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Unrestrained Blather

I met my husband online about 12 years ago.  We had been chatting for nearly two years (and had met face-to-face once) before he moved from the midwest to the West Coast in order to pursue a relationship with me.

I had been friends with “Angie” since college.  “Angie” was rather an eccentric individual, very introverted (militantly so, if that makes any sense; she has since diagnosed herself as adult Asperger’s).  I mention this only because by my understanding individuals diagnosed with Asperger’s experience social awkwardness.

In an attempt to introduce my husband to one of my old friends after he arrived, we invited her over for dinner.  Future hubby fixed a great dinner and we all sat around the table visiting for a couple of hours.

Hubby is a big wrestling fan and there was an event on that night he had been looking forward to for weeks.  He politely excused himself from the table and went into the den to watch his program, leaving “Angie” and I to chat over our coffee.

A few minutes later, “Angie” got up and headed for the den; I followed.  We sat in there for a few minutes until “Angie” initiated the strangest conversation I’d ever heard.  Her opening comment?  “Isn’t it funny how men always watch the most VIOLENT programs?”

It wasn’t just the one comment.  “Angie” continued her running anti-male commentary for a good half an hour.  Hubby was really befuddled about just WHERE this was coming from as he hadn’t said or done anything to provoke any contentious comments.  I was beyond befuddled and heading into LIVID.

“Angie” left after an hour or so, but to this day, she hasn’t been invited back and we rarely speak.  Last time she called, she wanted us to get together with her and her new hubby for dinner one night, but thus far that hasn’t happened.

I don’t know if we handled it right by simply gritting our teeth and not throwing here out by the nape of the neck.  It would have done no good to throw a fit really.  But it does hurt me that he was treated that way by a person he had gone out of his way to prepare a good meal for and try to get to know her better.  DID we do the right thing or should we have reacted a bit more directly? 1112-11


I’d chalk up Angie’s commentary as nervous blather that was not intended to directly insult your husband.   I’ve known many people who, once the tongue has engaged, cannot turn off the blither blather that issues from their mouth when they feel intimidated or nervous.  Give her another chance before writing her off completely.    And be proactive in changing the topic so that she is not allowed an open platform to keep blathering.   That is the kind thing to do.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • NicoleK November 22, 2011, 5:09 am

    That’s the strangest conversation you’ve ever heard?

  • claire November 22, 2011, 5:49 am

    I can see how that woudl be a hard situation especially as 2 main parties was still on “first impressions” and your BF did well not to rise to it, as did you. From my own perspective I don’t want to disparage your boyfirend as he was obviously doing it from the best of intentions but if I had beeninvited to meet with a friend new partner and said partner disappeared to watch TV I would be rather miffed. Perhaps this was the case here? Maybe that was her idea of humour (I had a friend who though being rude = being funny. I tolerated it for years. We aren’t friend now, when she started insulting my husband).

    However, I do think a second chance is justified here, as it was only a first “offence” and as you say she clearly has some social awkwardness.She may well have improved since this incident and may be more comfortable with your relationship with YOUR other half now she has a husband herself. Perhaps a dinner on neutral territory, or even just a coffee, to break the ice. That way there is nothing personal to start insulting and it is a lot easier to leave if things start to go awry!

  • MeganAmy November 22, 2011, 6:07 am

    Your husband had been looking forward to watching a program for weeks and yet you two invited Angie over for dinner that night? Did you specify an end time for dinner so that she was supposed to leave before the TV event started? Or was the plan for you and Angie to hang out while your hubby watched TV after dinner? And did she know that plan?

    I think the first etiquette faux pas was inviting a guest over and then having one of the hosts leave the room to go watch TV instead of engaging with the guest. Perhaps that was why she was bashing him. Although, how she handled that was not ideal either.

  • Kristin November 22, 2011, 6:34 am

    Maybe it’s from the lack of specifics (beyond the remark about males watching violent TV shows and the OP saying that the rest of it was “anti-male”) but I didn’t find Angie’s comment all that offensive – certainly not worth throwing her out by the nape of her neck for. Perhaps the more offensive comments were skipped over by the OP while she was writing, because I’m a little perplexed.

