Hi guys! My name is Dan, and I'm the author of ImproveYourSocialSkills.com. I just released my new Improve Your Social Skills Kindle book and it's free right now, so I figured today would be a great day for an AMA!

A few things about me:

  • I was incredibly socially awkward growing up. I was shy, bullied, awkward -- you name it. But in high school, I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, and I learned that my social struggles were due to a lack of social skills (makes sense, right?) So I started to work really deliberately to teach myself social skills. Little by little, my studies paid off, and I started to make real friends and connect with people. I didn't become a "social superstar" or anything like that, but I was no longer awkward or alone.
  • In 2012, I launched ImproveYourSocialSkills.com as a way to share what I'd learned by what I'd learned and share it with others. Similar to the Humble Bundle, I run the site on a pay-what-you-want/pay-it-forward model (so people can either pay what they want to access the premium content, or they can agree to do a good deed for someone else in exchange for a premium membership.)
  • In 2013, I spoke at TEDx University of Arizona about my life with Asperger's. If you want to learn my story, that speech is the place to go.
  • I'm the moderator of /r/socialskills, which is an awesome community that you should join.
  • Proof (with obligatory Reddit cat tax).

Ask me anything! I'm happy to talk about social skills, Asperger's, running a website, or horse-sized ducks.



EDIT 2: If you're not in the US, the book is still available on the Kindle store in your country! Just search for "Improve Your Social Skills" or "Daniel Wendler" and it should come up.

One more thing: I love answering questions but my advice is not a substitute for professional help. If you are seriously struggling socially, I highly recommend that you see a counselor -- it will really help you out.

Comments: 733 • Responses: 72  • Date: 

AusMooney202 karma

If two trains are travelling in opposite directions, and one leaves three hours before the other, what is one thing everyone should work on socially?

Cookiemobsta557 karma

If you are on a midnight train traveling in an opposite direction from another train, and your train happens to be going an-ee-where, and you are a small town girl, you should try to find a city boy born and raised in south detroit that is on the same train to befriend.

zebrake2010144 karma

This is the right answer.

Unless the train leaves at midnight for Georgia.

Cookiemobsta155 karma

Or unless the train is on a country road (in which case it will take you home to West Virginia)

zebrake201081 karma

Especially if it's (come on, come on) it's a choo-choo train!

Cookiemobsta96 karma

You. I like you :)

zebrake201076 karma

I like you too! #friends

Cookiemobsta459 karma


System68613 karma

This was the first time in over a year I've actually laughed loud enough to wake my fat Ass dog up. Thank you :D

Cookiemobsta16 karma

You're very welcome :) (but I apologize to your dog!)

Placenta_Claus5 karma

A non-negative comment about my beautiful home state. I like you :)

Cookiemobsta7 karma

Aww we should be buddies :)

Reciever805 karma

This, and your response to the next reply, are absolutely brilliant. ALMOST find it impossible to believe you were ever not the conversation expert.

Cookiemobsta16 karma

There's a quote that says sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. I'd expand on that and say that sufficiently practiced skills are indistinguishable from talent :)

haechunlee117 karma

Life with Asperger's I know is tough. I don't know first hand, but my cousin has Asperger's. I'm wondering if there are any life lessons you have learned through your hardships concerning your lack of social skills?

I too have been bullied and felt socially awkward at times. I wonder how its different from your vantage point?

Cookiemobsta260 karma

Thanks for being my first question! :)

Honestly, I think there were two big lessons that I learned from my lack of social skills.

  • First, social skills are a skill, and like any other skill, they can be learned. If you want to cook and you go to a cooking class or just practice in the kitchen a bunch, you'll get better at cooking. The same thing is true for social skills. Connecting with other people isn't magical. You can learn how to make conversation, read body language, and see the world from the other person's perspective. So if you are struggling socially, don't give up! Try to improve a little bit every day, and you'll get way better over time.
  • Second, some of the best people you'll ever meet are pretty awkward. Even if someone has poor social skills, they might still be generous and caring and awesome to be around. I think it's really sad how many socially awkward people are isolated and alone, and it's a double tragedy because they could be such awesome friends to people if others would just reach out to them! So basically the life lesson is don't judge people based on their social skills -- judge them based on their heart.

s251426 karma

Second, some of the best people you'll ever meet are pretty awkward.

I have found that some of the best people I have known have been introverted. I find that while the introverts ones say less they often have more to say.

Cookiemobsta14 karma

I agree completely :)

jumpup103 karma

do you ever fear that its not that you have gotten better but that others have gotten used to your peculiarities and you have gotten used to your own that you simply no longer notice?

Cookiemobsta185 karma

Interesting question :) Honestly, there's some days where I am afraid of that. Or like, I'm afraid that I've been able to blend in so far, but one day I'm going to start screwing up again and people will say HEY DANIEL WAS AWKWARD ALL ALONG LET'S REJECT HIM

But realistically, it's not something that I need to worry about. In the first place, I'm legitimately good at social skills. Like I'm not a social superstar or anything, but I know how to make conversation and read body language and do all of the things you need to do to fit in.

And in the second place (and this is important) I'm much better at choosing the groups that I want to fit into. I think there are some groups that are shallow and cruel and there are other groups that are loving and accepting. And I think even if I woke up tomorrow and I had lost all of my social skills, I would still be able to find people who would accept me for me, not for my social skills. (In fact, I can say for sure that all of my closest friends would still love me and accept me even if I became totally awkward.) So I guess if you're reading this and you don't feel like you have the social skills necessary to "fit in", I would hope that you would keep looking until you find people that will accept you even if you "stick out."

buriedfire15 karma

how would you recommend dealing with a clique? I'll check out your material in a bit to further learn. My gf's family was very cold at first (white guy coming into vietnamese family/friends). I have been accepted by the important ones, but early mistakes (both personal and relational) created a lot of bad blood early on (persisting with a fair amount).

Cookiemobsta15 karma

Is there anyone in the family that you connect with pretty well? Try to build a relationship with them. Sometimes if you make friends with one person in the clique, that can gain you access into the rest of the clique.

Love_Battery54 karma

Thank you for the AMA! How do you tell if a person has Asperger's, vs. if they are just socially awkward/nervous?

Cookiemobsta156 karma

Unless you're a licensed professional, you can't :p. So if you think you might have Asperger's (or if you just struggle socially in general) I highly recommend that you book an appointment with a therapist.

However, there are some things that you can look for that suggest Asperger's. Basically, Asperger's has some other effects beyond just social awkwardness (for instance, people with Asperger's often have sensory sensitivity, an intense interest in a peculiar topic, stimming behavior, etc.) If it's just social awkwardness and you don't have any of the other Asperger's traits, then you probably don't have Asperger's.

