The Love Languages of Autistics

One of the biggest misconceptions about autism is that we are emotionless and are incapable of forming both romantic and platonic relationships. But this is not true. Autistic people just show our love & affection differently.

How We Show Our Love:

Unmasking

Autistic people often hide our traits & try to appear more ‘neurotypical’ so we can fit in. This is because we have grown up in a society that is hostile towards those who diverge from what is expected.

If we can be ourselves with you, this most likely means we trust you & feel comfortable in your presence.

Penguin Pebbling

“I found this & thought of you”.

This is where autistic people give/ send things that remind us of a person. It could be physical ‘souvenir’ type items or digital actions like sending photos/ videos, memes or music.

Why pebbling?

Because penguins show affection by giving other penguins special rocks just like autistic people give/ send things. I personally love this link because I often flap my arms like a penguin when excited.

Parallel Play

This is where two people sit alone in a room whilst doing their own things & just exist together. For example, one is doing a jigsaw puzzle whilst the other reads a book. This is an autistic version of quality time as it doesn’t require continual conversation which we can find exhausting.

I find this is why I often prefer cats over people… you can just sit in the same room together doing separate things but being present together feels good.

Small Details

Autistic people are very detail orientated so we often notice things most people don’t.

This is the same in relationships… we may:

  • Learn every step of your routine & help you
  • Learn your interests & talk about them with you
  • Cook your favourite foods

Infodumping

This is where autistic people give a large amount of information about an interest or a passionate area of focus. Our special interests make us happy & help us cope with the world. We don’t mean to bore you or take control of conversations, never letting you speak… we just want to share this joy with you.

Deep Pressure Hugs

Deep pressure provides proprioceptive input which can help reduce body stress, especially in autistic people. I find that a massive firm hug from someone hides & protects me from danger & helps ease my anxiety.

As deep pressure helps us, we may do the same to you to show our love.

Stimming

Short for self stimulatory behaviour, this refers to any type of repetition using the senses of the body & is a way autistic people express our feelings & emotions.

For example, I flap my arms & bounce when happy/ excited and may be overly touchy when I feel love… for example patting someone’s knee.

How You Can Show Us Love:

Engage with our special interests – prompt us to infodump & listen to us when we do, learn about our special interests, send us things related to our special interests. Be passionate about things with us even if you don’t understand

Determine our happy/ anxious stims as well as our facial expressions so you can interpret how we are feeling

Don’t get angry if we don’t understand your body language/ facial expressions

Specify when you are being sarcastic or joking both online & in person. When messaging online you can put the following tone tags at the end of your text: /j (joke), /hj (half joke), /sar (sarcastic)

Ask permission before you touch us so it’s not unexpected… don’t touch us if we ask you not to

Don’t get angry or upset if we don’t want to go to an event or cancel last minute

Learn our routines & join in with us

Understand how we communicate & find alternatives. For example, chat online instead of meeting in person or having a phone call

Research about autism & talk to us about it. Ask us what you can do to support us

Talk for us on the phone if we are too anxious

Bring extra sensory aids like ear plugs or sunglasses in case we forget. Ask us how you can help us with sensory overloads & meltdowns

Make/ buy our safe food – A food that we eat a lot & enjoy. It removes some anxiety from eating as well as removing preparation work. It may also help with switching tasks as we know what is coming next & can look forward to it

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