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Autism & Relationships 6 - Being Blunt (and how not to be) Honesty and Autism

Autism is associated with blunt honesty. Most autistic people have got ourselves into trouble buy telling unwanted truths. Masking our true selves is tremendously draining, but there's a simple technique for avoiding the troubles that total candour can bring, without having to mask, OR distort the truth. Watch to find out. Find more at Part 5: Honesty Autistic #AllAutistics #AskingAutistics #Autism Part 1: Dealing with Diagnosis Part 2: "You've Changed" Part 3: "Mind Reading" - Theory of Mind Part 4: "Face Value" (Expressions & Flat Affect) Made with Shotcut, open source video editing software Images, stock video, sound effects and music not created by the channel have been obtained from YouTube creator resources or from the following sources: (author - Videvo) Every effort has been made to ensure that copyrights are respected and that material used is in the public domain. Where copyrighted material is used it is under the terms of "fair use" for educational purposes. All copyrights remain the property of their respective owners.


Autistamatic 0:03

Last time, we talked about how honesty can be seen differently when viewed through autistic or neurotypical eyes. There's one aspect of honesty in particular that gets autistic people into trouble. Often, bluntness that can be few autistic people who haven't put their foot in it by telling someone a harsh truth they didn't want to hear or weren't prepared for. We get told were rude, aggressive or intentionally cruel. When all we were doing was being honest. It's a heavy cross to bear for people who often don't feel part of the Secret Circle that understands all the layers of social convention that stand between the world at large, and the Absolute Truth. We treat people as we would wish to be treated ourselves, yet seem to get punished for it. It probably hits us hardest when we hurt someone we care about. By telling them the truth they dislike even when our intent was kind. All we want to do is often prevent them from making a costly or embarrassing mistake. But that's not the way it's received. Once we can ask for them to understand the ways our minds work, and work with us, there are occasions when we might be able to even the odds and take action ourselves to reduce the amount of misunderstandings and the consequences. Today, we'll be looking at how we as autistic people can protect the people around us from truth they aren't ready to hear without having to be dishonest, and protect ourselves from trouble we could do without

Unknown Speaker 1:48

the last video in this series, which is linked above and in the description, talked about autistic honesty. Unusually for this series, it was a little one sided. I talked about differences in perspective on honesty and dishonesty, and asked neurotypical partners, friends and family members to be accommodating and to cherish the honesty we share with them. This time, I want to talk about how we can do our part as autistic people to make our relationships run smoother, without having to tell lies. This isn't going to be about masking who we are or following social scripts. We'll be talking about a straightforward principle that can allow us to get along better with neurotypical people, but doesn't require us to pretend to be something we're not. It won't work in every situation. And there will be some situations where people push us to be blunt, or we're caught off guard. When we do use it though, it'll help us to avoid painful confrontations, and make the lives of the people who matter to us more harmonious. This is a technique which is taught to all sorts of public figures and people facing professions to avoid putting themselves in awkward positions. highly paid image consultants teach it to politicians and celebrities too. But it's remarkably simple to remember. And like most things gets easier with practice. Even they make mistakes, though, so don't beat yourself up. If trying this idea feels strange at first. Let's get started. We'll imagine an uncomplicated social situation and work it through. Meet Nigel Nigel is a new friend. We met a couple of months ago at a class we both go to. And I've stopped by his house to drop off a book he loaned me. He's been working at his company for a year now. And he's been invited to an informal dinner at a fancy restaurant by his manager. There's going to be a couple of company directors at the dinner too, and he's been told is a great chance to make an impression on them. His boss suggested he buy a new suit to impress. And Nigel wants my opinion. Okay, Nigel, let's see it. Plumbing here. Are you serious and hij? What are you thinking? He can't wear that. You'll be lucky not to get fired. They'll think you're taking the Mickey. They'll all be laughing at you at work the next day. People will be seeing any dream will do behind your back and making jokes about Nigel and his amazing technical adenosine. Okay, you can see what I was doing there. Especially if you're autistic too. I'm not trying to be nasty. It's obvious to me that Nigel is going to make a fool of himself if he wears that to his business dinner. No matter how informal it is. He loves his job and he really wants to get on so I'm trying to protect him. I don't want him to make a serious mistake and get hurt by it. Nigel actually put a lot of thought into buying that suit. He knows his boss far better than I do. And she's apparently a fan of 80s nostalgia. She's a bit of a joker too. So Nigel thought it will make a favorable impression that he paid attention to his managers tastes, doesn't take himself too seriously, and has the guts to stand out. I've really upset him with my unfiltered honesty. Perhaps if we known each other longer, he'd be more understanding of my autistic tendency to be blunt, but he's really angry with me. If I want to avoid losing a friend is going to be difficult to save the situation at this point. So we're going to have to rewind. Okay, so now we're back to just before Nigel steps out in his new suit. My first goal is to avoid making him angry with me. I didn't intend to upset my friend. So I have to find a way to answer his question without lying to him. If he's dead set on wearing this collage of catastrophe. It's his choice and his judgment. If he does make a fool of himself, it's not my fault. It won't stop me feeling a little guilty. But then it also wouldn't be fair of him to blame me for his error and judgment. Ideally, I'd like to convey my reservations to my new friend, but that will need careful handling if I'm not going to upset him again. I may not be able to do so and just have to settle for not hurting his feelings. But if I'm lucky, I might get an opportunity. Let's start with the first priority. Not the hurting Nigel's feelings. So not making him angry with me.

