Asperger’s / autism and the conundrums of honesty, bluntness, diplomacy, & lying

I am finished with pesky obligations of the day, and can now settle into a warm, comfortable, guilt-free, technologically-challenged blog-writing frenzy.  I feel butter-melting warm and fuzzy inside, and my feet palpate solid landscapes.

The perfect time to delve into a meaty subject.

A life of being Aspergian/autistic has meant that I have navigated the world as if through fog without instruments, frequently misstepping into countless invisible canyons.  Realizing that I’m on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum has cleared the fog, but the canyons remain obscured, and I continue to step into them.

The commonly-held belief is that every human being possesses the same preinstalled set of social “graces” (a term that is itself debatable), and those who lack the social graces are either written off as voluntarily antisocial jerks, deemed incompetent, labeled as “less intelligent”, or taken pity upon as the assumed result of bad parenting.

This group of conventionally perceived “misfits” generally includes Asperger’s/autistic people.

Earth to world: the set of arbitrary customs considered to be conventional social graces is not entirely universal, and in many of those of us in whom it is “lacking”, it’s not anyone’s fault, including our parents.

We, the people on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum, are simply running a different operating system.  The coding used for the messages sent and received is entirely its own.

What might have prompted members of society at large to write off a particular “socially graceless” individual (especially one who is on the spectrum) might have been a statement of pure and genuine honesty on our part.

We might have breached the guarded walls of small talk and gotten too openly personal too prematurely, before sufficient butt-sniffing had been satisfied according to the standards of the neurotypical society member.

We might have made a joke incongruent with the present company or the contextual atmosphere.

We might have not have fawned enough over a friend who just got a new coat that looks all wrong on them, and when asked pseudo-directly, “does this coat look good on me?” the we, social “graceless” people, might not have responded enthusiastically enough, fast enough.

Or, if we manage to pull off the acting role and respond in a way considered favorable, they might assume we’re lying.  “Oh, you’re just saying that.”  Or, “really?  You mean it?”

They can respond in this way, too, even if we do believe the coat looks good and we’re telling them the honest truth when we say that it does.  I wish there was an extra Spoon Allowance for those who interact with people you have to answer every question twice.

Any little infraction out in the social open pasture is fair game for judgment (at best) and even ostracism or condemnation (at worst).  It makes fertile fodder for gossip between small minds.  It fuels the dust devil of circular currents of criticism, when the victim isn’t even there to defend themselves.  From there, news of our social faux pas may spread like dandelion seeds, drifting far and wide, then settling and germinating without us present to tend to it.  And during the next encounter with the gossip-breeders, after the information has germinated, we often know that something’s different.  Something’s off.  Something’s not right.  We can almost sniff the air and detect the alteration.

The scent we may pick up might not be a complete shunning, but there’s a palpable change in unspoken attitudes; the neurotypical person’s frequency has been altered, and only toward the you (the “graceless” person).

The other person goes cold, almost appearing to be moving slower.  They smile less, and their tone of voice loses some of its light, swapping the animation out for condescension.  There’s almost an air of superiority, implying that we’re inept children.

The room gets thick.  It might pulse in a syncopated rhythm. The vague-but-unquestionable sensation of dread begins to wash over us, the social “graceless”.  Something has changed, and it’s irrevocable; there’s no “undo” button.

Those sensations often become familiar for those of us on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum, who are said to “lack” social “graces” by conventional standards.  Anyone “failing” to adhere to the standard gets a “less” mark beside their name.  It’s a tired, old, painful, and sometimes annoying pattern.

Sometimes we shake our heads inside and say, oh, not this shit again.

Long after the neurotypical party has moved onto the Next Pressing Thing, we might still sitting in the same spot (sometimes literally), rewinding the conversational sequence in our heads, debugging every line, hoping to find a clear clue that can be converted into a constructive strategy for next time.  Of course, there’s no going back with this person; their view of us has been tainted, and it’s that way to stay.  But each new person we encounter is a potential fresh start, right?

Kind of.  But for me, it has hardly ever ended up that way.

It’s almost like looking at yourself on a played-back video.  OK, so far, so good, everything’s fine, the vibe hasn’t changed yet.  OK, now we’re starting to talk about this.  Now moving onto that, next topic.  That change has got to be coming up soon.  OK…OK–now!  There it is.  What was I saying right then?  Ohhhhh, OK.  That must be it.  Got it now.  It’s too late, but at least I know.  Painful lesson learned…

Or not.  Maybe we have no idea what brought about the abrupt change in the other person.  In that case, we might resort to Plan B.  We begin to cross-examine ourselves.

