Peer Pressure


An adult autistic wrote how incredible it had seened to her when young that her age peers cared enough about superficial things like clothes to make themselves vulnerable to harrassment/teashing by bullies.

I responded:

I was like you in this respect. One of my nieces was a good example of an NT young person going through this kind of peer bullying. She was (and is) a very intelligent person, with interests and ideas of her own. And yet, she could not help caring what her peers thought of her. When she talked about it with her mother, she would say (I'm paraphrasing), "I know it's stupid, and I won't care at all about it in a few years; but right now, I do care." She cared whether her clothes were perceived as "cool" (or whatever term was in use at her school), for example.

I was very impressed by her example, because I'd always assumed caring about peer perceptions was "stupid." This niece persuaded me (by her example) that even intelligent people with real concerns in their minds can't help being upset by peer pressure if they are working with (i.e., born with) a particular NT wiring.

Hmmm. Maybe this is also an example of why my wiring makes me seem "arrogant" and "judgemental" to some people. I see that I have made assumptions about what "concerns" are "valid" (non-stupid) and which are not. From my point of view, caring about clothes is stupid but caring about injustice is not. Those who can't help caring about clothes probably feel "put down" by my assumptions. :-/



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