For example, while out for a walk today, I saw somebody approaching from the opposite direction, and what went through my brain honestly felt a bit like this:
Attention! Approaching stranger! Expected social interaction from menu: Eye contact, nod, and smile.
Distance: too far to be optimal, current distance will result in creepily-long eye contact or in awkward need to pretend to be interested in something else.
Almost close enough.
There. Action engaged: *eye contact, smile, nod* Success!
"How are you doing?"
Attention! New input! Find conversational sub-routines, quickly! From menu: "Fine, thanks." *smile, nod again*
Wait. Error! Error! Did not read second portion of menu. Additional response expected: "And you?" Target is level with you, will be past immediately. Query: acceptable to turn to address target and give missing second portion? Y/N?
N. Turning is less socially acceptable than missing second portion. Continue without further action. You have failed to implement ideal social interaction. *BZZZT!*
Searching for further targets: None found. Social interaction is over.
Whew. Thank goodness.
Social interaction result: Acceptable, at least you weren't creepy. Still not ideal.
That is the best description I can give of what EVERY single in-person social interaction is like for me, save for those with people I know well and in situations I'm extra comfortable with.
This entry was originally posted at http://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1478125.h