Staying Out of the Fray

I have always had difficulty dealing with assertive/aggressive characters.

Outside of a work context one can largely ignore/stay out of the way of course. Inside an organization however, it is a vastly different story.

In general, I’ve struggled to develop an effective strategy for coping in this area. However, something happened on the sports field last week that gave me cause to think.

There was an opposition player who was both physically and verbally aggressive. He was annoying me and, to a degree, starting to provoke me; partly, I think, because he was being unfair and impinging upon my sense of [Asperger] fairness.

This time I mentally put a block on my actions and decided to stay out of the fray. I vowed to not get emotionally upset or involved in any way nor to allow myself to be provoked as he barged through me on an occasion.

I reflected afterwards just how effective this approach was for me. Inwardly it meant I remained calm and didn’t become up tight; externally I looked composed.

Another aspect was that I was staying out of anything contentious. There was a referee/umpire and it was, of course, his responsibility to adjudicate. In the world of work, this role is taken by a manager.

There was another small issue a week or two back when I began talking about politics on the way home from a game with a very good friend.

His views were different to mine and we had an interesting discussion. It didn’t get heated in anyway, but I reflected afterwards that – maybe -this wasn’t the forum to get involved or discuss the subject.

I am sure I didn’t cause offence, but it was a contentious issue and one which needn’t have been brought up in what was a social context.

Like with dealing with difficult characters, I believe that the best strategy for someone with AS is simply best to just not become involved.

Stick to what you are working on and ensure you fulfill your responsibilities. Don’t move above your station.

Managing with Asperger Syndrome