Taking the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale Test

The Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale Test is a measure of the degree of social phobia that a person experiences. Autistic individuals often have a social anxiety disorder diagnosis so I thought it would be interesting to see how we score on this test.

Before taking the test, I think it’s important to differentiate between autistic social anxiety and social phobia. Social phobia, the set of experiences on which a social anxiety disorder is based, is a strong fear of being judged by others and of being embarrassed. Generally the fear has to interfere with a person’s ability to work, attend school or generally function on a daily basis for it to rise to the level of a phobia.

A key feature of social anxiety disorder is that the anxiety experienced is irrational. For example, a person might become very anxious about going to work because they’re afraid that their boss will reprimand them in front of others even though they’re generally good at their job and their boss usually gives criticism to employees in private. In addition to the emotions associated with anxiety (fear, nervousness, dread), the person experiences strong physical sensations, like nausea, racing heart rate, sweating, and/or shortness of breath, in anticipation of the feared situation.

For a long time, I thought that I experienced social anxiety. Until I started reading about the experiences of others and discovered that my issues with social interaction are atypical for nonautistic people, but also atypical for those with social phobia.

Here’s how my social, um, issues manifest:

  • Realize that a social event is coming up in a few days.
  • Develop a background sense of dread.
  • Become increasingly irritable, withdrawn, restless and avoidant.
  • Resolve to go anyhow.
  • Get ready for the event way too early then sit around in my fancy clothes waiting for the precisely calculated minute at which I need to leave the house so as not to arrive too early or too late.
  • Forget five minutes after I arrive how much I dreaded the event or even why.
  • Stumble through the event with my usual atypical mix of being socially awkward, overly informative and very interested in anything on the periphery of the event.
  • Leave at the earliest opportunity.

I guess what I have is more social dread than social phobia. Which makes me curious how I’ll score on this test.

(This is not to say that no autistic people experience social phobia or that I don’t have specific fears around certain social situations, just that I don’t experience the more broadly defined social anxiety like I’d always assumed.)

Taking the Test

An online version of the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale Test is available here.

There are 24 situations presented, which are rated in two categories: fear and avoidance. You’re asked to rate each situation based on your experiences in the past week and to imagine how you’d react to the situation if it is one that you don’t usually experience.

For fear, the choices are: none, mild, moderate and severe. For avoidance, they are: never, occasionally, often and usually. If you don’t choose an option, it will default to none or never, so be sure you’ve made a choice for each to get an accurate score.

The test will take 3 – 10 minutes to complete, depending on how much you need to think about each answer.

Scoring the Test

You’ll receive a two part score, with one score for fear and one for avoidance, as well as an overall rating of your level of social anxiety.

My score was: 23(fear) + 17(avoidance) = 40

You do not suffer from social anxiety.

(For reference, a total score of 55 is the cutoff for social phobia.)

I found the two factor set-up of the test really helpful because it allowed me to say that I avoid something but not out of fear or that I fear something but generally do it anyhow. For example, I rated “fear of speaking in front of others” as severe but only avoid it occasionally. Returning an item is something that I don’t like doing, but I’ve never avoided taking something back for refund because the incentive of getting my money back for an item that I don’t need is pretty high. Public speaking is something that I’ll do when I have to, but it makes me incredibly nervous. On the other hand, “giving a party” got both “severe” on fear and “often” on avoidance.

Things like “resisting a high pressure” salesperson fall into “often” on avoidance but “mild” on fear. It’s one of those situations that I avoid because I just find them annoying (being observed when working) or a waste of time (small group activities, ack!), not because I fear them.

Thinking about each activity in terms of “how much do I dislike/fear this thing?” and “how does that feeling impact my daily functioning?” was helpful in identifying areas that I should probably work on (high fear/high avoidance items).

One potential problem for those of us on the spectrum, however, is that our social fears may not be irrational. For example, we might fear making phone calls to strangers because of difficulties with language pragmatics that make it hard to conduct phone conversations successfully. So even if our fears don’t fit the irrational aspect of social phobia, we could end up with a high social anxiety score. I think that in a clinical setting, if a therapist is using this scale with an autistic person as a screening instrument, items with high fear/avoidance scores should be interrogated more thoroughly for the underlying reasons to avoid misdiagnosis.

The Bottom Line

The situations presented cover a broad range of social situations in a way that makes it possible to separately identify feelings of anxiety and how much those feelings affect your actions, making it a practical way to identify general levels of social anxiety and specific anxiety-inducing situations.

 

164 thoughts on “Taking the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale Test”

  1. 39 (fear) + 29 (avoidance) = 68 (marked social anxiety)

    Seems about right and fits with the details of my anxiety diagnosis. Avoidance is my default coping strategy which explains the score there. A large part of my anxiety is caused by my difficulties with social interaction, so I scored high on the fear scale for those situations that involve dealing with other people.

    1. I think my default coping strategy is a form of low level long-term shutdown that disconnects me from the more intense feelings of anxiety (probably a form of stuffing) which is unhealthy but allows me to “do it anyway” in a lot of situations. That’s not one of the options on the test though. :-/

  2. 27(fear) + 33(avoidance) = 60 (moderate social anxiety)

    My avoidance is a bit higher than my fear, which fits with my behavioural patterns. It’s more a feeling of not being able to get it right no matter how hard I try than it is a feeling of fear.

    1. ” It’s more a feeling of not being able to get it right no matter how hard I try than it is a feeling of fear.”

      Yes! This is true of a bunch of the things where I had higher avoidance than fear scores.

    2. “It’s more a feeling of not being able to get it right no matter how hard I try than it is a feeling of fear.”

      Exactly! The fear as it were, if it can be called that is that I might be ‘found out’ as a fraud because I said I know what I am doing, and I have the education, but then my ability to articulate turns into gibberish and what I know in my my mind does not come out of my mouth. That could be called fear, or ‘shame’ and may all be part of the social anxiety and avoidance that we deal with.

      1. nelliepmoore, you’ve ‘hit the nail on the head’! What you’ve said described me to a T. I had to laugh. I avoid certain things out of not getting things right and also knowing I’ll be mentally drained afterwards.
        I’m in a new job and these new colleagues and management organised a Christmas lunch. I’d put my name down to go, however, as the day neared I began to think about all the unimportant things I’d have to talk about to fit in. Then make time to do that (which I don’t have already). I also know as I experienced already they don’t quite get / understand how to tweek their behaviour to adjust to accommodate someone on the Autism Spectrum. On the day I changed my mind. When I spoke to another person they assumed it was because I couldn’t afford it that’s why I was worrying, imposing / trying to mirror their reasons on me.
        When I told management I changed my mind about attending the lunch do – like most NT’s who can put themselves in another person’s shoes (not!), they asked me if it was because I didn’t like them or didn’t get on with them that’s why I’m not going! These are people who say they’re ‘helping’ people ‘like me’. I beg to differ. There’s so much work to be done.

      2. Same – I go into shut-down mode aswell! All the time -Ugh. u r not alone there. I am also a teenegae girl so that means we arent’ alone there either. Might be nothing to worry about, but in the long-term it gets tiring. Barnie

    3. My avoidance is a bit higher than my fear, which fits with my behavioural patterns. It’s more a feeling of not being able to get it right no matter how hard I try than it is a feeling of fear.

      I wonder how much of the “fear” score people get is not actually (only) fear, but unspecified discomfort where people reason that it is probably what is meant by fear(-ish), because that’s the only option that is given.

      My avoidance score was much higher than the fear score (8 fear VS 23 avoidance). Most of my avoidance is unaccounted for in the test, because fear was the only possible “explanation”. My avoidance is mostly motivated by expectations of discomfort; but the discomfort only sometimes feels like fear (and even then I’m not sure). Instead it tends to be more like a hard-to-define strange condition of dread – being out of place – overwhelmed and tired – numb and zombie-like, unreal, an alien – frustrated but unable to pinpoint the source(s) – confused but unable to define what is wrong – surroundings being too loud, shifty, uncomfortable, invasive, confusing, people expecting something I don’t understand the value of, not knowing what I am expected to do et.c. The obvious solution: stay home.

      (Above description is based on memories of being at parties and dinners)

      So my problem isn’t just about overcoming fear, but more about the cost of socialising being so high, that most ordinary occasions just aren’t worth the “torture”, plus that I’m more attracted to solitaire pursuits most of the time. In my context, it seems like common sense to avoid most social occasions. Unfortunately, isolation has its own dangerous long term inertia working through loss of social skills – erosion of structure and demands – missing out on potential opportunities and common know-how – evolution of bad habits in the absence of social feedback et.c… so social avoidance can easily become a vicious circle. I know what’s down the end of that road, I have been there too much, it is just really difficult and complicated to create a more social way that actually works.

  3. 41 (fear) + 37 (avoidance) = 78 marked social anxiety. I think perhaps it was even higher at one point, but having gone to three different psychiatrists for social and general anxiety, I’ve desensitized myself to some situations now and have calming techniques for others (anyone heard of butterfly hugs? Perhaps the most effective stim I’ve found for reducing anxiety, and the best part is it was subscribed to me by the psychiatrist who diagnosed me with aspergers! Cross your arms and tap your hands, one at a time, on your arms. It uses both sides of your brain and forces them to communicate and therefore stops the flow of adrenaline through your body. Also counting backwards in twos from 100, because it stops racing thoughts). I got diagnosed with social anxiety a full five years before anyone thought to examine it a little further and come up with a better explanation that fits my symptoms (for lack of a better word). Even now, I am dreading the situation of my sister telling my parents something that is going to hurt them very, very badly, although I would be dreading it even if I didn’t have social anxiety or Aspergers. It’s just a bad, messed up situation and I’m the only one who knows all the details. But I digress. My favourite place to be is in my room, on my bed, and I’ve noticed the tendency that if social situations get really bad, at least to me, I start to want to hide, like under my bed, in my closet, under my desk. Basically anywhere tight and dark. I made myself a weighted blanket last week, and I’m finding that helps a lot as well to calm me down. This test seems to be very accurate, at least in my experience, so I’d say it’s a good one.

    1. Weighted blankets are fantastic if you find pressure calming!

      Thank you for sharing the calming strategies that you find effective. I’d never heard of the hug one before and it sounds like something I’d find effective. When I’m really nervous before something like public speaking, I spend a lot of time bouncing up and down. I have no idea why it works, but it feels like it gives all of my excess energy a place to go. 🙂

    2. I’ll be trying that arm-tapping thing next time I’m stressing. And I must remamber the counting down one too as I’ve tried it before and it does help.

