Topic: Wait... so you're supposed to read their face to figure out what they're talking about? ?

English Alexithymia Forum > Questions and Answers

Wait... so you're supposed to read their face to figure out what they're talking about? ?
16.12.2020 by CantThinkOf1

The title is a bit tounge in cheek, but really, I always thought that non-geeks just have trouble expressing themselves and understanding things that have more than 2 buttons...
Self help books always said (i know... Books don't talk... unless it's audible) to just look at peoples' faces but they never quite explained at which part and for how long. I mean if someone has a nice face then sure it's a pleasure to analyze the symmetry but if they have pimples then after a while you're just staring and being weird again... ?
People always say it's good to share things but I'm gonna be breef because I'm in a bath and typing with 2 fingers after a while gets tiresome...
So... I just discovered that my "can't remember people because I have bad memory" issue has a an actual name and there's more people like me! Oh wait gotta end because newegg is dropping GPUs!
With love,

16.12.2020 by Milkbad

What you discovered is a possibility, but is only confirmed by actually seeing a specialist and taking tests/talking a lot.

As the forum states, these posts and initial test are not meant to be used for diagnosis or self-diagnosis of issues or even symptoms.

As someone with Alexi, having one very common symptom in many other mental issues, is not enough to determine yourself as having Alexi. There are typically more than one factors that occur simultaneously in order to be diagnosed for sure.

What other issues do you struggle with?

16.12.2020 by CantThinkOf1

I've read someone describing how hard it is for them to recognize someone out of context, like recognizing a coworker when you meet them outside of work in completely different clothes. That so resonated with me even tho I always thought about it from a context of not being able to remember people's names and not... Being able to "read faces as a whole"?

Small talk is a chore, but i like to talk in smaller groups about clearly defined topics.

I'm completely blind to social cues. People very often imply things while talking which very obvious to everyone else but me.

Lack of emotions... I mean I get irritated, I like good sarcastic humor, but often I'm just... Content...

Completely zero memory for stuff that doesn't create a logical whole if that makes any sense. I can barely remember few dates from my life or what i had for dinner yesterday, but I'm great in figuring how stuff works.

Don't really do socializing or have friends... Don't really mind it tho.

I mean I'm 40, married and have a good career... But i always just thought I'm different so it's nice to give a name to some of those issues and see other people struggle with the same things and i guess just socialize a bit with someone who thinks alike.

16.12.2020 by Milkbad

Well just understand that **you cant** give them a name, a specialist has to do that. It would be up to a doc to tell you whats wrong with you instead of a "self-diagnosis" of Alexi.

Typically Alexi presents in emotional disassociation and difficulty of reading emotion via facial ques, not a failure to recognize people outside of scheduled contact.

Your second point, is fairly normal with many people. Especially when conversation includes topics that you are unfamiliar with.

As someone with Alexi, in my case, I wouldn't know that I was missing a social que, and from the many other people I've met that are officially "diagnosed" like myself, they don't have an awareness that they miss social ques in themselves and others. One of my therapy exercises is actually an attempt to understand subtleties in peoples bodily language.

--Because in your post, you know you are aware that you miss social ques, it seems unlikely to me that you would share this trait with common Alexi persons.--

I also tend to have delayed emotional reactions to things that occur by days sometimes weeks. For example, when i broke up with my most recent girlfriend and had some other stresses in my life, it wasn't until several weeks later I had a nervous breakdown in the middle of a wedding and had no clue why, I wasn't even feeling sad.

Along with some of these traits, most people with Alexithymia also suffer some sort of consistent bodily trait. So for some it may be muscle tension, others really strong pain etc. In my case it has to do with severe muscle tension to the point i have stomach, leg and shoulder cramps. At one point my back was tense enough that I had to have my muscles manually moved via therapy because my spine was under a lot of tension. I actually found out my Alexi path when my original therapist started looking up muscle tension and my other "symptoms" we had discussed. I have a regular schedule using a Percussion Massage Gun to help me remember and try to control my muscle tension.

Most of the other people I've met don't have issues socializing with Alexi, but instead simply prefer to talk about non-emotional topics and things that can be clarified using direct and forward communication. Another one of my therapies is talking with people about how they feel when it comes to things that happen in their lives.

Many of your points listed, do not fit the knowledge that I [or my therapist] have of Alexi. Being "numb" and "aloof" of people and yourself can stem from many mental issues or simply be personality traits.

I cant stress enough that instead of a self-diagnosis, that you should see an autism specialist.

16.12.2020 by CantThinkOf1

Thanks for the exhaustive explanation!

30.12.2020 by User20247K79

Just wanted to chime in here about the facial recognition thing! I arrived here because I scored 146 on the test, but I am rather unconvinced I have alexi; I just think that it might be a 'tendency' for me rather than a full-on diagnosis. But I do have prosopagnosia - difficulty recognising faces. It's relatively mild - I recognise family members and friends I know well - but definitely enough to cause social problems. And I wonder whether difficulty reading emotions on faces can come along with that. (Another reason why I think that alexi is probably not what I have, as the proso could have caused me to score higher in certain areas of the test. And there may well be other factors at play too.)

27.01.2021 by Milkbad


It is possible for peoples with Alexi to have difficulty recognizing facial traits, but they typically occur in reliance to that persons outward emotion.

An example would that that someone is shifting eye contact continuously or may smirk, but someone with Alexi would not be able to deduce happiness, slyness, boredom, or nervousness (for example) as possibilities to understanding emotions surrounding those facial features. If that person with Alexi is advanced enough, total emotional blindness is possible and can make deducing emotion from facial features alone nearly impossible.

01.02.2021 by User61433B90

Haha I have a nice story.

I too have very bad facial recognition.
I once met a person at work who asked me to join him at his desk soon. I PRESSED his face to my mind the best I could. I thought, THIS time I will recognize a person, it cannot be that hard.

I went by his desk, said hello to him and kept on walking...Searching for him..
He asked me then if we could carry on with the issue and I realized he was the guy I just saw 30 seconds ago. Of course I just faked like if I had been going to some other quick matter first.

I even have trouble recognizing my family members, if I have not met them in week or two, not a chance. Personal clothing and beards help a lot and make my few free time hobbies possible.

This problem has made me be nice to everyone at first, like they were my friends, as I really might not have a clue if I have met them earlier.

This has caused me to not take on different responsibilities that involve managing people.

Just writing this makes me amused.. How one simple thing can be so broken?

17.07.2021 by User40523O89

Funny that prosopagnosia was mentioned. I have that too. I have always blamed it on having frequent migraine attacks but, to be honest, I just do not recognize faces in certain situations. I don't if they are out of context. I don't if some changed something like their hairstyle. I don't if someone approaches me in the street to say hello... because I often forget the faces of acquaintances and if they are Also out of context just no way I'll remember them. I would always forget the faces of customers once they were out of my office... even if they came back moments later to talk to me or bring me additional information. It is really frustrating and embarrassing. It helps if the person is around me a whole lot, always in a similar context, and doesn't change in appearance really.

I do remember close friends I see often. And I do remember family members... aside from say aunts and uncles I do Not see often.