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Telecaster68

For asexuals who just haven't been able to take it any more

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Tarfeather

I was rereading this thread and just wanted to comment on this part - not everyone is adept at reading faces or body language. Personally, I find detecting moods horribly difficult. And my partner tells me that the section of my brain meant for faces just isn't there. I can't even remember peoples faces. Someone so much as changes their hair/clothes and unless they have a very unique face (like Travolta's chin cleft thingy) I couldn't tell at all that they are the same person. And body language? I read books and articles and blogs about it. I try to actually LEARN what other people know by instinct. But, I am not very good at it. I am a LOT better at reading the furry kind of animals than I am at reading the human type of animals. My last partner before this current one was the son of a social worker. She worked with me on trying to learn to be more socially able, reading people, knowing what is acceptable or not, detecting when people are uncomfortable, how to adjust your actions based on this and that reaction... and it helped, a bit. But, seriously, it's A LOT to think about all the time, to consciously keep those lessons in my head with every second of every day and try to apply them to my relationships. It's exhausting. It's a lot easier if people just TELL ME what's bothering them instead of expecting me to just figure out it's something and I am supposed to ask. Got an issue? Speak up. Don't expect me to read you based on some magical (seriously, this whole naturally knowing what someone is feeling based on a facial twitch or whatever feels like magic some days) skill I do not have. I actually prefer text conversations in part because of this - people expect you to pick up on so much in the background based on their body language and facial expressions, or tone of voice, etc and I ... really would rather they just explain themselves better than expecting me to get all that.

Hah, yeah. This is only slightly related, but I used to be very bitter and angry all the time because my girlfriend tends to do things that most people would consider rather hurtful. But very recently it somehow "clicked" and I realized that despite her treating me that way, she still likes me very much, and it has made my whole relationship so much better. I think it's so much more important to just trust your friends/partner and accept them as they are, rather than expecting them to behave in a specific way to "confirm" that they like you.

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Telecaster68

Absolutely, I know some people have problems reading faces and body language, that's why I was careful to frame it 'as a species'. For those people, obviously spelling things out verbally is the only fair way.

Face blindness is a known condition - Prosopagnosia (and http://legacy.jyi.org/volumes/volume10/issue3/articles/fox2.html

Interestingly, apparently using digital media might be making this harder: http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/in-our-digital-world-are-young-people-losing-the-ability-to-read-emotions(I haven't dug into this so it might be the UCLA press office getting carried away...)

The point originally came up in relation to the extent to which you might expect a partner to pick up something being wrong by reading facial expressions, body language, behaviour etc. Quite a few people seemed to think 'not at all' would be standard, which surprised me.

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Serran

"They may cope by using alternative ways to recognise people, such as remembering the way they walk, or their hairstyle, voice or clothing."

"Prosopagnosia can also affect a person's ability to recognise other objects, such as places or cars."

:lol: That's certainly what I do. I remember when I was dating a guy in the UK, I got really uncomfortable when he cut his hair, cause it made him look so DIFFERENT. I was only 15 though and clueless so I couldn't explain to the poor guy why him getting a hair cut made me stop wanting to kiss him and stuff (it honestly didn't "feel" like him anymore, even though I logically knew it was, he just didn't LOOK like himself to me anymore), I have no idea how he put up with me enough to stay my friend after we broke up. And I am 100% dependent on GPS to get around, as every place kinda looks the same to me (unless it's got something unique to recognize it by) and to find cars in parking lots I use what stickers they have on them, or dirt patterns, or things hanging in the windows.

My partner actually didn't even accept I have issues with all that though until... oh, geez, 7? years in after he quizzed me enough and got totally random answers. I'm not diagnosed with anything (never been tested for anything), I just am naturally oblivious and he didn't think anyone could be that oblivious. It caused a lot of problems, including with the sex thing, because he expects me to just read him. He still does, even though he KNOWS I can't. So, even if it seems like someone should just know you're having a problem, they might not. Even if you think they are 100% neurotypical. That's generally why my advice to everyone is to just stop dropping hints and trying to get people to understand and just flat out tell them if they like them/have an issue/want something.

