Asperger's Syndrome and Autism in Relationships

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 Post subject: Taking things too literally?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:49 am 
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:help: please! After being told I 'take things too literally', there never was much idea what to do about it. Sorry, I'd really like to know how anybody else does work out what people do mean. How do you decide, 1st, how literally to take things? Then, which meaning to attribute, 2nd? Merely try to point out I may not know how to do that with any answers but it's supposed to be a feature of AS. Must be something to do, to improve that?

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 Post subject: Re: Taking things too literally?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:05 pm 
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I studied Creative Writing at Uni and one big reason why was to understand the allegories, metaphors and similes that I was continually getting caught out with. I still suck at it but am a little better.
Apart from that work on it as a life long experience as you will learn by rote.

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 Post subject: Re: Taking things too literally?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:14 pm 
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Location: Rockford (hometown Oregon)
There is nothing much you can do about taking things literally. Only way to get less literal is to learn the patterns in peoples behavior and learn double meanings they use. I have learned to pick on on sarcasm over the years and jokes but I still miss it. The same goes for phrases. I have learned phrases by rote and I still get the literal picture in my head bu I know what they mean. I also stopped listening to people and taking them seriously so that helped.

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 Post subject: Re: Taking things too literally?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:14 pm 
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It's tricky one Bruce because a lot of it relates to body language etc. For example if you ask me to do something and I say 'OK in a minute' I almost certainly don't mean literally in a minute. So depending on what you have asked and what I'm doing when you ask it depends how long I'm going to be. Someone who takes it literally might be annoyed if I don't do it virtually immediately because they think it should happen after only one minute when in reality what I probably mean is 'OK I'll do it when I'm free' which could be anytime really.

Often it is best not to take too literally anything anyone says when they are angry. Very few people literally mean it when they say things like 'I'll kill him when he finally get here' when their son is late home. Or 'I really hate her' when their mother has had a go at them. Things like 'You are so stupid' are probably a sign of temporary annoyance rather than an indication that the person thinks you are really stupid.

Has anyone given you a clue what things they think you take too literally?

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 Post subject: Re: Taking things too literally?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:23 pm 
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Will I? Don't know if I've made any progress with it! Sorry, what does learn by rote mean with this? It isn't like tables, where 2x2=4. Idioms can be learned but there's the variety in other language. There, very similar phrases seem to have very different meanings. Too many to cover here, now, I think. Um, almost inevitably, not really! The 'just a second' or 'minute' isn't a problem, as it's usually clear enough what is meant. It gets mentioned as a general problem but the egs given aren't ones I struggle with, so far. I know about raining cats & dogs. Many thanks, though! Maybe, if more egs appear, I'll see some I recognise? Hard to say.

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 Post subject: Re: Taking things too literally?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:52 pm 
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As a kid, I have read a 'dictionary' on proverbs and sayings. That did help me a lot. For my studies, I did have to delve in on language, metaphorical use of words, and different ways to say the same.

With my kids, we sometimes play silly games, by finding multiple meanings for one word. Drawing them makes it even more fun.

All this has helped to see that language brings more than the first literal meaning.

Doesn't mean that I don't go wrong though. Still do that, but can laugh over it mostly, and will recognise it sooner. Recognising it earlier, and realising there may be an other meaning than the one I get does help.


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 Post subject: Re: Taking things too literally?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:57 pm 
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Bruce learning by rote is what most if not all Aspies do. That is learning specifics based on time and place concrete examples with little ability to transpose the things they have learned in other similar contexts. I get this and struggle with this. You probably do too.

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 Post subject: Re: Taking things too literally?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:02 pm 
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Not sure I can tell 'same' contexts, either! Still's thanks, as I really didn't know what learn by rote meant for this stuff. That is a bit clearer, thank you! All the dictionary definitions are, resumably, roughly equally 'literal'?

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 Post subject: Re: Taking things too literally?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:28 pm 
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Similar contexts, well, it takes time Bruce, lots of time.
I hear women of my age say they would love to be 25 again, and I really don't long back to that time. Life has become a lot easier after 40, simply because of having seen similar situations that much, that I can recognise them as similar a lot sooner than at age 25.

Dictionary definitions on sayings and proverbs are all around one word, and they give definitions on every saying the word is used in. And sometimes give a description on when it can be used too. It was my special interest when I was a 10 year old I think. And it has helped me a lot.

In English, browsing the Longman Language Activator learned me a lot.


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 Post subject: Re: Taking things too literally?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:36 pm 
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Sir Les say we have to learn by rote because we can't translate across similar situations, which seems to match my experience. It's just that no two situations seem to be the SAME, so learning by rote becomes impossible! How similar do situations have to be to apply the same things, the same way & reasonably expect the same results? Saying the same thing to the same person in the same way can produce different results! Let alone different people.

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