Friday, 13 January 2012

I Wish You Could Be More Sympathetic

2:20 pm.  HK leaves me a voicemail telling me he got a speeding ticket and that his driver's license was expired.  It expired in July.  Voicemail says to call him back.

2:45 pm.  I Call HK.  He tells me he just wanted to let me know he got a speeding ticket and that his license was expired, so he got a ticket for that, too.  I respond with some action steps he can take to avoid the situation in the future and to resolve the expired license issue. 

2:58 pm.  I receive a text from HK.  "Getting a ticket is very traumatizing, I wish you could be sympathetic / comforting"

So, here I sit, not knowing what to do next.  Do I text him back and tell him I'm sorry?  To be honest, I am sorry.  I'm sorry that I'm not sympathetic and comforting.  I wish I knew the right words to say.  When I get new information, I think action steps and impacts.  The emotional piece doesn't even cross my mind.  Its frustrating for everyone involved - especially my friends. 

I'm often faced with these situations and I think about the appropriate way to handle them.  Do I memorize the right words to say and try to come up with some dialogue that makes me seem sympathetic, so that my friend feels better?  Or do I take a more honest approach and tell him I'm truly sorry that I am not sympathetic?

Throughout my life, I've opted for the first choice when it comes to the NT world.  I make up an answer that satisfies.  Maybe its time I start thinking about the second response because that's how I truly feel.


  1. I actually think this isn't really an Aspergers thing so much as someone demanding sympathy that they don't deserve. Basically your friend broke the law and got caught. If he'd been arrested for burglary or shoplifting would he expect you to be "sympathetic"? I think it's really unfair for him to blame you for not being "comforting" when he's the one who is in the wrong.

    If this happened to a friend of mine I would take a very similar line to you. Maybe he should think about slowing down and renewing his licence on time in future!

    Maybe I'm being harsh. But that's my take on it.

  2. That's a perspective I didn't consider. I tend to assume I"m in the wrong when it comes to empathy / sympathy. Thanks so much for commenting!