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My cousin has mild autism (not Asperger's Syndrome). He's 22 and never manages to get past his probation period in the jobs he's had. He is a hard worker and a warm person, but he is pretty dim.

It dawned on my yesterday that he has an awful haircut - the first words I thought of to describe it were "damp Bond villain". I am wondering if he would benefit from a sharper haircut. One that will he help him create and maintain a better impression.

I take an interest in my appearance, so I am quite confident that I can help him find a great haircut that he will like.

My family can be very protective of him, so I do not want to bring it up with anybody until I know how to phrase it gently, which is why I'm asking you guys for advice.

What do I do? What do I say? Do I speak directly to my cousin, or discuss it with other family members first? Do I dance around the issue, or outright state that I think he has an awful haircut?

  • Do you usually advice him on anything? Does he consult you? – Harry Weasley Nov 4 '17 at 10:12
  • No, he's an adult and makes his own decisions. I think if he wants advice, he consults his mother or sister. I spend time with him every so often - usually to play video games. – Snr Srub Nov 4 '17 at 16:05
  • The fact that he got through the interview process makes me think that the haircut is very unlikely to be the root cause between him not getting through the probation period. Aren't there any other aspects of him that are much more likely to have a strong effect? Like for instance his work ethic or his communication skills? – Cronax Nov 7 '17 at 16:10
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It dawned on my yesterday that he has an awful haircut

That's your opinion. Your cousin is entitled to think differently.

Say nothing of that sort. At most (!) next time he mentions getting a haircut make an off-hand "Hey dude, maybe you fancy one of these ?" and point at your own hair (which, incidentally, other people may not find as attractive as you do !). But don't force this issue.

My cousin has mild autism (not Asperger's Syndrome). He's 22 and never manages to get past his probation period in the jobs he's had. He is a hard worker and a warm person, but he is pretty dim.

None of this is solved by a haircut that meets your approval.

If you want to help your cousin (and I assume you do) then support them emotionally. Provide encouragement, warmth, respect. Show him you enjoy his company and be patient with him.

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    I appreciate what you are trying to say - he is his own person and can obviously make his own decisions, however I think people are capable of making, and sticking to really bad decisions, and I can assure you this haircut is one of them. I am not so much concerned about finding a haircut that meets my approval as I am one that meets the approval of the general public. You are correct that I should provide support, and I would be willing to accept it if he doesn't want to change, but I think sometimes we have to be honest to help people? – Snr Srub Nov 4 '17 at 16:07
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Say you need a haircut, ask him to come with you and go to (a movie, lunch, a ball game) afterward. When he is in the shop, say he could use a trim, and ask him if he wants the barber to give him a quick trim. (You've spoken to the barber beforehand, you trust him to do a good job and to only modify the haircut, but not completely redo it.

Edit in response to a comment: Keep it as a casual suggestion, don't push if the cousin says "No". (I am a big fan of taking "No" for an answer.) If it works, it works, if it doesn't work, regard it as a first step in a longer effort, also low-key. Avoid nagging or being perceived as nagging.

(If you aren't a good enough actor to make this seem natural, and not a plot, don't do it.)

  • Can you expand on this? We have something of a loose 'back it up rule'. – apaul Nov 4 '17 at 14:21
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    This could work, but it has a nonzero chance of ending really badly. I have Asperger's and if you tried to "trick" me into getting a haircut like this, I'd tell the hairdresser no, and I'd trust you a lot less. If you continued to push me I'd get pretty upset. Because this involves breaking the schedule AND strange people touching one's hair, I am sure I am not alone in thinking this could end badly (as badly as a tantrum). – Laurel Nov 4 '17 at 15:18
  • This is not a bad idea, however I think the problem is not so much how he gets his hair cut as it is how he styles it. I guess I could ask the barber to offer to style it a different way and see if he likes it. – Snr Srub Nov 4 '17 at 16:06

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