There is however a diagnosis called Social Pragmatic Disorder, which is basically someone that has the Asperger's social impairment without the other details of Asperger's. (There's also social anxiety disorder, which is applicable if you primarily have anxiety rather than a lack of skills.)

However, I don't think it's always necessary to get a diagnosis. Lots and lots of people struggle socially, and that doesn't mean that there's something different about your brain. It might just mean that you had bad social experiences in the past, or you haven't had enough opportunity to practice, or social skills just don't come as naturally to you. So if you struggle socially, I would focus on getting better socially rather than figuring out what label applies to you.

hawleywood13 karma

Don't forget Nonverbal Learning Disorder!

Cookiemobsta3 karma

Heh, good reminder :) I am not a psychologist so there is a lot I don't know.

Minifig818 karma

Unless you're a licensed professional, you can't :p. So if you think you might have Asperger's (or if you just struggle socially in general) I highly recommend that you book an appointment with a therapist.

As a fellow Aspie, thank you. Thank you. So many people think they can diagnose Asperger's because they've seen movies or tv shows that talk about the symptoms of it and they have no fucking clue what the hell they're talking about.

Cookiemobsta3 karma

Yeah. I think it's a big problem for mental health in general -- people diagnose themselves or others without ever seeing a professional, and that leads to a lot of bad things.

helix1910 karma

Asperger's is no longer a diagnosis recognized by the DSM. It is merely part of the autism spectrum.

Cookiemobsta5 karma

Yes, this is true, but I think "Asperger's" is still a helpful label since it identifies a specific experience of autism. If you go to a psychologist today your diagnosis would say "autistic spectrum disorder" not "Asperger's"

Zmorl48 karma

Lately I have been gaining a ridiculously high amount of attention from more or less everyone in my university class, and people generally think that I am a great guy. I however face the problem that I make a lot of shallow relations while I would like to be able to get in deeper with people - which used to be what I was good at. This also reaches over to my lovelife where girls didn't use to be a problem, but now seem to be. I am not sure of where to start or what to do. Do you have any tips or tricks?

Cookiemobsta111 karma

Three tips for going deeper with people

  • Try to connect with people in more than one context. If you only ever see someone during class, they're going to think of you as their classmate more than as their friend, even if they like you. But if you invite your classmate to go bowling with you, or to a club you participate in, or to grab lunch sometime, then suddenly you're more than just a classmate -- and that makes it easier for a friendship to form.

  • Be intentional about spending time with them one on one. If you only ever see them in a group setting, your friendship will only go so deep. The real connections usually happen in one on one conversations. So invite them to get lunch, or to study together, or whatever.

  • Show a real interest in their life, and share some real stuff from your life. I don't mean that you need to talk about your deepest darkest secrets, but go deeper than talking about the weather and The Simpsons. See how they're doing, and how they're liking their classes, and what they're dreams are for after college. Stuff like that.

Esoterria2 karma

I'd like to do that with a few people, but I'm pretty introverted and I worry that I'll strike up a friendship and then suddenly withdraw as I fill up my interaction limits. Or that being one-on-one just for the sake of it will be awkward (like, "we've never done anything solo before why is she asking me now this is super new), or that they're perfectly fine with only interacting in a group setting. Or that I'll accidentally closely befriend someone who is actually really annoying. But mainly the introversion bit. Even with my closest friends I can usually only be around them for 1-3 hours...after that I want some me time and I'm worried I'll offend people.

Cookiemobsta2 karma

Don't let your worries control you! It's better to strike up a friendship and then withdraw then never strike up a friendship at all (after all, you can reconnect with the person tomorrow when you're feeling more social.) And if you are hanging out with your friends for 1-3 hours, I don't think they'll be offended by you needing to take off.

phoenix0r43 karma

I have crushing social anxiety. Every time I make a mental decision to try and overcome it, somehow it gets washed away by pseudo misanthropy. In other words, my brains feels wired to first think "oh I'm so stressed by the thought of interacting with these people" and then immediately to "ehhh fuck them anyway, they're all a bunch of jerks." To be fair, I do meet a lot of jerks. It's only when I sit and feel lonely on a Friday night when I'm like, man I need to make some friends and I think maybe I should give more people a chance. Any suggestions on overcoming this thought pattern?

Cookiemobsta43 karma

Honestly, I think your best bet is to see a counselor. While there are things you can try on your own to beat anxiety or negative thinking, you're going to have a much easier time if you get help from a professional (kind of like if you wanted to get into shape, you're going to improve much faster with a personal trainer.) So I recommend you schedule an appointment with a counselor. Someone who has experience with anxiety would probably be good, or someone who identifies as a cognitive behavioral therapist.

IAMAfortunecookieAMA42 karma


Cookiemobsta18 karma

Cheers Max! I can tell you that if you write your Asperger's book you'll have at least one guaranteed reader, because I'll be happy to check it out. I think the world needs more stories of success and overcoming, and I think that other people that share those stories are my colleagues more than my competition.

And honestly, I'm not sure how common my success story is. I'd love to know what the typical outcomes are for people with ASD. Guess it's something to research down the road.

The_Majestic_Banana36 karma

What are some little things you can do to make yourself less shy?

Cookiemobsta123 karma

  • Every time you talk to a cashier, ask them one question about their day or their life.
  • Go to one meetup or social event every week
  • Take a theater class or join Toastmasters
  • Try to volunteer for a leadership role that requires you to be in front of people.

Hope that helps :)

plan_b_ability78 karma

So funny you mention cashiers! I had huge issue with social anxiety and also lacked social skills from not using them for so long. I was terrified of small talk with cashiers. I wanted to scream or cry when faced with just the simple act of giving them money and having to struggle with what to say, how to not act like I was dying inside. Anyways I worked my way through many of my issues and forcing myself in small steps was main way. One of first steps was engaging a cashier. I remember when I went to a store not only did I talk to a cashier but to someone else in the line with me. Sounds lame but that day was super exciting.

Cookiemobsta3 karma

Not lame at all :) I think sometimes the first small victories are the most important ones, because it shows you that change is possible. I remember that for YEARS I was afraid of learning how to cook, and then one day I decided that GOSH DARN IT I WAS GOING TO MAKE FRIED RICE so I found a recipe and bought ingredients and made fried rice! And I was really proud of it, because I was afraid for so long that I couldn't cook and then I learned I could :)

samloveshummus40 karma

The first one's probably culturally dependent; if you start asking personal questions to a cashier in London you'll get yourself mentally red-flagged as someone who's oblivious to social mores and possibly struggles with disinhibition.

