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Teaching Tips and Strategies

Aspergers and Social Skills: 10 Keys

Aspergers and social skills.  They seem to go together like oil and water.  Like President Obama dancing with Sarah Palin on Dancing With the Stars. They just don’t seem to belong with each other!

In fact, Rudy Simone recently wrote a fantastic article, What If Aspergers Were The Norm?, challenging NT people about what it would be like for the shoe to be on the other foot, so to speak.

And Penelope Trunk, and Aspie adult and founder of Brazen Careerist, has no patience for small talk and hidden meaning.  In fact, just today, I was thoroughly enjoying her blunt critique of Tim Ferris, in her blog post called, 5 Time Management Techniques I Learned From Hating Years of Hating Tim Ferris.  It’s what makes her blog so beautifully poetic and well read.

Recently, John Robison, author of Look Me In The Eye, wrote a very insightful article (especially for me, an NT) about The Meaning of a Smile.

And yet, my readers with Aspergers, I hope you will bear with me as I share with you yet another article I read recently.  Jonathan Wells, author of the blog, Advanced Life Skills, wrote a great post called 10 Simple Ways to Be More Likeable.

Jonathan gave me permission to share his article.  If you pay attention, and keep an open mind, these techniques will be helpful in relating to NT’s and maybe even other Aspies around you.  I hope you’ll find it helpful to you as you seek to build relationships and increase your social relationships both personally and professionally.

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Friends by Jen SFO-BCN on Flickr


10 Simple Ways to Be More Likable

by Jonathan Wells

When we get all caught up in the daily grind it’s easy to overlook some basics regarding our personal conduct. There are certain types of favorable behavior that are not as common as they once were and I think this is a good time to consider a few of them.

We all know the difference between good manners and rudeness, but sometimes we can benefit from a little reminder. Hopefully, this list will reiterate some of the simple things that each of us can do to make the world a more pleasant place.

1. Say please and thank you. Simple, yet so often overlooked. When you want something, you say please. When someone does something nice for you, you say thank you. This may sound like a minor thing, but when you let people know that you appreciate what they do for you, it helps establish a friendly and respectful rapport. And guess what, they will see you as likable.

2. Be courteous. Usually, this is just a matter of seeing things from another person’s perspective. If you notice something that you can do to make their situation easier, then do it. And yes, it may require that you go a little bit out of your way, but how hard is it to hold the door open for someone or stop your car to let someone cross the street?  Kind deeds have a tendency to repay themselves many times over. It may not happen right away, but there is still a sense of satisfaction that comes from doing the right thing.

3. Follow the Golden Rule. Simply stated, treat others the way you would like to be treated. The beautiful thing about this is how straight forward it is. Think how different everything would be if everyone followed this simple principle. There would be no crime, no war, and no murder. Granted, we cannot control the actions of other people, but we can control how we behave. When you treat others with this level of respect, they will naturally view you as likable?

4. Work with others. There are plenty of opportunities to show cooperation and teamwork in all areas of life. Whether you are in a crowded store or heavy traffic, cooperation will make the experience more manageable. If you are driving a bit slower than some, move to the slow lane and allow others to pass. If you are grocery shopping, don’t leave your cart in the middle of the isle. By being aware of those around you and showing consideration you will be more likable

5. Smile often. Never underestimate the power of a smile. The effect is two-fold. It tends to elevate your mood and it lifts the spirits of those you smile at. If you don’t believe me, try this little experiment. For an entire day, before you say a word to anyone, smile first. If you’re walking past them, smile and say hello. Notice their reaction. Most will smile back and when they do, you will feel even better. When you look at other people, who do you view as more likable? Isn’t it true that a person with a smile on their face wins every time?

6. Say I’m sorry. This is one of the first lessons we learn in life, yet some of us quickly forget it as we get older. The principle is very simple. If you wrong someone, or if you make a mistake, or if you hurt another person (intentionally or unintentionally), apologize for it. Don’t waste your time trying to assign blame. Be the first one to say I’m sorry and you will instantly be more likable.

7. Be honest. Tell the truth, even when it doesn’t seem to be in your best interest to do so. There is a lot to be said for the person who can admit they’re wrong (see above) and come clean with their mistake. It should also be noted that telling a lie doesn’t fix anything. The problem or issue is still there, under the blanket of the lie, and it will stay there until the truth comes out. Honesty is a reflection of one’s self-dignity and integrity. By being honest and tactful, other honest people will find you more likable.

8. Listen. Although it is typically our first instinct to talk first, listening can actually be an advantage. A primary benefit of listening is the amount that can be learned. If we spend most of our time talking then how can we learn anything? One of the best ways to be viewed as more likable is to be a good listener. It’s not always easy, but listening tells others that you are genuinely interested in them as a person, and who doesn’t like that?

9. Be complimentary. Have you ever received an unexpected compliment? How did that make you feel? Everyone likes to be noticed in a good way. In a world that tends to be overly critical, a sincere compliment can be very encouraging. Notice I said a sincere compliment. If our compliments aren’t sincere they could be viewed as patronizing, so when you compliment make sure that you are being truthful. This is guaranteed to make you more likable.

10. Laugh. Everyone likes to laugh. Laughing releases endorphins that make you feel happy and relaxed. Laughing is both therapeutic and contagious. When you laugh, you will also be encouraging laughter from others. When you contribute to the happiness of others, they can’t help liking you. So never underestimate the value in laughter.

It really is simple to be more likable

All of these ideas are simple and universally acknowledged. Sadly, many of them seem to have been forgotten in today’s world. At times, the pressures or stress in our lives may cause us to show less consideration or patience for other people. The truth is that every one of these simple ideas can make a significant contribution to the quality of our life and the lives of others. Along with making us more likable, they actually reduce stress and make life more enjoyable.

When you do any of these 10 things,
what results have you noticed?
The lines are open!

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View Comments - What do you think?  Posted by Stephen Borgman - December 22, 2010 at 5:05 am

Categories: Adults With Aspergers, Aspergers, Children with Aspergers, Teaching Tips and Strategies, Teens With Aspergers   Tags: , , , , , ,