Coping: A Survival Guide for People with Asperger Syndrome
Distortions of the truth
- Sarcasm is when someone says one things but
means the opposite. For example - in response to hearing someone
burp, someone else might say 'how polite'. The easiest way of
picking up on sarcasm is by listening to the tone of voice. You
may need to defend yourself against sarcasm at times and this will
be covered in the following chapters.
- Not knowing the truth is a common reason why
people might distort it.
- A particularly nasty form of distorted truth is
'scape-goating'. This is setting up other people
to take the blame for things which aren't their fault. What is
even worse is having someone deliberately do something wrong for
the sole purpose of getting you blamed for it. If this happens you
must first work out whether it is just a joke or whether it is a
serious set-up. If it is serious and the blame successfully
reaches you, you may need to somehow prove that the wrong doing
was not your fault in which case you must tell the right people
that you think you've been set up and stick to your word.
- On the other hand someone might quite innocently create a
false truth for the mere purpose of fantasy play.
This might apply to children pretending to be comic cartoon
heroes, adults dressed up in costume pretending to be Father
Christmas or someone who is acting in a play.
- If someone asks you a question and giving them the true answer
might upset them or cause embarrassment or unfair trouble to other
people you may decide to tell a 'white lie' which
is intended to avoid unpleasantness all round.
- If you don't wish to lie you might still want to
withhold the truth. You might be keeping a secret
for someone or you might be trying to keep yourself or others out
of trouble. In this case it may be sensible to avoid certain
topics of conversation, otherwise you might be forced into
pretending not to know something using awkward diversion tactics
(which often involve humour) or even lying. Also you may be
expected to automatically know when something is to be kept a
- If someone tries to get a message across to you without
hurting you, they might decide to drop a hint.
The best example of this is when a man is chatting up a woman but
she doesn't want to go out with him in which case instead of
saying 'I'm not interested, go away' she might slip the words 'my
boyfriend' into the conversation.
- Sometimes it is possible to be misled by figures of
speech (i.e. metaphors). For example 'I'm over the moon'
means I'm very happy. If figures of speech are a problem for you,
they can be looked up in certain books or you can get someone to
teach you some.
- Sometimes someone might lie to you if they want something from
you. The best example of this is a door-to-door salesman who wants
your money. If he sells you a television that doesn't work then he
would be conning you.
- In conversation it is not unusual for people to
exaggerate. Someone who says 'I had about ten
pints last night' might actually mean they only had five. People
who exaggerate too much can easily be misinterpreted.
- If someone says something which sounds offensive in the
literal sense 'You ugly mug face' but with a laugh and a smile,
then they mean it as a joke. You often need to
pick up on this quite quickly.
- Perhaps the most awkward kind of lies you encounter are
teasing lies in which someone says something as a
joke to see whether or not you believe them. If what they have
just said is highly unlikely or people around them are trying not
to laugh, they are probably teasing you. The correct response to
this would be to laughingly tell them to p*ss off. If you show
doubt as to whether or not they are teasing you, they may see it
as a sign of vulnerability. Remember they are probably never going
to admit that they are teasing you, no matter how seriously you
- People might start trying to persuade you to make a spectacle
of yourself somehow. For example they may ask you to do a dance or
sing a song. Even if you can't see anything wrong with this
yourself, it is important not to give in to them, no matter how
persuasive they become. The correct response is the same as that
for a teasing lie, only perhaps with a touch of anger. If you give
in to such requests, you will probably become an all-round target
for other people's teasing. If you have already done this in the
past, don't worry, just don't let it continue.
- If ever joining in games like 'truth or dare' or 'strip poker'
you could find yourself under even greater pressure to do
something. In this case it is often all right but you might be
asked to do something which is completely 'out of order' in which
case if people become too persuasive you might just prefer to
leave the room. If they are true friends, they won't hold
it against you for more than a day.
- It must be remembered that not everyone is loyal to the truth.
Also, many people select certain parts of the truth and reject
others to their own advantages (e.g. in court cases).
- If you need to find out whether or not someone is lying and
you have a good reason for doing so, asking them questions might
reveal faults in their logic.
Misunderstandings other people might have
- If you have difficulties with your eye-contact or body
language, some people might mistake you for being shifty or
dishonest. If they think this they are probably wrong.
- If you don't react to other people's body language with your
own, they might mistake you for being unsympathetic.
- Many people might make the mistake of thinking you are
unintelligent. If this is because you rarely get a chance to show
them signs of intelligence, there may be little you can do except
to let them accidentally see you doing something you're good at,
whether they like it or not, just as a one off. They might decide
not to comment, even though they have seen your talent.
- If you try to come across as being cooler, wittier, tougher
and more confident that other people, then whenever you break an
unwritten rule people might mistake it for nastiness. In this
case, it might be in your best interest to drop your pretence.
Coping: A Survival Guide for People with Asperger
Getting the best from this
Looking on the bright side
Distortions of the truth
Humour and conflict
Sexually related problems and points about
Finding the right friends
Keeping a clean slate
Living away from home
Jobs and interviews
A Personal in depth analysis of the