Cookiemobsta27 karma

Yes, that's a very good point -- I'm an American so if you're in a different culture, take my advice with a grain of salt (or run it by someone you trust who can tell you if it applies to your culture or not.)

CookiesRiot33 karma

I'm [probably] not anywhere on the autism spectrum, but I connect with the last two things in that list.

I'm extremely uncomfortable in social situations until I've spent enough time around all people involved. It actually used to be so bad that if I was around a group of friends and even one new person appeared, I could socially shut down and be completely silent and not make eye contact for upwards of half an hour.

Since I started performing in theater and became a military officer, I've gone from being the quiet one in the group to often guiding the conversation at social gatherings. Theater in particular has given me a way to effectively put on a mask when I first meet new people, allowing me to warm up to them faster. Within the span of a single evening, I can often get to the point where I don't need to wear the "outgoing" mask because I feel less vulnerable now that the "outgoing" side of me has made a connection.

For a while, it seemed insincere; I was acting, and it wasn't me introducing myself, it was like a personal spokesperson. But really it is me -- I'm performing as myself.

Cookiemobsta23 karma

Thanks for sharing your story :) Honestly, I think that all growth can feel insincere or like you're "faking it", and sometimes it's good to just give yourself permission to "fake it" because one day you'll wake up and realize you're not faking it -- you actually are it!

s25144 karma

Volunteering is basically the main thing I did that helped me with my social anxiety. I also wanted to add another one that helped me. Go to a park and start a conversation with someone. If the thought of having a conversation with a stranger is just too much start with elderly people (they are less intimidating to talk to and are usually very friendly) and move your way down to your age group.

Cookiemobsta8 karma

These are both good tips :) If you can't find a person to talk to at a park, consider volunteering at a nursing home. Lots of nursing home residents are happy to talk to someone.

Kwyjibo6836 karma

In retrospect, what are some specific things you feel your parents could have done to help you improve social skills?

My 5yo son has HFA (formerly known as Aspergers) and my husband and I are not very social ourselves. We feel a lot of guilt over not being able to model social behavior to him. I also fight a constant battle in my on head between wanting to make things easier for him and allowing him to figure things out himself (though I think I would feel this way even if he was NT).

Cookiemobsta103 karma

Honestly, my parents did a lot that was really helpful. Some things in particular

  • I always felt loved and accepted by them. This was really huge -- even though I was rejected constantly at school, I knew that someone loved me, and that made it easier for me to love myself.
  • They would debrief social situations with me in a nonjudgemental way. Like, after they observed me talking with someone else or having a play date with a friend, they would talk with me and be like "Hey, did you notice that they responded negatively when you said this?" and usually I would have had no idea and then they could help teach me how to notice it.
  • We also added social skills learning into daily activities. For instance, when we watched movies, I would hold the remote. And then if something socially happened on screen that I didn't understand, I would pause the movie and my parents would explain why the characters reacted in the way that they did. Then once I understood, I would resume the movie.
  • My parents got me connected with peers that accepted me even though I was awkward. In one case they actually paid an older neighborhood kid to hang out with me and be positive, which was a little weird but which was better than me just sitting by myself.
  • My parents tried to challenge me to do more social things than I wanted to do, but not so many that I felt overwhelmed. If I had a choice, I would have just played video games all day. But my parents required me to be involved in one sport and be involved in one academic or creative hobby at any given time, and that got me out of the house and gave me opportunities to meet people.

Hope that helps! My last piece of advice is that I would encourage you guys to get therapy for yourselves -- raising a kid with HFA is tough! The more healthy and happy you are, the more happy and healthy you can help your kid to be.

NoddysShardblade45 karma

Your parents are awesome.

Cookiemobsta18 karma

Agreed :)

makorunner2 karma

Got any advice for creative or academic hobbies? Video games is about it for me and I'm feeling a need for change after reading this.

Cookiemobsta3 karma

Improv theater! Partner dancing! Martial arts! Learn a language! Learn how to program, draw, paint or creative write! Warhammer 40,000 (painting your miniatures counts as creative!) Those are all things that I've enjoyed :)

S_B_B31 karma

Even though DSM-5 got rid of using the term "Aspergers". Do you think it is okay to still it is okay to apply this term to yourself? I have worked with children and young adults who have been diagnosed with "Aspergers", and they are mentally incapable of learning these social skills, clearly you were. These people do attend different types of therapy and things, however cognitively will never truly learn social skills and cues. So basically what I'm saying is, autism is yes a spectrum, you were probably on the lighter side. So do you think its fair to really title yourself as autistic?

Cookiemobsta45 karma

Yes, I think it's fine to use the term. I understand the reasoning behind the shift (Like many mental conditions, autism exists on a continuum and the new diagnostic categories try to reflect that.) However, Asperger's is very useful from an identity perspective. There are Asperger's forums, Asperger's books, even art done by Aspies about Asperger's. So I think people claiming "Asperger's" as a self-identifier is very adaptive and a very good thing.

OlderThanGif29 karma

If there were some magical hypothetical country that was made up entirely of people with Asperger's, how do you think it would function? Would businesses, families, marriages, schools, etc., all work differently? Would they work at all?

Cookiemobsta67 karma

Yes, I think it would work just fine. The major difference is that communication would be very explicit, rationality would be valued above emotion in decision making, and sensory issues would be accommodated. It would probably not be incredibly dissimilar from Star Trek Vulcan society (although obviously not totally unemotional -- Aspies still have all of the same emotions as "regular" people, we just usually lean on emotion less when making decisions.)

nayadea27 karma

I would like to live here, please.

Cookiemobsta23 karma

Well, some neurotypical people are actually pretty willing to accommodate to you if you let them know your needs. For instance, if you ask someone "Hey, it's hard for me to understand implicit messages, so please be very blunt and direct with me -- I promise I won't be offended", they will often take you at your word and be more direct with you. You can't exactly live in "Aspie land" but you can at least help people understand how to communicate with you better :)

Echo21315 karma

This sounds so perfect. I have aspergers and have been trying to get used to social norms and other things everyone feels normal with. Somewhere I can stop trying to fit in and be myself would be amazing.

Cookiemobsta7 karma

You will find it! Don't give up :)

SovereignsUnknown2 karma

I'd like to add that many people with ASD (myself included) have extremely strong emotions. i find myself going from 0 to 100 very, very easily. I've also noticed that unless an emotion is intense, i'll barely pick up on it.

actually writing this out i think it may imply other mental disorders. fuck.

Cookiemobsta2 karma

I mean, if you think you might have something going on, I always recommend you see a counselor. But there are lots of emotions that happen in normal human experience -- just because sometimes you're happy and sometimes you're sad doesn't mean you need a diagnosis. But again -- if you're suspicious, see a counselor!

