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Featured Afraid of my friends outgrowing me

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by Baeraad, Jul 8, 2019.

  1. Baeraad

    Baeraad Well-Known Member

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    I'm 38 years old, have had a diagnosis for about the last 8 or so. I've always had trouble with social skills and with connecting to other people. At the same time, that's always felt like the most important thing for me. I know a lot of autistic people get by just fine on their own, but to me, it's always felt like getting to have friends is the only thing that makes life something resembling okay.

    It hasn't always been easy. I've driven some people away with my rigidity and my anger. I've learned to temper both things as I've gotten older, but those lost friends stay lost, and it's only gotten harder to make new ones. The Internet was a big help at one point, but it's just gotten angrier and more divided over the years - these days, I feel like everywhere I turn, I find either demands for perfectly neurotypical behaviour that I can't live up to, or else blatant intolerance for weakness of any kind. It doesn't feel like there are any spaces left where I'm still welcome.

    And now two of my three remaining friends are having babies. And I'm afraid that that moves them into a stage of their lives where I just can't follow them. I could relate to the 20-something experience of bumbling around and trying to make sense of the world. I could kind of relate to the early-30s experience of being overworked, underpaid and overtired. But raising families? I can't even get close to that. I'm just me. It's a minor miracle that I can live on my own and hold down a job. I can't progress beyond this point.

    One of these friends has assured me that she's still going to want me in her life and that she'll try to make time for me. That helps, though I still worry. The other one has implied pretty strongly that she sees our future relationship taking place mostly through Facebook updates. That hurts.

    I don't know what to do with myself, and I'm afraid that it's only going to get harder from here.
     
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  2. Misery

    Misery Photo-Negative V.I.P Member

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    Aye, I can understand what you're going through with all of this.

    I've often wondered the same thing. I'm 37, but only physically. Mentally, I seem to have remained a bit of a child. I spend most days playing games or playing with the dog or stuff like that, while people I know are out working and doing "adult" things. More and more over time, I've constantly felt like I dont quite belong in their world. I grow more reclusive as time passes.

    And there's really no easy solution to that. Fortunately, the few friends I do have at this point are those that have always understood me the best... they know what my condition and mindset are, and they deal with me pretty well. So that's good. But others... lost to the wind, I guess.

    Though, even with those few that are still there, if they were to start a family, just... ugh. I think I'd lose them. That's beyond just "a whole other world". Like you, I simply cannot relate to that whole thing at all. Not to mention that their free time would go out the window.

    Now as for the internet... why not start here? If you havent noticed, we're not exactly NTs here, the majority of us, heh. Most here will understand and sympathize, and wont expect anything specific of you. We're used to being the odd ones out... it's one of the reasons why many of us come here to begin with. You can meet plenty of potential friends here.
     
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  3. Baeraad

    Baeraad Well-Known Member

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    Thank you. It's nice to know someone else feels this way too. I've hung around autism forums before, but I've usually gotten the impression that other autistic people are either pristinely uninterested in socialising or else manage to have reasonably ordinary lives. I was starting to feel like I was the odd one out even among the odd ones out. :emojiconfused:

    But yeah, me coming here is kind of part of an effort to reach out a little more. Because I've been feeling for years that my life is just shrinking, with things that I enjoyed getting lost and not getting replaced by anything. Something has to change.

    In the spirit of socialising, then, what sort of games do you play?
     
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  4. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

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    I’ve lost some friends over the years, not necessarily because they outgrew me, but because our lives went in different directions. My best friend recently had her second child, whereas I have no children and no desire to have any in the foreseeable future, and it takes a lot of effort on both sides to keep our friendship alive, but it is doable. It does take some adjusting because friendship just doesn’t stay the same when kids are added to the mix. Me and my friend used to get drunk and sing karaoke together, now we take walks in the park or go to the petting zoo.
    I still enjoy getting my drink on now and again, so I’ve made an effort to be friendly at my local bar, which has netted me a few new friends who also enjoy a beverage or two.
     
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  5. Baeraad

    Baeraad Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, it helps to know that that's at least a thing that can happen. I'm certainly willing to be as flexible as I need to be to make things work, and all my interests are pretty sedate and family-friendly anyway.
     
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  6. BraidedPony

    BraidedPony Just Enjoying Survival V.I.P Member

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    Welcome to the forums!
    Don't even say babies! lol They are so noisy and needy and what is it with all the crying?
    In a few years your friends will envy your lifestyle.
    Anyway, welcome!
     
