stephani-d asked realsocialskills: 2012-11-16 21:54
Some of my friends and relatives have this thing where their brain goes at a different speed than their mouth a lot of the time, and if I see that they’re getting frustrated trying to tell me something, I suggest that they take a breath and think about how to say what they want to tell me. Is this ok? I try to be patient and let them know I’m paying attention to them, this doesn’t happen a lot, I just don’t want my friends to think I’m degrading them or something.
I don’t know for sure without knowing more about the situation, how they see it, and the tone you’re using, but I think it is probably a bad idea.
Some people can’t reliably process things fast enough to have conversations they understand at a socially normative speed. These people get constantly pressured to fake normal, by damn near everyone they encounter. It’s basically just not acceptable for people to slow down and talk at a speed that’s actual communication for them.
And then there’s no winning, because if you talk at the normative speed, then you can’t speak in the normative patterns. And then people tell you to slow down; sometimes the same people who refuse to listen to you when you speak slowly. It’s constant and pervasive in a way that’s hard to understand if it hasn’t happened to you in some form.
I think probably the most helpful thing you can do in this situation is be patient. Don’t tell them to go slower; just wait for them to get there. Don’t try to correct their language or communication patterns; just be patient in a matter-of-fact way that makes it clear that you’re going to listen to them
Because being trustworthy as someone who will listen without insisting on typical speech patterns as a prerequisite can make a lot of communication possible that otherwise wouldn’t be.