Grock2320 karma

I feel like a lot of people in my generation use their diagnosis as an excuse. "I messed it up cause I have ADD!" Or its ok for me to be a jerk I have X" how do you feel about this?

Cookiemobsta69 karma

I think it's okay to say "I have a harder time with this because I have X, so please give me some grace." It's not okay to say "I have X, and therefore I'm not going to try on this at all, and you can't blame me." If you have ADHD and you work really hard to stay focused but you still struggle in school, that's not your fault. If you have ADHD and you don't even try to do your schoolwork, that's a problem. If you have Asperger's and you work really hard to understand social interactions but you still make mistakes, that's fine -- you're learning. If you are just a jerk, that's a problem whether or not you have Asperger's.

Grock236 karma

Good response. I totally understand that it just seems like a lot of people wear there diagnosis like a badge like it becomes who they are and what defines them.

Cookiemobsta25 karma

Yeah, I think it's unhealthy for people to label others entirely using a diagnosis, or for people to label themselves using a diagnosis. People are complex, and a diagnosis is only ever part of a person, not the whole thing.

titanfigs20 karma

I have a friend with Asperger's that is socially challenged, but not in a shy way. He is overly outgoing and ends up putting his foot in his mouth so to speak on a regular basis. What advice would you have for someone trying to help an individual in this situation?

Cookiemobsta35 karma

I can't speak for everyone with Asperger's, but I know that I never wanted to annoy other people or commit social mistakes. When I was making mistakes, I would usually appreciate a friend subtly pulling me aside and letting me know "Hey, that girl really didn't want to talk to you -- you could tell because of X and Y." or whatever.

So I would recommend that you ask him if he would like help. Offer to look out for him socially, and maybe pick a signal that you can use to tell him "Hey, you're putting your foot in your mouth." In order to make it more even, you could even ask him for help with something (like "Hey, I'll help you socially, and you can help me with my computer.") I think he would probably be really excited for the offer, but if he says no, then just drop it -- maybe he wants to work on it on his own.

lp183419 karma

I have a lovely friend from high school with Aspergers. He reached out around three years ago to apologize for some small social transgressions, (I assured him -- high school is confusing as hell, no need to apologize..) and to reconnect with me. He has been very focused on asking about my husband, complimenting me and affirming our friendship, etc. He often circles around to some "socially safe" topics, and frankly, I'm proud of him! He often wants me to take up a hobby of his, like bridge, and I sense that is because he wants to bond with me over a shared topic. What can I do to encourage him as he seeks some social understanding? He's pretty special, very intelligent and caring, and yet, I sense loneliness.

Cookiemobsta31 karma

I really appreciate your sensitivity towards your friend. It sounds like your analysis of him is spot on -- he's learned a lot about how to socialize and so he's wanting to reach out while being cautious to not make mistakes.

I think one thing you can do would be to connect with him over a hobby or interest of his. It doesn't necessarily have to be bridge, but find something that he likes that you would be willing to try too. For people with Asperger's, social interaction can be very stressful, and so doing it on your "home turf" makes the whole thing much easier.

Secondly, I would consider explicitly talking with him about some of the things that you're noticing. Most people with Asperger's loooooooove explicit communication. So if you're like "Hey, it seems to me like you want to connect with me, but you're afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. Is that accurate?" he will probably respond honestly, and that opens the door to you having a conversation where you can reassure him that you like him and you'd like to connect with him too.

lp18346 karma

Thanks! I think I'll show him your Ted talk, and provide the link to your book too. I think he will probably analyze the heck out of it and will learn a lot. I know it will give us a lot to talk about. Appreciate the answer.

Cookiemobsta5 karma

Happy to help :)

joerobo17 karma

Hey Dan,

My story is somewhat similar to yours, in that I have Asbergers, was miserable most of my life, and at some point decided to study and learn. And I did. I can come across as the most well adjusted, aware, discreet person you'd ever meet.

Its all fake, total bullshit. I have a ton of trouble respecting myself for it, and I have a ton of trouble respecting others who change what they say from what they actually feel and believe. I can only assume 1 of two things is happening-

1, you think what you believe is not worth offending someone, which is fine and noble to spare someones feelings, but after censoring virtually every supported observation you make because that reality doesn't jive with what everyone wants the world to be is unbelievably exhausting and isolating.

2, you think so little of that other person that it is not worth the discomfort to you to actually be honest with them about what you think.

Of course, many see accepting this stuff as the price to pay for relationships, but I don't. To be honest with you, I see everyone around me lying constantly: to others, and even more themselves. This is something I find is much less common among aspies, both men and women. They don't have the skills to be dishonest, so they aren't. My question to you, then, is why do you find it worth it? So much of social skill for us is in essence putting up a facade of what we think is normal and acceptable, and not a reflection of ourselves. I'd so much rather be myself, and respect myself, and be honest by myself, than I would conform my behavior and my ideas to make myself more appealing for other people. Is it really worth it to lie all the time? I should note for the non-asbergers people reading this, this is not an accusation- its a legitimate question, and since OP has had a similar experience, I'm hoping he's found a way to move past this.

Cookiemobsta12 karma

Hey -- I appreciate you sharing. This is a big question, and I'll do my best to answer.

I guess fundamentally I don't see social skills or conforming to social norms as being dishonest. Instead, I see it as being cross-cultural.

For instance, I once spent a summer in the Dominican Republic helping poor people that lived there. And the poor families that we helped would always serve us coffee and food when we came to help them. Initially, we wanted to refuse their gifts because we knew they didn't have much money and the coffee and food was expensive. But we soon realized that refusing their gifts was hurtful, and so we could help them most by accepting their gifts. In both cases, we wanted to communicate "we care about you", but we learned that our initial action of "refuse the gift" did not actually make the family feel cared for, so we needed to deliberately choose to accept the gift, even though that didn't come naturally.

In social interaction, it kind of works the same way. Maybe our "natural" response to someone would be hurtful to them, so we figure out a different response that still communicates our core message even though it feels "unnatural" or "dishonest." But our core message is still honest -- we're just framing it in a way that they can understand.

Does that make sense?

(Also -- if I'm the only one you've ever shared these thoughts with, I strongly recommend you talk them over with a counselor. A counselor can help you work through this stuff and come to more of a place of peace.)

togepitothemax13 karma

I have aspergers, and was bad growing up but feel like I've improved (I'm only 18yrs) and my case is mild. my brother is 13 and I probably shouldn't worry but he is way worse than I was at that age. He can never ever be wrong so even when presented with facts he will still argue. He debates everything and can never tell when he's making people angry. He can't recognize emotions at all. Everything thinks he's a pretentious asshole, even my family, but I know from experience he really doesn't understand.

