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I’m a black and white thinker

A couple of days ago a friend of mine got angry at me because they didn’t like how my thinking about certain issues is so ‘black and white’. They told me the world isn’t black and white, and so I shouldn’t think it is.

To me, for my entire life, the world IS black and white. I’ve never seen shades of grey, only black and white. It’s either this way, or it’s that way. There’s no in between.

Even if some people like to find shades of grey, I just simplify it further than they do. I choose simplicity over complexity, and I never see shades of grey. I can’t even try to see shades of grey, it just never happens.

Some people can’t handle this. They get very stressed and upset by it. All they see is the shades of grey and they want me to see the shades too. And if I don’t, they sometimes take it very personally.

Back in 2005, I wrote the following on my blog I had at that time:

It’s been said, particularly during a recent game of ‘Scruples’, that everything for me is ‘black or white’, and so it was easy to determine what my answers would be to various questions that concerned how I would react to various scenarios.

Back then, my friends saw I was a black and white thinker and used that to their advantage when playing a game. It was something that interested me as part of my personality, but I didn’t think much about it. To me, things were just simply black and white.

But as a result of my friend getting angry with me and telling me to just stop being so black and white in my thinking, I was doing some research tonight. I wondered if being a black and white thinker was, in any way, also related to me having Aspergers Syndrome.

Sure enough, I found it was. Here’s an example from one site I found (and there are MANY sites about it):

Despite normal or above normal intellectual abilities, individuals with AS have styles of thinking that often limit them and cause them to “get stuck” in how they see the world. They can be quite rigid in their thinking, seeing things in only one way, or they may be very concrete and literal in their thinking, only seeing things in “black and white” terms, with little or no understanding of the more ambiguous “gray” in between…

I’ve always been this kind of thinker. I’ve never been able to see things any differently. I used to think it was just related to my INTP personality type, but my research tonight has confirmed that it’s related to Aspergers.

I sent an email to my friend saying that I’m sorry. It’s not been my intention to upset him, but I think this is something he’s going to have to deal with.

How I think is not going to change. It’s hardwired into my brain. I take what information I have and drill down to the simplest of understandings, making it black or white. There’s no in betweens with me.

Maybe you have some tips you’d like to share?

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