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Telecaster68

That's generally why my advice to everyone is to just stop dropping hints and trying to get people to understand and just flat out tell them if they like them/have an issue/want something.

Including people in your situation announcing every time they meet someone 'I'm clueless at picking up social cues. Please explain absolutely everything explicitly.'...?

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Tarfeather

Including people in your situation announcing every time they meet someone 'I'm clueless at picking up social cues. Please explain absolutely everything explicitly.'...?

Apparently that's too straightforward and honest. Wait for the second date, at least.

>_> <_< *just a tad annoyed because of other thread*

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Frigid Pink

If someone doesn't communicate their feelings to me, then that's on them, just as it's on me to share (and manage) my own feelings.

Pink:

So you'd say the question 'you seem upset, what's wrong?' would be playing up to passive aggression?

No. If you expect someone to ask and if, as long as they don't ask, you act upset that they don't ask, then, yes, I consider that passive aggressive. However, if you're withholding your feelings and not acting any differently than you normally would even if the person doesn't ask, then that's not passive aggressive, that's simply withholding feelings.

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Float On

I was rereading this thread and just wanted to comment on this part - not everyone is adept at reading faces or body language. Personally, I find detecting moods horribly difficult. And my partner tells me that the section of my brain meant for faces just isn't there. I can't even remember peoples faces. Someone so much as changes their hair/clothes and unless they have a very unique face (like Travolta's chin cleft thingy) I couldn't tell at all that they are the same person. And body language? I read books and articles and blogs about it. I try to actually LEARN what other people know by instinct. But, I am not very good at it. I am a LOT better at reading the furry kind of animals than I am at reading the human type of animals. My last partner before this current one was the son of a social worker. She worked with me on trying to learn to be more socially able, reading people, knowing what is acceptable or not, detecting when people are uncomfortable, how to adjust your actions based on this and that reaction... and it helped, a bit. But, seriously, it's A LOT to think about all the time, to consciously keep those lessons in my head with every second of every day and try to apply them to my relationships. It's exhausting. It's a lot easier if people just TELL ME what's bothering them instead of expecting me to just figure out it's something and I am supposed to ask. Got an issue? Speak up. Don't expect me to read you based on some magical (seriously, this whole naturally knowing what someone is feeling based on a facial twitch or whatever feels like magic some days) skill I do not have. I actually prefer text conversations in part because of this - people expect you to pick up on so much in the background based on their body language and facial expressions, or tone of voice, etc and I ... really would rather they just explain themselves better than expecting me to get all that.

Hah, yeah. This is only slightly related, but I used to be very bitter and angry all the time because my girlfriend tends to do things that most people would consider rather hurtful. But very recently it somehow "clicked" and I realized that despite her treating me that way, she still likes me very much, and it has made my whole relationship so much better. I think it's so much more important to just trust your friends/partner and accept them as they are, rather than expecting them to behave in a specific way to "confirm" that they like you.

yeah one of the reasons I'm a terrrible texting partner is because people will say stuff to me and I'll give them a stereotypical disinterested answer and they'll feel unliked but really all it is is that conversation is very weird to me. but the thing is that I like the texts I seem not to lol, I just don't waste time with niceties because I just don't think about it at all. it's not something I pick up, and I will often forget completely about.

If someone doesn't communicate their feelings to me, then that's on them, just as it's on me to share (and manage) my own feelings.

Pink:

So you'd say the question 'you seem upset, what's wrong?' would be playing up to passive aggression?

No. If you expect someone to ask and if, as long as they don't ask, you act upset that they don't ask, then, yes, I consider that passive aggressive. However, if you're withholding your feelings and not acting any differently than you normally would even if the person doesn't ask, then that's not passive aggressive, that's simply withholding feelings.

yeah and but like

deciding that someone isn't a match for you because they don't catch the cues you send, that's just you making decisions about which relationships to nourish and which to let fade

but just don't expect that people not doing what you expect means much at all except that they're a different person from you (which you should prettymuch assume be default since well, they are a different person from you :P)

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Frigid Pink

If someone doesn't communicate their feelings to me, then that's on them, just as it's on me to share (and manage) my own feelings.