    3. Thank you so very much for posting this. My anxiety has been bad for some time and I am definitely going to try butterfly hugs! They make so much sense to me as they also offer an additional benefit of a deep pressure squeeze. I too like weight and I am also thinking a weighted blanket might help. As a child mum used to lay on my arms whenever I was in need of comfort bit difficult to ask someone to do this as an adult – haa haa

  4. Yay, I love tests 🙂
    I got 69 – marked social anxiety. 25 for fear and 44 for avoidance – the high avoidance doesn’t surprise me because I also default to avoidance 🙂
    In terms of fear I went with a 3 on speaking in front of an audience, giving a prepared oral talk to a group and giving a party – they are my idea of hell. And I went with 2 for going to a party, speaking up at a meeting, using a phone in public and being the centre of attention. I don’t like being specifically noticed. I’d much prefer to blend in with the landscape.
    Avoidance gave me 3s on all those on which I went with a 2 or 3 for fear, plus calling someone I don’t know very well – I avoid phone calls, except to my parents, whenever possible. There were a number of occasionally answers for avoidance where I might avoid it depending on the circumstances e.g. eating or drinking with others I might well avoid if I didn’t know them well or if I couldn’t face the lack of a quick escape! And I’ll often avoid sales people because I too find them highly aggravating and a waste of my time. And I don’t do confrontation well so I avoid any chance of that.
    Part of me says that I should try facing up to some things that scare me or which I avoid. But then another part says why? If they’re not things that I actually want to do then why put myself through stress and crap for the hell of it? I can make phone calls if I have to. Forcing myself to make them more often isn’t going to change how I feel about them or make them easier. I don’t enjoy going to the dentist just because I now go every 6 months and I don’t think it’s really any easier – finding a nicer dentist helped. And since parties bore me rigid I’m damned if I going to throw one (who would i invite anyway!) and I’d rather stay home than go to one.
    But it was a good test. I liked the variety of options.

    1. “But then another part says why? If they’re not things that I actually want to do then why put myself through stress and crap for the hell of it?”

      I’ve moved a lot more in this direction since getting diagnosed. I think there should be a caveat to this test that takes into account how interested you are in engaging in the various “optional” social interactions presented. If you can accomplish what need/want to by other means or if not doing something doesn’t detract from your quality of life, then does it really count?

      A big part of any “disorder” is the fact that it impairs your quality of life, I think. For example, the average person prefers a moderate amount of risk in their life. It’s not considered a disorder if someone “avoids” bungee jumping, rock climbing and deep sea diving. Most people have a perfectly acceptable quality of life while never doing any of those things. So if not doing a particular thing has little to no impact on your personal QOL, I don’t think there should be any pressure to do it or to feel bad/guilty/defective for not doing it. I guess it all comes back to general social norms and who determines what they are (hint: not us 🙂 ).

      1. Well I’d agreed to meet a friend for lunch today because she’d texted and I’d felt like I couldn’t say no even though I didn’t actually want to (not because of her, just because I desperately needed some quality me time). Then I got uber-stressed because my cats haven’t been 100% over Christmas etc. and I decided to put me first and so I cancelled! Needless to say my mother, when I mentioned it, was full of social norm crap but I didn’t care (well it p*ssed me off but..) and so I’ve felt more relaxed today (and youngest cat appears to be feeling better too!)
        2015 is going to be the year of saying to hell with meeting social norms!!
        And maybe the year of working on my anxiety levels…..

        1. Totally agree, my score Fear = 22, Avoidance = 48 so Total 70. I just can’t be bothered with the stress of doing certain things (any social group activity) unless I absolutely have to. I expected them to have an ‘Always’ under Avoidance as I would have ticked that a few times 🙂
          That said, I work with other people, albeit in IT, I run a small charity rehoming dogs to people and cope reasonably well with most of the things suggested in the test.
          My score would have been a little higher in fear and much lower in avoidance 10 years ago (so would have probably had a lower overall score), but I am far more confident now.
          It’s just I make more choices that suit me, which means I avoid rather than endure – so-to-speak.

  5. 35 (fear) and 46 (avoidance) equal 81 making me a severe case according to this test. I’d thought I would end up somewhere in the middle before taking the test. Thinking back to the time I headed a small transnational volunteer organisation and had to speak in public quite a lot… Yes, I had developed little rituals to get me into the mood for doing what was required and came back drained of all resources, often ending in my bed for days, hiding from the world. It was my special interest that made me live that life for years, learning on the job. And I am proud of the good things I did achieve, so there is a balance.

    1. It’s great that you have positive memories of that time, in spite of how difficult it was.

      The long recovery period that we often experience after social events . . . I think that’s something that few definitions of social anxiety take into account. Dreading something because it’s going to leave you drained for days is different from dreading something because it will bring on a panic attack. I think the ill effects of the latter can often be reduced through therapy/medication whereas depleted resources is often a result of even the most enjoyable social interactions.

  6. It’s a good thing they made fear and avoidance separate, because otherwise I think they’d probably get a lot of false positives. For instance, I avoid using a phone in public, not because I’m afraid of doing so, but because if I try to use my phone on a street, or a bus, or in a mall filled with people and other sources of noise, I won’t be able to hear a thing the other person is saying (I have trouble hearing what people are saying on the phone even when I’m in a quiet room by myself, but in any noisy, public place, it’s absolutely impossible).

    Though, even with fear and avoidance being separate,the test doesn’t, as you’ve pointed out, take into account the fact that a person’s fears could be perfectly rational (and thus their avoidance could be rational, too). But I’m not sure if a screening test could ever really be able to distinguish between rational and irrational social fears, and that could be something that a clinician using it could try to sort out with their client after they took the test.

    1. Yeah, I think this test is a good starting point, either for a conversation with a therapist or as a kind of guided self-discovery. Like, I’d never stopped before to think about why I dread hosting parties and I realized that a big part of it is the executive function strain from all of the planning and coordinating that goes into it. If I could just throw a few pizzas and some beer on the table and everyone helped themselves it would be several orders of magnitude less stressful but adult parties don’t seem to work that way. :-/

      1. This is exactly what the gestalt therapist explained to me in my early twenties, and it did help me then: the people do not come to your party because you offer them food of a certain quality, they come to your party because they want to be with you.
        And it still helps me today: I do not have to offer the perfect treat, I just offer something with a personal touch because people come for me and not for the food.
        All that doesn’t take away the anxiety of being found lacking, doesn’t take away the anxiety of finding my home invaded. It just takes away that peak of anxiety of being found out lacking the minimum. The balance – and here I come again – is that my party is different and appreciated for being different, for not being the same. The same is what anybody else has no problem copying from everybody else, I do things just that bit different and it doesn’t create a problem. It allows for compliments.

        1. But I am living in Europe, me from one country, the Expert from another, living together in a third country. Being different is just what people expect, so I might be the lucky one that anyway is expected to be different anyhow.

        2. Everything you say is so true but I seem not to be able to internalize it for some reason so I keep coming back to the kind of party I’d like to have is “wrong”. Mind you, this isn’t the case with family or close friends, but with neighbors and other acquaintances so I make up some sort of fictional standards for. Clearly something that I could do some work on.

      2. Adult parties can work that way if you decide that is the party you are willing to give. This was a huge discovery for me in my 50’s after a lifetime of rigid rules inherited from Mom. Us great!ntil I was in my 50’s I hadn’t cooked for more than 6 people because it was so ridiculously complicated. I finally realized that my friends just want to spend some time with me & they aren’t judging my performance so soup & biscuits or store bought pizza or… Now a few of us do small potlucks, alternating who does the meat dish. Works great!

  7. Just wanted to say that I am loving your comments .Discovered your blog a few weeks ago and am feeling less alone in this world! I feel and react to social situations exactly the same as you. It has only been this year that I realized I have AS – I am 44. I wish I had known sooner, my life may have been less confusing.

    1. There seem to be a lot of us in that position – I was diagnosed this year at the age of 42 and I’m now going back over my life and thinking ‘that explains that, and that… and that… and that ….’ I so wish I’d been diagnosed at the start of secondary school.

    2. Welcome! I’m glad you’re finding the blog relatable and that you’ve had your “aha” moment. I know it’s hard when it comes late in life, but I guess that’s better than never (or even later – my dad just realized at 81 after reading my book!).

  8. 29 (anxious) + 46 (avoidance) = 75. You have marked social anxiety. There’s very little I’m out and out afraid to do, most of it is simply anxiety and dislike. Heh, if they add a third dropdown for “dislike” instead of having just “fear”, this could double well as an anti-social test too! Most of my score comes from speaking, presenting, hosting, and generally being the center of attention. I have a mild stutter and I’m prone to tripping over my words, and because I get bored so easily and look for something interesting to discuss I often have to listen to people whine and complain about how weird I am. If they’re not already over-focused on me not wearing makeup or not letting my boobs hang out all over the place like most women.

    I assume “drinking with others” refers to alcohol and not liquid intake of any form. I avoid it because I have a much better time being the designated driver and the one holding the camera!

    1. I actually think a dropdown for dislike would be really useful. A few of my fear scores would have shifted to strongly dislike if it was available.

      Actually, I’m not even sure if fear is accurate for my responses because fear is such a visceral thing and something I rarely experience (for whatever unknown reasons). If anything, I tend to seek out things other people fear just for the entertainment value/sensory input. Well this is going in an interesting direction. Probably a sign I should stop talking now.

      1. I wonder what the scores would end up being like if we pretended “fear” meant “dislike” and went from there? Hrm…

  9. I scored 79.
    43 fear + 36 avoidance = social anxiety.
    I suspect its due to us being this way and having Asperger’s on top of it, which has its good and bad points. However, I’ve come to observe that its because we do things so differently to the norm / majority that’s why we feel out of place and many of these other people who say they are open to difference and accepting, its usually in words only.
    I’ve begun to spot some of their (NT’s/non autistic’s) fears and avoidances too. Its usually disguised in ‘their bluffing’.
    I’m working on retaining balance. Not changing who I am to become like them as unknowingly to us they’re secretly desiring to adopt some of the things we do and end up paying loads of money for those things.
    The secret in life is balance. Learning to love and accept yourself for who you are. We are all unique! We stand out from the crowd. One cannot be unique and be the same like everyone else! We’re world changers in our own special way. Leaders and not followers like the majority.

  10. I knew there was a problem but, test validation aside, this is somewhat worse than I thought. 55(fear) + 61(avoidance) = 116 “You have very severe social anxiety.”

    I think there is a lot behind this. I think I’d have scored badly, but not this badly, as a child. I mean, ten years ago I could use the phone to call a friend. I’d have been nervous (elevated heart rate etc), but I’d have done it. Now the phone ringing makes me panic. My friends know to text, not call.

    A lot has to do with the growing understanding of how being an Aspie affects social interaction. I make enough mistakes that any interaction might involve making an error or series of errors that might make an interlocutor uncomfortable (morally wrong, now I understand the risks), by way of me being in some way excluded from any given space (I now avoid becoming habitual anywhere I might find humans) all the way up to physical violence (which I’ve so far managed to avoid, but I see no point taking risks, especially given the rise in attacks on the disabled).

    I’m joining many Aspies as a near recluse, because I understand the NTs hate me, and it’s not pretty.

  11. My score was Fear:35 Avoidance:22 Total:57

    The whole time I was doing the test I kept thinking, “I guess I’m not as anxious as I think I am, I’m leaving lots of these answers as ‘never’,” but I still scored above the cut-off so I guess that I am as anxious as I think I am. I liked the fact that it did scores for both the fear itself *and* weather we avoid it, as it definitely gave me some insight into why I feel so exhausted after being out in the world. If my fear is high but I go into the situation anyway that really does drain my resources. And I think that my fear is rational. It gets stressful after repeated awkward interactions, to just get out there and be social.

  12. Haven’t done the test yet, but I’m a N/T (who has one husband & 2 of 3 adult children with Aspergers) & I have diagnosed Social Phobia.. I’ll be back with my results.

