12 Ways to Annoy Your Asperger’s / Autistic Pal

(Not in order of importance.)

1. Make chit-chat about events in the news related to sports, celebrities or other obscure pop-culture subjects before the first cup of tea or coffee.

2. Insist on eating out at Chuck-E-Cheese or a similar place full of flashing lights, competing noises, and crowds of loud, shrieking children running around.

3. Serve them a meal composed entirely of new, unfamiliar dishes.

4. “Hey– hey– space cadet — snap out of it!”

5. Schedule a trip with social events all day and evening long.

6. Announce that anyone who can’t tolerate certain kinds of fabric or clothing styles is just being picky

9. Install a major software update (or change other settings on their computer software) because you think it will “make their life easier”.

10. Give them a surprise birthday party after a long day at work (school).

7. Put things out of order.

11. Dismiss their special interest as being stupid.

12. Deprive them of internet access.



  1. 18 June 2016 at 16:34

    I would kill anyone who do any of those things. And the numbers are killing me: put number 8 in; and move number 7 into the correct position please?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

  2. deon lemarks said,

    2 December 2014 at 23:31

    I have aspergers, yet don’t have any sensory dysfunctions or feel that routine is mandatory. That being said you’d be making a fool out of yourself by trying to miff me in the slightest with anything except 1,9,or 12.

  3. kiwigirl said,

    9 July 2011 at 10:45

    Has Andrea been spying on my life by any chance? Seriously, this could be about what people have always done to/expected of me. Horrendous.

  4. Elizabeth said,

    12 November 2010 at 16:19

    Your list is great! May I have your permission to reprint it in a book I am writing on the topic of ASD? The list would be credited to you, with your permission of course. Thank you very much for considering this request.

  5. 18 September 2010 at 23:01

    15. Tell them they couldn’t possibly have asperger’s and you know because you have an autistic child so you “know everything there is to know about that disorder.”

    (taken from real life. My professor did this to me last week.)

  6. Anne Healy said,

    22 April 2009 at 2:09

    Seemed kind of funny at first, but then kind of sad as I read the comments there at the end.

  7. Someone said,

    30 December 2008 at 5:05

    OK why would you even put this up… My entire school read this and is now imitating them or similar things to me and my other AS friends… Even if It is ‘all in good fun’

  8. Des said,

    22 December 2008 at 21:59

    My brother has aspergers.
    Choose a restaurant. Every time you go, talk about a tranquilizer gun which you keep in the basement. Talk about this nowhere else. After you start talking, stop. Claim this is non-existent. Then start talking about it again.

  9. Ortley said,

    12 November 2008 at 19:35

    Would this stuff annoy me? “Annoy” may be too weak a word. If I had to endure all of it, I would fall into a serious depression or get angry and try to distance myself from you.

  10. 7 November 2008 at 18:50

    […] Artículo en inglés aquí […]

  11. nana said,

    23 September 2008 at 17:37

    our grandson had been diagnosed w/ Aspergers. We knew early on that something wasn’t just quite right. I know how the diagnosis has torn out our hearts as grandparents, and I can only imagne what my daughter is going thru each and every day. I just wish I could make it better for them. I’m the mom the “fixer”. And I can’t fix this one. I love him so much and I know with age on the child it is hard to love the unlovely. But we will and we will rally for him each and every day. And pray for him. And mom and dad and brother

  12. Kingfish said,

    15 July 2008 at 2:51

    14. tell them a bunch of funny jokes, laugh your head off, then tell them that they are funny and everyone always laughs at them and laugh harder when they look bewildered or clueless.

  13. Kelly said,

    11 July 2008 at 2:11

    They’re also out of order.

    5 is pretty much my definition of hell.

  14. Amo Scribere said,

    6 July 2008 at 5:22

    As an aspie, I can definately appreciate this and chuckle to myself. I’m horribly guilty of all except for number three… and even with that one, I might be. ^_^

  15. Maddy said,

    5 July 2008 at 16:40

    Fabulous choices…….now if you could just put them in order of importance!

  16. 4 July 2008 at 3:27

    Grab their sleeve and try to drag them away from something they’re trying to give a thorough inspection as if they were three and you their parent.
    People I don’t know well do this much more than people I do.

    And the gossip stuff! I hate that! It’s dumb! Who cares? Why is it news?

    Uh, unless that is your area of focus, in which case you can all of mine, I’m not using it. :3

  17. Don M said,

    16 June 2008 at 3:58

    Suffering from about 50% of the symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome myself, the above is a surefire way to irritate people like me.

  18. Ace said,

    6 June 2008 at 12:28

    It’d enrage him and he’d spend the next half-hour trying to explain why this was not so.

