If they don’t do it, they don’t see it

Here’s a tip about nonverbal cues you may find useful when communicating with ND folks, “If they don’t do it, they don’t see it.”

How to socialize, nonverbal language, is typically learned through social modeling.

Unless your brain is Neurodivergent. Then it comes complete with detours and trap doors that get in the way of you seeing the nonverbal language being communicated.

For example: If someone speaks in a monotone voice, they won’t tune into your vocal inflection the same way. They don’t have the range you do.

They may interpret your inflection in an all-or-nothing way. Believing the moment your voice no longer sounds happy, it means you’re upset with them.

I’d been told in the past I don’t use a lot of facial expression when I talk, though my voice is expressive.

I also had difficulty interpreting facial expressions. I’ve put work into this and think I’ve improved in both areas.

It’s helped me deepen my empathy and become an even better listener.

So how do you bridge this gap? Observe them to see what they’re not doing:

Not making a lot of facial expressions
Not using sarcasm (correctly)
Not speaking with inflection or emotion
Not using hands or body to help convey their message.

Whatever they aren’t doing, they’re likely missing in part or entirely when you do it.

They may as well be blind to it, like it never happened.

Solution? As the owner of an ND brain, I’ve learned to ask strategic questions so people speak what was otherwise communicated nonverbally.

For everyone else, you can ask yourself these question during the conversation.

1) Have I clearly verbalized whether something is upsetting me in this conversation?

2) Have I clearly verbalized my needs?

3) Have I clearly verbalized the actions I plan to take and any I’d like the other person to take as part of any agreement?

Those are examples of key things you might assume are communicated in an obvious way during conversation. Not so fast, as you can see.

Let’s meet somewhere in the middle please.

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