One of the character traits of Aspies is that we are honest. It is not something that we strive to be; it is just hard for us to understand why anybody wouldn’t be honest. Our honesty is a gift and a curse: While it prevents us from drama and sticky social situations, the brutalness of it tends to turn people off, adding to the idea that we are “weird” people.
When I say that we are honest, I am not saying that we don’t lie. I’ve read many accounts by Aspies where they’ve described the enjoyment they get out of practical joking. These sort of menial lies are just to keep us entertained. When I say that we are honest, I mean in social environments. For example, if I do not like a person because they talk too much I might tell them that I do not like them. If a random stranger asked me a very personal question, I would answer it as if it was my therapist or somebody that I am very close to asking. I do not understand why anybody would do or say otherwise.
What made me start thinking about this is that my sister was asking to have a sleepover at her friend’s house, where another friend was already set to sleep over. Once my parents said no, my sister began rattling off reasons for why she should sleep over. One of them was that her one friend has been with the other friend all day and she’s probably tired of her because she doesn’t like her. I asked my sister how they could possibly be friends if the one doesn’t like the other, and she told me that they are “fake friends.”
What is a “fake friend?” Why would anybody ever have one? To me a “fake friend” is a doll or some other friend that does not communicate back to you. To be friends with somebody, doesn’t there have to be a mutual enjoyment of each other? I’ll bet that the “fake friend” feels the same way about the girl who calls her her “fake friend.” Their entire friendship is probably fake. I do not understand why the two girls would ever cause themselves so much pain over something that could easily be ended by saying “I don’t want to hang out with you because I do not like you for this reason.” This would probably be easier said than done, though, unless the person has Asperger’s.
I always like to think that Asperger’s is a very selfish disorder. We tend to do only what benefits us and are usually stubborn about doing things that way. For example, I will only play music on the piano that I like (as opposed to some pianists who learn songs for the sake of learning songs) because I do not see any reason to waste time on music that does not make me happy. This seriously hindered my advancement when I was a child because I would not practice any songs out of the lesson book that I did not like. My teacher would make me practice the song and we would not move on to another song until I could play the one I didn’t like.
This trait, however, makes us oblivious to sarcasm, lies, and other social cues which create situations in which something said is not meant. Due to the fact that we see no reason to lie, we wrongly believe that others have no reason to lie. For instance, if somebody were to say to me “I am going to stay home all weekend” when they really intend to go out and party all weekend, I would believe that they are going to stay home. Why would they lie about that? Of course, that is a harmless lie and so it doesn’t matter much to me if somebody lies about that. But sometimes lies can affect me badly.
For instance, if I were to ask somebody if I had ice cream all over my face and they said “no” I would believe them even if I did have ice cream all over my face. I would not realize that they probably said no so that they could make fun of me and others then will make fun of me. I think that if everybody had a touch of Asperger’s the world would be much better because people wouldn’t have “fake friends” or lie about ice cream.