  13. Excellent post! A very misunderstood and important topic, and your post hits the nail on the head – it is very concise. I think the social phobia paradigm (= irrational anxiety, worries about “what people think of me”) is automatically assumed by many psychologists when presented with symptoms of anxiety and/or avoidance in relation to socialising.

    I think the Liebowitz screening test is good for the same reasons you mention. I really think it ought to be a mandatory screening tool before diagnosing anyone with social anxiety; done in a therapy session, where the client could also explain his/her answers. I suspect the social phobia (mis)diagnosis is THE diagnosis anyone with social relationship difficulties almost automatically gets, and that it might become less common if proper screening was done.

    My result: 8(fear) + 23(avoidance) = 31
    “You do not suffer from social anxiety.”

    Like you, I’ve had a diagnosis for social phobia (twice actually, but I’ll disregard the first time as it was a very brief session), and while I did have strong social anxiety problems at the time, most of the assumptions the psychologist made about my thinking patterns and also childhood history (sort of extrapolated backwards), were wrong. I didn’t correct him initially, because I was not fully aware of his assumptions. He had framed the descriptions of social phobia symptoms as case stories where he asked if I have experienced something similar, and I had – at some points in my life – I was very helpful and even came back with elaborate lists of the kinds of symptoms he was interested in. I didn’t realise what kind of perspective was building up until after the first 3-4 sessions, where I was increasingly irritated about all these blown-out-of-proportion symptoms I felt were being projected onto me, whereas what I felt were more like key issues were being excluded as irrelevant. I then tried several times to explain that the therapy was off track, that the assumptions were wrong and the treatment not that relevant, but I wasn’t good at defining my problems, and he wasn’t a good listener (or reviser of assumptions), so I gave up and stopped the therapy. His final report totally confirmed my suspicion that his assumptions were wrong/out of perspective: I couldn’t recognise myself in the personality description at all (a whole A4 page supposedly describing me and my history), it might as well have been a different person.

    I was then referred to a specialist anxiety clinic for an evaluation for social anxiety. The evaluation was led by a mature psychiatrist with a young psychologist (student?) present as observer (and asking a few questions as well). The young psychologist was prone to the same fallacy as my former psychologist: he made assumptions and projected fear and irrational thinking patterns onto my descriptions of my reactions, behaviours and social difficulties; those projections were not my feelings. Now wiser by experience, I asked him to specify his assumptions when his questions seemed to imply some undefined motivations, and told him directly that he was making assumptions, and that they were wrong and he shouldn’t ask questions with built-in assumptions. The psychiatrist concluded on the basis of the evaluation that social anxiety was not my primary problem, but secondary to some underlying deeper issue. He suggested to look into (“rule out”) a developmental disorder (“such as Asperger’s Disorder”), or a personality disorder (some clusters), and then said that their clinic could not help me, because he did not think I had social anxiety.

    (I know I’ve told bits and pieces of the above before – my apology for the repetitions, but I thought it might be useful as a comment in this context anyway)

    1. Your questioning assumptions was a great thing and probably surprised the doctor/student. I think my anxiety disorder diagnosis was based on a different but still false set of assumptions on the part of the clinician and knowing what I do now, I’d feel comfortable questioning. At the time I was too surprised (and was processing too much new information) to do much of anything.

      1. When I was younger I used to think people in certain positions / professions knew all the right answers and listened to them imposing their text book views on me thinking they were talking from experience. I realise now that isn’t the case. They speak from what they assume what we say ‘sounds like’, top that over with a sugar layer of what they recall to memory from what they learnt and their limited life experienced perception. I believe we were like a dry sponge who believed what others said in those professions and its only later after finding out the truth, we realise they’ve been imposing their own views on us and keeping us down all the while we’ve been keeping them in jobs! I wonder what profession they’d be in if we weren’t perceived as having a disorder / complex issues?

    2. That is very understandable… I also didn’t question anything from the start (quite the contrary) and when I did start to question the assumptions, I wasn’t good at it. It looks more clear and well organised now in writing, than it was back then.

  14. I got: 28(fear) + 30(avoidance) = 58 :You have moderate social anxiety. One factor of my avoidance of unpleasant activities that isn’t really covered on the test is, in many cases I don’t avoid it forever, I just procrastinate. For example I had on my “to do” list to contact somebody (an old friend) I hadn’t talked to for years and I was anxious about how it would turn out (poor history of friend relationships in general) so I put it off for a long time, but eventually I did it. I just have to work up to it. If I feel it has to be done I will do it eventually but procrastination plays a large role. Another reason I avoid things is due to the overall hassle of what is involved vs actual fear. For example, I don’t have fear of returning items, but I sometimes don’t due to the amount of hassle involved/driving time/etc. Outings can be exhausting. I have to balance it against the cost of the object. I sometimes avoid get-togethers with people I don’t feel a strong connection with due to how draining and exhausting they can be with little return for me, vs. actual fear. I definitely do have fear an anxiety about a number of things but my avoidance is often tied to other factors.

    I don’t really spend that much time worry about other people judging me or me embarrassing myself anymore (though I did when I was young). People judge me anyway and I regularly do “weird” and embarrassing things, so I sort of limit caring about it to only being important if I’ve hurt someone I care about (or I’m going to get lectured about it by family members which is tiresome). I think I’m more anxious about my own reaction/standards than other people’s and if I think I screwed up it causes me a lot of anxiety.

    I remember going in for a minor surgery about an issue I had identified myself, and I was extremely nervous telling the doctor about the issue. I was afraid he would tell me that I was just imagining it or it wasn’t really a problem. I was so anxious about the whole thing my voice was shaking and it was difficult to talk. He asked me if I was normally an anxious person. The question totally surprised me as I don’t think of myself this way at all. Plus I thought, surely it can’t be that unusual to be anxious about surgery (and it was a problem that had long emotional connections for me). But apparently it was unusual. I was very relieved when he agreed that the problem did exist and surgery was appropriate and my anxiety about that disappeared. But then I wanted to get it taken care of right away. He wanted to book a followup appointment for several weeks later, but I knew that I would just worry about it non-stop until then so I had to get it done right away (which he finally agreed to). I feel the same way about dental procedures… if something is identified as needing work, I want it done right then and taken care of, so I don’t have to build up all this anxious anticipation… that’s the worst.

    1. Procrastination, yes! I do this too. I will put off phone calls for days, until I feel so bad about not doing it that the bad feeling from avoiding it becomes worse than the unpleasantness of doing it. Definitely not an optimal coping strategy. 🙂

    2. I can so relate to this – had to go to the dentist a fortnight ago for a check-up (9am appointment – get it over and done with) and she said I needed a filling! I was dreading her saying that because there was no way I wanted to have it hanging over me all Christmas (she’s just back off maternity leave and that was the only day she was doing pre-Christmas) as I’d stress out. Luckily she fitted me in at 12 but I was still stressed for 3 hours. It didn’t help that I’d set aside a fortnight for my ‘do nothing, see no-one’ Christmas break and the appointment for a check-up (which they’d dithered about sorting with not knowing when she’d be in) fell in the start of that. It showed just how much I hate having my plans changed!

        1. I’ve never been one to keep up to date on expressions. It was a very long time that I realised that 24-7 was 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – I’d worked out from the context in which it was used that it meant a lot or all the time but I’d just assumed it was another of “those” expressions that made no sense if taken literally!
          Of course if I’d been accurate I’d have said ‘a fortnight ago tomorrow’ but I’m more aware since diagnosis that I provide a tad too much detail sometimes – apparently there is such a thing as too much detail!!

      1. Having plans changed is definitely a factor for me too, especially if it’s plans for one of those do-nothing recovery days/weekends! Those always seem to turn into days where I end up catching up on tons of stuff instead of actually being able to do nothing, plus they are hard to explain to other people :P. Nobody seems to understand why I need so much recovery time. Re-reading my earlier comment I realized that I must have a peculiar combination of procrastination combined with wanting to get it over with! I delay and delay something, but when I’m ready to get it done… I want it done and over with! 😛 Dentists/doctors are such a great example of that (though they don’t understand why I want something taken care of immediately when I delayed so long coming in), but also any other task I’ve put off long enough but then I just want it over and done with and I can’t wait any longer. Breakups come to mind for some reason too 😛

  15. musingsofanaspie,
    I completely identified with your points in your intro here about how your social ‘issues’ manifest.

    I always take these kinds of tests quickly as possible without analylizing too much.
    I think of a relevant example and answer based on that.
    On this test, I also equated fear with stress and/or anxiety.
    Also, I am self employeed.
    I have NO problem calling a customer with questions which will perfect the job, or to share specific info.
    I only call my daughter, sis-in-law, and 1 or 2 other friends. I always feel anxious about what we might talk about or if the call is an intrusion.
    I usually dont answer my home or cell. I prefer to hear the message first and see what the topic is.
    I love texting bc it is typically concise, to the point, and unintrusive, and more efficient to access than a voice mail.
    I never call anyone else just to ‘chat’.
    It has to be for a specific reason.

    If aquaintences, or people I know want to talk in public more than the scripted ‘hi how are you today’ I become anxious and usually make some sort of joke or say something that some people think is sarcastic – but some people laugh. Either way, I wind up having to explain it … I am also immediately scanning ways to get out if it or end it.

    I also just took on a part time waitress position. I do this job in the form of the best waitress you ever saw in a movie, combined with all the skills & knowledge I have about customer service, etc, & info like Dale Carnegie.
    So I smile a whole lot and call people baby & sweetie and use a pleasant voice, even if someone is unruly or belligerant.
    I am very clumsy too so I bump into booths & drop stuff a lot. I started using trays bc I dont see how other waitresses carry so many plates in their hands AND on their arms (which I think is gross too if the plate is touching)
    I am stressed a lot by things piling up and needing to be taken care of so I am like a person on speed or caffine, (but I am not using any chemicals)
    A lot of people know me and ask why I’m there and I ALWAYS make sure they know I am still painting FULL time & this job is extra.
    (its only 2-3 nights a week at a waffle house)
    I am very anxious when the food does not look nice or is not cooked properly or the cook fails to add or delete an item as per the customers request. Regardless of whether it affects my tip, I want the customers food to be correct, so I aplogize for the cook a lot and make them remake it. Whatever a person orders I want it to be presented perfectly. That is the whole point of eating out.
    If I get started on a specific task like sweeping or dishwashing, I dont like to stop until its done. Other employees get on to me if I dont rush to a customer. But I think the customer DOES need a chance to decide where they want to sit!! No one likes to be rushed or ‘bugged’ (very funny mental picture).
    Also, I do not constantly worry people about stuff. Other employees will go ask my customers if they need anything RIGHT after I already asked – but I act patient bc of (knowing about) good employee relations in the workplace)
    I am very impatient with people who can not decide what to order, or who constantly change the order BUT I do not show this. I totally lie and say its fine and they can take their time and get it how they want it bc this is the polite, patient thing to do and might
    even affect the tip.
    But I wonder why they do not know what they want to eat??
    Also, I like to write my tickets neat – and I will rewrite a new ticket when they come to their conclusion.
    I was a waitress MANY years ago so this is not my ‘first rodeo’ … but I do not know how long I will last at this job.
    But I make good tips and some customers already request me.
    But I am extremely offended by people who dont tip which happens a lot to all the waitresses. My boss let me put up a nice little sign ‘Please Dont Forget to Tip Your Waitress’
    But even when those customers return, I treat them the exact same way a waitress is supposed to act.

