Autism and friendships.

This is a blog I wrote about 3 years ago. It was previously one of the main blogs on my previous blog, however, the blog provider went down and I lost most of the blogs I wrote. I’ll update this blog regularly. The target audience for this blog is mainly people with Autism, who understand what I’m talking about, but also for those who don’t understand the condition too well. I’ve incorporated comments that people with Autism have used as excuses for their issues, these are the headings on this blog.

Firstly, let’s imagine you look at yourself from an outsider’s perspective for just one second, they see you doing what you are doing and they see that you are slightly different to the others around you. Already, people are noticing that you aren’t neurotypical and therefore in their eyes, you’re a bit weird. For you as a person, they can’t even imagine how you’re feeling, how you see the world around you, they’re just judging you based on what they can see. You know that feeling you get when you’re with a group of people, you try to speak up, but your opinions are ignored, it feels like you’re stuck in a glass box and no one can hear you and no one is acknowledging you. I understand the exact frustration, the exact detachment you feel from this world, but I believe that there is a place for all of us here. Yes admittedly I’m a little weird, I say the stupidest things sometimes and after I’ve said it, I already knew I shouldn’t have… But, there are people out there who will accept you for who you are, people aren’t all the same and that’s what makes this world so beautiful because everyone is an individual just like you. You may have some condition, but really, you’re just another human being and you have the right to be happy in this world.

Banter hurts!

The banter is unreal, right? How funny can Dave be sometimes? Well, when he’s joking around with me, making fun of me to try and make me laugh – inside I’m hurting, inside I’m crying. I get how you feel, the feeling that you take everything people around you say as a literal thing, regardless of how close you are to them. My advice here is just to teach yourself that when people in your friend group call you “stupid”, you just gotta laugh it off! They don’t actually mean that you are physically stupid, we know that we just need to believe it more. This will take time to learn, and you will do it, you will still feel that little judder of your heart when its said, and yes, of course, it’ll hurt a little bit, but as long as you understand that it is human nature to make fun of each other to create a fun atmosphere and banterous one – then you will begin to enjoy yourself more within friend groups. I’m not going to say to you that it was easy for me to understand relationships because believe me, I struggled for a number of years! But if you believe in yourself, you can make it work in your favour, maybe make fun of Dave… (By the way, Dave is just a fictional name I’m using for the purpose of what I’m trying to emphasise here)… Anyway, friendships are all about willing to sacrifice some things to make the rest of the “crew, gang, party” happy.

Let’s think about it like this: you’ve been asked on a day out somewhere, your favourite place to go is to the Ivy, but your friends really want somewhere cheaper and a bit more chilled. What do you do? Well, this is where compromise comes in, you’ve been outvoted, don’t be silly and argue about it because it causes tension within your friendship group, added stress that you don’t need! Just breath for a second, think about it, if you go to their restaurant choice this time, next time they’ll be willing to go to yours. One thing you are not limited with is time when doing things with your mates, they’ll be willing to compromise for you at a later date. All you gotta do is say “guys/gals, yeah I don’t mind going to …, I would prefer the Ivy but its all good”.

Look I completely understand how difficult that is to do, you never want anything to go any other way than your own, because you want to be happy and you want to do what you want to do. I am on your side, but all I’m trying to do is help you to have a healthy friendship group and enjoy yourself! Hopefully you’re starting to see my point of view here and you’re starting to understand the advice I’m giving to you.

“I don’t feel like I have a friend group”.

What, so you’re telling me that you don’t have any friends at all? Not one? Hmmm. Well, I’m sure that deep down inside you can think of one or two people you could easily contact if you need to have a good ol’ chit chat? No? Well, how about this: I want you to branch out, I want you to start a search to find friends! We’re in the era of meeting people online and making friends in the gaming world and over Facebook. There are plenty of sites where there are like-minded people who just want to get out and do things, or even just sit in watching movies. There is always someone out there for you who you can relate to in some way, it’s just about looking and not trying too hard. I have faith in your ability to contact people if that’ll make you happy, if not then please feel free to live your life doing whatever makes you happy (as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else). I like to emphasise that there is always someone that would love to know you as a person, because although I don’t know you, I’m sure you’re lovely and I’m certainly sure that you’ve got a heart of gold willing to make people around you laugh by saying something silly or doing something hilarious.

I’m depressed…

Ahh, you suffer from depression, something extremely common with Autism and Aspergers, well of course life is going to seem bad. You feel like no one ever wants to spend time with you right? I’ve been there! I really have been there and you know what I did to make myself optimistic and realise that I was completely wrong about that fact? Well, whenever any of my mates text me, called me or messaged me asking me to hang out – I wrote it in an A5 notepad… You know what; turns out I was completely wrong. My friends asked me on numerous occasions to do stuff with them, but my pessimism got the best of me and I rejected the offers, claiming I was too busy at that point. The key to this is turning the bad into good and coming to terms with the fact that for once in your life, you may actually be wrong. OMG, can you imagine, you being wrong? Surely that’s farcical right? Well not entirely! I think that it is healthy to understand when you’ve been wrong and to turn it around and make it right. They say that if opportunities don’t come knocking, build more doors right? So make yourself more available to your mates, perhaps even be the first port of contact and actually make contact with them. It doesn’t have to be a paragraph about how much their friendship means to you and why you want to spend time with them, it doesn’t need to start negative and you don’t need to point out that they haven’t been in contact. But you need to certainly drop in the idea that you’d like to just hang out, don’t be too keen, and definitely don’t come across too desperate. Just be yourself! That’s what you’re best at, because realistically you don’t have to try hard if you’re just being you… Your friends accept you for who you are, but they will not continuously appreciate any depressive messages, trust me, I know.

Let’s remember that the reason I am actually writing this blog is because I am actually diagnosed with probably near enough the exact thing as you, and I have been through everything I am writing about. I am merely writing from experience and trying to help you so that you DO make the same mistakes, and you are able to learn from them so that you DON’T make them again. I’m completely on your side and I am willing to accept any criticism you might have towards anything I have written here. Friendships are tough, admittedly as I have said before, one of the most difficult aspects of Autism is social interaction – its not fun, but can be made fun! You need to understand that banter doesn’t need to be taken literally, that when friends make fun of you, they’re doing it believing that you are laughing it off and not taking it to heart. Sometimes I prefer to just make fun of myself by saying “I’m pretty funny looking to be honest”, that way you’re putting yourself into a zone where you’re more in control of the situation. Always remember that compromise is important in any sort of relationship, because it’s not all about you in this. Lastly, I hope that this really helps you to overcome your emotional fears of friendships, also I hope that you feel more attached to the world after reading this because it’s really not a bad place at all! We all deserve to be respected and we must have a mutual respect for our friends as they do towards us.

One thought on “Autism and friendships.

  1. Josh this is absolutely fantastic, how you choose to share your diagnosis with other who are also on the Autistic spectrum , your understanding of your diagnosis is remarkable.
    This is a very brave thing you have done because you have accepted that you are different etc and very openly
    I am so so very proud of you I cannot express how I’m so very proud of what you have achieved and not let your diagnosis inhibit that .
    God gave me the most precious gift and that was you .
    I love you with all my heart and soul son

    Liked by 1 person

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