What did I do this time?  Maybe it was something I said.  Yeah, that’s probably it, because their demeanor changed while we were talking.  I can almost pinpoint the moment it changed.  Almost…but not quite.

Maybe I said something off-color?  Did I offend them?  Wait–what?  That was offensive?  It never bothered me.  How could that bother anyone?  OK, wait a minute–that word actually means that?  Well, that’s fine, but I didn’t know.

Maybe I was too honest?  I thought that was a good thing.  Oh wait–that’s considered blunt?  OK, wait a minute–honesty is good and bluntness is bad?  Where’s the line between the two?  I wouldn’t cross it all the time if I knew where it was.  But I can’t see it?

Maybe I got too personal?  I thought people did that.  OK, so scratch my teenage burping contest off the list of acceptable topics for a first encounter with someone.  Got it–I think.

It’s not just first encounters that cause trouble for many of us; longtime relationships can also get the hiccups.

Sometimes I’m accused of being too diplomatic.  The implication is that I’m somehow a wallflower or wuss who can’t stand up for herself.  Or worse, that I’m being manipulative or doing some fancy footwork, much like a politician playing to their crowd.

But if I become any more straightforward than that, in the interest of being more direct and transparent, I ruffle the feathers of the more delicate.  Nasty words can hurl back toward straightforward people.  Racist, bigot, misogynist, conspiracy theorist, fringe, or ableist (the latter being the broadest, widest-encompassing, confusing, and sticky one) are common current favorites.  People who know me know that none of these words actually apply to me.  But that’s the price one might pay for being too direct.

Not knowing which path to err on the side of, we can experience temporary cognitive paralysis.  Do I say [x] or not?  It could be interpreted as insensitive.  But if I don’t say it, people might think I’m fence-sitting.

The same is true for questions.  For some reason, people in offline life love to ask me questions.  Sometimes it’s a simple seeking of a personal opinion.

But how do I answer?  It’s often a case of “damned if I do, damned if I don’t”.  There doesn’t seem to be a correct answer.  The carrot moves every time.

If I’m honest, then people often recoil, as though I’ve suddenly smacked their hand.  What follows is a mutually-shared confusion with completely different roots.  I’ve maintained my integrity by stating the full truth, but I’m criticized for being too “blunt”.  The world in general is not prepared to hear the truth.  For the longest time, I never realized that the world at large expects you to lie in order to save face.  The face saved is theirs, but in saving theirs you also save your own.  I’ve lost a lot of faces over the years.

Score: Them: 0.  Me: 0.

If I withhold the full truth, I can avoid offending the person or taking them aback.  I have now succeeded at being “diplomatic”.  Go me.  But then, I’ve been less than fully honest.  The person might be content and satisfied with what I’ve said, but their approval doesn’t exactly “count”, because it’s based on a distorted sideline view of me, not a full frontal view.  I might have “passed”, but they’ve approved of a version of me that isn’t real.  At which point, I feel like a fraud.  And I’m prone to loneliness, which now has only been reinforced.

Score: Them: 1.  Me: 0.

Notice that, generally, for us, the score is almost always zero.  It doesn’t matter how we handle the situation; we frequently come up short.  Essentially, someone whose system didn’t come with Conventional Social Graces fully installed can’t win.  It’s a no-win game of Life.

That doesn’t mean it’s a hopeless, desolate landscape; it just means we have to work that much harder, and be prepared to experience frequent missteps, along with the embarrassment that usually comes with them.

It also means that most of us find ourselves alone a lot, often preferring solitude to contempt.

It means that resentment and bitterness rage against the machine of a world that believes that any minor quirk is open to judgment and that it has the god(dess)-given right to be the sole judges panel.  This resentment and bitterness can accumulate behind the scenes like the Cookies list in a web browser, until we deliberately dig them up and clear them out.  But the onus of taking that action rests on our shoulders.  Even though our reaction is a natural response to a world that acts this way, the majority rules and all that.

Meh.