    Oh, but is it ever a pet peeve of mine when someone diagnoses herself with a complex mental illness! I only spent 50k on college classes and studied for four years to earn my BA in Psychology and I can’t diagnose anyone yet. The DSM-5 is a manual for psychologists and psychiatrists to use to diagnose their patients, not a takeout menu to circle what you think you’d like to have!

  • Rebecca November 22, 2011, 8:42 am

    I think the OP may have been a little harsh on her friend, but since we can never know all the comments or the tone in which they were said, it’s hard to judge.

    This a reflection the OP in any way, only the friend, but the part that boils my blood in all of this is the “self-diagnosed” Aspergers. People seem to feel comfortable claiming all sorts of illnesses these days without ever seeing a doctor at all. Anything from ADHD to Irritable Bowel Syndrome. There are people out there with real issues with these conditions and it causes them real pain and real hardships.

    Every time some random person goes around self-diagnosing and never actually checking with a medical professional, it cheapens the public’s views on that illness. Then the people who really are ill have to endure comments like “my cousin has Celiac Disease and they drink beer all the time, I don’t know what your problem is” or “my friend was able to treat their arthritis with a diet of celery, muffin stumps and horse tranquilizers… you should do the same”

    Respect the people who really do suffer and respect your own body, and get to a doctor if your symptoms are bad enough to make you think you have an illness.

  • Mrs Goldfish November 22, 2011, 8:43 am

    If the goal of the evening was to introduce the new beau to the old friend I find it rather strange that he went to watch the event. If he couldn’t miss one evening of television to entertain a guest maybe the diner should have been held at another night.

  • LiLi November 22, 2011, 9:43 am

    If OP sees this to clarify: Does Angie officially have Asperger’s (as diagnosed by a medical professional) or does she just claim that she has Asperger’s (like the character is the recent season of Glee that uses it to just be rude to people?)

    Because if she really has Asperger’s then she may not have been trying to be insulting to your husband at all. Once characteristic of Asperger’s is an inability to read the social cues of others. She genuinely may have thought it was an interesting topic of conversation (or been proud of herself for even being able to engage a near stranger in conversation) without realizing that her topic of conversation was making people uncomfortable. It’s even possible that she had this sort of “anti-male” conversation with a girlfriend and can’t tell that “ragging on men” may be appropriate in one context and completely inappropriate in another.

    Just a caveat that I am not a medial professional by any means, but I do have a close relative with Asperger’s and I’m speaking from experience in dealing with him.

  • alex November 22, 2011, 9:46 am

    I actually think you and your husband are being too sensative here. How do you know she hadn’t just had some bad male experience and needed to vent? I don’t think she was specifically belittling and talking about your husband (unless there are some things said that you didn’t say here). I think her wrestling comment was just an observation and not specifically meant to upset your husband.

  • Delhi Daze November 22, 2011, 9:51 am

    I think it was pretty rude of your hubby to leave the room to watch his show, especially when the purpose of the dinner was to introduce your husband to your old friend. Really? He just excused himself to watch tv when the meal was finished (or mostly finished as you and Angie were left to have coffee without him)? He could have taped the event to watch later or scheduled the dinner for another night.

    “Hubby was really befuddled about just WHERE this was coming from as he hadn’t said or done anything to provoke any contentious comments.”

    … Except BOLT from the dinner table before the entire meal was finished to watch TV!

    Maybe Angie’s commentary was a reflection of her anger at being treated so rudely.

  • Enna November 22, 2011, 9:54 am

    I agree with admin on this one. If you can keep in touch and be firends. Sometimes people do put their foot in it. If she constantly does it, have a diplomatic word with her. She says she has Aspergers has she seen someone professional about this?

  • Gracie C. November 22, 2011, 9:58 am

    I don’t know, I might chalk this up to Angie being annoyed that she was invited over to get to know him better and he left the room to watch wrestling.

  • Bint November 22, 2011, 10:04 am

    I don’t know if this is a cultural difference, but where I come from it would be very rude for anyone at a meal like this to leave the dinner table and watch TV, no matter how big the programme. You’d record it or schedule dinner for another day.