Pink:

So you'd say the question 'you seem upset, what's wrong?' would be playing up to passive aggression?

No. If you expect someone to ask and if, as long as they don't ask, you act upset that they don't ask, then, yes, I consider that passive aggressive. However, if you're withholding your feelings and not acting any differently than you normally would even if the person doesn't ask, then that's not passive aggressive, that's simply withholding feelings.

yeah and but like

deciding that someone isn't a match for you because they don't catch the cues you send, that's just you making decisions about which relationships to nourish and which to let fade

but just don't expect that people not doing what you expect means much at all except that they're a different person from you (which you should prettymuch assume be default since well, they are a different person from you :P)

Yeah, but that's just it with "cues" - everyone is still very different and saying that there's a "set of cues" is a hasty generalization. It's still on the other person to be open with you and share their feelings with you. Again, not everyone will get these "cues," even if they're the most common ones, and even if they get the cues, it doesn't mean the person isn't responsible for sharing their feelings (aka communication). I don't think it's a matter of which relationships to "nourish or let fade" and instead, to me, it's a matter of having reasonable vs. unreasonable expectations of others. I probably wouldn't invest too much into someone or continue in a relationship with them if I discover that they expect me to be responsible for figuring out their feelings. I think it's bs to think so-called "cues" are "communication" because, in a relationship, you have to have open lines of communication and non-verbal behaviors just don't cut it for that.

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Sally

Strange -- I have always had difficult with the recognition of faces, which has often embarrassed me. However, I have no difficulty recognizing how someone feels from the expression on their face or their body movements. And I was always very sensitive to how "my" sexuals behaved when they wanted sex; sometimes I wished I hadn't been so sensitive. But sometimes I felt like I had to ignore it, because I just couldn't stand to think of doing it then.

Maybe some other asexuals give the impression of not knowing what their sexual partner is feeling, for the same reason I did. Again, I think of the "target" situation: if we show that we're aware, then we have to accept being the target. If we seem to not be aware, maybe it can be postponed (even if the sexual is annoyed).

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Telecaster68

"If we seem to not be aware, maybe it can be postponed (even if the sexual is annoyed)."

Genuine question, not snark.

Can you see how, when this goes on for months, it's incredibly hurtful?

Pink

You seem to be assuming people consciously 'perform' their feelings in order to get a reaction. I'm talking about noticing their behaviour and caring what it might imply about how they feel because you care about them.

And I disagree about cues being too various to read for most people. The basics - happiness, sadness, fear, anger, etc - are understood by very young children.

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Float On

there's a difference between basic emotions and what social interactions people like or dislike because of their complex range of emotions that most of us don't ourselves understand

"If we seem to not be aware, maybe it can be postponed (even if the sexual is annoyed)."

Genuine question, not snark.

Can you see how, when this goes on for months, it's incredibly hurtful?

can you see how it's hurtful for the ace?

that's both a genuine question and snark. :p

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Telecaster68

Honestly not intended as snark. I've assumed people understand what seems obvious to me too often - like it's natural to ask your partner why they seem upset, for example.

"there's a difference between basic emotions and what social interactions people like or dislike because of their complex range of emotions that most of us don't ourselves understand*

I'm just talking about spring when your partner is upset and asking them what's wrong. Dogs can spot it, so I don't think it's beyond humans.

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Herfst Seizoen

Strange -- I have always had difficult with the recognition of faces, which has often embarrassed me. However, I have no difficulty recognizing how someone feels from the expression on their face or their body movements. And I was always very sensitive to how "my" sexuals behaved when they wanted sex; sometimes I wished I hadn't been so sensitive. But sometimes I felt like I had to ignore it, because I just couldn't stand to think of doing it then.