    ALL THAT SAID … I scored a total 94.

    You’d think I would be agoraphobic …
    but Im ok in any social situation that is
    • Exactly predictable
    •Revolves around exact routine OR a specific event I enjoy … like playing guitars for example.

    If I go to play guitars with a NEW group of musicians, I just want to go in, sit down and join in without conversation. I dont need to know anyones name, or what kind of guitar they play, or any details, and I feel my details are irrelevant. The music is the point.
    I can sing & play a solo in THAT group, but if they ask questions about the song or me, I feel I am turning red – I am very uncomfortable with that. What is their point? If they just say ‘That was great’ , thats ok, and move on. Afterward, I want to leave asap because I do not want to be interested in others nor them in me and have to talk.
    In front of strangers and/or large groups even if I know them, no matter how much I practice, I mess up a lot – but can go play it at home privately with no mistakes.
    At church, I finally learned to just say
    ‘Oh thank you, I appreciate that so much’ when they say they liked the song, instead of trying to dodge or avoid, or try to explain where all I messed up.
    Also, bc of bible studying, I learned that ‘church’ as we know it is not even biblical, its more small home groups which is fantastic so I just do that now.
    I was always trying to leave church asap when the service ended but – for reason, some people seem to really like me (too much Dale Carnegie) and they always stop me & talk to me.
    At times I needed to talk to a person about something, regardless of the subject I dreaded it bc they NEVER get the MAIN point – in conversation, people ALWAYS get sidetracked, add mundane needless info, and can not say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to simple questions – This is because they can not see the big picture and the whole topic. You have to take the puzzle apart for them and help them put all the pieces back together even if you simply ask ‘ what colour would you like ___ to be painted?’
    I dread talking to people about things they want me to do. I take elaborate notes & sketches of everything they say, not for me, FOR THEM, so I can dissect and cut away all the drivel and show THEM what they are seeing or trying to say.
    (that sounds really hateful, but most people seem to appreciate it)

    Bottom line:
    •Any NON-specific communication with people IS taxing and THERFORE anxiety causing, and THEREFORE preferabley avoided.
    •Any SPECIFIC conversation about a shared subject is largely unecessary bc we already know.
    •Any SPECIFIC subjects where something can be learned is necessary and therefore non-specific communication is tolerable in order to achieve specificity, as in creating a sign, or in waitressing for two examples.

  16. 39 fear 37 avoidance = 76 marked social anxiety. For me it was the situations that created the fear that lead to avoidance. Interestingly I am a Teacher in Adult Education. Every day is a social situation and stressful. I have learnt to cope by acting but it leaves me exhausted and I withdraw from any social contact at the end of the day. I avoid any unnecessary social situations meetings are particularly stressful for me. I have noticed the more stressful my day is, how much contact I have makes me withdraw more. I get exhausted and tired easily and most of the time want to curl up with my blanket and hide from everything.

  17. also I do not socialize with my co-workers at all except 1 cook bc she likes movies a lot & knows a great deal of movies -we only got to talk one time about it. I would consider visiting her or having her over for movie watching bc she says she does not like talking during movies & neither do I.
    Everyone at that restaurant smokes so they go outside & sit down smoking a lot – and we seldom get to talk about movies bc we’re very busy.
    If they are inside and sitting at the employee table, I do not ever sit & ‘talk’ with them. If I sit down, I work the crossword puzzle in every newspaper that piles up all week. They do not speak to me nor I to them except to say who gets the next table.
    I hate it when rules change from day to day or are different for certain people. This is extremely wrong – if I point this out, people make strange excuses or act irrationally dramatic.
    I hate it when employees engage in chidish drama. I just walk away unless it is a customer bc the customer is always right. You just fix it very politely until they are calmer, or satisfied.

    At my business I work alone in my shop. Most business is phone contact & email quotes, and measuring locations etc, and I can install most jobs alone.
    If I have a helper on a job (maybe 1/2 day once a month) I wish they would not talk & chatter about anything not job related, or significant to learning something important.
    I try to play NPR or other talk radio, but it does not work.
    I am stunned & extremely irritable with people who will still talk even after you tell them to listen to a good news program.
    On any job, or with my kids, or ANYbody, I find no matter HOW politely you try to ask people to do or not do something, they usually become very defensive and say irrelevant assinine things – they act very childish – its best to completely avoid pointing out obvious ways to be efficient …
    But I have to re-train my post-hole-digger guy EVERY time we do a job bc he wastes a lot of time & money not using the tool tool properly. When he uses it properly, we’re done in half the time.
    I cannot make people understand the principle of wages …
    Im going to give you $25 to dig two holes. If it takes you 1 hour, thats $25 an hour. But if it takes you 30 minutes thats $25 for a half hour and the rest of the time is yours NOT working.

    No one on my waitress job understood the concept of figuring their hourly wage total for 8 hours, plus their total tips, then dividing by 8 to see what theyre really making per hour.
    At times, its only about 6.42 an hour!!! NOT worth it!!!
    I then figured the overall average hourly wage over 8 weeks is 7.90 … but it is not consistent and it is not enough for the levels of work involved.
    The restaraunt needs to increase their hourly wage bc its impossible to make minimum wage.
    But other waitresses acted surprised or shrugged & acted like they didnt care when I tried to explain this. They are young & maybe dumb.
    I have always figured jobs like this.
    Also, I feel that most people are extremely lazy in thought, and on the job. I seldom see people take pride in their work or do extra small detailed things like extra cleaning, or beiing very polite by saying excuse me, please, thank you, etc. These are top job skills… I always praise the cooks when the food looks good. I do not get mad or rude if anyone asks me a question.
    I find laziness & lackadaisical people EXTREMELY offensive. But usually you cannot point this out.
    Work ethic by example is the best teacher.
    … I only have to do this extra job til spring, when my other jobs increase and weather improves for exterior work.

  18. Welp, I scores high! 52+51=103! Maybe I’ve been overreacting a bit in my answers.

    I too thought it was interesting to see the fear/avoidance split. Sometimes I avoid things more than I fear them, because they’re not that important/necessary, like general social activities. In other situations I feel more fear/anxiety than I avoid them, because either it’s necessary or I think it’s important. I have learned to speak up in classes or meetings no matter how anxious I feel about it, simply because I feel it’s important that everyone, including me, contribute. Otherwise what’s the point of us sitting there? Then again, most meetings and classes I have nowadays are with other autistic people, so it’s easier to just speak up.

    I realized with te last question I have no problem whatsoever getting rid of high pressure sales people. They simply do not register as important, I brush them off easily before they even manage to start on their sales pitches. 🙂

    Interesting!

  19. So I basically put mild or none for almost every fear question because only one situation I actually feel fear…but I do feel mild discomfort or sensory overload which I felt I could not put Nothing all the time either. So I scored 23 on fear because almost all had Mild or 0…On avoidance however I received a 49 which put me up to 72 for Marked Social Anxiety but honestly, All the things I avoid I can also Do if necessary but if I had the CHOICE I would avoid them…and it’s avoidance mostly because I would be incredibly bored, over or under stimulated or frustrated at time constraints, chit chat ect. Basically what I avoid is out of getting easily exhausted from other people or situations. So I answered Usually or Occasionally for almost all of them. The ONLY question I have a bit of fear about is Calling Someone I don’t Know very well…I HATE that and It does involve a bit of fear of myself saying something highly inappropriate but otherwise nothing else comes with fear. It comes with either caution for germs (like going in a public toilet- I WILL avoid if necessary but that would not fall into social anxiety but my germ phobia…so it’s a fear but of the wrong kind…same with eating in public places- its from germs not people that I prefer not to ect.) Talking to authority, taking something back, speaking in public…all things I will avoid if I can but if I have to do them, I CAN do them and usually it’s easier than I thought…Like I gave the maid of honour toast at my bros wedding and although I dreaded it- I nailed it and had no issues doing it- the preparing was worse actually…I can get through it…and leave early later because I am drained from my social meter… I do have some severe anxiety but it falls under germ/ sickness and tragedy….Like I won’t drive in crazy storms and have lots of fear about hospitals…But YES i DREAD and need to avoid a lot of social situations or my quality of life goes WAY down but again, you clarified nicely- its not out of fear- it’s out of brain wiring…it’s out of sensory overload…its because of executive functioning fails or executive functioning that causes me to have to shut down early because of all the effort. I wish doctors would see the difference because it drives me nuts when they see avoidance and sum it up as anxiety in all areas of my life. I tell them I am very honest and KNOW I have germ anxiety but no, I don’t have most other anxiety…Anyway, your steps for a social event are also EXACTLY would I do!!! It’s uncanny!

  20. I forgot to mention that during a depressive episode I can have HIGH anxiety but it usually is not contained to JUST social things although it CAN bleed into that area…but on a daily basis it is not about fear- it’s about what my brain can handle. The only places I have social anxiety is medical places and theatres and VERY crowded malls…But again it comes down to tragedy- I always think of a masked gunman in those situations and it’s out of fear of tragedy which I suppose could be translated as fear of people. But it’s more that I am on high alert because with that many people there is a high chance that some of them are not upstanding people with high morals and with everything in the news my brain can see potential issues. For instance- I had a high paranoia of theatres right before that issue happened at the Batman movie…and my husband thought I was ridiculous and imaginative until it showed up in the news…and then he was wondering why I would think of something like that ( even though I would NEVER do it myself) and I said it’s because of four factors: Darkness, High intensity emotions and violence in a show, hero worship to the previous Joker for someone who could be borderline insane or any other bad guy in other movies cases, and a steady supply of numerous people…all those factors made my highly paranoid in movie theatres…and when it happened it only confirmed that my logic COULD be correct…also on busy holiday shopping mall days I felt the EXACT same way- if someone is unhinged of course they are going to pick the most populated place full of diversity…and then it happened in the news…So I don’t think my anxiety is unfounded…I just think I think too much about other people’s motivations, perspectives ect…I often feel Like Sherlock ( the show) and can predict and observe and almost foretell tragedy NOT because I am inclined to it but because my brain works like his…Hopefully that makes sense?

  21. My scores were 51 for fear and 48 for avoidance, a total of 99 and a rating of very severe social anxiety. That makes sense. I began having full–blown panic attacks in social situations in college. I’ve been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder four times, and actually participated in one of the early clinical trials for the use of CBT with social anxiety a few years before Asperger’s made its way into the DSM.

    “Not being able to get it right no matter how hard I try” is exactly right. For me that rush of anxiety starts as soon as I realize that I don’t know what right is. I’m always the guy in corner who wasn’t handed the script everyone else seemed to get on the way in.

