social interaction

sigmastolen  asked:

re: how teens and adults text, I would be super interested for you to explain your theory!

ok SO. a lot of this comes from various stuff i’ve seen on the linguistics of tumblr, but at the heart of it is that people in my generation (at least in the us; idk abt other countries’ timelines on this front) went thru (or are still going thru) our Formative Social Years in an environment where we’d regularly interact with even our closest friends on text-only platforms (whether texting or gchat or fb messages or w/e), and b/c so much linguistic/social information is actually conveyed by facial expression and tone of voice, we’ve collectively made up all of these textual ways of conveying that in a concise, efficient way

so like, sometimes on this blog i’ll talk about “straight people”, and sometimes i’ll talk about “str8 ppl”, and even tho i would pronounce those the same, the first is much more neutral — it would probably happen in the context like “i’m not sure how i feel about straight people writing stories that center around experiences of homophobia” — than the second, which which is much more frustrated/venting — it would be more likely to crop up in the context of “all i want is to live quietly in my little queer utopia but no str8 ppl have to come along and heteronomativity UGH #over it #whatever #NOT RLLY OVER IT”. or even with more subtle things like end punctuation: “i’m not going” basically just means i’m not currently planning to go to the thing; “i’m not going.” carries much more of a connotation of “i have seriously considered going and have Reasons for staying at home” (and note that capital — “i have Reasons for staying at home” feels different than “i have reasons for staying at home”). (and this isn’t even getting into things like shitposting or advanced memeology, but there are specific textual markers that go with things like that, some of which would be pronounced if you read them aloud, but many of which wouldn’t be)

but, crucially, for these kinds of things to carry meaning, they have to be used consistently: if i use “str8 ppl” and “straight people” interchangeably in all contexts (as i do for something like “the supreme court” vs “scotus”), then there’s no way to develop a distinction in meaning between the two — the only way to do that is to consistently use the different orthographies in different contexts. (to take another example: if something is “great”, then it’s solidly good. if something is “gr8”, it’s more in the land of “i can’t quite believe this is as earnest/tacky/tasteless as it is but i’m weirdly into it anyway?” (sometimes with a side helping of “do i just enjoy this ironically or do i genuinely enjoy it there is no way of knowing please send help”))

the upshot of this is that to be fluent in tumblr (or texting, or fb messenger, or w/e) means to actually be paying a lot of attention to subtle points of grammar and spelling, to know when to use “did u kno” or “ur” or even pull out an old-fashioned tip of the hat to “e733T haxxor 5killz”. most of these are very subtle distinctions, the kind of things you feel intuitively rather than write out explicitly, and so it’s very hard to convey them concisely and accurately to someone who’s not already immersed in the linguistic environment

and let’s be real, people in my parents’ generation aren’t. i mean, sure, many of them have facebook accounts, but these kinds of platforms weren’t around when they were in their “really getting to grips with social interaction” years, and their most important social interactions usually don’t take place exclusively online. for me, all of my closest friends are people i’ve only interacted with online for more than a year now (with a few brief face-to-face visits when various travel arrangements have allowed), so tumblr, facebook, and gchat are absolutely critical to my social life and interpersonal interactions; for my parents, their closest friends are people they see in person at work every day, so social media is a light overlay to their social lives, not the thrumming core

as such, my parents don’t grok these distinctions. to them “what are you doing?” means the same thing as “lol wut r u doing”; “gr8” is just like “great” (and “gr9” takes some parsing … ); dogespeak doesn’t have the same distinctive valence that it does to us. since they don’t know about these distinctions, they don’t feel the need to maintain more “proper” spelling/grammar when texting with a friend — different people have different set points for this, obvs, but in general i feel like “standard (setting aside all the class and racial implications in that term …) spelling and grammar” (with lighter-than-standard punctuation and capitalization) translates to “relatively neutral/pleasant conversational voice”, and then deliberate misspellings, abbreviations, letter substitutions, and grammar deviations are markers used to indicate shifts in mood — i have a vague sense that bitterness tends to collapse down and preserve grammar but weird spelling (“lyk w/e im happy 4 u but pls, i kno u lied 2 get that”) whereas enthusiasm tends to preserve spelling but weird grammar (“what i can’t even no how do air AMAZE”). since people in my parents’ generation don’t realize that doing so unintentionally changes the way their words come across, they feel free to text “poorly” (ie with lots of errors/substitutions, generally mixing various text-flagged vocal tones in ways that are often incoherent) in order to do so more quickly (b/c lbr typing everything out can be a pain (esp on a non-smartphone), and since parents don’t do it as much, they’re not necessarily as fast as our spry young fingers on a familiar interface)