  19. Ace said,

    6 June 2008 at 12:27

    My mum has found the easiest way to get me to do something is to yell and tickle my feet. I scream loudly and run away, but it works. I’ll refuse to get out of bed and she’ll be all “if I have to come in there again I’m going to start yelling and tickling your feet” and I’m all “I’m getting up! I’m getting up!”

    My mum found the best way to annoy a clearly-aspie computer geek she used to work with was to insist that when computers crash, they’re having a nervous breakdown.

  20. 2 June 2008 at 20:22

    […] 2, 2008 by Bohemian Booklover I found this list in Andrea’s Buzzing About archive from April.  She left off singing.  The fastest way to […]

  21. Chey said,

    19 May 2008 at 22:52

    Love the list. I should print it out and put it up in my front entrence. I lost count how often family, yes my own “family” have done all those things to me. They think it will make me better and I will be more normal if they do the things on that list.



  22. 5 May 2008 at 5:23

    Amen preach on.

  23. cripchick said,

    25 April 2008 at 0:24

    i wish there were more lists like this instead of not-helpful disability awareness crap.

  24. 20 April 2008 at 2:17

    […] Thanks for the great list from Andrea. […]

  25. athenivandx said,

    20 April 2008 at 0:26

    888888888888888888888 hi Bev88888888888888888

    hi Andreas……..

    hi all………….

    out of order is bad. New food……….well I like to have the same thing alot of times but the other two are quite fond of many different things. I am too I just like to choose whether or not to eat something new or not. I want that to be on my terms. We’ve grown up on food variety………we’re all used to it. Out of order numbers………….argh, drive me crazy. It’s one reason why Ivan and The Integral can drive and I can’t………..only the exit numbers are in order and other numbers are not……………very overwhelming for me. Not to mention so many things going on at once………….

    chit chat…………is more confusion for me.

    good post

    we might have more for the list later……..might carry it on in our own blog…….providing credit of course……….

    Athena of athenivanidx

  26. fridawrites said,

    19 April 2008 at 18:18

    My son’s autistic–these I can appreciate! Also, dress them up in formal clothing and make them sit at a wedding for a few hours. Give them no down time after school. Give them multi-step directions out of order.

  27. andrea said,

    19 April 2008 at 14:17

    diddums asked, “Chime in with what??”

    Heck if I know. The problem with small talk is that it’s not really about the content, about the exchange of facts. Instead, it’s the verbal equivalent of grooming (nit-picking) among apes and monkeys, what the psycho-linguistics refer to as “phatic communion”. Rather than communicating in the sense of exchanging necessary data, it is passing along information as a means to promote peace and solidarity between people in the same “tribe”.

    But even if we know what chit-chat and gossip is about from anthropological or sociological perspectives, and even when we can identify when it’s our turn, and what the signals are that we should use to preface and bracket our comments, that still doesn’t give us any clue about what it is we’re supposed to say!


  28. diddums said,

    19 April 2008 at 11:01

    I know where your commenter Andrea Shuttle is coming from on the small talk and growing up deaf issue… I was born deaf, and often feel I don’t really know how to ‘chatter’ when the situation demands it. I felt there was a particular pattern to the way people spoke and behaved, and when the ‘pattern’ showed it was my turn to chime in, I would lean forward…. but then I was at a loss. Chime in with what??

  29. Suzanne said,

    19 April 2008 at 9:01

    13. Tell me that everything you are doing is for my own good.

  30. Melody said,

    19 April 2008 at 0:40

    I didn’t even look at the numbers until I read the comments! (oops.) That is funny, though. :)

  31. LisaDroesdov said,

    18 April 2008 at 18:24

    Infinity-shaped tire treads! That’s great.

    Now, let’s see, if I really want to annoy my Aspie friend, I should make a list of gossip about celebrities and insist on reading it to him at a including a surprise fancy dress party where I will criticize him if he doesn’t wear the scratchy costume I picked out for him at Chuck E. Cheese, put the list out of order and leave out #8, order for him and order unfamiliar dishes, schedule 5 after-parties, and for his gift I should accidentally disconnect his internet access while installing a new program that I am sure will make his life easier, and yell “Hey, space cadet, snap out of it!” when he zones out in frustration at no access to WOW?

  32. 18 April 2008 at 18:04



    Dang, no way to type squares! :-)


  33. qw88nb88 said,

    18 April 2008 at 17:46

    I wasn’t about to! I like the way they run off the page like infinity-shaped tire treads (-:


  34. Bev said,

    18 April 2008 at 17:41

    Don’t touch those 8’s, Andrea! Thank you, other Andrea. :)

  35. 18 April 2008 at 15:56

    The 13th and rottenest way to annoy your Aspie pal: ask him or her to join you in watching the upcoming Comedy Central/Autism Speaks so-called “benefit for autism” (info on the Comedy Central web-site). Then call your Aspie friend boring when s/he tries to inform you on the good reasons to boycott the event.