    Angie clearly handled this badly – was she trying to joke? Did she not understand how important the programme was? – but you knew she could be awkward and you could have cut her off/left your fiance to watch in peace instead of sitting there getting ever angrier with her. It sounds as though she was confused by this – I would have been stunned in her place. A host doesn’t abandon his guests to watch television in another room, and the man who cooks the dinner, whom I’ve been invited to meet, counts as a host. I vote for faux pas on all sides here.

  • Luna November 22, 2011, 10:12 am

    The part of this story I keep getting stuck on is that you invited her over specifically to meet your husband, but then he left the room to go watch television by himself. If the event was so important, you should have picked a different day to entertain.

    I agree with admin. When someone gets stuck on a subject like that, it’s time to pass the beandip.

  • Jojo November 22, 2011, 10:32 am

    Angie does have a point, wrestling is a very violent, aggressive past time. Men are also in the majority when viewing boxing and football. All events that involve adrenalin, brute force and testosterone. I wonder if in her social awkwardness she was trying to engage in a conversation about it and understand the mechanism behind it rather than criticize OP’s boyfriend. OP does seem to have taken this conversation quite personally.
    I agree that it wasn’t appropriate to bring it up while the boyfriend was actually watching a show he really wanted to see. A ‘let’s leave the boy to enjoy his toy and go back to the kitchen’ would have been by far the best way to cut the situation short. Having come across a number of people with Autism and Asperger’s, I know that many of them are simply unable to follow social cues at all. Many people who have these conditions become very isolated because of the bullying and prejudice they encounter at school and deliberately begin to avoid situations that make them uncomfortable or where they will feel they are judged for their ‘odd’ behaviour.
    OP needs to give her friend another chance, she may have mellowed a bit with a partner of her own because he may well be pointing out social cues to her she may have missed before. Op also needs to appreciate that people on the autistic spectrum react very well to direct statements rather than mealy mouthed attempts to change the situation. A ‘that’s not appropriate to talk about just now’ with an explanation of why it’s socially wrong will be met with a far better, more positive response than awkward silence – which she will not necessarily pick up on but see as a reason to keep talking.

  • WildIrishRose November 22, 2011, 10:48 am

    I’m in with the crowd who is wondering just why you would invite someone over on a night when one of the hosts is eager to watch a particular event on television. When you have guests, the correct thing to do is to devote your time together to your guests. It would have been one thing had she been invited to watch that particular wrestling match, but she was there to meet your FH–and he disappeared! That faux pas belongs to him, not to Angie. Three letters: DVR.

    That said, I’m also with those who wonder just why Angie thinks she has Asperger’s. Self-diagnosis is irritating at best, dangerous at worst. Either way, blathering on about males and violence was weird, if nothing else, and that is HER faux pas. I think your husband owes Angie an apology–perhaps you could invite her again and this time actually spend time with her beyond dinner.

  • Cami November 22, 2011, 10:52 am

    The friend appears to be lacking in social niceties, but she’s not the only one. Honestly, I think the OP and her boyfriend were the rude instigators here. I am flummoxed as to why they did not invite the friend over for another night. Or tape the blasted wrestling match to watch after she had left. It sounds like the meal for the night was immaturity served all around.

  • Carol November 22, 2011, 11:00 am

    I agree with others regarding the Asperger’s thing. If she truly is on the PDD spectrum, then chalking it up to her difficulty in social situations is a kind thing to do, although there’s no rule you couldn’t say ‘hey, Angie, this is inappropriate talk. Why don’t you and I go in the other room and talk about school’ or similar.

    If she’s self-diagnosed, and using it as an excuse to be awkward in social situations without trying to deal with it, then that’s annoying. My son is on the spectrum, and he has a really hard time engaging in conversastion, but if I tell him ‘that’s not appropriate’ or ‘we need to change the subject’ and I tell him in a simple and direct manner, he gets it. And he always tries to work through his issues.

    And really – if someone says something inappropriate, I’m sure there’s a polite way of redirecting the conversation rather than just sitting there seething, Asperger or no.

