:08 PM

Thanks for the link Tanya, and you totally don't come across as arrogant x



#13 nippy sweetie

nippy sweetie

    Salisbury Hill

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 41 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:The World

Posted 24 November 2013 - 11:00 AM

Hi, its a pity you dont have a local women`s AS group. I`m concerned that by reading too much or trying to do the dreaded "social skills training" - how I hate that phrase and even concept-you may just learn a whole lot of new things to worry about. Its all so artificial somehow. You need to find out what is helpful for you as anindividual rather than a whole lot of stuff that apparently helps other people. You are interesting and valuable. Is there any one person you could look on as a personal "mentor"? Doesnt have to be anyone professional just a well intentioned prson you can trust. If you do have such a person you could try regular reviews of the things that come up in your life and discuss how did or could have handled them. This way you can gradually build up a range of strategies you are comfortable with while still remaining yourself.

There are several women`s forums online too. Or try our "Asperclick". Sorry for blatant advert its just quite useful for adults with AS



#14 Gina3

Gina3

    Salisbury Hill

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 26 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Hertfordshire

Posted 28 November 2013 - 02:34 AM

Hi Nippy, thanks for your suggestions, I'll try Asperclick.  I do have a kind of 'mentor' in the shape of my partner.  Only the other day, we ran through how I'm going to manage the work christmas drinks!  I think I know what you mean when you describe social skills training as artificial xx



#15 Aeolienne

Aeolienne

    Kilimanjaro

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1124 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Leamington Spa, Warks
  • Interests:Baroque music, green issues (esp. renewable energy), hillwalking, Quakerism, reading (astronomy, fiction, popular science), practical conservation, art exhibitions, royal-watching

Posted 28 May 2016 - 04:20 PM

Hi, its a pity you don't have a local women`s AS group. I`m concerned that by reading too much or trying to do the dreaded "social skills training" - how I hate that phrase and even concept - you may just learn a whole lot of new things to worry about. It's all so artificial somehow. You need to find out what is helpful for you as an individual rather than a whole lot of stuff that apparently helps other people. You are interesting and valuable. Is there any one person you could look on as a personal "mentor"? Doesn't have to be anyone professional just a well intentioned person you can trust. If you do have such a person you could try regular reviews of the things that come up in your life and discuss how did or could have handled them. This way you can gradually build up a range of strategies you are comfortable with while still remaining yourself.

There are several women`s forums online too. Or try our "Asperclick". Sorry for blatant advert it's just quite useful for adults with AS

What's happened to Asperclick? I haven't been able to log on there since the site was revamped a few months ago. I've sent several requests for a password reminder, to no avail.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: 40, 50, 60, older, female, Aspergers, London, meet, social skills, fit in

1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users