Friendships

Those who are markedly different from the majority, often find themselves isolated and unable to make or keep close friendships.

Being rare

When having trouble finding friends, it is easy to believe there is something ‘wrong’ with oneself, though it may really just be due to being in minority and not having enough other people of like mind to choose among for friends. Not that one’s friends need necessarily be neuro-atypical in the same way as oneself, but I’ve noticed that like often attracts like and that many feel more comfortable with others who have similar values, interests and ways of functioning. With the Internat it is easier to find others like themselves or with similar interests with whom to make friends (this is probably true for people in general as well).

Naïveté

Many ASD people have a sort of innocence or helplessness about them that makes kind-hearted people want to take care of them, and predatory people want to use or bully them. Somehow, those who wish to use, abuse and control, seem to have a special radar for detecting if someone is different, vulnerable, peaceful at heart, naïve, has a low level of assertiveness and is easy to intimidate and take advantage. Usually, this comes as a complete shock to the unsuspecting Aspie! Since most of us are honest, harmless and sincere ourselves, we tend to assume that everyone is and therefore easily miss dishonesty and hidden agendas. We simply can’t imagine why someone would do something which we ourselves would never dream of doing… Parents, teachers and friends need to keep a close eye to make sure their Asplings aren’t getting taken advantage of, being bullied or worse. Not every Aspie is gullible and naïve, though. Many have – or eventually acquire – a very keen manipulation-radar and can detect suspicious behaviour a mile away, e.g. insincere compliments that are only designed to gain some advantage for themselves.

Reciprocity

Many Aspies, Highly Sensitive People and others on the neurodiversity spectrum have overwhelmingly strong sensitivities, allergies, phobias, interests, problems, high or low energy level, compulsions or social cluelessness which may make it difficult to impossible to have a perfectly equal friendship.

Some need things to always be on their terms or not at all, and just don’t have the energy to engage in things that don’t interest them. Others may be over-compliant & passive and just go along with whatever is suggested, without ever taking an initiative themselves. Some may simply not know what is expected in a friendship without being explicitly informed. Yet others form very long & deep friendships and make excellent and loyal friends.

Age

It is not uncommon for young Aspies to seek the company of those that are older (for comfort, security & guidance and/or adequate intellectual stimulation). And for older Aspies to seek the company of those who are younger (e.g. for exchange of fresh ideas & sharing of youthful interests which one may still enjoy).

Gender

Many Aspies have an easier time making friends of the opposite sex.

“I like to play pool, but I play mainly with guys. I don’t know how to get along very well with women. I’m not good at small talk. I do a lot of things alone, but I do like being around people very much and talking and playing. Mostly guys, though. There are few women who share my interests.”

– Anne Marie, ADHD/Aspie from USA

“I used to play quite a bit with girls when I was a kid. 2 of my best friends from childhood were girls. In kindergarten, I was always with this girl and we had a lot of secrets together. We were called ‘the experts’ by the others, because they thought we knew so much and were so quick to get through reading- and math assignments. A year or so later, I ‘finally learned’ that it wasn’t appropriate to play with girls so I stopped.”

Mattias, probable Aspie from Sweden

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3 Comments »

  1. Ann said,

    Not an Aspie (I don’t think so anyway…) but social phobic. I am also hearing impaired which complicated matters even more!. Anyone else with other disabilities as well?. Ann potential aspie from England

  2. Ann said,

    Is there anyone out there like me who has multiple disabilities that affect socialising?. In my case, deafness and social anxiety disorder which has some Aspie type effects. Ann from England.

  3. Beaver said,

    I am not an Aspie but have a brain injury and PTSD. I moved to a new location where no one knew me and people were so narrow minded that people themselves took the liberty to label me an Aspie. Just for grins I looked up and started reading. I now have to thank the closed minded, prejudiced people since they led me to a world of people I might actually get a long with.


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