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  7. Baeraad

    Baeraad Well-Known Member

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    Heh, since my lifestyle is mostly "caring for my multitude of mental problems," I don't think anyone is going to envy it anytime soon. But I appreciate the sentiment. ;)

    ETA: But I mean, let's face it. I already spend all my time taking care of someone who is noisy and needy and cries (or at least whines) a lot. And I can't even hand him over to a babysitter for a night! :p
     
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  8. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

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    I recently spent all day in bed because I was too depressed to get out, and my best friend’s response was to be jealous that I actually get to spend all day in bed. People can be jealous of weird things ;)
     
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  9. oregano

    oregano is dodging tomato trucks on I-5 southbound

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    I don't have any friends, but I know that as one gets older and your friends are all NT and you're not that your friends will get college educations and high paying, important jobs and get married and you can't because your brain doesn't work like theirs does that it can really be depressing for some auties. I know that I have looked up people from my HS graduating class online and they are very wealthy and powerful and have very important jobs like senior corporate executives and surgeons and meanwhile I subsist on SSI and live with my elderly mom and have basically done nothing with my life (albeit not for lack of trying unlike say Chris Chan) and it is really a bummer. At least I don't have NT friends to compare myself to.
     
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  10. VAW

    VAW Member

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    Hi Baeraad, i am not an Aspie but my son is, he has no friends and never did.... I really feel bad that he cannot enjoy going out with the guys but that just isn't him. Due to other health issues he mostly sits in his room alone, unless him and his brothers and sisters come home on tuesdays and all get together to play their games. I understand outgrowing friends or they outgrowing you, all the friends i had who had children early fell out of the circle, they were busy now with their household and meeting other people so their kids could play together and stuff like that. OF course after i had children I guess i did the same thing...looked for things the kids could do. I know it is very hard to deal with, i don't suppose my son is ever really happy, he has nothing to do most days and no real prospects of anything that will happen in his life to look forward to. I suppose if he even had one friend life would change a lot for him but because he never goes out there is little hope that will happen. I always tell my son....you never know what tomorrow will bring so hold some hope....of course that went over like a lead balloon... lol
     
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  11. Baeraad

    Baeraad Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I hear you. I think I've been a little more fortunate than what you describe, but I haven't really done anything with my life either. I had some ambitions when I was young, but as it turned out, just getting by day by day turned out to be almost more than I could manage. My life's work is not being in jail or an alcoholic or living on the street. The sum of my life is zero, and it took all sorts of grueling effort and impossible strokes of luck to get there, because for the longest while it looked like it was going to head deep into the negative.

    Yeah, my mom always tells me to buck up too, and I'm afraid I respond in much the same way... :p

    Anyway, I'm sorry to hear that your son is so unhappy. I hope something does turn up for him.
     
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  12. Running Girl

    Running Girl Member

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    I struggle with making friends, and maintaining friendships too. Seems to go with the territory. I have a couple of friends, but still feel mostly left out of all things social. Some is that i also require a ridiculous amount of self-care just to keep from self-destructing. Some is that Executive Function Deficit takes most of my time and energy, and there's precious little left for anything social. Some is the very baffling and mysterious fact of people ghosting me over the years, in spite of sometimes years of friendship. Im pretty gun shy at this point. Easier to do some artwork, go for a run, read, watch tv, or do a load of laundry. All of which are solitary activities.
     
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  13. Misery

    Misery Photo-Negative V.I.P Member

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    Unfortunately, not all forums are created equal. I came here from Wrongplanet myself, and well, hmmm.... I'll just say, I dont really go back there now. That place seemed like a good idea at first, but it ended up not exactly helping much. Though it DID get overrun by bots every 2 days, so... yay?

    That's the internet for ya though. You'll get many, many sites that have the same purpose, but only so many of them are actually going to be of real use to you. It can be frustrating to find the ones that are good VS the ones that just suck.

    As for what games I'm into, hmm, I do mostly indie games of various sorts. PC gamer here, really. Also got into VR over the last 7 months... that one's quite a trip, I tell ya. Never stops blowing my mind no matter how many times I put that headset on.

    How about you, what sorts of interests do you have?
     
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  14. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    The curse of adulthood. Where there are so many valid reasons for a friendship to simply fade away.

    You get promoted into another department.
    You get fired or get another job.
    You move away.
    You get married.
    You are married and have your first child.

    Lots of basic scenarios to lose track of friends that aren't really anyone's fault. :oops:
     
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  15. VAW

    VAW Member

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    Thank you, as i wish you well also!!!!
     
