As an Aspie, I struggle with facial blindness. I sometimes cannot remember which faces belong to which names. I struggle to remember how I know you. On social media, I have accumulated friends from all sources – work, neighbors, school, and even Aspie support groups.
While I struggle to remember most people, I can almost always remember which friends are my Aspie buddies on social media.
They are the ones who correct my spelling errors. “You left out an n.”
They are the ones who point out my meme is not technically accurate. “Actually, that didn’t happen in 1973. It was in the fall of 1972 that….”
They are the Grammar Nazis. I’d like that meme better if they used proper punctuation!
They are the friends who want to argue the point. And not just a little. They want to argue it into the ground.
I used to do these things too. I practically couldn’t stop myself from doing it. A misspelled word? I must correct you! Lack of punctuation? Let me educate you! I’m sure you will find that meme less funny now that I’ve pointed out the grammatical errors! Even now, there are a few hot button issues with me where I have a hard time holding my tongue.
It took a friend who was bluntly honest for me to learn this valuable lesson: No one WANTS you to correct their spelling, grammar, or point out flaws in their memes unless they ASK for help editing. It’s true. (Shocking, I know!) When we do those things, the rest of the world feels we are just being annoying. We think we’re being helpful. We’re proud to show off our skills and intellect. But we’re not viewed as helpful. We’re viewed as a smug party-pooping know-it-all.
What can you do? You have a few options:
- IGNORE IT. Ignore the post and say nothing. Take Thumper’s advice. If you can’t say something nice….
- EMBRACE THE SPIRIT – Let’s be real. Even with the grammatical errors and poor spelling, you know what the post was TRYING to say, right? Embrace the spirit of the post instead of the errors.
- HIDE IT. If it is bothering you, and you feel like you can’t let it go, you can always choose to hide certain posts. I have had to do this myself.
- WEIGH THE VALUE OF BEING RIGHT AGAINST THE VALUE OF YOUR FRIENDSHIP WITH THIS PERSON. This is especially true if you know that the person posting believes strongly in what they have shared. Maybe they feel oranges are the best fruit and should be the ONLY fruit, but you’re a believer in strawberries. Maybe they even wrongly believe oranges have magical powers that make you fly. They share a meme badmouthing strawberries and claiming oranges are superior! Bwa ha ha ha! Before you respond – are you going to convert this person? Are they really going to listen or are they going to cling to their belief that “oranges are the most bestest fruit ever because they make you fly!” Obviously, you can see the error in their belief. There are more than enough facts out there to tell you it is Pixie Dust, and not oranges that makes a person fly. You could show them countless articles, fact sheets, and even a Disney movie to help them see the error of their ways. They are wrong. SO WRONG. BUT….If you know they feel strongly, and you aren’t likely to sway their opinion – then ask yourself which is more important: being right or your friendship. If your friendship is more valuable, than ignore or hide the post. People are very sensitive about the things they believe strongly in. No one wants to have something they believe so strongly in disproved publicly on social media. A debate between magical oranges and strawberries could end up costing your friendship. If you want to talk about their nonsensical belief in citrus – it’s better to do it in person and in a non-confrontational way.
Here are a few things you should NOT do:
- EDIT THE MEME – Please do not take the original meme, alter it so it is correct and submit it as a comment. This usually hurts the original poster’s feelings and people perceive it as you being a show-off know-it-all.
- DON’T BE PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE – Do not write a post or share a meme on your own wall about misspelled memes or comments. Your friend will know it is about him/her and it will hurt their feelings. Also..if you’re a strawberry lover – don’t immediately post a pro-strawberry/anti-orange post right after your friend posts something about oranges. Again, people take their beliefs seriously and it could be seen as an attack. Remember how strongly you felt about their meme? They will feel the same about yours.
- AGGRESSIVELY DISAGREE. If you disagree with the message, don’t write several posts in a row linking webpages and urls to prove the original poster wrong. It gives them no chance to respond. It is viewed as an aggressive attack. There are times when you can politely disagree on social media. Maybe it isn’t an issue your friend is passionate about, and it is just info she/he shared. The info is incorrect. The best approach is to ask questions. “I’ve seen this meme shared before, but it is misleading. Would you like me to share an article about it?” If you’re friend says “No” then ignore or hide the post. If she says yes, then share the article. Share one article/post at a time and give the original poster a chance to reply before posting more information.
LAST, but certainly NOT least… What if YOU are the one who is always having your posts corrected?
Ask yourself – is this only with certain types of posts (political, etc)?
Is it always the same person or people?
If it is, you can block them from posts that you feel will aggravate them. You can create group lists for specific people (“Pro-Oranges” for example) and block them if you post anything about strawberries.
You can choose to NOT post anything that you know others will find controversial.
You can unfriend those who cannot stop correcting you.
If that friend is another Aspie, just be aware he/she may not even realize that what they are doing is hurtful.
Most of the aspies I know love to be right. Just remember, sometimes – always being right can sometimes be socially wrong.