Is it worth worrying about how I come across in texts and DMs?

I used to reply to people’s messages basically mimicking their writing style and tone. I guess it was part of my larger masking. As I’m getting to know my authentic, autistic self better, I find that I am not replying straight away, and sometimes taking a day or two to think how to respond. I have had comments from recipients of my messages that I am too brief or not chatty enough. Is this worth worrying about? I am trying really hard to be assertive about my needs and boundaries.

Case in point: last night I received a text from a family member saying, ‘I have Covid.’ That’s all. What is the point of this message? How do I/am I expected to respond?

If you were previously texting people with messages that were longer and more detailed and as part of your autistic journey you’ve stopped doing that, if they are not aware that that is what has happened, it might seem like something is wrong (ie that you’re angry or depressed). If you don’t want to disclose that, you could just say something vague like, “I’ve been thinking about how I want to message people lately and been trying out new ways of chatting, I am feeling a bit better for not putting so much pressure on myself to get it right”. Maybe something about how the world is moving too fast for humans at the moment and you’re taking some time to think before replying (I think everyone, even neurotypicals, are starting to feel stressed out at how much we have to take in and process these days and can relate to this).

I do not know your family member or the context in which they said this, but if I were to speculate, it would be that this is a “put” to open a conversation where they either want to tell you something or just want to experience the pleasure of your company because they are sick. Something like, “Oh no, are you ok?” will either get them to tell you the thing they need to tell you, (“I won’t be able to come to the thing on Sunday”) or give them the opportunity to have a good whinge about how sick and rubbish they feel.

These are suggestions, but perhaps may be useful for your own thinking. It’s completely ok and normal to get a message from someone and not reply to it for a while (especially if you get several from different people). We used to live in a society where if you wanted to talk to someone, you had to give a message to someone travelling to where they lived and wait several days/week/months for the reply, and it’s a bit much for our brains now that everyone we know can text us immediately anytime of the day or night.

Thank you very much for this. It was really helpful. :grinning: