Anticipatory Rejection and Autists

Mette Harrison
4 min readOct 31, 2022


One of the habits of mine that I’m noticing as an adult is that I became so used to being socially rejected by others that I started doing it to myself and pretended it was a kind of joke. If I said the reasons that I was going to be rejected up front and everyone laughed and agreed, then somehow it was less painful than being surprised (autists also hate being surprised) by rejection later. It might also have been a strange way for me to try to figure out what the reasons were for my social rejection and try to deal with them, though I was never great at this.

These kinds of comments will come out in a variety of ways. Here are some:

1. I’m terrible about fashion and I know nothing I wear is ever current, but that’s just because I’m oblivious and stupid.

2. I don’t pay attention to other people so I’m sorry if I miss what’s going on that’s not literally spoken aloud.

3. I have a terrible sense of humor and that’s why I never get any jokes. (I’m very sensitive about the subject of not having a sense of humor and about people who say that they can stand any character flaw except not having a sense of humor).

4. I know I’m ugly, but we all just have to live with that.

5. I know I’m annoying. I’m sorry in advance if I say the wrong thing or laugh at the wrong time.

6. I need to follow the rules and I know that’s dumb but I’m really just afraid that I’m going to get in trouble or get hurt.

7. I’m very cautious physically because I’m clumsy and I’m sorry in advance.

8. I don’t know anything about popular music or television and I mostly just read old-fashioned literary books, but it’s not because I’m snotty. It’s because I’m dumb and don’t get stuff.

9. I never buy the right clothes for myself, so if you want to volunteer to come shopping with me next time, I’ll buy whatever you say, I promise.

10. Tell me if I smell or if I have snot in my nose or if my eyebrows or wrong or any of the other things other people notice and I don’t because I don’t remember all of them and I don’t want to be outside and make people laugh at me.



Mette Harrison

Autist, Ironman Worlds triathlete, Writer, Right-Brained