There’s another reason why this situation isn’t entirely hopeless, though: autism awareness–and even acceptance–is beginning to bud and shoot sprouts here and there.  We can’t hold our breath just yet; it hasn’t hit the mainstream jet stream yet.  But it has trickled down to some of the more cutting edge professionals.  Steve Silberman made a fresh step in a largely untamed wilderness when he published his book “Neurotribes”.  Like him or not, he’s helping to build the solid warp zone between the two worlds that we so desperately need.  Neurotypical people benefitted from that book, but only indirectly, through broadened horizons and increased enlightenment.  We benefitted much more directly, because through this enlightenment boost, more people (everyone who read the book) can now help become agents of change, spearheads of revolution, which then translates to higher quality of life for us. Someday soon, we might not be perceived in a dimmer light.  We may not be given the stamp of “lesser”.  We may not be dubbed “mentally disordered”.  We might actually get listened to and taken seriously, something that is already starting to happen in a select few (but growing number of) ultra-progressive companies.

Maybe then, our “score” won’t always sit at the big fat goose egg.

Maybe we’ll win some, too 🙂

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46 Comments

  1. funny, i was thinking just about writing a longer post about that honesty/bluntness aspect for the past few days.
    itʻs also so weirdly culture dependent. in scandinavia, esp. in finland itʻs ok to be more direct and blunt. there lying for the sake of brownnosing or asskissing is seen more dishonest, while here in US… lying (“white” lies, lies of other colors, brownnosing etc) is ok and seen as a social lubricant, and honesty is frowned upon. i dislike dishonesty, like BS compliments (“thatʻs a lovely haircut”), but iʻm he problem? since NT lying here is so commonplace, i canʻt rely on what people say, how people say it – in person – as i donʻt see their expressions, and all i get is the voice (which also often is unreliable as many, esp women, have such fake and emotionally lying voice).
    how nice it would be if honesty was more appreciated in general (“you paid $300 for that haircut? why? itʻs ok but your hair still looks thin and flat and thag thinning towards the ends makes it look even thinner”).

    oh, i have the winner. so there was once this white male shrink or something that was blabbering something about “emotional honesty”. i wish i had hd the balls to call that white NT fatso about it, “could you explain what that means? no such thing in any of my languages…” also who the fsck would be the tsrget group to that? iʻm an aspie so i sorta donʻt do and deeply hate emotional bullshittery, so was he trying to tell a group of people that they might be NTs and should actually be more like (gasp) aspies in that sense, or that aspies and orher beurofabulous people should be “emotionally honest” like NTs, that is, be full of emotionally manipulative manure?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Ooh, that’s an interesting question! I honestly don’t have an answer, at least not yet. “Emotional honesty”, yeah, what the hell is that? Lol. I think you’re on to something; maybe it is indeed telling NT clientele to be honest with themselves about how they really feel. Because I think you’re right; many NTs aren’t honest about that, and those people fool themselves into thinking that everything is peachy when maybe it really isn’t. From what I’ve seen, many NTs aren’t in touch with themselves inside and those people might even lie to themselves or ignore their real emotions. They might have been so socialized to be a certain way that they may not even know what the truth is anymore. They might get so that they can’t recognize their own emotions. That kind of sounds like us (alexithymia), but the difference (the way I see it) is this: we know–and admit that we’re not always aware of our emotions, or that we can’t always identity them. Whereas the NTs who fit the phenomenon I’m talking about don’t seem to have that insight; they may not be aware that they’re not aware, if that makes sense (lol) 😉💖

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      1. or they are just so habitual liars in all feelings and emotional senses they don’t get it?
        i thought there were just two possibilities for this “emotional honesty” thing; to yourself or to the people around you. both would be good.
        people being honest to self would maybe solve other “psychiatric” issues too; maybe figure out the reason why someone is depressed and actually (gasp) fox wtf is making them feel like poop instead of just eating mountains of psychotropics because they are more profitable…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Absolutely, yes! Wholeheartedly agreed 😊. You described beautifully something that I have been thinking about conceptually but could never quite find the words to describe. I think you’re totally right! A little honesty and acceptance would save mints of money on psychotropics and might actually be much more helpful than just band-aiding their lives with pills. Not to say that meds aren’t sometimes needed, but I imagine that there are a lot of people out there who probably wouldn’t need to be on meds if they just did a little soul-searching, processing, admitting, and accepting 💞💞

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    2. yes! this is why my two favorite people in the world (both titled “sun-girl” because of the light) are european/romance language speakers and have aspergers, respectively.