    Social anxiety has been one of my “special interests” for a quarter century now. Some researchers are suggesting that perhaps it should be reconceptualized as a developmental disorder in its own right, rather than being viewed strictly as an anxiety disorder. There was also a study I read not long ago (and can’t locate on my hard drive this morning) that talked about the role of theory of mind in the development of social anxiety. Here are a couple links to things related to both social anxiety and autism I was able to find:

    http://sfari.org/news-and-opinion/blog/2013/anxiety-autism-may-share-common-basis>
    http://sfari.org/news-and-opinion/in-brief/2011/cognition-and-behavior-anxiety-in-speech-linked-to-autism>

  22. A brand-new test! Yes! May there always be a plentiful supply of this essential food! Maybe complemented by a dessert of surveys? 🙂

    Fear 27, avoidance 40, total of 67. Mhm, that fits reasonably well to my self-image, just beyond the border between moderate and marked social anxiety. Many of the listed interactions with real people in face to face situations I am not afraid of (anymore), I just intensely dislike to be exposed to them.

    In 2014, finally living more openly autistic, the points on actual avoidance scenarios went up a lot. Going to a party and even worse, giving one, were not only high in fear as long as I can remember but now can happily be avoided! I simply refuse to participate. Two one-pointers that jumped to a ‘3’. In consequence, for example, yesterday I had a rather nice and quiet new years eve. The blissful seclusion of a half-hermit, distributing sincere good wishes electronically. My two other serious fear issues were looking half-strangers into the eyes and meetings with the ‘danger’ of a romantic undertone. And the (in)famous unavoidable phone calls, of course.

    Then I tried to do the test with my ‘old biography’ in mind. How I would have answered some years ago, when I would have considered several types of social events unescapable? Turns out, not too surprisingly, the total score would have been similar. But thanks to the young lady who nudged me towards diagnosis, my quality of life improved. Less fear, more avoidance, yeah!

    1. “Less fear, more avoidance, yeah!”

      I’m happy to see others framing avoidance as a positive thing. I’ve made a conscious choice over the last few years to not guilt myself into doing nonessential things that I don’t enjoy and I’m so much more relaxed and happier for it. In fact, screw avoidance – we should just call it what it is: choosing how we prefer to spend our time, one of the wonderful privileges of adulthood.

      1. What a nice coincidence: Just started typing a comment to nelliepmoore’s brand new blog when your answer came in. Two bullet to point-notes read:
        * ‘No more apologies for being me’ and
        * ‘I am different but I don’t wont to hurt you. Just let me do things my way’. Reciprocity expected, of course !
        Other words but close to yours, ne c’est pas? 🙂

      2. Exactly! It’s our choice. No-one says to someone who’s out and about doing stuff all the time ‘ooooo you’re avoiding staying home, what’s wrong with you, it’s not good for you’ so why should we get criticised for our choices.
        As an example – I could have gone to watch Miami Dolphins (“my” team) play at Wembley in October but I didn’t. People asked me why I didn’t and assumed that I was doing my usual not going anywhere routine. But actually I got much more enjoyment watching it at home. I didn’t have the hassle and stress of the journey, worrying about getting timings right, would there be huge crowds on the trains etc. No worrying about personal safety and pickpockets. No having to work out what to do about food and would there be an appropriate train back late. No having to make arrangements for someone to come and check on my dog. No missing crucial parts of the game because the view was static. Instead I got to enjoy it from the comfort of my sofa, with my dog snuggled up, eating what I fancied, when I fancied, no queues for the toilet, commentary to tell me exactly how it was going, close ups and reruns of key plays. How is that not a better experience? Okay so I didn’t get the atmosphere but then would I really enjoy that enough to compensate, given that I don’t like crowds. It was a win-win situation from my point of view. And cheaper! (And we actually won that game!)
        I shall tell people in future that ‘I’m being an adult and making my own choices based on my personal preferences’ 🙂

      3. Oh, so well said! Thank you. I’ve pushed myself so much over the years to do things, when I did not want to, but judged myself for being selfish, that I needed to be considerate of others. I’m finding a new personal medium now that includes and honors my own needs. I love it! Screw avoidance – choosing how I prefer to give of my time. 🙂

        1. I just finished writing a post for next week and reading your response here makes me think I need to take my own advice more often. 😀

          The self-judgment is so hard to let go of. I wonder why that is.

          1. Maybe the self-judgement is from decades of being judged by others and then internalizing it. Speaking for myself I’ve grown up judging myself and apologizing for myself. The self-judgement has been so ingrained within me that I’ve now got to unlearn it. I do it to myself all the time. I bump into furniture and apologize – LOL!!!

            How many of us post here (myself included) and on other blogs and then apologize for it for some reason or another. The number one reason because we feel it’s too long a post. On the whole some of our posts are longer, and some shorter, and without fail, I always value the longer ones as much as I do the shorter ones. There was something important in that longer post that needed to be shared by the poster, or seen and read by the reader. I’m always grateful for each post. I don’t always respond to each post. Sometimes I’m just tired and reading it and nodding is as much as I want to do, but I still value it.

            Love this community! ❤

            1. I used to feel bad about waffling on but since my diagnosis and seeing it written in black and white (well, black on white) that I provide too much info verbally and in writing, I no longer care so much. I just accept that it’s part of me being me 🙂 It’s a cool feeling being able to accept yourself a bit better. I’ve spent so long beating myself up (yes, being judged and found wanting by others does that, doesn’t it) that actually saying to myself that something is pretty much expected from me, on account of my Aspergers, is liberating. Sometimes I just go back and re-read my diagnosis report, just from the pleasure of being able to say ‘this is describing me, the real me’.

              1. “that I provide too much info verbally and in writing . . .”

                I was told that a lot over the years, personally and professionally. That sometimes I shared so much information that it was too much to process (in so many words). With an understanding of my Aspieness I’m finding, like you have shared, that it’s a combination of no longer caring, and owning that I communicate differently. Not in a, “I don’t care”, disrespectful way, but in a, “I am who I am” kind of way. As you said, this is the real me. It is liberating for sure. Knowing where I have challenges allows me to take them into account and in fact be even more productive in those areas where I really shine, instead of trying so hard to shine all over the place and fit into what the social norm says I should be doing. I feel like a lovely old wooden screen door with all the pretty wood trim at the corners and the well worn and loved paint around the edges and handle and the sweet, warm scented late spring breeze is moving through me. It’s a peaceful feeling that’s been a long time in coming. ❤

                1. I’m loving that mental image – I can picture the sunlight on it (late afternoon) and maybe some flowers growing up the wall around it… It’s very peaceful.

                2. Umm, yes Liz, nice. I forgot the flowers, and one of my favorite parts, when the door opens and closes and there is that sweet squeak and then the slap as the door hits the frame on closing. It’s all part of that lovely day. Oh and yes, it’s a late afternoon sunshine 😉

                3. “Squeak” . . .

                  Giggle . . . it’s possible our here in the northern plains, however the screen door I speak of is from my childhood and the front porch of my great granddad and or aunt. I still remember it to this day.

            2. Maybe the self-judgement is from decades of being judged by others and then internalizing it.

              I think this is a huge part of it. I’ve noticed that it also makes me hypervigilant at times – though this was more prevalent pre-diagnosis. I’ve noticed how much we apologize too! It’s almost a reflex for some of us.

              😀 at you apologizing the furniture!

              1. @ nelliepmoore a little further up / furniture / internalized self-judgement AND the test 🙂

                I wonder how much Angst would disappear as a classical ASD co-morbidity if we just ‘would be allowed’ by society to do things our way? Only (?) the design of the Liebowitz-test refers exactly to that issue. In the comments it was addressed several times that apparently increased avoidance decreases fear.

                In consequence, should diagnosis and professional psychological assistance not pay more attention for which differences to NT behavior there is no need whatsoever to develop coping mechanisms? And that all we would need to solve some ‘problems’ would be to leave us alone?
                Perhaps then we would at least have less problems to co-exist with our furniture 😀

                1. “I’ve noticed that it also makes me hypervigilant at times – ”

                  Oh yes, for sure. I’m so busy worrying about doing the ‘wrong’ thing, or trying to fit in, and judging me, as I think ‘they’ are judging me that I am on defcon 1 – hypervigelent in spades. That creates its own set of challenges because when I am that wired I will jump out of my skin if someone comes up behind me and I don’t hear them coming because I’m so focused – vigelent on whatever it is I don’t want to be judged about. Can we say cat chasing her tail 😉

                2. “I wonder how much Angst would disappear as a classical ASD co-morbidity if we just ‘would be allowed’ by society to do things our way?”

                  Oh, wouldn’t that be lovely. That kind of angst would likely disappear for many of us.

                  Over the years I have read (via sociology) ideas about society and social norms and who determines what they are, what is socially acceptable, and it varies from culture to culture. The things socially important to someone who lives in the remote regions of Alaska, is in general different from the person who lives in a highly dense city of five million. The core principles (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) we may share, but from there, what we consider ‘normal’ – ‘acceptable’ differs.

                  The thought that comes to mind for me where differences are most ‘acceptable’ among people, as it were (and even then there is class and racism) is among cultures. In the 21st Century we are more a melting pot than ever. With the advent of high speed communication – the web – and people relocating all over the globe we only have to open our door in a larger city to visit many cultures in a few square miles.

                  In general we are not judging our Norwegian neighbors for their love of lutafisk, or trying to change the way another Hmong neighbor celebrates a family holiday. It’s part of their culture and heritage. So perhaps we as Aspies – the ASD family, are our own culture. We can respect your culture, though we might not eat lutafisk, we ask that you respect ours. I apologize if there are any Norwegian Aspies out there ;). I’m using this example because I live in the upper-Midwest and lutafisk is common on the menu. My ancestors are Norwegian and one of these days I will make a trip to the region.

                  Food for thought . . . no pun intended!

                3. Related to my earlier post today on Cultural context . . .

                  I mentioned in my earlier response to Earnest’s post about being left alone to be who we are that I likened our Aspie-ASD way of being in the world as akin to cultural differences.

                  I just came across the book The Power of Neurodiversity by Thomas Armstrong PhD and he says, and I quote, “ . . . I’m particularly excited about my new book (out in December 2012) Neurodiversity in the Classroom: Strength-Based Strategies to Help Students with Special Needs Achieve Success in School and Life.

                  It suggests that we think about brain diversity in the same way we think about biodiversity and cultural diversity.”

                  Yes!!! We are a culture! Dancing on tiptoe!!!

              2. I know right! I’ve lost count of how many times that has happened over the years! My husband or kids would say, “who, ARE your talking too???”. I’d mumble the chair and shuffle off.

  23. “The blissful seclusion of a half-hermit, distributing sincere good wishes electronically.”

    Oh, I love that description! Blissful seclusion indeed! It was a lovely quiet evening here as well with happy new years wishes texted or otherwise sent via social media. Happy New Year to one and all ❤

  24. 46 and 43 for a total of 89.

    With each of these tests I do wish there were more choices for answers.

    For me answering these questions depends on how I feel on that given day and in that moment. If I am in sensory overload already I will more likely be feeling anxiety and more likely to not go to the mall, a movie, or anywhere in public. I might have agreed to going to the get together or event a few days before, but if I’m feeling overwhelmed or know that putting myself out there is going to be the tipping point, I will choose to stay home. I’m still learning to do this for myself, given that in the past I would have pushed myself to go, or judged myself for not going. With my diagnosis comes listening to myself and my needs and making other arrangements if I need to.

    I’m still new to my official diagnosis – December 4th, 2014, so I’m really in the processing stages of this whole thing. Reviewing my life in light of this understanding, deciding where I want to be now, what’s important.

