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Sanctuary

Striking the wrong note: errors in interaction

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Sanctuary

I was in a shop recently and - rarely for me - struck up a little social conversation. This was going well but then I noticed a new customer coming up behind me and I felt I had to wrap up things quickly so I wasn't holding her up. Rather too quickly it seemed to me I did so but afterwards I felt I'd somehow got things wrong and my behaviour might have seemed odd (and as it turned out the new customer was only dropping something off so I didn't hold her up at all). This sort of scenario seems to happen too frequently to me - a feeling that I've somehow made some error in my contacts with people and disconcerted them. I could be wrong of course, e.g. the shopkeeper may have seen nothing unusual in what happened, but the doubts remain. Maybe others have experienced similar situations. 

To give an analogy I feel it's similar to hearing someone play a piece of music. They may do so competently or even very well on the whole but somewhere in the performance they strike a wrong note and afterwards all we can remember is the mistake. I feel this may be similar for others with ASD. Some with profound difficulties may be like a musician who doesn't play at all, plays a completely unexpected tune or plays so badly the tune is unrecognisable. Most of us are not so afflicted but tend to make these small, occasional errors (sometimes bigger ones) which damage our image as socially competent, confident people. As with musical performance it's always possible to get better yet still never quite seem assured.

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Heather

That sounds similar to what happens to me too. I dwell too much on the mistakes I make even though other people around me might not pay much attention to it if they even notice it.  I feel like it happens a lot at work when I make a mistake or say something wrong and then I want to dwell on it but I know I have to move on from it otherwise it would mess up the rest of the day.  And it is good to keep in mind that everyone makes mistakes and mistakes are how we learn.

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Nesf

I sometimes get anxious after an interaction that, to me, seemed to go well, that I can't explain.

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Sanctuary

i think it's one of the features of ASD / social anxiety that even routine interactions can cause concern - before, during and after they take place. That can make interaction a big strain and encourage its avoidance or even a shutdown in social situations.

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HalfFull

@Sanctuary   I think the important thing is that you did start up a conversation. Its often the little unexpected surprises that can seem to get in the way of progress, but next opportunity you get either you'll work out that you're not in the way or the third person won't turn up!

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