Blunt or, more politely, straightforward. No hidden agendas, completely honest, no schmoozing, no small talk.

That’s a bit of a stereotype, in reality we, as autistics, are very capable of small talk if the situation demands it, or if we’re amongst people we’re comfortable around. We can also schmooze, for want of a better word (see fawning) if the social situation leaves us feeling that we have to. It can be so exhausting though, all that masking uses up energy when we often don’t have much to spare.

I am yet to meet an autistic person who isn’t honest, straightforward and open. I’m sure they must exist, I’m just saying that our lack of wile is something to be proud of. Blunt is a word that appeared in my clinical diagnosis and I can understand why. I do launch straight into the subject in hand without the ‘how’s the family?’ routine…I just want to get on with the good stuff!

And I do say things that have no ill intent but I see someone wince and think oops, I’ve said something offensive! Is it just me or are neurotypical people more easily offended than us? It’s like walking a tightrope*. Only now, it occurs to me how often people have said to me ‘Keep digging, Emma!’ while I’m trying to retrieve a situation! Sound familiar to you?

It’s a topic that we’ve hit on a few times in our women’s community group on Facebook – each of us warning the others that we’re likely to cause unintentional offence at some point! The interesting thing that I’ve noticed when around other neurodivergent people is that we really don’t seem to take offence. Perhaps because we all understand that we’re only ever being honest and straightforward because that’s how we communicate. We’re neurodivergent, not nasty!

*I suspect that underlying this communication clash is strongly connected to Damien Milton’s theory of the double empathy problem, which you’ll find more on by clicking here.