    I told my kids about my diagnosis the day after Christmas and they were wonderful, supportive, and supported me in becoming the advocate that I want to be for Autism. Out youngest daughter even grabbed my iPad and created a tumblr page for me and said do it mom!

    The best thing I can think of to personally do in creating a support system for myself, and becoming an advocate is to help in educating about Autism and being on the spectrum. If I want others to understand me, to go beyond a Rainman stereotype, I have to do my part in educating them, and at the same time, doing what I can to understand how they process. NT and ND.

    That begins today. I can’t think of a better way to begin 2015 than celebrating the blessings of my happy, healthy family, and standing in what is beautiful for me about being an Aspie.

    I have the Tumblr page, now to create the blog and website.

    In my own unique, wonderful, Aspie way, hello world! 🙂

      1. Thank you! You are very kind. I published the first post last night and have another one ready to go in a little bit. Right now the blog is housed along with my website but that will be changing soon.

        One of my special interests – shared passions is love of nature, Gaia, Permaculture of if you will. There is a movement afoot that has been going on for a while in Permaculture and it speaks to “The New Story”, a term coined by Thomas Berry.

        The following is a quote from Permaculture.co.uk

        http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/new-story-why-changing-myth-changes-our-world

        “He (Thomas Berry) saw the urgent need to reconnect with the interdependence of all life and the planet, and he believed the root of this reconnection must be story.

        He wrote: “The main difficulty in replacing the industrial order is not the physical nature of the situation, but its mythic entrancement … the myth is primary.” This new myth “… must emerge from our new story of the universe. This… can be understood as soon as we recognise that the evolutionary process is from the beginning a spiritual as well as a physical process.”

        For me I am understanding my diagnosis as part of an evolutionary process and a “New Story” is unfolding about who I am and my place in the world – and further – going much deeper into what ASD could be.

        WE have the power to tell our own story as people with ASD. There is a new story afoot. A new myth to be told about ASD and who we are. In all of the ways that we “Speak” in the world. Be that through spoken word, music, art, a keyboard, or a host of other ways.

        Post one below 🙂

        http://cantadorallc.com/blog-2/

        1. Just looked: Post number two is already out as well ! Beware of my comment during the next coffee break 🙂 Likely it will also touch permaculture and Gaia since I am an active supporter of related activist groups.

          1. How awesome! Thanks!

            I love having kindred spirits those two areas as well!

            Please take not of my post above – I’m in the process of changing the domain name as of 4:23 Central Standard Time – US and I’m told it may take a few hours. Hopefully everything remains in intact. Everything is backed up!

          1. Thank you! I’m so excited and happy to be taking this next step! I mentioned above that I am renaming my website and blog (hosted by Bluehost which supports my WordPress blog-website).

            I was just told it can take a few hours so hopefully by this evening all will be switched over.

            The new blog-website is Wisdom Tara http://www.wisdomtara.com

            Wisdom Tara is my Buddhist name, given to me when I took refuge in Buddhism in 2011. Being given the name is a whole story in itself which I will share about on Wisdom Tara.

        2. Just a heads up here. As part of the process of claiming my Aspie self, and advocating for Autism I have renamed my website-blog. It’s now Wisdom Tara – The Autistic Buddhist http://www.wisdomtara.com

          It’s going to take a few hours for the whole update to take place as I transfer over all the files and make changes and additions.

          It may still be showing up as Cantadora LLC for a little longer but the new domain, Wisdom Tara should be fully in place by tonight.

          Heartfelt thanks to the folks at Bluehost and WordPress for their services.

          Putting another piece into place feels good! 🙂

            1. Awesomeness! Thank you, and nope, not way too long at all. In my mind, we all have something important to share. Sometimes our posts are longer, sometimes shorter. It’s all good and think they are all important and helpful.

  25. Thank you for creating these Test Tuesdays. I so appreciate the time and energy that goes into this. I don’t take all of the tests because some days it’s an overwhelm trigger, but when I can take them, I appreciate having the new pieces of information that they provide. 🙂

      1. Another amen here, especially on the having new info – it’s like every time someone shines a light inside my head and goes ‘did you realise … about yourself?’

  26. Kmarie, EVERYTHING you said made sense.

    I equate fear with stress. I fear stress … im always looking for ways to avoid it. Public restrooms and restaraunt dishes are stressful things to ponder. Therefore, I avoid using these things.
    I also was an alcoholic from about age 13-20 – which made me EXTREMELY withdrawn and reclusive.
    So, I have high avoidance for alchohol.
    Actually i would have prefered additional terms for choices like ‘always’ & ‘never’ on this test.
    The choices were too vague.
    Once again, does any one with ASD EVER write these tests??

    1. Thanks:) It would be nice if people with ASD wrote the tests ( although I still enjoy doing them! And I find it fascinating all of our collective answers) but I completely agree that it really is all perspective.
      Ew- I forgot about restaurant dishes!:) LOL. I just THINK too much! And as someone else pointed out that avoidance does not always affect quality of life. I don’t do half the things my NT counterparts do but my quality of life is often better than theirs…yet I do things that are not cultural or expected…i think it baffles them…so I guess it is just preferences in some cases…although anxiety can be hell if one experiences it and I definitely do at times…just maybe not as clinically as is stated in anxiety tests:)

      1. No coincidence then that many commenters on the post about the Aspie Quiz felt rather well-represented by the test (except for the ‘sex questions’ 🙂 ) considering that the author Leif Ekblad is an Aspie.

        Your formulation ‘I find all of our collective answers fascinating’ reminds me of a recent comment by Cynthia. Quote: ‘we are free to carry on with our citizen science, crowd sourced consensuses and first-person accounts of our experiences regardless of how the “experts” view it.’ Unquote. It would be a fascinating project indeed to compile all the collected wisdom (yes, *wisdom*!) here to create a comprehensive picture of our customs and habits. I bet it could add to the standard textbooks on ASD.

        1. I suppose way down here, deep within the comments is as good a place as any to say that our collected wisdom here is being preserved by the Brock University archive. They have a special autism collection and I’ve “gifted” my blog to them to be preserved. What really interested me about the project was having all of the comments preserved with the posts in a form that will be available long past the life of this blog. The comments here are an invaluable record of our lives as autistic adults and are collectively and individually so valuable in that respect.

          1. Wow ! Mouth open ! Someday sometime somebody might make use of it in a constructive way … what an inspiring thought.
            Provoking even more comments all over the place, of course 😀

          2. Isn’t that in Ontario Canada? Interesting…I wonder what will be done with it? Hopefully something… good.
            Thanks for sharing that info:) Your blog is invaluable and I am glad people are paying attention to that wisdom:)

            1. It is indeed in ON. 🙂

              Perhaps it will simply collect dust, but I hope not. It’s being indexed and organized right now. I’m breathlessly awaiting the listing going up online so I can see how many centimeters of paper “tall” it all is because each collection is quantified as “X cm of textual records”. Perhaps there should be a betting pool . . .

                1. 80 cm.
                  Based on the following boundary conditions:
                  * printed single-sided
                  * 15,000 words per post (word count in Word, some random samples, distributed evenly over time),
                  * ~ 500 words / page (wordstopages.com/), –> ~ 30 pages post
                  * 264 posts (provided all are categorized and the quick addition in my head is correct, which I doubt) –> ~ 8000 pages
                  * one pack of copy paper = 500 sheets ~ 2 inch ~ 5 cm
                  * 8000 pages –> 16 packs –> 80 cm

                  First, I can’t guess either. Second, the calculation will be completely wrong. Third, I have too much free time these days. Enjyoing said free time immensely.

                2. That sounds reasonable. There are 240 posts but some have huge numbers of comments, so it likely evens out in the end. I’ll let you know when I have an answer and will henceforth use actual math instead of guessing. 🙂

          3. Oh, I have goosebumps! I just saw your post. How freaking cool is that! What an awesome legacy to share with others. There is so much wisdom and heart here. I hope my blog and work for Autism can touch others the way that you and your work does! ❤

          4. Cool! I hope it doesn’t just collect digital dust, I’d like to think that somehow all of us will help ding a lightbulb so future autistic people get proper acceptance and support they deserve as human beings. And with any luck, maybe it’ll also do some good for allistic people that have a few “abnormal” quirks of their own.

            My personal bias is for added support for those of us who have married and bred. We’re a varmint even rarer than female autistics and a myth on par with Sasquatch and Nessie. I’ve half a mind to chronicle my adventures as a mom and start putting out resources for other autistic parents. Heheh, might read a bit like an instruction manual though. “If baby cries, check butt. If butt clean, pat back. If baby not gassy, give food. If not want food, give nap. If just crying, pray for salvation.” 😛

              1. You’d think there would be a lot more support for parents in general. When you’re expecting, they drill and nag you about every little thing. But once you hold that baby, they expect you to instinctively know everything about children except for giving them plastic bags or shaking them. Burping was easy but it took me ages to find the first guide on how to work the other end when he got gassy and upset about it! When I get around to that parenting blog, farting the baby is going to be high on the writing priorities list.

                1. I remember the colic thing with my kids. Our youngest had it the most noticeable, but all three had tummy upsets. All three of them were champions in their own right with projectile vomiting after eating, especially our oldest. All three had allergies (equals tummy and skin), and I knew it even early on because they were breast fed and if I ate something that did not agree with them, it would show up in either more gas, worse yet an explosive diaper, or skin rashes. Poor things. I think the checklist for me would have been more helpful as they got older and I struggled with emotions and how to respond, and things like me having a dissertation level discussion with them when all they had wanted was a simple answer to a question. 😉

                2. Oo, poor babies! I can imagine how rough it was on you both dealing with colic and allergies. The closest mine ever came to colic or a bad reaction to something I ate was the one day I absent mindedly had four pieces of garlic toast. I put it on light because it’s such a strong taste, but still. Twelve hours of crying. Which, looking back, being Aspie probably helped me get through that because it became a puzzle to solve instead of the usual mom response of “baby crying 12 hours, not normal, panic!!”. Burping didn’t work, he had absolutely no other signs of something wrong since he was full and rested, and that was the night I learned about working the opposite end. We bounced, rubbed the tummy, floated in water, bicycled the legs, and tried everything I could find that didn’t involve eating or drinking anything. I personally hate a diaper that comes after a feast of olives. He loves them, and I pay for them. Another mom said she had to be careful with corn, it made her baby sick.

            1. “Heheh, might read a bit like an instruction manual though. “If baby cries, check butt. If butt clean, pat back. If baby not gassy, give food. If not want food, give nap. If just crying, pray for salvation.”

              Oh, Giggling out loud! I love that! Yes, we female’s of the species are a rarer breed and those of us that have produced offspring are less known for sure. We learned we are going to be grandparents for the first time and I went looking for Aspie resources to share with our daughter for her pregnancy and there is diddly squat out there on this topic. We need an instruction manual!

              My kids are all grown now and I know it would have been nice to have had an instruction manual. For sure what Dr. Sears was writing about for NT parents was not written in my language. He might as well have been writing Greek.