      although i can scarcely deal with most australians. theyre honest, though theyre also the most sarcastic people on earth (more than the british) so sarcasm is the vehicle for their honesty. a worst nightmare come true! i dont hate them, i only hate how difficult they are to talk to. (australian aspies are a breath of fresh air, however. im happy to say, they are much easier to talk to. theyre also the most tongue-in-cheek aspies in the world, probably as a product of their environment.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. at least sarcasm also usually means intelligence and sense of humor, and a culture that doesnʻt get offended by everything.
        i havenʻt worked with/known australians, but they sound easier to deal with than americans. :-/

        Liked by 2 people

        1. americans have one of the worst reputations in the world, though. australians are widely loved.

          truth be told, ive met ameri-philes from many countries. theyre not unaware of the problems that come from our “special” little part of the world, and neither am i. some of us have probably earned that reputation, and earned “us” that reputations. others– we are not all so bad ❤ but believe me, im sufficiently horrified. im also sufficiently horrified when the rest of the world follows us into illegal wars– and i bring this up when (brits for example) talk about what a terrible people we are– all for things britain was famous for for centuries (ive always been an anglophile myself– i also like fairness.)

          we are the worlds largest exporter of political correctness, which should ideally result in some kind of ban or sanction– but they cant even get us to reduce carbon emissions.

          and we always elect a war-criminal. i mean, this time we elected a globalist billionaire. but in terms of his track record (despite his awful personality and troubling politics) he is less globalist and less a war criminal than anyone i would normally expect to take office these days. :/ i dont deny hes a nightmare– our leaders typically are.

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  2. I love this theme- I thought about & played around with letting the bluntness out at various points in my life Pre-DX. A quest for radical honesty. I wasn’t deliberately unkind, but I dropped attempts at BS as social grist. I felt lighter but I’m not sure it helped my relationships…people got to the weird real me quicker than when I’m masking I guess.

    On the topic of being honest with self- I’e sought out various spiritual & discussion groups over the years. I’ve learned with surprise that many people simply don’t spend much time thinking about the meta stuff, their actions, the bigger picture. Which is odd since behaviour seems so tightly vetted for ‘weirdness’ by NTs. I think the surface counts a great deal: rare friends & interesting people will dig deeper ❤️

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    1. Applause to your whole comment 😊 I can relate, very much! You said it perfectly. Especially about the rare friends and interesting people digging deeper – I’ve definitely found that to be the case as well ❤️

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  3. I’ve been thinking about this issue a lot since starting to figure out if I have a place on the spectrum. I’ve always counted this as evidence against, because I don’t really do the blunt/honest/inadvertently rude thing that is supposedly an Aspie trait. I get along well with 99% of people I meet, and I don’t experience that shift of atmosphere you described in your post – or maybe I just don’t notice? I’m a total people pleaser and generally a very polite and inoffensive creature.
    That’s not to say I haven’t committed my share of faux pas. The ‘getting too personal too soon’ thing sounds like me. And I’ve probably made a few inappropriate jokes, but not that often. With me, it’s more things I do or don’t do than things I say.
    I seem to be a calming influence on angry people, and I’m very diplomatic, although that means I often get caught in the middle of a disagreement between two other people, who then get annoyed with me when I try to smooth things over but refuse to take either side. That’s what comes from taking a rational rather than emotional approach I suppose.
    I have found that people will often take a neutral statement, such as ‘I see you’ve got a new handbag’ as a compliment, and I’m quite happy to add a ‘nice!’, even if I’m entirely indifferent to their handbag. I probably wouldn’t outright lie about something I find hideous, but I would put it gently, like ‘I’m not so sure about that’, or ‘it’s not what I would have chosen’. The culture here works in my favour as well, as exaggerated emotional enthusiasm is not expected. Things are a bit more understated here. It does not help me with figuring out my place, though.
    Sorry for the long comment, but your post (and your blog as a whole) give me a lot to think about.