  • Pixie November 22, 2011, 11:00 am

    “Future hubby fixed a great dinner and we all sat around the table visiting for a couple of hours.”
    “He politely excused himself from the table and went into the den to watch his program, leaving “Angie” and I to chat over our coffee.”

    These to parts don’t say to me he dined and dashed as some of you are implying. To me they ate, talked, and then left his wife and Angie to catch up with each other.

  • acr November 22, 2011, 11:01 am

    It was pretty rude of your husband to go watch the wrestling program. And I don’t think Angie’s comment was that bad. Maybe her further comments were, but the OP didn’t share those. I can’t believe the OP cut off a years-long friendship over a few somewhat tactless comments.

  • Twik November 22, 2011, 11:09 am

    If she does have Aspergers (or even just severe social awkwardness), she may have been trying to have a jocular “men, aren’t they strange?” sort of bonding conversation with the LW (possibly because, well, going off to watch TV leaving behind an invited guest IS sort of strange, for males and females). If she’s not good at this sort of thing, it could turn into a “men, aren’t they EVIL?” thing as she digs herself deeper and deeper into a conversational hole, and starts to panic.

    If the LW doesn’t particularly care for Angie any more, she can leave the relationship to wither. If she still feels the relationship is worth saving, possibly she can admit that they BOTH committed some errors, and try again.

  • Library Diva November 22, 2011, 11:28 am

    Absent more detail, I do think it’s a shame that OP all but terminated a long-term friendship over one incident. If trying to derail Angie’s insult train failed at the time, OP should have talked with Angie after, explained that Angie hurt her and her hubby’s feelings with her tirade and asked for an explanation. I imagine that Angie is still wondering what she did wrong that her old friend has distanced herself so much. Angie deserved the chance to make amends if this was a valued friendship.

  • gramma dishes November 22, 2011, 11:46 am

    But she says that they sat around the table talking for a couple of hours — all three of them. I think a couple of hours of conversation with someone you’ve never met before is sufficient.

    I suspect the original game plan was for hubby to go watch his wrestling event after dinner, leaving the two women to converse on a more private and personal level. Also he apparently was the one who prepared the dinner. So no, I don’t agree with the idea that the husband was rude.

    I do agree though, that people should not self diagnose and use that as an excuse for social awkwardness. If she really does have Asperger’s there are programs available to help with learning to function more appropriately in social settings by reading facial cues, body posture and tone of voice. By self diagnosing instead of being seen by a competent therapist, she’s cheating herself out of an opportunity to improve her own social skills and her life in general.

  • Cat November 22, 2011, 11:47 am

    It’s funny that she thinks professional wrestling is violent and that violence is aimed at a male audience. Has she ever seen a cartoon aimed at young children? Road Runner perhaps? Dynamite, bolders being dropped on heads, falls off cliffs? Elmer Fudd trying to kill Bugs Bunny? Tweety and Sylvester? And today’s video games? The Marines use a commercially available video game to train soldiers to kill.
    Wrestling is carefully controlled. Does she really think that a 300+ pound man jumping from a top rope onto someone’s chest would not do serious damage-that the guy would get back up and continue as he does?
    My 5”6′, 140 lb. father was parts & service manager for a car dealership. Two brothers who were professional wrestlers brought their cars in for service and, because they were both about 6′ 8″ and weighed nearly 400 lbs. each, they would come down and sit in his office to avoid drawing a crowd in the waiting room.
    Dad, being small and light on his feet, tended to trot rather than walk when he was on his way to do something. He came around a corner at the same time as the brothers came round the same corner from an opposite direction. The collision knocked Dad flat on his back.
    The brothers were horrified, ” My God, Herb! Are you all right?!” They picked Dad up and sat him back on his feet. Dad looked up and intoned, “If you weren’t so little, I’d move you out of my way!”

  • Typo Tat November 22, 2011, 11:58 am

    Did you do the right thing? No.

    Holding a grudge for 10 years for something so insignificant isn’t the right thing, especially since you know Angie is socially awkward and prone to eccentric behavior.

