So far, I’ve written a lot about being Asperger’s and being among the various neurological minorities that claim me as a member. For this article, I will write about what it feels like to be interested in humans when one is unlike them. Most people are interested in their kin group, their friends, and few beyond them. They may be extroverts or introverts but whatever they are, they are that within their subculture and local circle. Not only do they learn social queues, they only have to learn a single set. One of the relatively unsaid issues on the spectrum is that when you interact with people of different subcultures, there are different invisible rules. Not only do I have to know what society expects of me but of what every clade within society expects. As I’ve written in prior articles, society is ever more Balkanized, they are more disconnected, which means their queues and mores have drifted from one another.
For the introverts on the Spectrum, this is an occasional annoyance but for the extroverts, it is a constant barrage. As I’ve written in earlier articles, being an extroverted Aspie has led me to offend people and feel the wrath of their overreactions. While that has lessened over the years, it still happens to a degree and largely due to the fact that I regularly bump into a new clique with new rules. The cliques being insular and solipsistic, they are alarmed to varying degrees by the mild differences I possess and react badly or strangely however their neurons elect they do. Generally, being extroverted on the spectrum takes many of the social issues and exacerbates them. That particular issue is especially prevalent since extroverted Aspies tend to blindly approach disparate cliques without or with little regard to the unsaid barriers between them.
While there have been problems in college regarding, specifically, the extroverted aspects of the spectrum those have been covered in previous articles and I won’t focus on them here. What is more telling are the effects being an extroverted Aspie had on my K12 career. In K12, the main consequences for my extroversion were becoming a school-wide celebrity at my schools and minor celebrity at others and therefore drawing the attention of every sadistic predator within earshot of my celebrity’s reach. When I quit Facebook in 2014, I had over 3,000 friends, at the height of my being bullied in 2011, I had over 2,000. I had only joined Facebook in 2009. I got in trouble socially but I my mannerisms were public and drew crowds which had perks as well has downsides. As bad as it got, I could usually get a ride home from school if I missed my bus and for specific and reasonable requests, I had a large pool to crowdsource from.
It was a world where, despite the maladies, I was known by most people and while it may have been an abusive family, everyone was family. It was a place where I was relatively safe and cared for. Although, very poorly cared for and safe is a relative term. I was safer and more cared for than most other disabled people at the schools I went to and my local fame contributed greatly to that. A lot of the most attractive girls saw me as a puppy and they enjoyed talking to me even if they did sometimes implore me to humiliate myself in public performances for their entertainment. I literally had a future semi-major model, Madison Headrick (famous enough that I include her name), ask me to escort her to class every second day when she had Latin. I rode the crowd at football game in Autumn 2011 and rode the crowd at my senior prom. At Seratoma, a major multi-school football session in Charleston, the entire Wando section chanted my name for many minutes “Jackson Ham-il-ton!”. At that time, I was an A-list celebrity at a school of over 3,400 students. The stardom, itself, was almost worth being urinated on and having rocks thrown at me. Almost. That is to say, I absolutely loved the fame.
My extroversion comes with a William’s Syndrome-like aptitude for friendliness. Whenever I see somebody I know, I invariably run to them and talk. If I don’t know them and I am sitting next to them, I will also usually talk to them. There is a childish awe at human society and a naïve instinct that humans are good and approachable when, consciously, I have come to believe humans are mostly and fundamentally evil. I don’t feel like strangers are strangers but new people to explore and also distant cousins to myself. My feeling is that I am a renegade anthropologist, an urban Indiana Jones, studying the subcultures and cliques of society. While other people see strangers as potential serial killers, I see them as a fascinating perplexity of biological machinery with infinite nuances to learn and a soul to connect with. Being scientifically-minded, I inherently see everyone as my relatives with strangers being the equivalent of second-cousins. In my world, there are no strangers, only family.
I inherently lack the same social psychology that makes me only inclined toward my own kind as well as lacking the strong kinship bonds other people feel which psychologically extend to allegiances to identity groups. Nationalism, tribalism, identity politics, fandoms, enthusiast subcultures, and so much more I don’t feel strongly attached to. When a member of my family or a friend of mine is harmed, I don’t feel the desire for vengeance that other people do. I don’t have to fight off a coming grudge, I don’t develop a grudge. The latter of those comes with an easier ability to forgive those who do wrong to those close to me and it also makes me identify less strongly with any identity. Other people feel the connection to abstract and not-so-abstract groups and movements with a tangible chemical attachment that I don’t.
The swelling of pride that comes with the raising of a flag and the being offended when that flag is insulted are things I mostly don’t feel and only very mildly when I do and that is mostly only the pride and almost categorically not the being offended. I really don’t give a shit if someone burns the flag of whatever group I belong to and I cannot relate to the tears and anger felt over such things. I mean, as alluded to in other parts of the website, I have had a lifelong obsession with Romeo & Juliet and I do satirically pretend to take my family crest very seriously so I can totally fake feeling pride insulted and defending said pride but most people seem like they’d actually wage The Somme for the glory of whatever label they have inherited through accident of birth.
Lacking identarian personality traits and lacking strong cliqueiness, my extroversion and friendliness is, more often than not, indiscriminate. That is not to say that I lack any identity, pride for it, or preference for some humans and groups of humans over others. I have all of those things just far more weakly than most people do. It is a clarity, a rationalism, and the absence of a barrier between myself and the rest of humanity that allows my desire to explore and connect with strangers to predominate and so I ride the winding, serpentine, trail through the human wilderness like Christopher McCandless piloting his RV across the vast fantasy world of America and all of the magical, mystical, and mysterious races, creatures, and places therein extant. Like Gulliver and Frodo, meeting the alien peoples of the wonderful world to enrich my soul, my mind, and my repertoire of people. At least, in my experience, that is what it feels like and has felt like to be an extroverted Aspie.
2 thoughts on “Extroverted on the Spectrum: A Long Saga of Cosmopolitan Friendliness”
I think you would be very interesting to meet even if I did decide very soon afterwards you were not a very nice person after all.
I’m a very nice person. I try to be warm and friendly with everyone. I mean, I’m snarky, sassy, and have a Swiftian sense of humor but so long as you’re not too prude to enjoy dark, political, comedy then yeah, I’m cool. Also, people generally find me interesting. I got two yearbook superlatives at Wando High School and one of them was Most Memorable. The other was being half of best couple that never got together.