But these tweets aren’t all fun and games. The fact that this type of language has entered the lexicon of friendship, one of the few human bonds that hasn’t been devastated by the transactional logic of neoliberalism—and has done so under the guise of being considerate or politically correct—is alarming. Transactional language strips love, kindness, and empathy from the social scripts of friendship, the exact sentiments people need when coming to you for help, regardless of whether or not you can provide that help at that specific time. Neurodivergent people too need that love, gentleness, and empathy, which is why they usually straight up ask for it in ways neurotypical people don’t. The implication that neurodivergent people should seek to use legalese when speaking with friends implies that we can’t distinguish between being open and explicit with our needs and being cold or patronizing. The appeal of the managerial language of these texts is that they seek to avoid the scariness of opening yourself to the emotions of others and their messy vulnerability. But it is precisely that messy vulnerability which makes friendships difficult (especially to people like me who can’t even handle their own emotions) but also worthwhile and wholesome.
Kate Wagner is.
This is in response to some viral tweets from a while back, that posited various scripts to use when you’re not in the right mental state to assist friends with their emotional problems. Wagner’s thesis is not that scripts themselves are bad, only that the language of these particular scripts was… and that people mocking the latter often ended up mocking the idea of the former, which is hurtful to neurodivergent people in particular.