Yesterday, I went to a LAN party with a coworker and some guys he introduced me to. For those that don’t know, this is where a group of gamer geeks bring their computers, plug them all together, order pizza, and play games all day. While we were plugging our computers together, I managed to lose my network cable. I looked all over our host’s living room, and then I realized it was wrapped around my left hand. Pretty funny, huh? Yes, even I laughed, but I do have a serious point to make with this. I was unaware that it was wrapped around my left hand because the nerves that would have told me that are disconnected from my spinal cord. This is the problem I have with relationships. It isn’t that there are no people in my life; it’s that I’m disconnected from them.
In my first post, I listed the main characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV. One of those characteristics was “marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction.” Think for a moment about how your friends communicate love to you. When I discuss this with people, they invariably list a number of non-verbal behaviors. For me, this creates a situation much like yesterday when I was looking for my network cable. There is a disconnect that prevents me from receiving the information I need.
How can I get the information I need? Mostly verbally. For those that are familiar with Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages, mine are Quality Time and Words of Affirmation. For those that aren’t familiar with the love languages, I feel loved when others choose to spend time with me engaging in my interests and when others tell me they love and appreciate me. Even with the former, though, it is important to me that they express to me verbally that they are interested and enjoying it. I know that other aspies may have different love languages. After all, if you’ve met one aspie, you’ve met one aspie. I encourage you to make an effort to get to know an aspie better and help them discover what makes them feel loved and appreciated. You will bless them greatly, and you just may find that it goes both ways.
P.S. For those of you who are my friends, please remember the disconnect the next time you see me looking for a friend. Just like my network cable, you could be right next to me and I wouldn’t know. Speak up so I know you are there, or better yet, just give me a hug.