  • Jilly November 22, 2011, 12:03 pm

    Honestly – I’m confused. You say you understand asperger syndrome, but I don’t think you do. This would be an example of social awkwardness, and not even that weird. I have awkward friends that say stuff like this all the time. If you understand them, and love them, you just go with the flow. That’s wonderful that she had found a friend who apparently understood her condition, until her friend’s husband, who was being rude, felt insulted.
    I agree with Mrs. Goldfish, and the like, that this was a very odd evening to invite her over. That’s what video recorders, TiVO and the internet is for.

  • Kitty Lizard November 22, 2011, 12:06 pm

    I have a brother-in-law with a severe case of Asperberg’s (professionally diagnosed) and believe me,
    he can be unbelievably, astoundingly insenitive, offensive and clueless around people. And once he
    gets going, you cannot get him to stop. There IS no passing the bean dip. He will blather on until you
    either tape his mouth shut or push him out the door or over a cliff. (Not that anyone’s done either, we
    just wish we could.) People with certain types of Aspergers can be diverted only with great difficulty.
    He is an extremely devout Catholic, but once shook the archbishop’s hand, wished him good morning,
    and then told him what an A..h….he was. At length. My husband, his brother was with him, and
    wanted to drop dead on the spot. Now that, is what I mean by offensive and clueless at the same time.

  • Hellbound Alleee November 22, 2011, 12:49 pm

    So you knew she had Asperger’s, and you still expected her to not say anything socially strange? Asperger’s is not simply “awkwardness.” Some people get notions in their head, and something makes them need to share it. I really don’t think she was referring to your beloved husband. I think you should have given her a break.

    Sometimes the rules of etiquette are meant to be broken, when reality changes the parameters.

  • Ashley November 22, 2011, 12:49 pm

    I’m kinda with everyone else here, why did you schedule the dinner on a night when there was a program that would lead to your significant other disappearing halfway through the evening? Perhaps her awkwardness was a reaction to being invited over then having one of her hosts vanish?

  • Leslie Holman-Anderson November 22, 2011, 12:57 pm

    Actually, a sensitive non-professional _is_ qualified, IMO, to observe someone who’s “not right” whether Asperger’s or otherwise, and then to _suggest_ a reason for the difficulty. My niece has severe Asperger’s that first manifested when she was just a toddler, yet it went undiagnosed by her many doctors until she was thirty. At a family gathering a few years ago she was being surly and having tantrums, my sister (her mother) was sighing and looking long-suffering, and I asked of niece ever been tested for Asperger’s. My sister had never even heard of it, but when I explained it you could see the lights go on. Sure enough, that was what it had been all those years. She’ll always have it, but everyone including niece is much happier now.

  • Setsu November 22, 2011, 1:10 pm

    I have to say maybe a cut direct for years over this incident is a LITTLE harsh, IMO.
    However I’ve noticed previous commenters making point that Future Husband was rude for bolting from the table before the meal was finished, which does not appear to have been the case.

    Quoth the OP: Future hubby fixed a great dinner and we all sat around the table visiting for a couple of hours.

    I fail to see how sitting and chatting for a few hours equals bolting from the table in the middle of supper..
    But I digress: If indeed it was post-supper chat for a few hours followed by a polite exit to the den for his show, I’d say the guest was a fair bit rude for making such commentary against her host.
    If he got up mid-meal and wandered to the den, or even if he ate his last bite and promptly stood and exit stage left to the TV, I’d have to say he was the offending party, but the guest was still not in the right to go on a rant of any sort, especially one that puts down the host..

  • Squeaks November 22, 2011, 2:10 pm

    I think there is a good chance that for whatever reason, be it justified, illogical and/or illness related, the wrestling made her uncomfortable. She can’t be the only person to not like violence, to be uncomfortable around violence and/or to find wrestling violent and/or uncomfortable.

    It seems very possible that she found the wrestling more uncomfortable than she expected or was ready for. She likely reacted poorly to her discomfort That is not rude, that is human and should be forgivable. Likewise, there is a good chance that on some level she felt like she was supposed to go watch/join you in watching, and then found herself rather uncomfortable. After all, the point of the dinner was to meet your new hubby, I can’t fault her for thinking the appropriate thing to do was to go join him. Thinking that you can suck it up and deal with someone for the sake of group harmony, but finding it harder than you anticipated it not rude, people are allowed to make mistakes.