              It’s one of the many reasons that I am going public as an advocate for ASD and being an Aspie. I am chronicling it all on my new blog, with my kids blessings. I don’t know how helpful it’s going to be, but if it is half as helpful as Musings has been to me, or the other Aspie related blogs, I’ll feel good and like I’ve made a difference. 😉

              1. We could do with an instruction manual for the whole of life – a whole series of checklists for every eventuality. But I wish my mother had had a checklist for having kids, might have made a big difference….

                1. Your mother and my mother. In my mom’s case she would have needed one for dealing with what I am pretty sure is parenting and being on the spectrum, having kids on the spectrum (she was not aware of either), and parenting after growing up in a very abusive household. . .

                  Years ago as I was trying to figure this whole thing out I was reading and studying esoteric, quantum physics and the like and I remember coming across this book called ET-101. It’s sub-title was something along the lines of it being the manual that you did not take with you when you left the mothership. I chuckled, but I also felt more than a little drawn to the title and did buy it at some point and read it. It was a little hardcover, an easy read.

                  All these years later being diagnosed Aspie-ASD and I think of that book when I read how many of us talk about having been left off on this planet – not being from here. An Aspie manual would come in handy for sure. Thank goodness for all of the helpful books that have come on the scene lately from those of us on the spectrum. Not checklists, but for sure helpful.

                2. I might be tempted to read ET-101 – it sounds fun & interesting. All the Aspie books coming on the market really do help. I’ve even bought a few aimed at parents with Aspie kids in the hope that they might shed some light on how I was as a kid and maybe fill in the blanks a bit. (Plus I love reading and learning so nothing to lose!)

                3. True that! I’m still embarrassed over the very first time I filled up my car. I’d never done it before, and since nobody else was in the parking lot, I asked the woman to show me how. She wasn’t mean or anything, but still humiliating to be shown something as basic as gassing up a car. It never crossed mine or my parents’ minds that they might have needed to show me when I was learning to drive.

                  And there’s other things you’re just supposed to automatically know, like that you need to file your taxes every year, check your brake rotors after certain lengths of time, and other stuff. The legal paperwork is especially demanding and exhausting! I think half the reason Aspies hate moving is that they instinctively know they’ll personally be responsible for the death of half a forest of trees from all the paperwork involved with moving.

              2. Oo, congrats on the grandbaby! My mom says grandbabies are extra special because you get to spoil them rotten and then send them home. 😉

                I’m attempting to get an autistic parenting blog started, but I’ve hit a snag with me and my OCD arguing over what should be a static page and what should be a blog post.

                1. I just finished having a support person come with me once a week to go to different gas stations to learn to pump gas on different pumps and use the car wash.
                  I used to have to travel across town to the only full service station in the area.

                2. That sounds like it would be fun! Did the support person point out the sneaky pumps to you? There was one gas station we pulled up to that we’d been to several times, but didn’t notice this one particular pump on the end of a row was Premium only until after my husband gave me the receipt and I was trying to figure out why it was so expensive. Always, always check the pump labels! Just because a lot of them only have one nozzle and often only the 87 sticker doesn’t meant they’re all like that. 😮

                3. I used to enjoy car washes when I was a kid – it was like being in a space ship or something, and safe because my dad was there. Now as an adult alone it’s just plain scary – I worry I might be stuck in it, it’s loud and unpredictable… It’s strange how feelings can change.

                4. “The closest mine ever came to colic or a bad reaction to something I ate was the one day I absent mindedly had four pieces of garlic toast. ”

                  Oh, olives and garlic, two of my favorite things. I like to bake the garlic and then spread it on toast with a bit of butter or olive oil.

                  I’m sorry your little one had that reaction. I do think there is something to be said for being Aspie and how we react to things that might often stress NT parents. I tended to look for solutions to things too 😉 which as my kids got older I think made them a little crazy because they were not looking for me to solve anything.

                  “Oo, congrats on the grandbaby! ”

                  Thanks! We are so excited and looking forward to meeting little Bean (our nickname until baby is born) in late Spring of this year. I’ve heard that saying about getting to spoil them and send them home too! I’ve already started spoiling by buying all kinds of baby clothes and toys. Great fun!

                  “I’ve hit a snag with me and my OCD arguing over what should be a static page and what should be a blog post.”

                  Made me smile at that! OCD conversations with myself are a pretty regular thing. The whole static pages thing is interesting for sure. I used to use Typepad for my blog-website combo and then switched to WordPress. While I love much of what WordPress can do things like static pages and blog pages, and trying to create links in the sidebar that will open in a new page and not take the reader away from the blog (still trying to figure that out) are a work in progress. I’ve spent the better part of today playing with these things and trying to set them up. Urgh! I did get twitter linked in to my blog (I think), but still working on the link thing.

                  You could always choose a topic (page) for a static page and then later change what you have as the static content to something else? Just a thought.

                  I’d love to read your posts on parenting, and share them with my kids too. Only the oldest is in baby making mode right now but it will come for the others too. 🙂

                5. Re: Grandmamas
                  One thing I’ve heard of some moms or grandmoms doing when the baby outgrows their clothes is to cut squares off the chests of the shirts and onesies, then sew them all together into a blanket/quilt for them later. Or for mom to cry into when her baby goes to college. 😉

                  Re: Sites & Blogs
                  I don’t know much about WordPress. If there isn’t a convenient checkbox to tell it to open somewhere else, is there some way you can handcode the sidebar links? Because a target=”_blank” would fix that.

                  I’m getting started at autisticleprechaun.raven-wing.net. Going through all the introductory “what is autism” posts. Man, that OCD with chronological stuff! I am losing this battle. XD

          5. That great that yours is in the archive! They have mine also. I think its neat that a University in Ontario is actually doing this. I guess because they have a big disability studies program there.

              1. I’m surprised they are not doing it at University of Toronto or York University (both even closer to me than Brock)! York, for sure, has a disability studies program and UofT has the big reference library. I guess they probably all share anyway because anyone can access our stuff from the fonds.

          6. To all who found it mega-hyper-cool that Cynthia’s blog found its way into Brock University: it was not by chance. Here is the page ranking of her ‘Musings’ in Google, for the following search term combinations:

            asperger, adult, blog #1
            aspie, adult, blog #1
            asd, adult, blog #1
            aspie, blog #1 (!) (but not ‘asperger, blog’?)
            autism, adult, blog #2
            autism spectrum, adult, blog #4
            autism spectrum disorder, adult, blog #4

            Well done, Brock University library, wise choice! There are so many more practical implications of this development. I *will* have to come back to it later with more questions. As befits my people, I apologize 😀 to Cynthia for possibly embarrassing her.

            1. Er, that is a bit embarrassing but thank you for looking it up. It’s been a long time since I Googled myself. 🙂 Also, I like how you’ve become the bearer of statistics and research around here. I love facts of all sorts.

  27. First of all English is my second language so bare with me…
    I scored fear 32, avoidance 33 total of 65.
    I was diagnosed with general anxiety about ten years ago and im taking Paxil for it. It does help me but not as much as I would like.
    After doing some research I realize that what I have might be A.S.
    My main issues are a great fear of public speaking and crowded places (specially small crowded places)
    I tend to sweat ALOT. Mostly my face and my palms. I feel like if I didn’t have my face covered with sweat it would be a little easier.
    I do not have problem looking strangers in the eye or having a small talk (specially if it is outdoors)
    If I am seating in a restaurant I always worry what if my face starts to sweet and I cant even enjoy my self.
    If any one know ways to deal with sweaty face I would love to hear it.

  28. … I took the test again, and again thought of everyday situations where most of these things apply, but this time, I made an effort to be more objective about myself feeling it would lower my score … but it was 98 this time …
    very curious test this one …
    again nearly same number for fear/avoidance… 47-51
    What this test shows me is that I am quite adept at dealing with necessary social interaction despite my internal loathing of it.
    No one who (thinks they) know me would ever believe this score …
    However, I also realize this score reflects why I never became a professional musician or stand-up comedian, or got in politics on any level … lol
    … being ‘funny’ & ‘friendly’ backfires on me all the time because people learn to EXPECT it of you. They do not understand it is merely coping mechanics & skills which you have logged & rehearsed. They do not understand your ‘wit’ & ‘humor’ simply comes from a mental file of pictures, words, & experiences that you can scan fast enough to put together a remark or pun which can be rather addicting bc it seems to break the strange ‘twilight zone’ of expressionless faces – laughter is the only time I can tell what people are thinking.
    I never realized this til I just now wrote that …
    … Anyway, this test answers some of my reclusive issues – as others have mentioned – the stress & ‘drain’ of dealing with people leaves you wanting to create solitary refuge …

    & ‘dittos’ … thanx for posting these tests.
    I promise to try very hard in the future to not reply SO long & SO often …

    1. I use ‘wit’ and humour as a coping mechanism too – it’s great when it works, not so great when people take it as sarcasm. But some people think that I’m funny when actually I’m just tossing in potentially clever remarks because I have no damn idea what else to say 🙂

      1. I’m always startled when I say something in earnest and people take it as humor. Probably due to a combination of how often I use humor as a default response out of desperation and my tendency to say stuff that most people keep to themselves.

        1. I’m equally startled when people take my humour as being serious and take offence 🙂 I’m left trying to explain what was in my head (a very clear image in my head) and why it was funny. Strangely it’s usually the things that I genuinely think are funny that people have issues with!

          1. Close to your experience, Liz. What is funny about my non-functional jokes escapes most people until I explain which of course kills every funny remark. Before somebody takes offence – I see it coming, my prosopagnosia is not *that* bad – usually I have time enough to say ‘Wait, was just another ‘Ernest-joke’. Pffff, saved. Only black humor works, sometimes. 🙂

            1. Just had a real LOL: Why do all use a lot of smileys here? Answer: so that I get its a joke. Experimentally *no* smiley here.

                1. I understand the concept, and learned it through reading literature. But my expression in real life is put on purposely, just like emoticons.

    2. And “so long” and “so often” seem to be encouraged round here – it’s like the one place where we can splurge without people rolling their eyes and changing the subject! I find some of the more detailed answers to be the most “useful” – they trigger thoughts in my head that ring bells and highlight Aspie moments from the past that I’d previously not recognised.

  29. LOL People ‘rolling their eyes & changing the subject’ …
    And/or
    •Shaking their head
    •Saying ‘I dont get it’
    • Saying: ‘I cant believe you just said that’
    •A frequent aquaintence or co-worker saying (with a chuckle) ‘You’re crazy as ___”
    •Frowning
    (I am never sure about frowning … are people sad, in pain, angry, confused?)
    Frowning is only slightly less perplexing than no expression whatsoever.

    People only frown, have no expression, or smile.
    A smile is the universal language.

    I hate it when people laugh or smile then INSTANTLY cut it off and say
    “I have no idea what the ___ you just said. I was just being polite.”
    Then, I just try to analyze what/how they failed to ‘get it’.