Unknown Speaker 6:45

Okay, Nigel, take it away. What can I honestly say about this suit, that's honest, but doesn't sound nasty. It's really colorful for a start. And it's definitely got the 80s over the top quality he's clearly aiming for also fits him really well. Even if the fabric looks like it's been colored in by a five year old, let loose in a crayon factory. The cut and fit is really good. So I'll go for that. Wow, the cut of that is really good night really suits your body shape. And it fits like it was tailored for you. Their job done. We've been honest, but we haven't hurt his feelings. But then Nigel goes and messes it up again, by asking me again, whether I like it. Now he's put me on the spot. I can't say I like it without lying to him. But I don't want to tell him the truth that I think it's something a low rent comedian wouldn't be seen dead in. So what can I say? What's true, but doesn't sound critical. Let's try this. It's not something I could carry overnight. You're much braver than I am when it comes to clothes. That cut wouldn't suit me either. I can't get away with a slim fit single breasted suit there. I've not only avoided upsetting him with criticism, I've actually worked a compliment into it. That's made him smile. Excellent. I'm still a little nervous that he'll press the point and ask me again if I like it. So now I'm going to change tack before he can do so I'll ask him a question. Was it expensive? I've switched the emphasis of the conversation around now is no longer about my opinion. I know Nigel likes a bargain. And I've given him a chance to talk about the great deal he got. I'd also like to move away from the possibility of being asked again about the suit itself because that's making me uncomfortable. So were you looking forward to the dinner? Or are you a bit nervous? Nigel admits to me that he is a bit nervous about the event. He feels there could be a lot riding on this dinner so he wants to make the right impression. This gives me the opening I was hoping for. He may be certain about his choice of suit right now. But the nerves he's already feeling might allow me to get him to think again about wearing the smorgasbord of silliness he's wearing now. Who else is going to be at the dinner? How high up in the company are they? How well do you know these other people, these directors? Are they into the same 80s retro vibe like your manager? Do you think informal just means it's not a black tie affair? Or is it an anything goes kind of dinner? by fostering his existing doubts. I'm nudging him towards really realizing he might have made the wrong choice. If I tried to convince him to obviously, then it might cause resentment still. But if he makes the choice himself to wear something more businesslike, then I'll have achieved my goal. Our friendship is intact, and he will hopefully make the right decision. If he doesn't, and it all goes horribly wrong, the blame cannot be laid at my feet. I've done what I can to help him understand he might be making a poor decision whilst respecting his emotional boundaries. The better we get to know people, the easier they will find it when we are completely candid with them. But it's still all too easy to hurt or anger, even people we're really close to.

Unknown Speaker 10:46

It's common for autistic people to express our opinions or to state facts without a filter. But doing so gets us into trouble. We don't have to lie to people to keep them on our side. We just have to think for a moment and look for the positives, even when the negatives are glaringly obvious. We may get a chance to mention the negatives later, or help those people we care about see them for themselves without blurting it out to them. We can be true to our honest natures while still showing that we care. When we talk about optimism and pessimism, we often use the analogy of a glass being half full or half empty. This technique is about infusing our answers with a dose of optimism. What we aim to do is to make sure that what we say always makes the people who matter to us feel that their glass is half full, especially if the answer we really want to give will drain their emotional glass to empty or even worse, have it brimming over with resentment. We're not going to get it right all the time. If we can sometimes stop ourselves from saying hurtful truths and replace them with kind of truths. We're not going to get into as much trouble when we do just say what we're thinking. Because communication is two way we need some give on both sides. Last week, we asked non autistic partners, friends and family members to be accommodating of our autistic honesty and not to jump to conclusions about our intentions. This week, it's our turn to stop and think about how we can avoid causing awkward situations in the first place. It's never fair to expect one side to do all the work in any relationship. So both sides can do a little to help communication flow smoothly and respect the needs of the other, the better and longer lasting relationships will be. Thank you for watching. Over on the left. You can subscribe for more videos on autistic life by clicking on the channel logo. And here on the right, you can watch another film from this series or visit or

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