    Her comments should have been taken as not so subtle hints that she was uncomfortable. Beyond that what should she have done? She likely could have left, but that would be uncomfortable to just up and leave like that for some people; I am sure there are people here that would worry that leaving too soon after dinner would look bad or like they were only trying to get a free meal. Likewise, I doubt wandering off around the house alone was a good option, she was somewhat stuck as the only other humans we watching something she was uncomfortable with.

    It seems to me that a good host upon hearing their guest’s clear discomfort with the currently selected activity would take steps to find something else to do that was not so uncomfortable. Offer to take a walk with her, get some coffee, suggest the two of you go watch a chick flick while he watches his man stuff, something, anything really other than sitting there watching her express her discomfort poorly. When her attempts at expressing her discomfort fell flat, she likely got more uncomfortable and nervous started with the blather to try to fix it or explain how she felt better. She put her foot in her mouth and tried to gnaw it off rather than spit it out, a mistake I think everyone has done on occasion.

  • Clair Seulement November 22, 2011, 2:50 pm

    I wanted to chime in with some support of Angie’s “self” diagnosis. I am not a professional but did just complete a masters in (general) psychology, during the course of which I learned that it is very difficult to conclusively diagnose Asperger’s in adulthood, owing to one of the differential diagnostic symptoms being *loss* of social skills acquired prior to age 3. Many professionals will not diagnose it in adults, although with increased awareness over the past decade, that number may be declining. I’ve heard of many adults who only learned about Asperger’s later in life and have been relieved that their social challenges are not unique, and short of giving them an excuse to wield, it’s helped them.

  • ellesee November 22, 2011, 3:44 pm

    “Future hubby fixed a great dinner and we all sat around the table visiting for a couple of hours”

    Clearly, husband did ditch the guest and his wife right after dinner. Perhaps he thought he could arrange dinner from 6-8:30 and watch his program at 9. Sometimes dinner plans are expected to end at a certain time, but of course will linger on afterwards if everybody is having a great time.
    I’m pretty sure he also left to give OP and Angie some time to personally catch up.

    I’m going to chalk this up to her not picking up your silence as awkward tension. Or maybe she was heavily hinting to change the channel by dropping distasteful opinions.
    However, I am curious as to why you didn’t change the subject. “Let me show you around the house” or something other than to leave her on her track for half an hour.

  • VM November 22, 2011, 4:14 pm

    “Angie” continued her running anti-male commentary for a good half an hour, you say? Well, I’ve known people who’ll do that regardless of situation and without a diagnosis to pin the behavior on. All it takes is some vaguely germane comment or happenstance to afford an entry point and BAM! they’re off and running. Same thing goes for a lot of topics like religion/atheism, vegan/omnivore, politics of all stripes…It’s not that they can’t perceive social cues or they are specifically provoked, it’s that they have a personal cause or grievance that they relish airing as often as possible.
    Not trying to brush away any particulars of this incident that may have an effect on it, but I do want to point out that this kind of thing can happen without modifying caveats. (And I’m a rather eccentric, massively introverted female myself, in case you’re thinking that it’s an opposite bias that provokes this comment!)

  • Stacey Frith-Smith November 22, 2011, 5:48 pm

    I also agree with the views expressed that neither a host nor a guest should act in a way that creates awkwardness and discomfort. Hosts should not excuse themselves to seek entertainment elsewhere and guests should not follow anyone who has excused themselves for any reason into another part of the house. The whole event might have been prevented had either party stopped at the ideal boundary for the situation. And against the dictates of medical qualifications and protocols, there is something of a history socially which allows one to label oneself. The person doing so may or may not have seen a medical professional to confirm it, may or may not have the experience needed to make a best guess that comes close to the truth. This is another instance of turning a somewhat blind and kindly eye towards the eccentricities of those around us, whom we expect to indulge us on days we are experiencing our own difficulties. As long as such labels are not used to invoke carte blanche for rudeness, they are merely an interesting social phenomenon and may provide either entertainment or an opportunity to be kind. Many of us are fatigued with the whole concept of exclusivity, whether applied to victims in any social demographic, expert level qualifications to diagnose illness, and expert level assertions about how we may spend our money, raise our young, run our country, and hold our social circle together. Experts rely on the common man and woman to consume their perspective, but they have not cornered the market on wisdom or best practices in the preponderance of cases. The common man or woman has the prerogative of stating their position and preference as well, especially as it concerns themselves.