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    1. Hi! Thank you so much for commenting 😊 I can really relate to a lot of what you said, too. Earlier in my journey, I had read blogs by other people on the spectrum, and they fit me to a T in most instances, but when I looked up the criteria and some of the checklists from more “official” sources, I wasn’t sure if I “qualified”, because much of those checklists were worded in such a way that I wasn’t sure if they applied to me 😊

      The criteria themselves are somewhat problematic, because they’re highly biased toward young boys, and only via the observation of behaviors. What an observer might call “blunt”, was just me saying what was on my mind without trying to be blunt; it was a purely innocent move on my part. But apparently I was coming across as blunt (in their eyes) without realizing it. Only after I’d said what I said and experienced their reaction did I realize that somehow, I had done something wrong 😊

      My experience has been that I’m either unaware of social niceties or I forget to follow them (lol). This especially happens when I get tired and my energy has dipped. The forgetfulness part seems to emerge much more often then 😊 Since the criteria have been developed only by observation, they don’t take this into account. They don’t consider that we’re usually trying very hard, and that any mistakes we make are usually the result of confusion or a memory slip or a misunderstanding (on either side), but they don’t add any footnotes about our genuine intentions ❤️

      You mentioned that you were looking to see if you might be on the spectrum; that’s awesome! 😊 If you haven’t already, please feel free to check out my Resources-themed page (it can be accessed through the menu); there are some really helpful checklists, some by actually-autistic people and others by a few of the more forward-thinking, non-pathology-based professional leaders in the field 💖

      Wishing you lots of luck on your journey! If I can be of any help, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can either post a comment or contact me privately; I may be delayed in responding at times, but I’ll always respond 💜💙

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      1. Thank you for your kind reply! I suspect I might be on the spectrum, but I’ve been flip-flopping between ‘yes I am!’ and ‘nonsense, don’t be silly!’ for the best part of a decade. You’ve put your finger neatly on the biggest problem: I, too, can relate to people’s experiences they write about in their blogs, but the official criteria just don’t seem to apply. Anyway, I’m looking seriously into this now – you could say it’s my current special interest!
        I did check out your resources page earlier. Also, thank you for your kind offer of help. I might take you up on that in time. Meanwhile, can I follow you on Twitter? I’m on Twitter as @museummaus, but I seem to tweet mainly about birds and flowers…

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Sure, absolutely! I’ll find you and follow you, too. My world could definitely use more birds and flowers 😉

      Thank you for your kind words! 💞

      Yeah it’s tough to see ourselves in criteria written for young children, especially when you’re an adult female 😉 The criteria are incredibly limited and based off observation only, so when we read the criteria, we’re being subjected to our neurotype through neurotypical lenses 😊 It can almost become unrecognizable! 💓💓

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    3. if youre female, its a lot more difficult for females to be diagnosed. its a lot harder to play “spot the aspie” (a favorite game of mine and my probably-nt ex lover/soulmate) with females. the point is, the way that apergers manifests can be a lot more subtle in women, and a lot more “on the surface” in men– which isnt to say that its always easy to tell in any gender.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! Yeah, dishonesty just doesn’t need to be seeded! In this aspect, I’m very glad to have my time in the service. The Marine Corps celebrated honesty to a brutally strict degree. I warn people when I meet them that I don’t do anything but the straightforward truth. People emotionally connect to films, so I can use people like R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket) and Clint Eastwood (Heartbreak Ridge) to illustrate my point. Honesty is what strengthens bonds, and I think you are right to suggest that people are not always honest with themselves. Must be torture trying to lie to yourself after being bludgeoned with a truthful comment.
    To be dishonest is to be disrespectful, period! Let bridges burn if that’s the result, I won’t waste my time with anyone that doesn’t respect me.

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    1. Amen to that! I totally agree. 😊 Thank you for your service, by the way! 👏🏼👏🏼❤️ I also agree with–and like–the fact that honesty strengthens bonds. If the bond breaks under honesty (such as when someone gets butthurt or something 😊), then there was never really much of a bond there in the first place ❤️

      Thank you so much for commenting! Your perspective is much appreciated.

      Semper fi 💜

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      1. I want to refute that so badly. But I feel that *sometimes* might be putting it lightly, still. However, I think society at large just can’t be content with itself. Some group is always going to be in competition with another. I’m glad that awareness is improving, but fear that it’s not enough to facilitate true homogeneity anytime soon. The important thing to remember is that there are at least some people in the world that are open and accepting. The challenge is in finding those people, because the shitty ones will put on that mask for you to get you in their pocket. I find that full frontal honesty reveals the masked characters in the crowd faster, and I’m all too happy to walk away from them. I might only have a few close friends, but they are true and lasting.