Maybe some other asexuals give the impression of not knowing what their sexual partner is feeling, for the same reason I did. Again, I think of the "target" situation: if we show that we're aware, then we have to accept being the target. If we seem to not be aware, maybe it can be postponed (even if the sexual is annoyed).

I believe to be similar. Not that I catch absolutely all social cues. But when I see the other behaves in an unusual way it sends all kinds of alarm bells to my brain. Then there'll be a short period of time where I'll try to be brave and find out what is going on. If I fail then the situation leaves me in a anxious stupor in which I cannot deal with the other at all anymore. It can last a while until I try to figure things out again and if I fail again the circle starts all over again with the stupor lasting for a longer period of time each time.

And I avoid people/ situations a lot. There is a problem I don't have the power to overcome? - Avoid all related situations. In a situation where I don't know what to do I will choose not to do anything at all. Because if I do act I will be faced with stress. If I don't then I have some time to figure the situation out and maybe find a way to behave in an appropriate manner.

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Tarfeather

I believe to be similar. Not that I catch absolutely all social cues. But when I see the other behaves in an unusual way it sends all kinds of alarm bells to my brain. Then there'll be a short period of time where I'll try to be brave and find out what is going on. If I fail then the situation leaves me in a anxious stupor in which I cannot deal with the other at all anymore. It can last a while until I try to figure things out again and if I fail again the circle starts all over again with the stupor lasting for a longer period of time each time.

Huh, I actually had a discussion about that topic recently. Goes back to that article about the definition of "creepy". To me, interestingly enough, it's the opposite. The more out of the usual someone acts, the more curious I will be about them. Unless by "unusual", you actually mean "sexual attraction", in which case I have actually no idea what it feels like when that is directed at you.

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Herfst Seizoen

I believe to be similar. Not that I catch absolutely all social cues. But when I see the other behaves in an unusual way it sends all kinds of alarm bells to my brain. Then there'll be a short period of time where I'll try to be brave and find out what is going on. If I fail then the situation leaves me in a anxious stupor in which I cannot deal with the other at all anymore. It can last a while until I try to figure things out again and if I fail again the circle starts all over again with the stupor lasting for a longer period of time each time.

Huh, I actually had a discussion about that topic recently. Goes back to that article about the definition of "creepy". To me, interestingly enough, it's the opposite. The more out of the usual someone acts, the more curious I will be about them. Unless by "unusual", you actually mean "sexual attraction", in which case I have actually no idea what it feels like when that is directed at you.

That's not what I mean. I talk about "unusual" in relation to how this particular person usually acts. Not in relation to how other people act.

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Tarfeather

That's not what I mean. I talk about "unusual" in relation to how this particular person usually acts. Not in relation to how other people act.

Huh.. Can't actually think of any such instance in my life. I mean, maybe someone does something unexpected, but usually when you think about it, and given the extra info you now have, it ends up perfectly fitting their character.

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Herfst Seizoen

That's not what I mean. I talk about "unusual" in relation to how this particular person usually acts. Not in relation to how other people act.

Huh.. Can't actually think of any such instance in my life. I mean, maybe someone does something unexpected, but usually when you think about it, and given the extra info you now have, it ends up perfectly fitting their character.

ö.ö Really? It doesn't have to be highly unusual. The other can for example look tired and I will already be worried.

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Serran

That's generally why my advice to everyone is to just stop dropping hints and trying to get people to understand and just flat out tell them if they like them/have an issue/want something.

Including people in your situation announcing every time they meet someone 'I'm clueless at picking up social cues. Please explain absolutely everything explicitly.'...?

If one is going to be dating a stranger, explanation of not behaving "normally" is good, yes. Though, personally, I prefer to just date friends ... which if you've made it up to "friends" you've already heard I'm awful at that. For some reason my partner decided to not believe me until he had "tested" my answers for years though. Guess it was just too weird a thing to believe. :P

"there's a difference between basic emotions and what social interactions people like or dislike because of their complex range of emotions that most of us don't ourselves understand*

I'm just talking about spring when your partner is upset and asking them what's wrong. Dogs can spot it, so I don't think it's beyond humans.

