Miscommunications Aren’t Always Your Fault

Blue solid foreground with text "Miscommunications Aren't Always Your Fault" and to the side a picture of a pale skinned woman in a blue grey shirt.
Sometimes when you ask a clear question, you get anything but the answer. It can be easy to think it's us, but there is another reason.
Miscommunications Aren't Always Your Fault

What’s to blame for miscommunications?

I’d like to talk for a moment about a communication difficulty that a lot of us autistics get into, which is when you ask someone for a fairly straightforward piece of information and they answer you with anything but a clear and direct answer. Maybe you’re asking about when a project is due, or what they want you to do in a particular situation, and they end up talking about everything but the actual answer to your question. 

And so you ask them again, your clear and direct question, “when do you want this project done?”, “what do you want me to do in this situation?”, “do you want me to do this?”, or “do you want me to do that?” And they just get frustrated with you, that you’re not picking up on things. And a lot of us have a tendency to internalize that and react as if it’s totally our fault. 

Just because a lot of people do this doesn’t mean that it’s actually healthy communication.

And therefore, we try to communicate more clearly and more directly, and get more explicit about it. And it’s not helping the situation. And it seems like the obvious answer is that it’s us, because it’s always happening to us. And we’re the common denominator in all of these situations, with lots of different people. But there is another common denominator and that is the neurotypical communication style, in which this pattern is acceptable. 

Just because a lot of people do this doesn’t mean that it’s actually healthy communication. And you’re not necessarily the one at fault here. So the problem isn’t necessarily you, even when other people try to make you feel like it is. 

Alright, so I am holding myself back from trying to get into this more and start getting into coaching mode. But, of course, I can’t respond to your particular situation because this is meant to be general for a lot of people. But if you are interested in some one on one help on how you could work through this on your own, I do offer one on one coaching. I hope you found something helpful.

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Heather Cook

Heather Cook

Hi, I’m Heather. I’m an autistic writer, advocate, and life coach, and I'm building a life I love. I help other autistics to build their own autism-positive life. I love reading, jigsaw puzzles, every science ending in -ology, and all things Star Trek!

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