Talking to people

Talking to People (by Alex)

One of the biggest points of variance for autistic people is how much social activity they’d like.

Some autistic people prefer as little social contact as possible and would be right at home living in an isolated cottage deep in the middle of the woods. Others prefer a moderate amount of social contact, maybe a couple of conversations every now and then. And still others can’t get enough of talking to people.

The latter of these three types is one that I don’t think people often think about. Autism and “bad social skills” are almost synonymous in the minds of many people, so it wouldn’t be entirely unreasonable for someone to assume that all autistic people are introverted. However, this isn’t true.

Personally, I think a lot of autistic people would naturally be in the second and third categories but are pushed into being antisocial through their experience of external circumstances. For example, as a child I used to love talking to the people in my class in primary school, but they often wouldn’t respond well to the things I said, and so I learned to stop doing it.

I have a theory that this happens to a lot of people with autism. They start out their lives as wanting to talk to and interact with other people but keep having bad experiences whenever they do so, and so they start to associate interacting with others with unpleasant feelings and stop wanting to do it.

So, perhaps it’s worth considering that if you have an autistic child or know an autistic person who doesn’t like talking to people; maybe they would like talking to people, if the other people would respond to them in a more positive way. If someone wants to talk about their favourite video game but won’t because they think someone will make fun of them for it, chances are they’d probably jump at the chance to do it with someone who will instead be engaged with the conversation.