Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Day Before "The Sunglasses Experiment"

(This is the start of a long sequence of posts. There was no easy way for me to link them so if you want to continue reading after this post you can click on the archive to the right and go to July 2010, or scroll under the comments and click "newer post" to go the next day. This is one month I will never forget and I hope you enjoy my journey!)

I must admit I am getting just a little bit nervous. Tomorrow I set forth in wearing sunglasses in all social situations for one month. This is not a small task, and add on top of that I will be writing about it all.

I am also nervous to see if there is any change in social interactions. While watching the NASCAR Nationwide Series race last night I remembered the day I first wore regular glasses. I had been working at a video game store for about three months and was doing good in the sales department. Customers trusted me and I could up-sell almost anyone. At the same time my eye sight was slipping just a tad so I decided to pursue eyeglasses. My logic was this, the stereotype for glasses is smart people therefore if I wore glasses at my job people would buy more from me. Odd thing is, I was right! I don't recall the exact numbers, but I was already the best in the area and I furthered it by a landslide.

When I first got eyeglasses the change just wasn't with me, but also the customer themselves. The interactions were different, the dialogue sharper. I don't know how to fully explain it, but I am wondering if I am going to have a similar situation with the sunglasses, and here why; When I don't make eye contact with someone, say, in a store I think they too get defensive. If the other person assumes I am making eye contact will that open up a new line of dialogue that I am not accustomed to?

I will say again that I am nervous. This experiment was made possible by a person who attended a presentation and heard about this in talking with me afterwards. Without asking she said she wanted to make it happen, and tomorrow it will, but I am still nervous. I want to crack the dilemma of eye contact. Why is it so hard for me? Will I be able to make eye contact with my mirrored sunglasses?

Oh the suspense! Just 24 hours from now we will hopefully learn just a little bit more about this. Yes, in case you haven't caught my drift, I am nervous.


For more info on my experiment you can read the original entry here: http://lifeontheothersideofthewall.blogspot.com/2010/06/coming-in-july-great-sunglass.html

To read the next post click http://lifeontheothersideofthewall.blogspot.com/2010/07/and-so-it-begins.html


  1. Me and the twins are sending prayers and all our positive thoughts your way, and I know you are going to achieve more hability to eye contact. Guess if we use sunglasses people assume that we make eye contact and therefore don't think how strange it is us to be talking to them and not looking at them.
    You look very cool with the sunglasses Aaron.
    Girls are going to harass you... LOL
    Don't be nervous hun! You'll make it!

  2. very interesting experiment. I know many people, including myself find mirrored sunglasses difficult because I cannot tell if you are making eye contact. Maybe someone who is "neuro typical" (hope that is PC) should do the same experiment and see if they get treated differently, might help some people understand what if feels like to have difficulty making eye contact.

  3. I don't know. I try to make attempts for eye contact if I know the person, a few times, but it is way easier for me to carry out what I am going to say if I am not looking into their eyes. I concentrate better and can most verbally express myself when not looking. People don't get that. Then, there are times when I stare if I find them interesting.

  4. I think that it would possibly ease the NT that you are possibly making eye contact, but making the contact as the wearer may not increase ease to make the eye contact. This is in my experience. I thought about it once in chorus because I looked out to a distance when I sang. It helped me concentrate, though the director was mad b/c I would not look at her eyes for cues. I thought, maybe if I had sunglasses could it be easier for me to do, no.

  5. i think eyes are a very intimate thing to look into, there is an unspoken rule that when communicating we make eye contact initially but then there is no rule for during the conversation. if the person is saying something interesting we connect eyes again possibly to let them know we get what they are saying or agree with it. we look away when we are perhaps thinking about what they said or reflecting upon it and how it relates to us. we dont look away too long though because the speaker might assume we aren't listening. its a very unchartered territory. i am neuro typical but have an autistic son. he listens to me although he isn't looking at me. its MY expectation he should be looking at me. social etiquette is strange. its weird i have to ask him to look at me when i speak to feel like he is paying attention. he can be in the other room and after i've said something i ask what did i say? he will repeat it. he listens.
    i think its hard for him to read my emotions unless they are exaggerated/big. he avoids what he doesn't understand. thats ok by me. everybody is different. he has made me realize i am wierd in a lot of ways too! lol.

  6. my niece Molly works at Touchpoint. About a year ago she moved 5 houses away from me. She started hanging out with my son, {her cousin} Colton, who has been diagnosed with everything pertaining to mental health by some Dr. or mental health professional. I can only say he fits into the spectrum of it all at times. She could tell Colton was really struggling and suggested I try Touchpoint. It feels like Colton and I have been around the world searching for answers. This Friday will complete our 2 week schooling at Touchpoint. Wow!! Life changing experience for us. I am a strong believer in God and I feel my blessings started when Molly moved in. Aaron Thank you so much for sharing your story today in my class. I feel my cup is running over full of blessings from my Lord and savior Jesus. God bless all.

  7. In some of the Pacific Islands it is extremely rude to make eye contact with someone perceived as outranking you! Many Kiwis have struggled with teaching children who refuse to "look them in the eye" as they have been taught not to at home.
    So it is not just people on the spectrum who don't like making eye contact.

  8. I have known that I have asperger's for a while now.It's just so unfortunate that people are unable to completely understand the implications of having asperger's. I would like to try and replicate the sunglasses experiment of yours and measure the success I have in relationships.

  9. My son was diagnosed with asperger's syndrome a few months ago. He is 5 years old. He avoids eye contact too. I thought that this would change in time, now I know it will not. But it's ok. i guess, he is an adorable and very inteligent little boy. Eye contact is not that important after all. I wonder what the future has installed for him...

  10. yup ,pple wiz asperger's syndrome prefere not 2 get any eye contact wizin da conversation , it's just about their self-confidence u know , but it's really great 2 make it easy wiz sunglasses, gd 4 us ,aaron , thx 4 dis experiment

  11. yup ,pple wiz asperger's syndrome prefere not 2 get any eye contact wizin da conversation , it's just about their self-confidence u know , but it's really great 2 make it easy wiz sunglasses, gd 4 us ,aaron , thx 4 dis experiment

  12. Fascinating. You know, I've always been slightly Aspergian myself, and I find eye contact difficult... people talk about self-confidence and stuff like that, maybe it's true, but for me, eye contact is such an intimate thing that I don't initiate it with anyone I'm not really, really close to. I've never been able to disassociate it as a sign of intimacy, and I can't look people in the eye unless I love them.

  13. My friend's son missed out on a job recently because his lack of eye contact made them think he was dishonest. Meanwhile...I can't even tell you my husband's eye colour...but I know what sort of teeth he has. I don't even know what that says about me! Hahaha.