My mum is emotionally fragile, and can't really deal with it. I'm worried of what might happen.

So my question: When he's going through a fit, and refusing to do something simple or refusing to accept he is wrong, is there anything I can do to help him see?

Cookiemobsta20 karma

Sometimes when someone with Asperger's is going through a fit, it's because they are very stressed and overwhelmed and they just can't handle responding in a mature way. So I think when your brother is going through a fit, I would try to remove his stressors before you try to reason with him. For instance, if you are in a loud restaurant, maybe ask your brother if he would like to walk outside with you where it's quieter. Once he has the chance to calm down, he's likely to be much more open to discussion.

Also -- has your brother seen a counselor? If he hasn't received a diagnosis yet and if he's not currently receiving professional help, that is something that should be fixed.

togepitothemax3 karma

He has been diagnosed but he doesn't have insurance for a counselor. It's usually when he's at home playing video games (which is really all he does besides school) and someone asks him something or asks him to do something.

Even when he is incredible rude, he seems thoroughly convinced he is the victim.

He seems to be fine in school now that he's in middle school... but I guess he doesn't act the same around us.

Cookiemobsta11 karma

Have you looked into getting counseling through the school? Many schools have free counseling available for students.

And I can see why he would be frustrated if you interrupt him during video games. Would it be possible for you to set up some kind of mutually agreed-on system with him where like, if he's playing a game and you need to talk to him, you will signal and he will pause the game at the first good opportunity and then come talk to you?

togepitothemax9 karma

Yes, I'm a pretty big gamer too so I understand it is frustrating. But we wait for the round to end or him to find a save point. He usually keeps going anyways.

The biggest problem is there isn't a lot of empathy. Just in normal conversation he can get bad. It's weird because he can be this totally sweet kid, and then the next day you don't know why he's so mean. And you know when you hurt someone, usually you stop, but even if my mum is sobbing he'll keep going because he is "doing nothing wrong"

I suppose looking into a school counselor would be a good idea, although in my personal experience they aren't the most understanding or helpful.

Also, thanks for taking to time to respond and help me. It's greatly appreciated.

Cookiemobsta13 karma

I think that's where it might be valuable to agree on a concrete plan -- like he might not realize that he should stop when the round ends, but if you agree ahead of time "Hey, if we signal that we need to talk to you, you need to stop as soon as the round ends." then that might work better. I can't speak for him, but when I was a kid with Asperger's I responded much better to things that were concrete and explicit.

And yeah, I get the struggle with empathy. I remember that when I felt I was in "the right" it was hard for me to sympathize with others -- because I was obviously right and they were obviously wrong and therefore it was their own fault (obviously this wasn't true, but it's the way that I felt.) I wonder if it might be possible to debrief some situations with him in a nonjudgemental way -- like if he does hurt you or someone else, could you share why you felt hurt afterwards without coming across as attacking? That might help him understand better.

And yes, school counselors are very hit or miss but usually better than nothing!

togepitothemax3 karma

Geez man, thanks so much for your help. He responds well to schedules and structure, so it would make sense a concrete plan would help.

I'm gonna keep an eye out for how to show him my point of view.. however it's nearly impossible for him to not feel like he's being attacked.

I'll talk to my mom about the school counselor.

And hey, maybe he'll grow out of it. I certainly grew a lot and people are shocked when I tell them I have it.

Cookiemobsta3 karma

I'm glad to help :) And yeah, I think part of his problems are just being a teenager, so he will hopefully get better with time.

One final piece of advice -- it's probably not super enjoyable for him to have arguments or meltdowns. So a starting place might be to check in with him and see what he perceives as the problem. If you can build common ground by working on solving what he sees as the problem, he's probably going to be more willing to his part (vs if he thinks that he is just doing what you're telling him to do and he doesn't get a say.)

gyegwqqt210 karma

How did you stop caring about the opinions of others?

Cookiemobsta24 karma

I didn't stop caring about EVERYONE's opinion; I just decided to choose whose opinion matters to me.

If someone knows me and loves me, then their opinion of me matters a lot. I don't want to let someone down if I know that they care about me.

If someone has just met me and they jump to a snap judgement about me, I don't really care that much about their opinion because it's not based in anything.

NoddysShardblade10 karma

It's actually a real "aha!" moment when you realise that (barring folks who have direct power over you) the opinions of people who don't bother forming accurate opinions about stuff don't matter at all.

Cookiemobsta11 karma

Yeah, exactly. The first time I got a negative comment about my website online, I literally felt sick to my stomach. And then I realized like "Here's a random person who has never met me and who probably spent five seconds writing that comment -- why should I give them the power to ruin my day?"

BonJoviPrayerHair7 karma

Is there anything really 'wrong' with lack of social skills?

Cookiemobsta22 karma

I mean, not exactly. It doesn't mean that you're a bad person or anything.

But relationships are one of the most valuable and meaningful parts of life, and if you lack social skills, it's very hard for you to form close relationships. If someone lacked social skills but they still had good friends in their life, I wouldn't be too worried about them. But if you want close friends and you can't get them because you struggle with social skills, then you should really get better at social skills so you can make friends :)

Holocaust__Denier4 karma

Do you have a DRM free version? Kindle Reader is not part of my workflow unfortunately.

Cookiemobsta7 karma

You can read all of the content on the Ebook on my website. Some of the content is behind a paywall but if you don't want to pay for a membership just email me and I'll give you a membership.

FvHound3 karma

My mum didn't tell me I had aspergers until I was 19, and even though I can look back at my childhood and see how I was a little weird, my desire to have friends along with my polite well mannered nature gave me the stepping stone into developing my social skills. My whole life even though I knew I was 'weird'. I took it more as something to embrace, and by teaching myself social skills by studying others, I also noticed the behaviors and patterns in people that other's might not pick up until their mid 30's. Now I feel like My social skills are better than everyone else's, where as everyone else now follow's stupid society rules just because everyone else does them, even if clearly everyone can see no one is having fun this way!

I don't really recall my point when I started typing this (Also have ADHD, but I don't even consider that as a thing, more like a "special ability to always be interested in something new". But I did want to hear if after you got better at talking to kids, fitting in, doing thing's the way they do, if you realized that a lot of it is arbitrary, and only because "everyone else does it''. Thoughts?

Cookiemobsta7 karma

Yup, a lot of social interaction is pretty arbitrary. That doesn't mean that it's useless or bad -- whether you drive on the right side or the left side of the road is arbitrary, but it's important for everyone to agree on the same thing. So in many cases it's still important to learn the rules and abide by them, because even though they're arbitrary they serve a purpose.

