Don’t panic but do worry:
Your boss expressed his expectations to and accepted (to a certain degree) your explanation. Worse would be if he were disappointed but would not tell you. And to some extent, you indicated you are aware contacts are important.
However, you did disappoint him, and you gave a vague explanation. Do these fatigue issues diminish your productivity? You seem to have an aversion for contacts. Does that include meetings that are important for the job? Does that harm your relationship with colleagues? How far are you prepared to go to mitigate this yourself?
That are a lot of questions, which make your boss unsure.
I usually talk openly about my autism to my boss and colleagues.
As a consultant, I worked in many teams in the past, so I have some experience. To introduce the topic, I can
- Mention my autistic children: “Could I have half a day off? We are invited for an info session at our son’s special needs school …”
- Mention my autism related volunteer work. (My previous boss then proposed me to bring a presentation on my autism for the team.)
- Explain why I avoid having too much interaction. “I purposely join my colleagues at the central desk once a week, but actually prefer the desk behind the screen because …”
- Ask for advice. “I contacted that user yesterday and this morning, but I already have new questions. Could I book another meeting with her this afternoon or is that too soon?”
- Ask for guidance/coaching. “I am never sure how people think of me and how I should address them. I appreciate every feed-back on that.”
Usually, that leads to a short conversation, in which I further explain my question or situation mentioning my autism.
Recently, I stopped working as a consultant. When applying for a job as employee, I usually mentioned some aspects of my autism during the interview (no ambition to lead a team, appreciating feed-back, like to debug, critic towards data quality, ...) Then, towards the end I explain these things are related to my autism. As the impact of my condition is explained before I name it, they don’t apply their prejudices so much.
I just got a new boss and am looking forward to explaining him.
What if you don’t want to tell him about your autism?
You can still apply most techniques I mentioned above. You only have to have a consistent explanation why there is an issue that needs your boss’s attention but does not hinder a fruitful collaboration.
When you don’t want to mention your autism, it is difficult to ask much time for the topic and will usually explain your situation in short, un planned conversations. I advise to prepare at least twenty short stories that explain different aspects of your autism and can be used in different circumstances.