Then there is also the issue of, even if you do ask, a lot of people say "Nothing" or "Don't worry about it", or "Doesn't have anything to do with you" (which are the only answers I ever get when I manage to notice...). So just noticing, even if you can, doesn't always help at all and if someone gets enough of that type of answer they will just stop asking. Cause why ask if they aren't going to tell you anyways?

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Herfst Seizoen

Then there is also the issue of, even if you do ask, a lot of people say "Nothing" or "Don't worry about it", or "Doesn't have anything to do with you" (which are the only answers I ever get when I manage to notice...). So just noticing, even if you can, doesn't always help at all and if someone gets enough of that type of answer they will just stop asking. Cause why ask if they aren't going to tell you anyways?

True. From my experience people who look grumpy want to be left alone and definitely don't want to be asked about why they are grumpy.

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Tarfeather

ö.ö Really? It doesn't have to be highly unusual. The other can for example look tired and I will already be worried.

Ah now I understand you. That's.. interesting. So you are rather hypersensitive to displays of emotions?

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Serran

Then there is also the issue of, even if you do ask, a lot of people say "Nothing" or "Don't worry about it", or "Doesn't have anything to do with you" (which are the only answers I ever get when I manage to notice...). So just noticing, even if you can, doesn't always help at all and if someone gets enough of that type of answer they will just stop asking. Cause why ask if they aren't going to tell you anyways?

True. From my experience people who look grumpy want to be left alone and definitely don't want to be asked about why they are grumpy.

My partner says "I'm a guy, guys don't talk about their feelings" :rolleyes: (which makes discussions extremely difficult)

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Tarfeather

Then there is also the issue of, even if you do ask, a lot of people say "Nothing" or "Don't worry about it", or "Doesn't have anything to do with you" (which are the only answers I ever get when I manage to notice...). So just noticing, even if you can, doesn't always help at all and if someone gets enough of that type of answer they will just stop asking. Cause why ask if they aren't going to tell you anyways?

True. From my experience people who look grumpy want to be left alone and definitely don't want to be asked about why they are grumpy.

My partner says "I'm a guy, guys don't talk about their feelings" :rolleyes: (which makes discussions extremely difficult)

Oh god, yeah, I'm still struggling with this idiotic stereotype that guys are supposed to be strong and revealing emotion is a sign of weakness. What a load of bull.

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Herfst Seizoen

ö.ö Really? It doesn't have to be highly unusual. The other can for example look tired and I will already be worried.

Ah now I understand you. That's.. interesting. So you are rather hypersensitive to displays of emotions?

Hypersensitive? Dunno. Displays of emotions are very important for me as a way to understand the other person. They also affect me and my own life. Which is why I prefer to surround myself with happy people. Less stress.

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Telecaster68

Noticing someone is tired makes you hypersensitive?

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Tarfeather

Hypersensitive? Dunno. Displays of emotions are very important for me as a way to understand the other person. They also affect me and my own life. Which is why I prefer to surround myself with happy people. Less stress.

If you withdraw from a person because they're displaying emotions like being tired, etc. yes I'd say that's hypersensitive.. I might be completely misunderstanding.

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Herfst Seizoen

Hypersensitive? Dunno. Displays of emotions are very important for me as a way to understand the other person. They also affect me and my own life. Which is why I prefer to surround myself with happy people. Less stress.

If you withdraw from a person because they're displaying emotions like being tired, etc. yes I'd say that's hypersensitive.. I might be completely misunderstanding.

Uhm. ^^° Why are we misunderstanding each other that much? Of course I don't immediately withdraw from another person as soon as they are not 100% happy. That would be pretty extreme. When a friend feels down then I will also try to help them out. I wouldn't leave unless I thought they wanted to be alone. All I'm saying is that I have my limits. And maybe I reach my limits a bit sooner than some other people.