That being said, I think there are some arbitrary rules that you should break. For instance, one arbitrary rule is "Never answer honestly when people ask 'how are you?" and I think that's silly. If someone asks me how I'm doing, I won't go into detail, but I'll answer honestly. That way if they really don't want to know, they won't follow up, but if they do want to know how I'm doing, they can ask a follow up question to get more detail.

DeathWish1113 karma

How were you diagnosed?

Cookiemobsta3 karma

I was diagnosed by Dr. Norall at a clinic in California that specializes in Asperger's and Autism. My parents had known for awhile that something was different about me, and when they learned about Asperger's they decided to look for a specialist in Asperger's that could tell definitively if I had it or not.

Idonthavent3 karma

A bit personal perhaps, but were you lonely as a kid? What's social life like now, do you have a lot of friends?

Cookiemobsta12 karma

I was definitely lonely as a kid. I don't think it was ever as bad as it could have been, because I had good family support and I always had one or two friends (as opposed to none.) But I was definitely lonely, and it was tough. I remember feeling that going to my elementary school was like going to a battleground where everyone else was on the opposite army.

I think part of the struggle for me is that I was profoundly handicapped by not knowing how to interact socially or interpret other peoples' interactions. So even if someone was trying to be friendly towards me, I might misinterpret their friendly joking as teasing, and feel bad. Or perhaps the other person would interpret my actions as being rude and would become mad at me, even though I tried to make friends.

So the hardest thing was not just the loneliness, but it was the helplessness -- the sense that no matter what I did to try to make things better, I just made things worse. It wasn't until I was able to realize social skills were the problem that things really started to turn around.

Nataface3 karma

Hi Dan,

Thank you for your website. I'm battling severe social anxiety and it gives me hope to know that I can always improve my skills over time so I don't have to be so alone. My question is, do you have any tips for feeling less shy/intimidated by strangers or people in authority? I get extremely nervous and I can't even look them in the eye--for example, hiking for me is awkward, because when I pass people they say hello, and I get so painfully awkward.

Cookiemobsta3 karma

Good to hear from you :) As I've said to a few other people, I think your best bet is to see a counselor. Although there are some tips that are helpful in handling social anxiety (I wrote some here), if you're describing your social anxiety as "severe" it's probably something that you should get a counselor's help wtih.

Xisifer3 karma

Do you feel like Asp has gotten easier to deal with as time goes on?

Is it something that can be compensated for as you grow into adulthood, or is it a constant struggle?

Cookiemobsta12 karma

Good question! It's a mixed bag. Many parts of it definitely get easier as time goes on, because you learn adaptive or coping skills. For instance, since my social skills have improved, my social life is much easier. And I've also learned to adapt to the non-social struggles of Asperger's. For instance, one element of Asperger's can be sensory overload. When I was a kid, when I would get overloaded by too much commotion around me I would just melt down. But now when I start to get overloaded, I know that I should go visit the bathroom and calm down for a bit, or step outside, or do something else to calm myself down. So you learn lots of coping skills that make it easier.

But it never entirely goes away. Like, I'll always be wired differently from "normal" people, and on some days, that can be really hard. One of the biggest things that's helped me with that is finding other "weird" people. Like, if you are around people where there's a pressure to be exactly the same, it can feel exhausting. But if I'm with a group where everyone has their own quirks and weirdnessess, then I don't feel any pressure to conceal my quirks. That's really restful and really meaningful to me.

shmameron3 karma

Have you played the video game "To the Moon"? An important part of the story is about a character with Asperger's and I was curious as to its accuracy. If you haven't played it, you should, it's one of my favorite games of all time and the soundtrack is phenomenal.

Cookiemobsta3 karma

OH MY GOODNESS I LOVE THAT GAME. I don't think there's any piece of multimedia (film/art/movie/game) that has made me cry so much. (Granted I did play it shortly after a breakup so that might have contributed...)

Vogey3 karma

Is your interest in social skills a result of your aspergers? Like aren't aspergs really dedicated/fixated on one thing?

Cookiemobsta2 karma

It's possible :) I know that it's common (although not universal) for people with Asperger's to have one particular interest, and it's possible that my interest is people.

GoodGodLemons3 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA! I have long suffered with social awkwardness and anxiety. I have tried things to get over it, but friends and loved ones still point it out to me often enough to where I just don't want to be social out of fear of saying or doing the wrong thing and feeling out of place or uncomfortable. I have to be a bridesmaid in an upcoming wedding of a friend and am dreading it. I told her recently that I'm not sure I'm the right person for this and she made me feel awful, told me to suck it up and stop being shitty. How can I try to make it through her day and maybe have some fun and not be weird?

Cookiemobsta3 karma

Remember, people aren't there to watch you, they are their to watch the bride. As long as you don't do anything egregious (like falling over or throwing up) nobody is going to pay any attention to you during the ceremony. During the rehearsal learn exactly what you need to do, and then remind yourself you just need to do that and everything will be okay :)

After the ceremony, try to give yourself little goals that you will enjoy. For instance, "Ok, I really want some more dessert. I am going to get up and get dessert. Okay, here we go." or "That guy is cute. I am going to ask him to dance. Ok 123 start walking over to him!" Just give yourself little goals -- things that you can enjoy, but that don't feel overwhelming.

Beyond the wedding, I also recommend that you see a counselor. Social awkwardness and social anxiety are things that counselors can help with, and if you've struggled for awhile, I think you owe it to yourself to see what happens when you get some help :) Good luck!

nAnarchy3 karma

I watched your TEDx talk and felt a few emotions. Inspiration, intrigue, awe, perhaps a bit of envy. Then I figured I'd take a look at your book and read the first line.

I believe that you deserve a place to belong.

That hit like a fucking truck. Tingles and shivers. I have no clue what to say, I'm just a grown ass man bawling my eyes out.

I know this is contrary to the message you are trying to convey, but I really wish someone like you would come and sit next to me in the metaphorical lunchroom that is life.

So where can a person start? Is it worthwhile to see about getting diagnosed if there's something actually wrong with me or if I'm just terrible at social skills?

Cookiemobsta3 karma

Hey, I appreciate you sharing this. I know that it takes courage to share real emotion -- even over the internet.

The first step is to see a therapist. It's less about getting a diagnosis (although that could be helpful) and it's more about letting someone check up on you and figure out how best to help. Maybe you have a diagnosis that could explain some things about why you're struggling, or maybe you just need some help finding good people who will accept you for who you are (because those people exist, trust me!)