  • Dodger November 22, 2011, 5:49 pm

    There’s no such thing as “adult” Asperger’s. You either have it or you don’t, regardless of your age. I was diagnosed with it at 9 (after an earlier mis-diagnosis of ADHD) and I’ve learned to both cope with it and embrace it in my adulthood.

    I grit my teeth when I saw the A word mentioned early on in the story, and sorry, but AS is not carte blanche, nor any form of legitimate excuse, for boorish, rude behavior. Period. It’s people like Angie that give legitimately diagnosed, well-manned Aspies a bad name, and it’s partially the reason I’m (usually) reluctant to admit my state to others.

  • Emmerton November 22, 2011, 10:12 pm

    I have never been bothered by someone politely excusing themselves from the table to enjoy their own thing while I spoke with the person I was closest with. Perhaps this is different for everyone, but this has been the case for many of the folks I’ve met and I am now very close with. I spoke with them, with my boyfriend, for several hours and if say their significant other came to the event or they had something they’d like to watch a simple “Hey that’s girlfriend x, I’ll catch you guys in a bit” or “X show is on, would you like to come with me to the living room?” If we’d like to go we’d say sure and go, or “We’ll be with you in a bit”. It’s never been something that offended or put off any of us before.

  • Baglady November 22, 2011, 10:50 pm

    Asperger’s is not a mental illness, as a PP (who is studying psychology and should know better) described it. It is an autism spectrum disorder, and many Aspies take issue with the idea that it is a disability rather than a difference in wiring.

    I don’t know how old Angie is, but Asperger’s can be extremely difficult to diagnose in adults, especially those of us who came of age at a time when the diagnosis was unheard of. Many of us have learned life skills that mask the worst of the symptoms. Some of us are just on the high-functioning end, but we identify with the symptoms and realize they explain a lot about us.

    I’m 52 and recently got a professional diagnosis of Asperger’s, but I’ve suspected for years that I have it (I called it being on the “suspectrum”). I assure you that the majority of adults who are self-diagnosing aren’t doing so to have an excuse for boorish behavior. They are coming to the realization that their “weirdness” has an explanation, and for whatever reason they may not have been able to find a professional to make it official.

    That said, AS is not an excuse for being a rhymes-with-glass-pole. It may, however, *explain* it. Despite my own social awkwardness, I have pretty good glass-pole-dar. I can tell when someone is being insulting because they’re a GP and someone who is simply unaware of how their words are coming off. My instincts are telling me to put Angie in the latter column.

    BTW, I don’t see the OP’s fiance’s behavior as rude. It could actually be interpreted as the height of polite: Make dinner for the GF and her old buddy, visit with them a while, and then leave them alone to catch up.

  • Yuki November 23, 2011, 1:32 am

    Woah woah woah. As someone diagnosed by a medical professional with Asperger’s Syndrome, I HATE it when people self diagnose. People like me are often the butt of jokes because everyone and their mother is using it as an excuse to be rude. I would NEVER dream of intentionally doing so, and I hate it when I am!

  • Marna November 23, 2011, 2:36 am

    ::raising hand:: I am the OP. I have one general comment for those of you who didn’t find the wrestling comments particularly rude. Let me ask you: If you were part of an interracial couple and your invited guest continued to make comments about some negative ethnic issues associated with your SO’s ethnic origin, would you not be offended? How is this different?

    Please do not assume that this is the only incident of odd behavior on her part over the years–just the one that changed the overall tone of the friendship. And, no, I am not going to go back and rehash thirty years of incidents. Also, please understand she did NOT get thrown out with the bath water over this–she came to our wedding and we invited her to our post-wedding family dinner. We attended her wedding, for Pete’s sake. If I gave the impression we hadn’t spoken since then, I’m sorry. Things have gone quiet because we’ve just gone different ways.

