This post is hard to write because it means I have to come to terms with my autistic tendencies. But if I am honest with myself, blaming it to autism makes for a poor excuse. If I have to be candid, I will say I am an asshole. But it is not intentional, I swear! I am oblivious to social cues. It is why I love being in front of my computer.
The age-old adage to "be yourself" is a lie. I have lived with myself for 32 years, and honest to goodness I enjoy being myself -- until it became a bottleneck. I cannot fund-raise if I keep coming off as an asshole.
In the last week, I had four individuals tell me independently that
- I do not inspire confidence
- I come off as a form of smug and/or arrogant
- I exude an air of dodge
These are great friends, and I know they shared their sentiments with candor because they want to help.
They did their part, and it is now my turn. But I do not know where to start! Because I was never aware that I come off so poorly! I will not be surprised if I have a streak of Asperger's, but my wife will say it is just my hypochondria at work again.
Anyways, I distilled it down to a few issues:
- It's the bravado
- It's the fucking face
- I lack practice in socializing
Bravado is a nicer word for arrogance. I suspect I reek of such intense bravado because I have zero tolerance for bullshit.
Here is an example: I was at a baby playgroup, and a young mother told my wife that she is a software engineer. I perked up and went oh wow, a female engineer? Did I ask if she codes? She said no and said something about being a "level two support engineer." And I went, "oh, so you are not a software engineer then."
I never meant malice, but on hindsight, that was a shitty behavior. And I am regretful.
The way forward on bravado is to let go of judgement, particularly on technical items that I do not agree with.
The cool phrase kids are using these days is "resting bitch face." I call my face "a bitch to behold." It is not just the face for me but the expressions I elicit.
"Your first reaction is a snort of air out your nose with a half-smile" – what my friend said.
I will attempt to soften the blow of my face with a few tweaks in the way I behave and think:
- Think the best of everybody. My wife can attest that I have been trying at this.
- Be generous with (genuine) smiles
- Wear a clear-lenses glass to soften my frame
- Do not interrupt and let the other party speak to the end
I lack practice in socializing
I do not want to dwell on this because it sounds like yet another excuse. And honestly, it is getting lonely on this entrepreneurial journey. I want to get a social group of sorts going -- to invite fellow entrepreneurs for dinner and well, practice talking without being an asshole.
This was a hard post to write. To a better self!