Beyond that, I recommend that you try to seek out some groups of people that are likely to be caring and accepting. There's a group in my hometown that does authentic relating games where people basically get together and try to build empathy. You'd better believe that that group is super caring and accepting and happy to make lunchroom buddies with everybody :) You could try to find groups like that in your area and seek out connections there. (I'm a little bit hesitant to give this advice because what if you find a group that advertises themselves as being super loving and they're actually jerks? I don't want you to get your hopes up and then get hurt. But in general, if you look for groups that seem like they would be extra loving and caring, they probably will be.)

clownieo3 karma

As someone who has worked tirelessly towards improving my social standings, I don't feel like it has contributed as much towards my self-esteem. I suppose it's a useful skill to learn, but should we be the only ones responsible for initiating "first contact" with normal people? As someone suffering with aspergers, I know that I cannot easily adapt to changes in my environment, so why is the onus on me to seek change?

Before anyone rushes in to say that I should be seeking to better myself anyways, please consider for a second that maybe your "solution" is just a compromise on our part. Outside of my family and friends, most of the behavior I engage in is considered too childish or strange to be accepted. If I slip up for even a moment, reality quickly sets in and I find that even despite my best efforts, I'm nothing but an unsightly blemish on the face of humanity that requires concealing.

I'm not trying to rain on your parade or trivialize what you've accomplished in your personal life, but sometimes we try to fit in at expense of something much more important. This might not be your experience, but I'm sure we (and many others) can relate.

Since I have to end this with a question, how can people like me achieve true social justice? I really hope you are still capable of answering this question.

Cookiemobsta6 karma

It sounds like you've experienced a lot of pain as a result of your social struggles, and I'm sorry for that. I appreciate you asking your question and sharing a little of your story.

To answer your question -- no, I don't think that people who struggle socially should have to initiate "first contact" in every case. I think that if you're socially competent, you have a responsibility to look out for people that are struggling socially (just like if you are wealthy, you have a responsibility to look out for the poor.)

But you can't change other people -- you can only change yourself. So while I hope that you find people that reach out to you, I also recommend that you keep reaching out to others.

One final point -- you are absolutely not an "unsightly blemish on the face of humanity" and I'm really sorry you feel that way. I hope that you find people that will help you see the value that you have. I also encourage you to consider talking about these feelings with a counselor -- nobody deserves to feel the way you feel, and a counselor can help you accept yourself more.

throwingawayb2 karma

Can you talk about diagnoses for people on the autism spectrum who are a bit older? If someone is in the Baby Boomer generation or older, and has no prior diagnosis or treatment for ASD, are the signs different like they are with childhood vs. adult ADD?

In other words, how would someone who is Baby Boomer generation or older go about getting a valid diagnosis for ASD?

And then what?

I feel like a lot of the problems would be compounded by years with no treatment. Is that true in your experience or knowledge?

Cookiemobsta2 karma

Since I'm not a psychologist, I can't speak about this in depth. I would say that if you think you might have Asperger's or autism, but you were not diagnosed as a child, you should go see a psychologist who specializes in autistic spectrum issues. They would be able to diagnose you (or tell you why a diagnosis doesn't make sense.)

For the "then what": I think it depends on the person. In some cases, just understanding yourself better can be beneficial. In other cases, you might want to get connected to Asperger's resources so you can learn some skills that help you cope with the challenges of Asperger's.

You might be interested in the book "The Journal Of Best Practices." It's about a middle-aged guy who learns he has Asperger's and uses the knowledge to improve his life -- interesting stuff!

throw_aiweiwei2 karma

Hello, thank you for doing this AMA. Reading your responses to questions has made me feel that I perhaps am also asperger's.

Your stories of growing up and learning how to interact are so close to my own experiences, it is quite surprising.

Obviously I haven't been diagnosed, would you suggest this is an important step in your ability to socialise? Knowing exactly why it was/is more difficult?

(I'm mid 30's)

Cookiemobsta5 karma

Good to hear from you :) If my responses are resonating with you, I strongly recommend that you also watch my TEDx video (linked in my intro) since I go into much more detail about my Asperger's.

I do think that my diagnosis was very important to me. Realizing that there wasn't something wrong with me that people rejected, but rather that I lacked a skill -- that was very encouraging to me. And having an Asperger's diagnosis allowed me to gain access to resources (therapy, etc) that were helpful to me.

If you think you may have Asperger's, I recommend that you see a therapist who has expertise in autism or Asperger's. While I don't think a diagnosis is essential, it's often very helpful.

throw_aiweiwei2 karma

Thanks. I will watch your video. On mobile right now and it's not ideal.

I have been making conscious choices about how I should interact with people since I realised I was a little behind the 8 ball socially. E.g. When I was 19 I wrote myself a mantra and stuck it to the inside of my door. It was a reminder to speak less and think more in conversation.

Is his the way that you have approached the acquisition of your social skills? By identifying moments where you struggle and adjusting your behaviour? Giving yourself rules for situations?

Cookiemobsta4 karma

I think I've approached it in various ways. I have identified specific moments where I struggle and tried to adjust my behavior. I've also tried to be proactive by reading social skills guides or talking to friends who can offer feedback, and try to incorporate the advice I receive even before I notice the problem myself.

throw_aiweiwei3 karma

Nice. I really appreciate your responses.

I feel as if the group of people that I surround myself with now are people that are willing to give feedback and are supportive.

Do you think the supportiveness of your group of friends (whom you mention in the response to be another's question) has changed simply by growing up and maturing, or because you now endeavour to mostlysurround yourself with a different type of person?

Cookiemobsta4 karma

Both? :) I think most people mature as they get older, but I've also gotten better at identifying people that will be good friends to me.

NineOneOh2 karma

What would you say is/was your biggest weakness socially? ... ie: making conversation, relating to others etc.

Cookiemobsta10 karma

Hmm, that's a good question. Honestly, at this point I think my biggest social struggle is opening up to people. I've worked really hard to learn how to "blend in" socially, but that can sometimes cause me to hold my real self back in relationships -- and ultimately, if I'm not being my real self, then I'm not going to feel connected to the other person. So I've had to learn when the other person wants to know the REAL me, and let my "real" self show -- awkwardness and all.

Goliath_Gamer2 karma

Hi! I have Asberger's and I'm 20 years old. I'm just wondering, what made you decide (and when) to become an advocate for autism?

Cookiemobsta3 karma

I realized that many of the things that had helped me in my own life could help other people too, so I decided to share them :)

howisstifflucky2 karma

I know this is nine hours late, but it's still something I'm interested in so fingers crossed!

Do you think there's anything beneficial about being diagnosed with Aspergers? As a bit of a supplementary, I've been wondering a lot about people that go under the radar, per say, not getting formally diagnosed because they've developed enough social skills before any system's been able to pick them up. Do you think this is possible, and what would be your advice to these people?

