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

On Bravado

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.

That face

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:

  1. Think the best of everybody. My wife can attest that I have been trying at this.
  2. Be generous with (genuine) smiles
  3. Wear a clear-lenses glass to soften my frame
  4. Do not interrupt and let the other party speak to the end
Not trying to be hipster here with my clear lense glasses. Am trying to soften the look

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!