  36. 18 April 2008 at 15:39

    Ack. I didn’t mean to create those long rows — I had just assumed the computer would automatically insert line breaks as needed. (Or are those rows showing up on other people’s screens also?)

    Andrea, feel free to edit/clean up.

  37. 18 April 2008 at 15:37

    Bev, Just for you:


    Andrea: I don’t actually know that being left out of small talk necessarily created my disinterest in it. I actually do appreciate being included in the sense of knowing what OTHER people are saying when they engage in it. It’s just that I just bewildered about how to CARRY ON small talk myself. How much of that is due to lack of exposure and how much of that is due to other things is hard to sort out. (For example, although I’m not autistic, I do have ADD and I know there can be a certain overlap in experiences there … and I do tend to be very introverted, which I think is mostly very much innate to me and not just the fault of being isolated a lot while growing up. So another overlap. So maybe I do have a distant cousinship with the autistic spectrum or something? :-P)


  38. Bev said,

    18 April 2008 at 14:45

    Okay, then. You are forgiven.

  39. qw88nb88 said,

    18 April 2008 at 13:36

    Yes, leaving out #8 is #8. Annoying, isn’t it?!

    Bev will be annoyed — it’s no fun when someone’s special interests are dis-included because society considers them to be “unimportant”. Leaving 8 out is nothing personal; I really like Bev’s stuff. But it does allow those who are familiar with her fondness for 8 to recognize the situation in #11.

    Andrea Shettle, I know that a lot of people with hearing impairments miss out on the smaller bits of conversation because others don’t pass them along, but it hadn’t occurred to me that it could result in creating a disinterest in them. Interesting!

    Our college has not upgraded to Vista; not sure if it’s a hardware issue, or the general bugginess of the latest OS (such as Vista deleting your programs that it doesn’t like).


  40. Bev said,

    18 April 2008 at 13:22

    No 8? What next, Andrea? I guess you think Squawkers is silly, too. Hmmph!

  41. 18 April 2008 at 11:25

    #4 is annoying to hear when you have ADD, too. It’s never nice to be ribbed about something you honestly can’t help even when the teasing is MEANT to be in good, friendly spirit.

    #6 and #11 are just disrespectful no matter the reason for someone having hyper senses or an intense interest in something.

    #1 I sometimes get bewildered by small talk too. (And certain types of pop-culture references.) And I’m NT. (Though in my case I think a lot of why I tend to feel stuck in how to carry on small chat is because as a deaf person I simply didn’t have much chance to practice when I was growing up. Most of the time, casual conversations just weren’t accessible to me. Family conversations were partly accessible (because my immediate family could sign) but anything they considered “trivial,” such as random chit chat, usually wasn’t passed along. Academic lectures were mostly accessible at school (because I had an interpreter most of the time) but nothing was available to make classmates’ conversations accessible in the cafeteria or at recess. Predominantly hearing social gatherings still tend to be not very accessible to me. So I still don’t get many chances either to practice myself and even fewer to observe other people doing it. But, okay, “small talk” also happens not to make a lot of sense to me: I find it easier to engage on subjects that have meaning to me or that I know about and have thought about a lot.)

    #9 would be irksome to me too: It annoys me when people seem to assume that a new software etc. is automatically going to be better just because it’s new, without considering things like whether the old hardware system can even handle the new software, or how steep the learning curve might need to be and whether the gains for a given specific individual will necessarily even be worth the learning curve. (Hint: just because it was worth it for person X does not imply that it will be worth it for person Y. Person Y may have a completely separate set of needs.)

    And I hate when my perfectly rational, carefully considered choice to not “upgrade” to a certain software, at least not at a particular time, is belittled as me being “afraid” or “resistant” to new technology. And I haven’t just heard this from computer geeks. I’ve actually had computer geeks SUPPORT my choice to not make a switch at a certain time. Instead, I’ve heard this from people who do not specialize in computers at all.

    I’m perfectly happy with new technology when there is a good REASON to upgrade, i.e. when the benefits of the new technology or software are clear to me and I have the time and energy to deal with the learning curve. What I don’t do is engage in knee-jerk assumptions that there is necessarily always a good reason to upgrade just because that option has now suddenly become available. And I certainly wouldn’t want someone else mucking about in my computer doing me the so-called “favor” of “improving” the way my computer operates to make my life easier: I know what actually does and does not make things easier for me, they don’t.

    I hadn’t noticed the missing #8 either (poor Bev) … nor the out-of-order #7 until the comment on #8 made me look more closely at the numbers!

  42. Norah said,

    18 April 2008 at 8:32

    Dyscalculic me hadn’t even noticed anything amiss with the numbers yet :P

  43. JalendaviLady said,

    18 April 2008 at 6:29

    Is number 8 leaving out number 8?

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