Cookiemobsta5 karma

I'm still answering questions, don't worry! I went out dancing tonight and got back and OH MY GOODNESS SO MANY QUESTIONS. So I'm online and catching up :)

I think being diagnosed with Asperger's is normally a positive thing. Having a formal diagnosis allows you access to more resources (ie, most insurances won't pay for therapy unless you have some kind of diagnosis), it helps you communicate about your struggles to others, and it helps you understand yourself better. That being said, I think you can still success with Asperger's without a formal diagnosis -- you can build your social skills without ever getting an Asperger's diagnosis.

To answer your question about flying under the radar -- yes, I think it's possible. Boys are diagnosed with Asperger's at a higher rate than girls, and while it's likely that boys get Asperger's at a higher rate, it's also possible that some girls with Asperger's never get diagnosed because they have more opportunities to socialize and learn social skills growing up. It also depends on how severe one's social handicap is -- if you have a mild case of Asperger's or if your intelligence was very high and allowed you to cope, it would be easier to fly under the radar. If you think you might have Asperger's but you flew under the radar, I would encourage you to visit a counselor and chat with them. They can explain to the you the pros and potential cons of getting assessed for a diagnosis.

MICHAELSD012 karma

Firstly, thanks for making your book a free download and best of luck with it!

My situation is likely a bit different than other's: I feel much more free typing on a computer. I can write about any topic in eloquent detail but in person I tend to really overthink and just babble or lose control of my voice. In fact whenever I get nervous my lips tingle and I lose control of my voice, then the only way I can get over it is by going home to relax -- this happens more frequently than I'd like to admit.

More than not having skills, what really holds me back from being myself is I feel a sense of depersonalization around a lot of people: I lose myself. I'm just not comfortable around people, yet if I was I do think I'd have enough social skills to get by. The issue is this hasn't gone away after a few years and now I need to find a way to overcome this inner demon of mine.

Do you have any advice for a situation where one doesn't feel comfortable around nearly anyone and can't act like themselves most of the time? It's like I lose myself when I'm around people and unable to feel free and just let go of what bothers me.

Thanks for taking the time :).

Cookiemobsta2 karma

Based on your speech issue, I would recommend that you talk to a speech and language therapist. I don't know if they could help you, but it's quite possible they could help make sure you don't lose control of your voice. If a speech and language therapist can't help you, a counselor probably could.

On the depersonalization issue: What is something that you really enjoy doing? Find a social setting where you can do that. For instance, if you really enjoy painting, find a class where you can paint with others. Because you are doing something that you are used to, you don't have to lose yourself -- you can just paint the same way you do at home. (Obviously, I don't know if painting is a thing that you do -- but fill in the blank for whatever you do enjoy.)

no1grammarnazi2 karma

How do I "improve bit by bit" if I don't know what I'm doing wrong? I absolutely cannot read body language, facial expressions, etc. Even trying completely wears me out within an hour or two (depending on the people I'm with).

So yes, I have Asperger's. I usually make friends, hang out with them for 2-6 months, until they (for some reason) stop contacting me. Every time I talk to them after that, I just feel clingy, and withing another month or two, I just stop bothering. It seems like I've tried every possible combination of actively getting in touch with people, and at the same time giving them space.

I keep telling my boyfriend I want to give up on the whole "friends" thing, and he keeps telling me I can't. Any ideas?

Cookiemobsta3 karma

That sounds tough -- I'm sorry :( I think there's two things that I would try. One is to go through a guidebook and try to apply the things you learn piece by piece. I think my book is a great start for that, but there's other good books out there on social skills. Pick a book, and try to practice one chapter a week and see how it goes.

Second, you might have more success if you work with a counselor. A counselor can talk with you about relationships and help you figure out what's going wrong and what signals you might be missing :)

Shooter_McFadden2 karma


Cookiemobsta2 karma

Unfortunately I'm not familiar with that, so I can only give the advice that if you're not seeing a counselor, a counselor would be a good idea!

BanThisAsshat2 karma

My older brother has full blown Asperger's, like as hard as one can have it, if that makes any sense. Not only was he terrible at social situations, but he was also violent. He went undiagnosed or treated until either middle school or early high school. But once he was diagnosed my parents' attention was totally on him and they just assumed I was fine. But I clearly wasn't and only recently (I'm 28) am I starting to really get the issue. I saw your TEDx talk and that really helped me. I guess I never really understood Asperger's even though it was a big deal in my family because of my brother, but your explanation of it makes it a lot more clear. I don't know if it's possible that it just rubbed off on me from my brother or if I have it too, but your description of what your childhood was like matches mine pretty well. Always being alone, never feeling like you fit in, everyone seems to hate me and I never know why, being terribly awkward and goofy. I guess I just went under the radar because I did my best to appear normal and I enjoyed playing sports and normal stuff like that. But mostly I just kept my head down as best I could and acted like everything was OK. I didn't really self-evaluate until after college when I had the opportunity to reinvent myself (as much as I could). I still see those things in me but for the last few years I have been trying to work on fixing them, and I think I have made quite a lot of progress. My trouble is that I don't really have anyone to help as you did, so I guess I'm missing that element, but now I know what I need to look for. Your explanation has helped me look at it from a new angle, so perhaps I can improve still.

So my question is this: do you think there would be any benefit for someone like me to get professional help and/or treatment? Or am I already kinda doing what I need to be doing?

Cookiemobsta2 karma

Yes, I think it would be helpful for you to talk to a professional :) Even if you don't need a lot of help, having someone who can give you a little "push" could make things a lot easier.

quodpossumus1 karma

What was the hardest skill to learn?

Cookiemobsta4 karma

I think reading other people is one of the most difficult skills to learn, because when I'm focused on what to say, it's very difficult to also stay focused on what the other person is thinking or feeling.

[deleted]0 karma


Cookiemobsta1 karma

I don't think you're an asshole :) I think you should think about seeing a therapist -- a therapist can probably help you see good things in yourself, which will probably help you treat other people better, too!

Friendly_Billy-5 karma

Has being handicapped affected your sex life negatively or do you have a normal sex life? How often do you masturbate?

Cookiemobsta5 karma

First, I don't consider Asperger's to be a handicap. I think it's a different way of being, not a bad way of being. Although Asperger's did give me many challenges, it also gave me many strengths (like a quirky sense of humor, a high reading comprehension, etc.)

Second, I think that I have a normal sex drive. I have not had sex yet, but that is for religious reasons (I'm not married yet) and not for lack of desire, ability or opportunity. I'm not going to give masturbation statistics though -- sorry ;)