Friday, February 13, 2015

The trick to smiling

   I was recently playing on Wrong Planet, and even though I'm still worried that my help will be viewed as "sterile, hollow and emotionless," I chose to add a solution for a thread that was basically for Aspies to let of steam.

The Stated Problem:
   People try to encourage others to smile until it is obnoxious.

My Guess at the Non-Stated Problems:
   People are spending effort to do things and not getting the positive feedback they need (smiling ) to justify the effort so they ask for that feedback to the point that annoys the feedback giver, or in a way that annoys them. therefore creating resentment on both sides and drastically dropping the amount of positive feedback and positive feelings from both parties.

My Solution Post:
   Due to some pain in my childhood, I took up "Communication" as a special interest but even so, smiling always confused me. It wasn't clear until I recently watched the older series, "The Human Animal."

   He says that smiling came out of fear to show those smiled at that you're not a threat so eventually "not a threat" became a non-verbal way of saying "I'm friendly."

   I'm assuming that on a very unconscious and primal level, your NT feels threatened when you don't smile (specifically at them) when they feel it's appropriate.

   Since it's to the point where they are bothering you enough that you're posting about it here, I assume it's become a real issue on both your parts, and since I can't talk to your NT about Aspies feeling real emotions, but needing to learn how to show them, I have some smile advice for you. :)

Experiment One: "Look what I can Do"
      Set up:
    Continue as normal and count how many times your NT encourages you to smile for a week.
Write this this so you don't forget because we need that number for later.

   For at least a month continue keeping track of how many times a week the "smile encouragement" happens and,

      a. pinch up the edges of your mouth whenever you feel that your NT expects you to smile.

    This WILL look like a forced smile, which is the point. It will tell your NT basically, "Even though that isn't something I smile about, I value you."

      b. Also, squint your eyes when you smile for real at your NT when they do something you actually enjoy.

    Squinting your eyes when you smile is the most important feature of a genuine smile. Giving someone a "real" smile is a positive reinforcement treat, similar to giving a dog a bit of meat when they sit. It will help be a queue to your NT that the thing they did right before you smiled is something you find pleasant and you want them to do it more frequently.

    If it's working, by week 3 the "smile encouragement" should be down by at least twice a week.

   This can work if you count the "smile encouragements" from everyone, but it will be more accurate if you develop it for one person you care about at a time, because you'll get more accurate numbers that way.

   When you give it a try, I'd love you to put your findings in the comments so I get the positive feedback that I need.
:)  <--- That's a smile
^.^   <---- That's a smile to.