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        1. full frontal honesty is probably a great equalizer, since everyone is ultimately probably “about the same” in terms of merit (potential/actual) everyone has a role (a part, a function) to play.

          which means that “bullsh**ing” is a great divider and creates classes. but full frontal honesty scares children, and most adults. perhaps that fear is what really controls society… (nah…) (?) (…)

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          1. “You can’t handle the truth!” Ha ha! Why should the truth be scary? What makes a lie a comfortable option? Well, I’m finding that children especially lie to avoid responsibility. It’s scary to have to accept the truth that you, yourself have offended people by trying to be comfortable and placing your burdens on others. Whether this is true at all, I don’t know. I’m kinda just probing for others’ thoughts 😆

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          2. consider society as a collection of things that makes people comfortable.

            then ask (and take years to answer) the question: “comfortable with what?” youll end up with a list of the worlds good and bad points– the good points, people are mostly comfortable with. the rest? honesty could dismantle all of that comfort. so could time and a sufficient attention sp… LOOK– ITS MILEY CYRUS! (sorry miley.)

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          3. I feel like you are talking about what on the surface would be considered services of a government, but driving more to the point of services offered by the people in society. There are some written expectations for any given role, but there are so many more assumed. Honesty vs time+patience? I don’t know, but I feel like this is boiling down to energy balance. What does a person do when they don’t have the energy to provide the comfort that is expected of them to provide? And since we are in blunt truth mode, what, who, how is it determined that a certain expectation is unrealistic in a society? Furthermore, how does society get the party whose comfort is being threatened to face and deal with such issue? Does it really have to require violent protests, war, induced economic pressure, lawyer battles in court, or other manipulation? The only way I can rationalize it all is to think that the resources available do not support the population, so those with the power to secure the resources they need to flourish will exercise that power, and probably be emotionally secure with doing it as long as they resist believing they will destabilize society to their own demise.
            Is blunt honesty an attack on a person’s (or group’s) comfort? Is there a way for it not to be, or does that lie entirely on the recipient?

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          4. to help pare down the possible questions and misunderstandings, im talking about society as a purely cultural construct. per instance that may (or may not) have anything to do with government or services, but i was certainly speaking in broader terms than that.

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          5. Society as a collection of cultures, where relationships (dynamics?) between each are meant to provide comfort? If I’m tracking correctly, this suggests that lying is used to give an illusion of comfort to those whose comfort is not being directly served. Am I following, or way off in left field?
            I might leave this thread alone after this, but I feel like I’m digging at something important here. Thanks for entertaining me so far!

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          6. sorry for being vague– it may feel like wasting your time, im trying to avoid getting entrenched in details, which takes longer.

            if culture is a bunch of things we do– and society is an aspect of culture that constrains what we do– then the most universal function of (modern) society is comfort– comfort with things we consider good– that dont need much prodding, and comfort with things we would consider not-so-good which require massaging.

            expectations, taboos, mores, laws, correctness, conventions– all the things we weigh the merits of instead of immediately accepting and adapting ourselves to.

            everyone is part of culture, but “society” has outcasts, unmentionables and untouchables, betters and lessers, heroes and weirdos and everyone in between. and those are societal constructs– developing a norm, a monoculture, a unified convention that we dont fit. this isnt just about “us” though. its also about the limitations that a society puts on a culture (and its people.)

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          7. and what greater lie (or purer bs) is there than a construct which is designed to dictate artificially (and constrain) by conflating with whats somehow universal, the execptions to things we do as unnatural or simply “not done?”

            its not that society exists that is bs, it that it bills itself as universal truth when its designed and perpetuated to exclude. and this is only a problem sometimes– until it begins to defend itself aggressively and attack anyone honest enough to question and challenge the “universal” (or really societal) truth– especially people that couldnt hope to conform in the first place. now is my message starting to be less vague? (im still working on a way to say it best.)

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          8. Yes! It’s all very cohesive. Can I, however, urge you to look up and reconsider your use of society and culture? I agree with the context, but fear those two words have been swapped. Society as an aggregate must necessarily include the criminals, the creators, saints and sinners. Cultures are groups defined by things held in common by group members and must necessarily exclude what doesn’t match (lest the culture lose its identity). The degree of honesty is the cultural value in question, and I think American culture is what we are splitting hairs over.

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          9. the problem (for me) with your request is that most of my idea of what “culture” is comes from anthropology and/or daniel quinn, and society is almost certainly a smaller aspect of culture, which has “outcasts.” society is something that culture does, and culture is everything.

            you may point me to evidence that this is a backwards use of the words, which i will consider. i find it hard to believe they dont fit the way im using them, however i am interested by your request.