so yeah, that’s what i suspect is going on

tl;dr: parents don’t use orthography to mark vocal tone in the way youngfolk do, and thus feel free to condense their texts and otherwise use textspeak. youngfolk are using orthography to mark for tone, and thus text more “correctly” to preserve their social intentions

NTs make social awkwardness into such a ~*cute acceptable relatable ~* thing, and while it’s true that there’s a difference between NTs’ version of social awkwardness, there’s a whole different definition of it for ND people that is definitely NOT ADORABLe

When I say I don’t like to be around people, others say stuff like “yeah I hate people too” but they don’t understand I literally get anxious and disoriented around them and likely even overloaded from the noise and the general presence of multiple people

When I talk about having trouble ordering food, they go “yeah relatable I feel awkward too” but I’m already so uncomfortable with the entire system of hierarchy that has its place in a restaurant, (at least in my mind) and I feel guilty asking anyone for anything in the first place, and then I script my order and repeat it internally for seven times and it still comes out jumbled and muttered so I have to repeat myself AGAIN

Like, I get it. Everyone struggles with being social from time to time.
But dear NTs, when a person with an anxiety disorder or social phobia or autism or literally any neurotype that influences their ability to function in social situations tells you that they struggle with something, please don’t assume they struggle exactly the same way as you, because most likely, we don’t.

One of the lesser known traits of autism is that we have unusually high levels of caring for others. Higher than most neurotypicals. The lack of empathy as part of autism is not that we don’t care. Its that we can’t pick up when others are distressed very well but when we do we want to help. But we don’t have the social skills to do anything about it. So we’re sitting there with every fibre of screaming HELP THEM but without the means of doing so. Its a very cruel irony. A lot of people expect us to be good at that sort of thing because we can be so eloquent and pedantic with our speech patterns but really its a case of being linguistically skilled but emotionally clumsy. We are the proverbial bull in a china shop when it comes to the emotions of others.

Character Development Questions - Relations To Others

1. Under what circumstances does your muse believe rules can be broken? Why?
2. Is your muse comfortable with emotional displays from others?
3. Does your muse believe in sacrifice for the greater good, or do they believe in valuing every individual?
4. Does your muse believe in a strong line between work and personal life or do they prefer to share their personal life with colleagues?
5. How does your muse see social status and connections as influencing their life?
6. How does your muse specifically show they care for others?
7. In what ways does your muse prefer someone else show that they care for them?
8. Is your muse quick to open up to new people, or do they slowly reveal new information about themselves?
9. Does your muse believe that being unique, different, or weird is a compliment or an insult? Why?

How I feel the Sander’s Sides would make friends.

Thomas: I feel like he would be introduced to a new person through his other friends and then become best friends with the new person.

Roman: I feel like Roman would walk up to someone and just say a random Disney Lyric and if the person responded with the next lyric they would be best friends.

Logan: I feel like the potential friend would say something very intellectual and it would intrigue Logan and then they would interact with each other.

Patton: I feel as though Patton would bond with someone over seeing a cute puppy running around in a park or something.

Virgil: I feel as though Virgil would have to let the potential friend open up to him first before he would open up to them that way Virgil doesn’t get hurt because he knows the potential friend trust him.


I honestly relate with Virgil the most. I’d love to know what side y'all relate with the most!


Side note: I randomly had this thought and I thought why not post about it. 😂

All my friends thought I was a very happy human being. Because that’s how I acted- like a really happy human being. But all that pretending made me tired. If I acted the way I felt, then I doubt my friends would have really hung out with me. So the pretending wasn’t all bad. The pretending made me less lonely. But in another way, it made me more lonely because I felt like a fraud. I’ve always felt like a fake human being.
—  Last Night I Sang to the Monster (Benjamin Alire Sáenz)