Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Brutal Honesty & Asperger's Syndrome

This is a quotation from a speaker callled Penelope Trunk.  I do not know Ms Trunk, but I really like this quotation, and after having done some research, I've learned that she is on the autism spectrum herself, with a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome.  Asperger's, by the way, is also my official diagnosis, though I often find myself lumped together with people all over the spectrum and I, myself, generally identify as "autistic" instead of specifying.  Regardless, this is a quotation that is so relevant for me.  This is a quotation that I wish I could show each and every person I interact with.  This is a quotation that makes me genuinely happy.
I was working on a job application today with my best friend.  I told her that the application wanted me to list some of my skills and I was having difficulty compiling a list.  She offered me "brutally honest."  At first, I didn't know what to make of this.  I asked if she was being facetious.  But no: she assured me that tend to be "brutally honest."  I guess that's true.  And honestly, I probably offend people.  I probably do, but the thing is: I don't intend to.  I didn't even notice I was "brutally honest" until it was pointed out to me, twenty years into my life.  Please enjoy this quotation from Penelope Trunk.  If you are on the ASD spectrum, perhaps you will see some of yourself in it.  And if someone you love is on the spectrum, perhaps it will help you to understand them better.

Penelope Trunk states:

Assume the person with Asperger's is not intending to offend you. Intention to offend is actually a complicated line of reasoning that someone with Asperger's doesn’t have…People with Asperger's want to be nice. It’s very important to them even though you would never guess that by their actions. So if you tell the person what you want, and give specific direction, they will always try their best to do it, because they want to be nice. That said, them trying their best might look to you like not trying at all…Just because someone with Asperger's says no right now doesn’t mean it’s no later. No is a defense mechanism for “I don’t like change.” You can try asking again a second time later.

I like that.