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Sex, Drugs and Asperger’s Syndrome Excerpt: Autism and Assertiveness

What follows is an excerpt from the upcoming sequel to ‘Freaks, Geeks and Asperger’s Syndrome: A User Guide to Adolescence’.

The new book, ‘Sex, Drugs and Asperger’s Syndrome: A User Guide to Adulthood’, deals with everything from employment to sex to confidence. The following passage is on assertiveness and confidence, and the importance, and difference between, the two. 

Assertiveness is a great thing, and is an important factor when it comes to success in a number of situations; yet, a conversation I had touched on a key point that’s often missed. If you’re being assertive, you better damn well make sure you’re right. Being assertive is pushing forward a key point or points to sway a person to your way of thinking, so if the point you’re making is wrong, you risk making other people wrong too, and assertive wrong people can be very dangerous people. Whether wrong or right, make sure you choose your battles wisely, too. If you’re constantly consciously assertive (try saying that ten times fast,) then you risk becoming insufferable. Identify people you are comfortable around, and take a break now and again.

Being confident and being assertive are different things. You can be passively confident, while being assertive involves asserting the points you want to get across, and even your very presence. Don’t be that person that always has to be heard above everyone else – nobody wants to be around that person. The beauty of being able to be assertive is that your confidence grows simply by proxy; once you learn that your opinion is as important as everyone else’s, you start to be comfortable simply just being. It sounds an odd turn of phrase, but think how difficult it is to just exist. How many places are there where you can do that, and how many people are completely comfortable doing so? Look around now, and see how many people you can see consciously doing nothing other than just existing. That, is a skill.