“Fitting In” is Often Tied to Looking and Sounding Like You “Fit In”

I have been through hell during high school, I have had countless rumors spread about me, been labeled, pushed around and made fun of throughout my whole entire life. Because of this, I was lonely, sad, depressed and people often talked about how I “didn’t fit in with the crowd”. The title of this blog is actually a “rule” from the book “The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships” by Dr. Temple Grandin and Shaun Barron. I can relate to this very well for many reasons. My blog titled “Should An Asperger’s Teen Try To Be Normal”? talked about how annoyed I am with people who try to make me act like somebody I’m not. I simply am not like everybody else, I’m not your typical absent minded teenager, I am unique in my way, and I am not going to listen to anybody tell me how I should live my life. Dr. Grandin’s book mentioned how people are always judged by what they look like, how they act around other people, and how they dress. My Asperger’s has made it very difficult to learn social skills and to make and keep friendships. This is also definitely the number one reason why I have always dreaded my high school life. People always judge me because of how quiet I am in school and about how I tend to be negative about things when my day is not going well.

Many people with Aspegers, especially children and adolescents don’t understand that first impressions are lasting impressions. Middle school and high school years are when parents need to start teaching their kids this rule, if they don’t, they will be susceptible to teasing and bullying, which can lead to depression and they could end up not caring about the first impressions they make on people. As I have mentioned in my last blogs, students with ASD need to learn how to stand up to bullies, but they also need to learn the behaviors that may cause them to be bullied by others. If your child shows up at school dressed in worn out clothes, with bad breath and body odor, and messed up hair, they will be a target! There are no questions to ask about that! A few years back, I went to a wedding for a couple that went to my church, and there was a man there who showed up in old worn out blue jeans, shaggy, messed up hair, and a nasty combination of bad breath and body odor. This man sat at two tables behind me, and I could smell him from there. Another thing I noticed is that during the reception, people tried to move to a different table so they didn’t have to put up with the smell coming from this man. This person could be a really cool person inside, but people don’t want to be around them because of the fact that they have bad breath and body odor. This may seem offensive to some people, but hygiene is something that you need to teach your child to practice if they want to be accepted in society. I will repeat myself again, first impressions are lasting impressions. I had a teacher a few years back who reeked of tobacco breath, and one day I stayed after class to talk to her about missing absent work, and she really smelled awful. When I talked to her, I only answered with one word responses when she would talk to me and I answered them as fast as I possibly could. If you really want people to judge you, that is definitely one way to do it.

If you recall from my other blog titled “what turns me off”, I mentioned the four personality traits that really turn me off when I am around other people, and these personality traits were self centered people, easily distracted people, pessimistic people, and touchy feely people. If you are any of these people, you need to find some way to change it. People will not want to be around if you show any of these characteristics in front of them. A quote from Dr. Grandin’s book states “People who are polite and cheerful will have an easier time getting along in the world. That may not seem fair, but people like people who are generally happy”. The fact is, nobody wants to be around a pessimist, which is somebody who always looks at the negative side of any situation. I am not trying to make these kind of people look bad, I have caught myself being pessimistic in difficult situations, especially when they are about friends. For example, when a friend rejects me for an invitation, I automatically assume that they have something against me and that they are trying to avoid me. Sometime people use that “I’m busy” excuse because they would rather not spend time with you. I know that by personal experience, I have had “friends” that have avoided me in the past, and for some reason I still thought of them as friends. I then gave up on them and decided to find new people to be friends with. When another person doesn’t want to be friends with me, I tend to feel that “everybody has something against me. ” That is just the common reaction when I’m around someone who wants to be stuck up and have absolutely nothing to do with me. Like I have said many times before, if someone doesn’t want to be my friend, it is their problem, not mine. Aside from being pessimistic, I tend to be judgmental as well. When I meet a new person and I notice the people they hang around, I tend to get a generalization that they will be rude to me and try to do something that may upset me. Because of the many tormentors I have been around, I tend to think that about other people. I am trying my best to work on that, but it is going to take me a long time to get over thinking that. When I first saw Aaron four summers ago when I started going to Computing Workshop, I thought that he and I wouldn’t get along because of the way he looked. He was an athletic male, and looked very confident. Most of the athletic people that I have had to be around are very arrogant and rude people, and tend to pick on people that are not like they are. They need to learn that that is unacceptable. Making fun of somebody is not a way to go through life. Aaron may be athletic and confident, but he is very friendly, caring and laid back. It is not in his character to do something like that. This brings me to my next point, if you want to be accepted by people, always be yourself. It is not considered cool to act like somebody you’re not. People may not notice that you are doing it right away, but they will eventually. When other people make fun of you for the kind of person that you are, that means that they have something wrong with themselves. I have learned not to get upset about people like that. I am who I am, and I am not going to change that for any reason whatsoever.

I think that pretty much sums up everything this rule means, I shouldn’t have to tell you anymore about it. I highly recommend you read “Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships”, Temple and Shaun did an amazing job giving you their perspectives of life with Autism.

Please refer to some of the previous blogs that I mentioned on here for more information about me: