Autism Translation Chart: Understanding NTs

Disclaimer: these are based on my personal experiences involving many people for many years and should not be interpreted as relating to any specific individuals but to non-autistic people in general.

NT stands for Neurotypical, i.e. not ASD (or ADHD).

NT Says:NT Means:
YesYes, No, Maybe
NoNo, Yes, Maybe
maybemaybe, I have no idea but want to end the conversion; I need more information
laterlater, quite likely is a polite (though dishonest) way to say “no”
I don’t knowI don’t know; I do know but am not telling you.
secretonly you are being told; you are the last to be told
You are [nice, kind, great, etc.]I want to politely tell you that you are not cool enough to be around me other than absolutely necessary.
That’s cute.
You are cute.
You are acting stupidly, but I’m nice enough to make it not sound so mean.
I want to help you.You are annoying me, and I’m so nice that I’m going to frame it in a way I look good.
Fix your problems.I don’t understand ASD, don’t care about ASD, and you should act more like “normal” people.
What’s wrong with you.I don’t understand ASD, don’t care about ASD, and you should act more like “normal” people.
You are a . . . friend.If you actually were my friend, you would already know it, and I’d not have to tell you (and you’d not have to ask!)
Trust meYou actually can trust me; I’ll say this just to win your trust, but I know you are naive and will believe me.
Everyone knows that you are . . . I believe that you are . . .
finefine; not fine, but I don’t want to explain it to you
OKOK, not OK, but I don’t want to explain it to you
I don’t want to hurt/upset you.You are going to get hurt, but I don’t want you to think it’s my fault.
Be patient.Be patient so I can figure out a way to sneak away from someone as irritating as you
I love texting.I hate every other possible way to communicate with you so much that I’m willing to say I love texting. You are not cool enough to be around me.
NT Says:NT Means:
I’ll do my best.It’s probably never going to happen.
I’m truly/very/really sorry.I’m not sorry, but you’ll be less upset if I say that.
I understand how you feel.I understand that I don’t want to put up with you any more.
I’m only trying to help.Shut up and listen to me!
Listen to me!Stop being so annoying and do what I tell you!
You are unique/special/different.Please find other friends.
Everyone likes/loves you.You are annoying me . . . please bother someone else.
I know you won’t like this . . . I have no patience with you, so I’m going to tell you . . .
You are so creative!Your interests don’t interest me.
Wow!OMG . . . so annoying.
How are you able to do that?You have one cool skill, but that does not mean we can be friends.
Sureyes, reluctantly; no, go away
not right nowmost likely never
I can’t . . . I don’t want to . . .
What don’t you understand?OMG, please . . . didn’t you pick up on all my non-verbal clues!
Stop asking questions!You are one of the most annoying people I know.
You like to talk about . . . I wish you would shut up about . . .
That’s cool.I like that. I don’t like that. I like that when other people do that but not when you do!
I’m sure it will work out.This is your clue to leave me alone so it will work out for me.
You are too sensitive!I can’t help it if you don’t understand me, and I’m not taking time out of my day to explain it any more.

NT Says:NT Means:
“Self-care” from a person who has a lot of struggles of their own.I actually need a break. It’s not personal though I may find you annoying.
“Self-care” from a person who is typically happy.

(I may be jaded about “self-care” from some people.)
I’m not willing to listen to your problems or spend time just being with you. I need to always be doing things and don’t have time to put up with your issues. I come before you, even though I don’t actually need help like you do.

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