I have discovered something about social interaction.
Beginning a conversation well.
If I worry about the conversation before hand I almost always forget the social pleasantries that people expect to hear when they start a conversation. The outcome of this is that conversation always goes badly and I end up feeling uncomfortable.
I also recognise I am more comfortable speaking with people I know.
There is a reason for this.
I have absolutely no personal interest in the well being of strangers. Obviously I wish them no harm and should they feel unwell and need my assistance I would give it gladly (they should know this). With friends and family on the other hand, from a survival perspective their well being has a huge impact on me, so my greeting is generally “all right, how are you doing?”
With friends who share a special interest however, it becomes habit to jump straight into an interesting conversation without consideration for social niceties. My closest friends know in their hearts I love and respect them and are kind enough to make allowances for me.
Perhaps this accounts for why I find autistic people generally easier to get on with? We probably all act the same way?
Everyone deserves love and respect and I imagine many social rules were originally put in place to convey a message of love or respect before opening a conversation.
Society has become very distorted though. People abuse phrases like “Have a nice day” and “Wassup” or here in the UK “Hi, how are you” and use them when they really mean “why haven’t you fixed my bloody boiler, I am really angry about it, YOU should be doing something different”
Despite being the subject of abuse and misdirection, I have learned when phoning someone, opening the conversation with “Hello” then using the person’s name then “how are you” sets up the rest of the conversation to go really well.
Meeting their response with “I am good” or even better “I am really well thank you” also sets a positive tone to the conversation. The rule of empathy says that people will try and reflect our mood so that we will like them, so if we are down in the dumps we just get more of that back.
If I concentrate on getting the opening of the conversation right, the rest of the conversation flows naturally. It’s much less information to think about beforehand too.
Apparently people with Aspergers can’t learn social interaction, only broken down into simple logical steps, how complicated can it be?