    Meanwhile, isnt it interesting that we can pick up on most people in movies but not in real life?
    I think.this is because actors are excellent at exaggerating their facial expressions, PLUS explaining in DOING what they are thinking … but there are these rare moments in some movies where the actor is saying- doing nothing and the camera shows the character ‘thinking’ & it does not exactly connect with whats happened, or whats about to happen and I go a little crazy asking ‘whats he doing? whats he thinking!!!???’
    my daughter will be like ‘JUST WATCH MOM’
    And I say …
    ‘But WHY cant you tell me EXACTLY!?’
    (I talking during movies except in this case or when people ask me questions about one I’ve seen before)
    I am also amazed at certain little verbal clues and details people miss in movies that propel the story.
    I also notice every prop, the lighting, the overall ‘colour’ of a movie …

    – for example, I didnt really like the Pixar ‘cartoon’ ANTZ bc it is very brown.
    BUGS LIFE waz great though, bc it is very bright and green.
    … if a movie is very dark witha lot of night scenes, like Batman Forever’ I can handle it IF the plot/story/acting/action/music/props are good. Batman Forever has GREAT music and Nichole Kidmans character (the psycologist) has a FANTASTIC office/apartment architecturally speaking, with a beautiful mural & amazing art pieces.

    Even (NT) people who LOVE movies, and know a lot of things about movies and can discuss a great deal about movies, do not notice a lot of these kinds of things. Also, a lot of people can not notice intricate details and still keep up with the plot & words, and assimilate the meaning.

    Isnt it interesting that with a group of 2-3 people, we can see, hear, listen, assimilate all thats said, ADD additional info, repeat what is said (when they dont think we’re listening) notice the background noises, notice the light/shadows, feel inspired artistically by texture, light, combinations of words and ponder those ideas, and physically touch the textures for more experience, have mental pictures of every word/concepts – ALL THIS GOING ON the same time … but still fail to recognize other people’s intentions or facial expressions, and therefore interject things that are apparently WAY over others ‘heads’ (or way under the ‘radar’) and therfore, we are socially inept, AND, we are very physically clumsy and awkward a lot …

    Yet NT people function on vague, non-concrete, gray thoughts, can not hear two things at once, are void of imagination, apparently care little about immediate light or texture unless they are specifically enjoying a piece of art and then, they still cant tell you WHY, can ignore background noise’, and they are very graceful and appear ‘perfect’ and apparently CAN read facial expressions to glean info & therefore are socially adept…

    life is a real trade off … ‘ey?

    1. “Then, I just try to analyze what/how they failed to ‘get it’.”
      Me too! I’ll just stare at them, wondering just how much more blunt I can make it. Do I need to leave out articles so they have less words to process? Use less syllables? Have they suffered an important cranial trauma…?

      “I also notice every prop, the lighting, the overall ‘colour’ of a movie …”
      Me too again! Have you noticed nearly all the “grown up” movies are blue? And not just because of the night scenes? Matrix had a good excuse, they purposely used green and blue tones to tell the two worlds apart. But things like that new Hansel and Gretal movie, or anything they’re trying to make “gritty”, tend to have three things in overabundance: blood, swearing, and blue. Blue’s my favorite color and I use it on nearly everything, but even I know how to use it in moderation!

    2. I tend to notice things like that in movies, props, locations, lighting, background people (extras) machines, vehicles, etc. I point them out to people and they often totally miss it.

  30. I got 60(fear) + 59(avoidance) = 119 You have very severe social anxiety. Of course I already knew that! I struggle even going out on a walk with the dog. I worry I will come across another person!

    1. Despite the fact that I live alone (except the dog & cats) and have little day to day contact except online, I’d still rather find the playing fields totally empty when we get there for our walk! There’s nothing like that feeling of peace and quiet when you get there first thing and there’s not another soul to be seen – bliss! (My dog on the other hand loves other people – I think she’s trying to compensate for me)

  31. I love how this test is constructed. I agree that separating the fear and avoidance is mandatory for actually measuring social anxiety. Plenty of people are nervous or fearful of social activities, but avoidance is the real outward manifestation that leans towards pathology (aka interfering with one’s desired activities).

    My results were not surprising:

    42(fear) + 32(avoidance) = 74
    You have marked social anxiety.

    I am autistic, and I ALSO suffer from an anxiety disorder. I am not anxious *because* I am autistic; I developed my anxiety disorder through very typical reasons that apply to allistic sufferers as well. I think that autistics are prone towards developing anxiety disorders because of the kind of social traumas to which we are vulnerable. Autism in and of itself doesn’t cause *social* anxiety, IMO.

  32. “I might be tempted to read ET-101 – it sounds fun & interesting. All the Aspie books coming on the market really do help.”

    Liz,

    I could not respond directly under your post Liz. I think we are filling up the limits for comments on this particular post 😉

    It came out in the mid 90s and you can still find it in some places. I just checked Amazon . . .

    E. T. 101: The Cosmic Instruction Manual for Planetary Evolution- An Emergency Remedial Earth Edition Hardcover – May, 1995
    by Zoev Jho (Author), Jho Zoev (Author)

    I’ve looked at a couple of the blogs written by for parents with kids on the spectrum who seemed not to be on the spectrum themselves (the parents) and it was hard to read them with their comments related to what their kids could ‘not’ do, rather than understanding who their kids really were-are.

  33. My husband just shared this article with me. He found it on MSN. I’ve commented on it on my own blog and written to the author and mentioned Musings of an Aspie and the Archive in Canada.

    I was not sure where to share this so I went ahead and posted it here.

    ~~~~~~
    Is the U.S. Prepared For a Growing Population of Adults with Autism?

    By Amir Khan

    My husband shared this link and related article with me this afternoon. I’ve just written to the author.

    http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2015/01/05/is-the-us-prepared-for-a-growing-population-of-adults-with-autism

  34. 25(fear) + 42(avoidance) = 67 (marked social anxiety)…. But I’d say my main fear is not being able to escape a situation going wrong.

  35. I scored 11(fear) + 20(avoidance) = 31. Not socially anxious.

    I do have anxiety but it tends to come from trying to avoid getting into situations where things have gone wrong badly in the past – usually this isn’t social stuff, it’s things like missing trains and getting stranded or being forced to use a system that I can’t use like getting to the supermarket checkout with a lot of food and finding I can only self-checkout (I tend to have shutdowns or meltdowns in those scenarios if I haven’t prepared myself for them). I do also have social anxiety about gender dysphoria-related things, but that’s not really about people, it’s about gender.

    I’m also extremely bad at spotting that I’m anxious or upset until I’m past the point of being able to self-sooth or leave the situation, this is currently something I’m working on with the local Asperger Service. The theory seems to be that I’m probably anxious a lot more often than I think I am and upset stomachs or avoidance of tasks or situations is probably a sign that I’m anxious but unable to feel that I am. It does seem to hold true and it’s useful to be aware of that and take it as a sign that I need to prepare for leaving early or have self-soothing strategies in place.

  36. “32(fear) + 26(avoidance) = 58

    You have moderate social anxiety.”

    Sounds accurate to me, and yes, this is referring just to the social anxiety things, not the asperger things. Two different things that while they effect each other, they are not the same. One thing I wonder though is if gender may skew results, for example men and women would interpret public urination differently, and are socialized differently on how to deal with fear and anxiety.

  37. I apparently have severe social anxiety with a soaring score of 98… Yikes. It’s one thing to experience something, it’s another to put words or quantifiable information to that experience.

  38. I have just taken the test and the questions s em incredibly relevant to particular situations I have found myself in recent times I scored 101 and I was as honest as I could be
    I really want help and I didn’t need to take the test to know my problem I just dovn’t know we’re to go to get help

    1. A lot of people really praise therapists and various anxiety medication, but that involves going to see a stranger in the first place, so that always threw me off of the whole process. 😛 I usually recommend “the buddy system”. Get a sibling, a cousin, a parent, relative, a spouse, a friend, or a somebody you feel really comfortable with to accompany you as much as possible when you need to venture out, perhaps even to the therapist to get started on counseling, coaching, or suggestions on what to eat or take to ease those irritating stomach butterflies.

      I benefited from a more watch-and-learn approach. I’d go out with somebody, watch how they handled various situations, and then start trying some of them myself. Still anxious as heck since apparently I have the standard Aspie poor performance in new situations and it leads to embarrassingly awkward moments, but I’m memorizing my way around and my Liebowitz scores is slowing going down.

  39. It’s funny I have seen therapist/counseller a couple times in the past and the awkwardness starts right from the moment I go to see the doctor for a referral to see someone..I clam up don’t explain myself right and whithin moments I’m regretting going to see someone.
    I don’t know if the fact I’m a grown man I just feel stupid and awkward like I shouldn’t be there and it’s been a big secret for me as I can’t find the courage to tell anyone for fear of being laughed at..
    Like being in my own secret world,an absolute living nightmare!

    1. The only way I can explain myself properly is to write it all down and take my time ensuring that I’ve included everything. Stick me in front of someone and my mind goes blank, I’ll barely get anything relevant out and no-one will understand that I’ve got a problem (other than the ability to form sentences!). I’ve been to various therapists / counsellors over the years (mainly depression related) – though not since diagnosis as Aspie – and rarely managed to get below the surface of what was bothering me. Certainly no in-depth work on the real me. Maybe if I try again I’ll write stuff down first so I can just hand it over as a starting point, but now I have the added issue of not really wanting to go out and finding the thought of weekly (or less) appointments too much of an imposition on life.
      I feel for you. It sucks not being able to tell people something so important…

      1. Thank you Liz for sharing your thoughts,I have this website quite helpful as sometimes it can feel your the only person going through the symptoms and outs reassuring to know there are other people going through the same thing.
        I hope you to find a way to make sense of it all,I know what a nightmare it can turn your life into.

        1. Cheers Michael. Like you I find this website helpful, it’s like a reality check when you think you’re abnormal. And when I’m struggling with the world it’s like a comfort blanket – I just come and read a couple of blogs and the comments and I start to feel better 🙂

  40. 41(fear) + 27(avoidance) = 68. Marked social anxiety.

    A lot of these things (e.g., “(working/writing) while being observed”) I block out. It’s not that I don’t fear them, it’s that I refuse to give in to the fear (although my hands shake and I sweat a lot; can’t hide the physical sensations). Does that mean I’m not anxious?

    Also, sometimes the question has multiple answers. “Acting, performing, or speaking in front of an audience”. I am terrified of acting or performing, but speaking doesn’t normally bother me. So how can I answer that? Or another: expressing disapproval to someone I don’t know well. If it’s something really severe, like racist comments, my sense of fairness overcomes my fear of facing them; if it’s not severe I’ll avoid it.

    I guess that’s just the mind at work – it’s complicated.

  41. 48(fear) + 40(avoidance) = 88
    You have severe social phobia.

    I’m a little late on the subject matter but hey. Anyway, I scored higher than on the test I’d taken at my psychiatrist’s about a month ago. That speaks for itself, doesn’t it? As of right now I’m experiencing severe anxiety because of an upcoming event tomorrow. It’s nothing new, really. I’ve known it all my life but over the course of the last couple of years I feel as though it’d intensified. So, yay.

  42. I’ve just retaken this test (after just over 2 years gap) and I’ve gone from 69 to 78 – all on fear. I think I’ve just increased some zeros to ones. But then it’s difficult to accurately rate situations when you’re no longer having to be in them. The ones that I hate (parties, presentations etc.) are easy because just the thought of them fills me with dread, but others are a bit more ho hum. The last example though – resisting a high pressure sales person – I scored zero because I find saying no to them quite good fun 🙂

    1. That’s interesting. I know some people with SA who are terrified of saying no to sales people! (probably relates to not wanting to disappoint others)

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