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  16. inkfingers

    inkfingers 19 year old Aspie artist and Jesus follower

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    At least one of your friends wants to maintain your relationship. Try to keep that friendship going, and if you want, search out new friends. I find that it is much easier to have friends that are younger than me, than friends that are my own age. I'm 19, but my friend is only 14 (if I remember correctly). Try to seek out someone on your own level, someone that you can relate to more easily. And definitely try to keep the friends that you have right now.
     
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  17. Baeraad

    Baeraad Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I hear you about being gun-shy. I used to put myself out there a lot more, but, well... things kept going wrong, and sometimes they were maybe not my fault and sometimes maybe they were, but either way it just got scarier and scarier to take that step and risk getting hurt again.

    Solitary activities sound good in theory, but the thing is... I've never been able to get the hang of doing things in a vacuum. Even when I do something on my own, as soon as I'm finished the first thing I want to do is run off and tell someone about it. I don't even know exactly how I feel about the things I've done until I've gotten to talk them through with someone. I think because my ability to understand the world is so narrow and hyper-focused on one detail at the time that I'm always afraid that I'm missing the big picture, and also because ideas in my head tend to grow out of all proportion without someone to check them.

    Yeah... the places I've been at before all seemed really angry and prickly, and suggesting that there were any disadvantages whatsoever to autism was treated as tantamount to treachery. This place, from looking around a bit, does seem a lot more chill and supportive...

    Well, I'm quite fond of video games also - I play on xbox, mostly, less for any performance or selection reasons and more because it's easier to sit down in front of the TV with a controller than to try to manage a mouse and keyboard in front of my desk. I'm not entirely sure what makes a game indie or not, but of recent games I was very fond of Night In The Woods and right now I'm playing Life is Strange 2. I generally like roleplaying and puzzle games, or else games with a lot of story in them.

    I'm also very much into tabletop roleplaying, or at least I was until circa last year when the biggest roleplaying site finally became so angry and stressful that I just couldn't stay there anymore. Now I'm struggling to find somewhere to run games, and I've been dragging my feet at starting a new one at another site. And my crew of regular players has been pretty much extinguished - two of them got divorced and I lost all touch with the one I was less close to, and of course two others are now going to be out of the game for a number of years to come if not forever. :(

    I also read a lot of fiction, of just about every sort as long as it grips me, and I love TV shows, especially fantasy/sf and comedy. The last season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was a considerable bright spot in the upsetting last few weeks. :)

    Searching out new friends is hard for me, though. (but yes, like I've said above, I do intend to at least try putting myself out there a little more instead of continuing to curl up and hide) And while trying to meet younger people seem like a good idea in theory, those are hard for me to relate to in their own way. Their lifestyle is more like my own, but their way of thinking is less so (for a start, they tend to have so much energy that I get tired just watching them! I was on the sedate side even when I was younger, and these days I need things to move at a nice, leisurely, middle-aged pace or else I absolutely can't keep up :p ).

    And I will absolutely try to preserve my existing friendships, I'm just afraid of how they're going to change and how I'm going to be able to relate to people who are raising children when my own life is and will always have to be all about self-care and mere survival, and whether they are going to be able to still relate to me. I am, at this point, cautiously optimistic that it will be possible at least with the one of my friends who has declared herself ready to work at it - if she works at it and I work at it, surely something can be arranged - but I'm still afraid that it will be difficult and painful, and even more afraid that I'll find some way to mess it up.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  18. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member

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    This pretty well describes my life too.
    People out growing me. I'm 62 physically, but, never grew up emotionally.
    That is very common among those with ASD.
    The life changes that seem to come with growing up just kind of stopped in puberty.
    Never understood wanting to marry, have a baby, or even live alone.
    Always had too much anxiety to live alone. I just stayed home until my parents grew
    old and are gone now. Then I moved in with an elderly man that had a big house and didn't want to
    be living alone.
    My SSI doesn't go far and I pay an amount for household expenses that I can afford and have the east
    end of his house for myself.

    I did get a degree in medical arts and a career in pharmaceuticals for a while, but, I was foolish and
    didn't save for today. Staying at home, I spent everything on taking care of my parents as they aged.
    By that time I was not able to work and so it went.

    So welcome to a place that understands as most of us have been down the same road in varying degrees.
    I never really had friends anyway. Just trying to get myself through each day is enough stress.
     