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          10. for what its worth im talking about “culture” in a very broad sense– as the thing that changes over thousands of years (and an also remain very similar in some regards.) society is more local. but in a smaller use of the world, you can have multiple “cultures” or subcultures too– that seems to be how you think of the word– the less broad use of the word.

            Liked by 2 people

          11. your question ignores what im saying about culture– the history of human interaction for the past 10,000 can be described as “culture.”

            the history of human interaction for the past 10,000 cannot be described as “society,” as far as i know. a bunch of people living alone in caves (not that we ever did that) could be a culture, possibly without being a society.

            but to answer your question anyway– to be part of society, you would have an acceptable standing or behavior. to be part of american culture, you would simply interact with people. its the word “american” (limiting culture to a specific place and time” that makes it culture with a lowercase c… whereas i was mostly using culture in the uppercase C sense: describing human interaction since historical times. if society crumbled, i think culture would continue:

            Culture:
            > Civilization (a cultural subset)
            > > Society (a subset of civilization)
            > > > small-c “culture” (a subset of society, or even outside society if it rejects it.)

            Liked by 1 person

          12. for a lark i looked up “society” on wikipedia, which begins: “A society is a group of people involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Societies are characterized by patterns of relationships (social relations) between individuals who share a distinctive culture and institutions;” <- i think this supports my usage– and we know wikipedia is the ultimate authority on knowledge, lol.

            but if we go to the wp article on culture, it starts by defining what i would call a singular definition: an instance of "a culture."[1] then in the same paragraph, defines it as what i would call the broader sense, "Culture": "…the practices, discourses and material expressions, which, over time, express the continuities and discontinuities of social meaning of a life held in common." to me this is the sort of thing that can still be recognized 10,000 years later. artifacts from from cultures, and culture is the thing that produces artifacts. society is the thing that judges them.

            Liked by 2 people

          13. Very good! We are literally on the same page now. There are biological, anthropological, political, and sociological aspects to society. I see where you are coming from an anthropological aspect and I came in with a political science take. You do make sense. I also checked out Dictionary.com, Merriam Webster, Oxford, and some top resulting articles for both Society and Culture. I am pretty sure we could about write a textbook between the two of us, because there is no clear, concise definition between all of that. Seems to be a very malleable word that is still redefined by individuals as needed for their own discussions. To circle back around to the topic of honesty probably will require more detail into who is “us” and “them”, what point(s) of honesty we are really trying to explore, and from what aspect.
            But really, I have things to do, so I thank you for the mental stimulation and bid you adieu for now. Feel free to message me with more if you like, I am happy to keep this train of thought rolling!

            Liked by 2 people

  5. I have a post I need to write reviewing and discussing some interesting research I ran across. It’s just been hard lately to find the mental space to write. But yes, I’m all too familiar with playing and replaying conversations trying to figure out where they went wrong.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oooh! That would be wonderful – I’d love to read it! Always interested in new information 😊 (When you have the time and energy to write it, of course! No pressure; take care of yourself first ❤️)

      Liked by 2 people

  6. its really difficult to get this one right, laina. “really difficult” is a euphamism for “f***ing impossible.” there are two ways to deal with this:

    1. become silent and never speak to anyone (this is too popular a choice i think– everyone deserves to have their needs and dreams heard. except probably hitler. though maybe if the world had heard his needs and dreams earlier, he might not have turned into hitler. some people really are bad people, nonetheless.)

    2. for everyone else, it will be a lifelong struggle for everyone. take it from me– youre my favorite person in the world, and i desire to bare my very soul to you. this is forever complicated by our challenges in communication, what (relatively few) differences we have, other relationships to (rightfully) protect, not to mention distance and even privacy. im not sure i require privacy from you, but there are many things i wont share online. (others i will only share in certain places and contexts online.)

    i will always long to share my life with you, in any way i can. the reason is that you make me feel more cared about (and understood) than any other person. but i also care about you and your feelings, and feel obligated to try to protect them while ALSO being very frank and honest (which is for the most part, done out of respect, admiration and trust.)

    any logical person can probably appreciate what a huge undertaking it is to try to balance all those things. for you? it is always worth the effort. but multiply that by everyone we care about in our lives– oh, man! its a wonder we talk at all (and little wonder that some people give up.) i will always try to make you smile AND be myself. whatever comes of it, i want you to know it was/is an honor. ❤ ❤ one of the best things ive ever done in my life is *talk* to you– thats not an exaggeration. its a truth about my life, and about my opinion of you as a person– and anything i will ever say is in the context of that. communication is a struggle for us– as is life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, yes, this!! All of this 👏🏼👏🏼

      I guess I’ve always chosen option 2, because option 1 would not serve me or anyone else in my life very well.