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Telecaster68

I agree, if they close down and say 'nothing' then you're stymied. But noticing something's wrong and asking about it is a normal part of human relationships, I'd say. And we all have our limits of course.

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Frigid Pink

Pink

You seem to be assuming people consciously 'perform' their feelings in order to get a reaction. I'm talking about noticing their behaviour and caring what it might imply about how they feel because you care about them.

And I disagree about cues being too various to read for most people. The basics - happiness, sadness, fear, anger, etc - are understood by very young children.

Nope, that's not what I assume at all. I actually don't assume anything about how anyone feels. I may make guesses and I usually ask if I notice something, however, I definitely expect the other person to tell me if they have an issue with me and, if they don't tell me, then that's on them. It's not on me to figure it out. I've made guesses about how my partner felt before and was way off, and the same for them with me. If I was really bothered by something my partner was (or wasn't) doing, I'd bring it up with them, sooner vs. later, and wouldn't sulk around and act upset with them until they asked me what was bothering me. I'd expect the same from them. Sometimes people notice things, make guesses, and their guesses are correct. Sometimes they ask before the other person shares. It's not about whether or not someone cares. It's about whether or not someone expects you to ask them instead of them being direct and open and sharing their feelings with you. It's not about whether or not people can recognize general facial expressions for common feelings, it's about communication and whether or not people are willing to be open and share their feelings with you or whether they expect you to essentially be a mindreader and know exactly how they feel and why they feel the way they do.

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Telecaster68

It sounds like you view anything short of a your partner volunteering a detailed verbal commentary of their state of mind as 'expecting mindreading'. What degree would you expect this to go? For instance, would you need 'I've had shit day at work and don't feel like talking for half an hour but give me time to decompress and I'll be fine' explainig for instance? How about 'my mothers just died and I'm probably going to fall apart for a few weeks'? Or 'being persistently sexually rejected for six months makes me feel unloved'?

I'd expect most people to be able to take a fairly accurate guess at these as potential reasons why their partner was, say, withdrawn and uncommunicative, depending on context. I'm interested in whether you'd be able to figure them out.

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m4rble
when people don't speak up (no matter how miserable they try to appear about something) everyone else will assume everything is fine

For the specifics, yes, But humans as a species are adept at reading faces - large parts of our brains deal with it, more so than other animals (that's why we see faces in clouds, for instance). Then there's body language and tone of voice (and animals notice these things too). I'm at a loss as to how it's possible to miss these things about your partner when they're really upset. Apparently though, it is.

I was rereading this thread and just wanted to comment on this part - not everyone is adept at reading faces or body language. Personally, I find detecting moods horribly difficult. And my partner tells me that the section of my brain meant for faces just isn't there. I can't even remember peoples faces. Someone so much as changes their hair/clothes and unless they have a very unique face (like Travolta's chin cleft thingy) I couldn't tell at all that they are the same person. And body language? I read books and articles and blogs about it. I try to actually LEARN what other people know by instinct. But, I am not very good at it. I am a LOT better at reading the furry kind of animals than I am at reading the human type of animals. My last partner before this current one was the son of a social worker. She worked with me on trying to learn to be more socially able, reading people, knowing what is acceptable or not, detecting when people are uncomfortable, how to adjust your actions based on this and that reaction... and it helped, a bit. But, seriously, it's A LOT to think about all the time, to consciously keep those lessons in my head with every second of every day and try to apply them to my relationships. It's exhausting. It's a lot easier if people just TELL ME what's bothering them instead of expecting me to just figure out it's something and I am supposed to ask. Got an issue? Speak up. Don't expect me to read you based on some magical (seriously, this whole naturally knowing what someone is feeling based on a facial twitch or whatever feels like magic some days) skill I do not have. I actually prefer text conversations in part because of this - people expect you to pick up on so much in the background based on their body language and facial expressions, or tone of voice, etc and I ... really would rather they just explain themselves better than expecting me to get all that.

That's basically how I feel.

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