How to Understand People

Sometimes, people with autism have trouble understanding other people.

Tips on how to understand normal people and other people with disabilities (i.e. family member, friend, relative, or stranger):

  • Do not be a heartless, rude, selfish or condescending jerks even if you don’t mean to be.
  • Don’t be a bully online or in person.
  • Don’t be self-centered, dishonest, and greedy.
  • Ask them questions about themselves, not too many. Too many questions would make people uncomfortable.
  • Put yourselves in their  shoes. (Not literally!) It means understand their points of view on certain things or understand what they’re going through. Have empathy. For example, someone’s pet dies. You say “I’m so sorry” and share a similar experience you had.
  • When they’re upset, offer some sympathy. Express condolences. Give them a hug or a pat on the shoulder or ask first. Example: Someone’s pet died. You say, “I’m so sorry. My condolences.”
  • If some people are bossy, take it in stride.
  • Listen to their problems or whatever they talk about.
  • Don’t interrupt them when they’re speaking to you or someone else.
  • Don’t offer unsolicited advice unless they ask.
  • React to certain situations in appropriate ways.
  • Say “hello” or “good morning” back. Don’t worry if you don’t hear them. It’s not your fault. Next time you see them, tell them not to take it personally when you ignore them. For example: “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you say hello. I’ll try again next time.” Explain why you didn’t hear.
  • Don’t say hurtful, offensive things. Keep them to yourself. Be nice or at least, pretend to be. For example, someone wears a weird outfit. Instead of making a mean comment, say “Wow! You look great!” Or to a fat person: “You’re not fat. You’re fine just the way you are.”
  • When you’re anger or upset with them, deal with it nonviolently (or calmly). Talk to someone, hit on a pillow, stop and think of something elselet it go. React in an appropriate way. Do not overreact verbally or physically. That would only make things worse. Do not even lash out physically. Hitting, assaulting, and throwing things at them or anything that is harmful are unacceptable. There’s a law on assault and battery. You could go to jail if you broke that law.
  • Ignore their useless comments or whatever they say that offends you.
  • Understand their boundaries.
  • Don’t force them or pressure them to do anything.
  • Do not be a stalker.
  • Do something nice for them like sending a card, buying them a gift, or something nice.
  • Don’t get too involved in their personal problems or try to fix their problems unless they need your help.
  • Ask them to do things nicely. Don’t be bossy.
  • Open your mind to anything.
  • Be reasonable and compassionate.
  • Don’t get mad when they are unavailable to hang out or decide not to for some reason. Be understanding. Be like “Ok.” In certain situations, say, “Ok, we’ll reschedule it.”
  • Stick up for people when they’re being bullied or something else happens.
  • No name-calling.
  • Be tolerant. Do not make fun of them.
  • Learn how to read social cues better. It’s ok if you missed a few.
  • Offer to help out, sometimes. Don’t worry if they reject you.
  • Do not discriminate against their race, religion, nationality, disability, sexuality, age, gender, etc.
  • Apologize of any wrongdoing or if you don’t know if you did, ask the person.
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