Maintaining relationships as an autistic is a challenge. Most autistics notice everything. We notice every nuance in the behavior of those around us. Every word, every movement. What we do not do well is understand the intent behind those. But imagine how hard that must be – when you notice every little detail, but have no concept of which of those details might be significant. Trying to determine what someone’s mood is, what their motives are, or their real attitude is toward you is a challenge when you are busy processing hundreds of pieces of input and do not understand which are pertinent. Social “rules” and norms are impossible to understand when it seems the context is jumbled, and the rules themselves confusing – seemingly incomplete and hazy. There are so many little nuances to every situation that it is hard to understand the applicability of a specific “rule”. It is often difficult to determine how lessons that might have been learned and understood in one situation apply to another, when in our minds they seem so different. This leads to the tendency to over-analyze everything – a situation that not only often does not lead to the correct understanding, but that is also stressful and wearing. All of this leads to behavior on our parts that can be confusing for others, and surely leads to us feeling confused and not knowing if we are doing the right things, or what those we care for really think of us.

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