      So yeah, I’ll probably stumble and blunder lol 😉 I’ll keep stepping into the mines at times and when I do, they’ll keep blowing up on me lol. But the rest of the package, the one of human interaction and friendships and strong family/partner relationships, etc, is well worth it for me. That’s probably the only reason I *haven’t* chosen option 1. If I had gone with option 1, I might never have met up with you! Too painful a thought, so let’s just say that option 2 is usually awesome 😊 ❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “If I had gone with option 1, I might never have met up with you! Too painful a thought”

        put this on the list of the two greatest compliments ive ever received. (both this year, and both from women i love and adore.) its a good compliment from anyone– but its the best compliment, coming from you ❤ ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This is pretty much me. The eternal second-guessing, the constant feeling that I must act and fake it to the hilt just to get by. I’m much better one on one.

    Looking to God’s grace to get me through each day.

    Like

  8. THIS!!! (I have just discovered your blog tonight, google pulled this article up for me in one of my searches.)

    While many people have questioned my Apergers, this is one of the main (if not THE main) reasons why I have never questioned it. My mom and I are both naturally blunt, but with two very different thought processes behind it.

    I did a quick search in your blog to see if you have heard of MBTI, and I came accross your post saying that both you and your husband are INTJ’s. My mom is one as well.

    A quick side note, the depth in MBTI doesn’t come from the letters (you say, “This means we’re Introverted (as opposed to Extroverted), Intuitive (as opposed to Sensing), Thinking (as opposed to Feeling), Judging (as opposed to Perceiving). (The Myers-Briggs link takes you to their site for a full description).”), it comes from the functions. INTJ’s have Ni Te Fi Se.

    Here is a great INTJ profile:
    http://www.typologycentral.com/forums/myers-briggs-type-profiles/68572-intj-jungian-cognitive-function-analysis-simulatedworld.html

    And here is my in depth post on the eight different functions:
    http://theseassong.blogspot.com/2017/01/clarification-of-mbti-functions.html

    Anyway, I am an INFP. Both of our MBTI types dislike small talk. My mom was a psychology major, so she raised me on a lot of information about assertiveness vs aggressiveness, arguing vs fighting, etc (http://theseassong.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-definitions-of-abuse.html).

    And while I have a great grasp of all of it intellectually, in every conversation with strangers or acquaintances I am just like you. I may externally be smiling, nodding, and agreeing; but inside I’m frantically reviewing all of my ‘scripts’ and trying to figure out what my next ‘appropiate’ response is. I err on the side of being silent because I genuinely don’t want to hurt anyone (and I have unintentionally hurt past friends), but I’m not my mom – I can’t figure out how to inject just enough humor to take the sting away. She’s had customers tell her thank you for telling them no(!) because she knows how to be both direct/blunt and put them at ease.

    And yet so many people still question my Aspieness (I had a teacher in high school tell me outright that I didn’t) and they frequently cite my ability to (usually) fake it okay. If only NT’s could realize just how much internal and conscious effort we put into faking it.

    ~ I’ve also found that many stereotypes exist within the professional community, and that only makes it worse. I do NOT have problems with empathy! I have problems with recognizing small body cues and facial expressions (I recognize the big ones because they’re big and obvious) and then knowing what the ‘appropiate’ response is. I don’t have a flat affect or facial expression, but I’m not usually aware of how much my face is showing what I’m feeling. I’m incredibly abstract and imaginative, I don’t usually have problems with metaphors or similes; the “literalness” is why I’m constantly confused by idioms. I am naturally outgoing and talkative, and that only changed when I entered 4th grade and elaborate social skills/rules entered the picture (before that my differences were accepted if not liked by my peers).

    Anyway, thank you for reading all of this, and for writing this article.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww! Thank you so much for your lovely comment!! I loved reading it 😁😁. We’ve got a lot in common, too! My mom was into Psychology as well 👍🏼👍🏼. Thank you so much for the INTJ profile link! Yeah, how do people do that–inject just enough humor like that?? I think I would like your mom 😁💖💖

      Like

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