Why the Golden Rule Can Suck It

by Kirsten

Being an obedient rule-follower by nature has gotten me into trouble. That darned Golden Rule. I’ve always followed it. I’ve often wished I hadn’t. Ultimately, I decided that as an Aspie, my Golden Rule is this: Do NOT do onto others as you wish they would do unto you. Below are my reasons why:

Breaking up over the phone. Apparently people don’t like this. Me? I’d take it over a face-to-face dump any day. The last thing I want to worry about while getting the axe is an audience. Scratch that. The last thing I want worry about is trying to maintain conversation immediately after getting said axe. Hanging up right after the news is out allows us both to mourn in peace. A text dump is even better yet. To all you former suitors left stunned and bewildered with the dead air of a disconnected phone call in your ear – I did it for you.

Thank you cards. Seriously, do neurotypical people actually like these? Receiving a hand-written letter in the mail is the best thing ever. Immediately finding out it’s a sucky thank you card? The worst. I would never inflict this disappointment upon you. Not sending you a thank you card is my way of saying thanks.

The handshake. Please, Americans – either do it all the time or don’t do it all.  This confusing sometimes hand-shaking thing is for the birds. To those of you who have enjoyed my thoughtful gesture of dropping eye contact and shoving my hands in my pockets upon meeting you, you’re welcome! I spared you the ambiguity and unease.

Reacting to your news about the death of a loved one with an amusing anecdote about myself. Many would say this is where I display my brazen lack of empathy. But nothing could be more empathetic! Because in my mind, there is no torture greater than having to feel in front of someone. The more profound the feeling, the more privacy I need. So, as your whole life falls to pieces and I prattle on about that balloon animal I tried to make that ended up looking like a penis, please don’t feel alone. I’m comforting you.

Have any Golden Rule attempts blown up in your face? Please share below!

About the Author: After 36 years of wondering why she was so quirky, Kirsten recently discovered that she’s quirky in the clinical sense. She has Asperger’s. She blogs about the horrors and joys of daily life in a world where most people aren’t wired like her. Because if you, too, are wired for life on some distant, unknown planet, you probably need to commiserate. And you definitely need to laugh.

This post first appeared on Kirsten’s blog, quirky and laughing, and is reprinted here by permission.


9 thoughts on “Why the Golden Rule Can Suck It

  1. Ruth says:

    The breakup one sounds familiar. I once had a guy say on the phone “we need to talk.” Then he came over to my apartment and dumped me. I told him to leave. And then I called him after he left to finish up the loose ends of breaking up.

    • Jayn says:

      I don’t think the breakup one is really about which option creates better communication. Rather, it’s about not taking the easy way out. If you’re breaking up with someone, you can be fairly certain that they’re going to be emotionally hurt, so to use indirect communication methods reads as trying to avoid that–in short, it’s a cop-out.

      (I’ve had a couple ‘break-ups’ that went similarly to that. One was a friendship breakup via e-mail, which pissed me off because of what I said above. It felt very impersonal. The other one was a BF via IM, which was kind of the best option as we were dating long-distance. Not to mention one of the few conversations we’d actually had since he moved away.)

  2. Dar says:

    Love the minds of Aspergers they have the right idea and the rest of us are conformed to what society deems normal.
    I hate normal. thanks for sharing

  3. Sunshine says:

    The Golden Rule is kinda proof that NTs have the same cognitive empathy deficits as those on the spectrum. The idea that we would just treat people however we would want to be treated is against the idea that people have separate thoughts, experiences, and emotions.

    It just works out more for typical people, because they are more likely to come across like minded people.

  4. Andraya says:

    I dunno. When I was 10 or so I figured out that particular flaw in the golden rule. I mean, it is kind of glaring. When I asked about it, I was told that I should instead think of it in different terms. I want other people to be thoughtful towards me, and instead of assuming what they think I’d like or want, I prefer them to ask or otherwise do their best to find out, and then do that. So that’s what I should do in return.

  5. Ashmire says:

    Too true! You want to be burdened with physical affection demands and uncomfortable body heat when you’re sad and overwhelmed? WHY?! And how is it you think you’re getting more real communication when I’m shutdown and incoherent, than when I send you a bullet-pointed email or PDF clearly explaining my feelings on the matter?

  6. lori says:

    more the don’t do to others what you wouldn’t want done to you

    • Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg says:

      Lori, that is actually the Jewish version of the Golden Rule: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.” It comes from Rabbi Hillel. There is evidence that suggests that Hillel was one of Jesus’ teachers.

    • Ashmire says:

      Hm, but most of the time, I wouldn’t want somebody touching me or prying for answers when I am upset, yet when I stay back and give someone space, it is often interpreted as coldness.

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