    This was not a dine-and-dash situation. We’re all early birds, so our dinner was around 4 p.m. (I think). His program came on around 8. By that time, we had finished eating, done clean up and shot the breeze for a couple of hours. No “bolting” was involved. “Angie” knew ahead of time he would be excusing himself. In hindsight, yeah, we probably should have picked another night but IIRC for some reason it would have been a lengthy while before our schedules even meshed again.

    As far as I know, she has NEVER had a professional diagnosis of Asperger’s. From what I can tell (and from what she had told me prior to this occasion) she had “done a lot of reading” and determined in her own head that the description of the syndrome fit her perfectly. I never assigned the diagnosis to her; she did that herself.

  • Linnie November 23, 2011, 3:31 am

    Okay, my first issue is that the OP’s husband had been waiting for the wrestling thing for *weeks* and they still invited Angie over that night? Really? There wasn’t any other night at all to invite her over? That was really rude.
    “Well, it was nice seeing you, but we want to watch TV so you have to leave now.” WHAT?! Just pick a different night!
    Also, OP acknowledges that Angie has Asperger’s, but is still upset with her commentary? She knew her since college, she should’ve been expecting that kind of behavior. I dated a guy with Asperger’s.. trust me, you catch on pretty quickly and know what to expect and how to handle it.
    Finally why the heck did she let that commentary go on for HALF AN HOUR without saying anything or changing the subject?! At the very least, the husband was waiting for weeks to watch the thing, he probably didn’t want to be bothered.

    Seriously what was the OP thinking?! Not to mention the fact that for whatever reason she ended the friendship over that…

  • SV November 24, 2011, 8:24 am

    What’s wrong with the OP’s husband politely excusing himself so the ladies could continue to chat? They ate, socialized, had a good time and the evening was winding down after several hours of entertaining. If the OP herself had left to go watch TV then that would have been rude, but she did not. I think the OP and her husband behaved in a perfectly acceptable manner.

  • Ann November 25, 2011, 12:18 pm

    What surprises me is that Angie would want to see this couple at all.

  • catwhisperer November 28, 2011, 3:22 am

    Ya know, sometimes it’s best to not try too hard to make things work.

    My suggestion: get together with Angie and her new husband in an environment and situation where there’s minimal pressure on everyone to make things work out and where everyone has an “easy out” if it’s awkward.

    One of my favorite set-ups for this kind of thing is something like agreeing to meet at a local mall food court. Nobody’s hosting, you all get to choose your own food and pay for same, and you can sit and talk about inconsequentialities, like what’s going on at the mall, how busy it is, new stores or new things in the stores, whatever. If things are working out, you can sit and talk for hours and nobody’s going to kick you out. If things aren’t working out, you invent an appointment or commitment and say you have to go, it was nice to get together, everyone goes their separate ways.

    If you don’t like the ambience of a mall food court, pick something like a farmer’s market or other “neutral” venue where you can meet. Just see how it goes. If it works, it works; if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.

    I suspect that “Angie” may have felt pressured to like the letter writer’s new husband, and just responded awkwardly to a situation from which there was no graceful way to retreat if things didn’t go well. I think LW should be willing to give Angie another chance, but do it in a low-pressure setting where anyone can leave without embarrassment if things don’t work out.

  • Kim November 30, 2011, 11:46 pm

    Oh boy. Just wanted to post to say, those of you who doubt that Angie has Asperger’s Syndrome, consider this: Asperger’s is not something most people would fake having. If Angie thinks that she has AS, she likely does. And thank you, Baglady for explaining that AS is not a mental illness. I was diagnosed with it myself, 10 years ago, by a medical professional. If Angie still does not have an official diagnosis, it may be because they are hard to get where she lives. It took a while for me to get mine, and I live in Canada, where healthcare is (mostly) free. Could be, that where she lives, it’s just too expensive and would take too long.

  • Kim December 1, 2011, 12:04 am

    gramma dishes, a lot of these types of programs you mention are usually geared towards children and their parents. Programs like these for adults are harder to find. There is no such thing in my area, and that might be true for Angie as well.