Awkward Situations I Avoid Because I’m Autistic

I don’t know how to be ordinary in these ordinary situations

Jae L
5 min readApr 23


Photo by Cory Bouthillette on Unsplash

I’ve got through life knowing that there are certain situations that I struggle with even though others seem to breeze through them without a second thought.

I’ve been around long enough to know that there is no easy way through them so it is best to avoid them altogether. It’s just part of the arsenal of coping mechanisms I have amassed through decades of being an undiagnosed autistic person still grasping at a thin thread of normality. Here’s some of my best.

Running into someone I haven’t seen for a while at the shops

I see them walking towards me in the street or catch a glimpse of them in the fruit and veg section. My immediate reaction is to avoid eye contact (not hard), change direction and suddenly become very purposeful in carrying out whatever put me in the unfortunate situation. It’s not until I’m away from the scene that I allow myself the exhalation of a crisis averted.

It’s nothing to do with whether or not I like the person. More likely than not, I like them a great deal. But a conversation with them right now is more than I can muster. It may have ended awkwardly last time and I don’t know how to pick up the messy threads and weave them back into a normal interaction.

Or maybe it ended well and I’d rather let that sit for a while so as not todisturb it. Or I think I recognise them but I’m not actually sure because I have prosopagnosia, otherwise known as faceblindness. I know from experience that the potential embarassment means they are best avoided.

Arriving at a venue alone

This is nightmare-grade stuff for me and I just won’t do it. If someone texts me prior to my arrival to tell me they’ve grabbed the table to the right near the window they’re a friend for life. There’s nothing worse than walking around a full cafe/bar/restaurant looking for someone when you’re in the grip of aforementioned faceblindness.

If I arrive at a party alone I will literally not know what to do. Nowhere seems to be the right place to stand. I don’t know what to do with my hands and my ability to have a conversation vanishes. After a few false…



Jae L

Queer, neurodivergent and in the business of defying expectations. Doing my best to answer the questions I keep asking myself.