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I Can Be Social. But It’s Exhausting.

9406233036_8116dda16bI have Asperger’s you guys. I do. But I can still carry on a conversation.

I do the same give-and-take as anyone else. I get jokes. I even make them.

But being alert and responsive to others is not my natural state.

Listening to people; saying things the way they need to hear them; doing all those fancy little things a guy in New York Magazine called “social Kabuki” is great. For me though, it’s great the way writing is great. You love nothing more than doing it. You’ve never felt so completely yourself.

But it’s exhausting.

A few years ago some of my friends thought I went out all the time. I was very well-liked at the bar I went to. Even by neurotypical standards.

But other people went out twice as much as me. And it didn’t take half as much out of them.

If you have Asperger’s, it’s sometimes worse if you have developed some social skills. You actually do get invitations to do things. It’s bittersweet when people say things like “hey, why don’t you come out more?”

Because at any second you know you could say something weird and you’d never be invited again.

We let opportunities slide while keenly remembering all the years we were never invited anywhere.

I’ve gotten just this close to having that elusive social life we all dream of. I can see it through glass.

But I can’t get there.

I wish I didn’t have Asperger’s. If I didn’t I’d talk to way more people. I’d do a lot more and I’d learn a lot more about life.

I could also be there more for the friends I do have. I could focus on them when they’re overwhelmed instead of spending half my time being a paranoid, self-obsessed creep.

I know I’m being overly negative right now. But I’m telling the truth. My friends on the spectrum say these same exact things. We don’t want to be upbeat about this shit all the time. We don’t want to praise ourselves for our “honesty” and “attention to detail” when we’re dwelling on some very real lost opportunities.

We want real talk.

I Can Be Social. But It’s Exhausting.

Gwendolyn Kansen

Gwen Kansen is a mental health writer in New York. She likes food, karaoke, and smart-but-campy books & TV. She's hoping to capture a little sliver of life on here that might not be the first thing you'd see.

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APA Reference
Kansen, G. (2015). I Can Be Social. But It’s Exhausting.. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 15, 2020, from


Last updated: 23 Sep 2015
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