Autistic Nick – Turns Agony Uncle
This week I am turning agony uncle.
I recently received a letter (how quaint when we are all now conversant with emails, direct messaging and sending texts).
Chris wrote to me the following letter
Dear Autistic Nick,
I am writing to you to ask you for some advice.
You see I recently entered the world of the social media influencer.
I am minutes away from my local beach, where if I hashtag the beach, the local ice cream parlour, the sun screen that I am wearing, the t-shirt or shorts, or thongs, the gel that is holding back my luscious locks of hair, the place that I’ll be eating at around lunchtime, the make of surfboard that I’ll be using, or the wetsuit I’ll be wearing I get a small fee.
(Me at this point) Does Chris actually have a problem?
So, whilst my social media lifestyle is being funded by others I have recently joined a close group for Autistics on social media.
(Me at this point) This is interesting…
When I joined it was all new to me, this interacting with other Autistic people and I held back from commenting on posts.
Occasionally I do post something or offer a comment to something that someone else has posted.
Until recently that is.
You see it all started when I got notified that a member of this group had posted something and so I went and checked it out.
Turns out that it was a post personally attacking another member of this group.
I didn’t make any comments I just read all the other comments that were being made.
I started to feel uncomfortable and so I backed away from involving myself.
This week it happened again.
I don’t want to leave this group, but I feel that it’s driving me away with the fact that such negativity can exist between our group members.
I understand that everyone is entitled to an opinion and that we should be allowed to say what’s on our minds but when it becomes personal and gets to the point where I want to exit it then what’s the point of me being in it?
I just think if someone has an issue with a member of this group then why don’t they deal with privately rather than making it public and involving others?
What should I do?
Chris firstly you owe me $9 because you failed to put a stamp on your letter and Australia Post wouldn’t hand it over to me unless I paid them (it was very much a hostage negotiator type situation).
Anyway, once I had written a cheque and it had cleared I had your letter in my hand.
Ok so my reply is the following.
Many thanks for your letter.
Can you wire me the $9 that you owe me thanks?
Ok back to your issue.
Chris I would say this to you.
Hold back from leaving this group for the time being.
You can always take a break from it and if you want to you can set it so that you don’t receive notifications from that group, but you can still follow them.
Secondly, I would reach out to one of the administrators (i.e. one of the people that run this group) and speak with them and discuss the issue with them.
They may have some answers or solutions that they can offer you.
I agree that it can be overwhelming to be confronted by angry words written in a reply to a post.
It’s a hard one to judge on how that person has written what they are saying, you cannot be sure of the tone or how it is coming over because writing things like a text message or an email you can’t be sure of how that person is going to react to what you are saying as you aren’t there in the room with them.
Chris I can’t tell you how to feel and if you want to leave then that’s your outlook. But if it’s only two isolated incidents then maybe for the time being it’s worth staying as it connects you with other Autistic adults.
Yours Autistic Nick
A few days later I get the following reply.
This time he had attached a stamp.
Dear Nick (he was beginning to become very familiar with me!)
I read your advice and I think that I will take it.
It was well thought out and considerate.
I include a banker’s draft for the amount of $9 as well as my apologies for not realising that in order to post a letter within Australia you need to attach a stamp.
I have also included a gift card to the amount of $35 to use in the following shop ‘Styled’ so that your hair stays in place.
Carry on the Conversation
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Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.