As an autistic person, I have noticed that when I speak directly, in a flat voice; often this can be perceived as threatening or trying to challenge the status quo - when I'm simply asking for the purpose of understanding.
My goal is to improve my communication with the neurotypical (NT) people in my life and find some way to rephrase questions and statements so that my intention accurately comes across, rather than being misunderstood.
Some Examples of what I mean:
Me: Why do you feel that way?
How it gets perceived by NTs: You're psychoanalyzing me.
How I mean it: I seek to understand how you are feeling to connect with you empathetically.
Me: What if we did it that way?
How it gets perceived by NTs: You disagree with the ways I'm currently doing it. I take offense to you requesting to one up me by suggesting a better solution than mine.
How I mean it: I value improvement within the process. I can think of many possibilities, and it could be worth trying it out, although there is nothing currently wrong with the way we are doing it; maybe better solutions do exist.
Me: So, you're feeling angry because your core need of connecting with others is unmet?
How it gets perceived by NTs: Why are you trying to be my therapist and solve my issues for me when I just want to vent?
How I mean it: I am trying to empathetically connect to you, understanding your feeling and core needs, so that we can align on shared core needs and so that you might feel better.
Me: offers a solution to a problem an NT has presented
NT: is resentful that solution is there
How I mean it: Why ask for advice if you don't actually want it?
NT: Asks for advice
Me: Gives advice, NT does not follow said advice, continues to "vent" about problem I have already solved
How I mean it: See above
Me: gives a compliment to someone next to them
NT: assumes that if I compliment one person, that I must be insulting another one. Then seeks to change discussion to shift focus back to them
How I mean it: The world is beautiful. I love commenting on small details about people that I find fascinating. Just because I compliment one person does not mean I'm insulting another, there's more than enough compliments to go around.
Me: If you want me to make dinner alone, I don't mind it, you can go relax
How it gets perceived: Why are you being so condescending? Do you think I'm incapable of making dinner myself?
How I mean it: I'm offering to make dinner for you, because I think you deserve a nice night to relax and not worry about making dinner.
Me: picking up the phone from my NT, NT is very drunk and very angry about something.
Me: What are you angry about?
NT: NT lists off what's making them feel angry and I listen, being very careful not to interrupt
Me: So, you're upset because person "XYZ" said this to you and you felt invalidated by it, and you're angry because your core need of being understood is unmet?
NT: You're right I'm f****** angry, no one cares about me and I do everything
Me: I'm sorry you're feeling that way. Yeah, I know how frustrating it feels when my core need of being understood isn't met.
NT: Is all that you can say, yeahhhhhh?
NT Proceeds to continue cursing on the phone, then decides to hang up
How I mean it: I'd like to set a boundary that I'm unwilling to talk to you in this drunken state, though I do not know the best way of doing that other than validating your feelings, making sure you are in a safe place and not harming yourself or others physically.
This is my attempt to empathetically communicate with your struggles so that you remember you're never alone and I deeply care about you.
Other nuances I have tried
As a result of this miscommunication process, I subconsciously raise my voice when talking to most people. It's a type of masking in the hopes that regardless of what I ask, if I ask it in a friendly tone of voice, people will understand that I am trying to be kind.
It helps a lot - but it is quite exhausting to never be able to use my natural voice without it being misunderstood or sounding "pissed".
It's like resting bitch face but with vocal chords.
So, how can I adjust my communication style while communicating to NTs so that what I am trying to convey comes across clearly?
There is never a time where I am trying to respond to anything in an aggressive way. I simply ask questions to clarify and full understand the social or emotional situation.