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  19. Misery

    Misery Photo-Negative V.I.P Member

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    "Indie" in this context basically just translates to "independent developer". They generally have no association with an actual publisher (with a few very, very rare exceptions). An indie developer could be a small team of people, or it could even be just one person making something by themselves. ANYONE can do it, you dont need some college degree or something like that. Heck, I've done it, was contracted to an indie studio that I was very familiar with for a time. With no controlling publisher, indie devs are free to make absolutely anything they want. They wanna make a game about exploding chickens on Mars? They can do that.

    The other side of the industry is typically referred to as "AAA". I have no idea why. But these are what I often call the "Big Guys". They ARE under a publisher. Specifically, one of the big and often nasty publishers. AAA games are extremely high budget, but are usually deeply flawed/corrupted, and almost always lacking in creativity. The problem is that the actual developers are fully contracted to the publisher, and the publisher is just a cold corporate entity. If you've ever wondered why games like Anthem end up as such a complete disaster... THAT is why. Companies like EA and Activision rule over the developers with an iron fist. The devs dont want to do a particular thing? Well, bloody tough: if the publisher says they must, then they MUST. AAA developers are also known for being MASSIVELY overworked. Like, seriously damaging to their health. Those publishers are also the ones that came up with things like loot boxes, and addictive gambling-style elements. There's a ton of bad, shady stuff going on in that side of the industry right now. It's a huge part of why I said "screw it" and switched to indie stuff. I just cant be bothered to deal with that crap.

    So yeah, just a bit of info on that, since I know the definitions can often be a little confusing.

    I personally have not had an Xbox myself... I unfortunately have alot of nerve/tendon issues, and cannot use the Xbox's controller specifically. The PS4 controller, however, is fine (and is what I use on PC also, I rarely use the actual PS4).

    As for tabletop roleplaying... you know, I always wanted to get into that. But nobody I knew was really into it, and, well... it's intimidating. It's a very social experience, after all, and I'm about as social as an agitated porcupine. I have gotten into some "solo" games though, but they're not RPGs like D&D. If you've ever heard of things like Sentinels of the Multiverse (which can be played co-op or solo), it's stuff like that. Heck, I WOULD play that co-op with people... but again, social anxiety. Hate that. But it's there. So, solo it is.

    Also, you're right, alot of gaming groups/sites can get pretty nasty at times. It's always very frustrating to see. Hey, maybe you could find some people on this forum that might be willing to play those with you. Worth a try, eh? I dont know if we have many gamers here, but I've also never exactly asked around. I can tell you one thing though, the people here are a heck of alot more friendly than on those angry gamer sites.

    What sort of fiction do you read? I too read alot of books! Horror is my favorite (hard to find good ones though), but also sci-fi and fantasy. I read alot of manga too. Do you have any favorite authors?

    Sorry if that's all a bit rambly. I'm always rambly.
     
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  20. Baeraad

    Baeraad Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, okay... I guess I've heard bits and pieces of all of that before. I do think I mostly stay away from the huge generic games, though that's mostly because I don't see the point of them. Smaller, quirkier games tend to be more fun. I think that probably points me in direction of indie-ish games on its own.

    Oh, then you must let me run something for you sometime so you can try it out! I'm super-non-intimidating, honest, and while I am not good at much, I run an excellent game. :)

    I can also tell you that just generally, once you're past the first awkwardness, roleplaying games have the benefit of being a structured and regimented form of social interaction. There's a reason why D&D has been a major method for socialising awkward teenage boys for decades. Everyone at the table knows the rules, everyone agrees on the goal, and no one has to make eye contact with anyone. And of course there's the extra layer of insulation that you aren't doing anything, you're just reporting what your character is doing, so you can feel less self-conscious about it.

    I won't paint it out too rosey, because a hobby that attracts people with low social skills also attracts its share of low-empathy rotters, and one of those can ruin a game good and proper. But all in all, it's been my experience over the better part of a decade that it's a really good way to get a nice bit of human interaction for a minimum of the usual cost in stress and energy.

    True. I guess I can start a thread in the games section and see where everyone's at...

    Oh, I read most anything - it's more about writing style than about genre. I suppose that I default slightly to horror/sci-fi/fantasy also, but I pick up a realistic novel from time to time too - I was impressed enough with Liane Moriarty to read three of her books in a row this year, though after that I admit that they started to feel samey (they all seemed to be about 30-something women with marital and/or fertility problems), and Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut was also in there somewhere. I also seem to have read Stephen King's Revival, along with a short story collection of Lovecraftian horror, and George RR Martin's Fire and Blood and Stephen R Donaldson's The War Within (though I don't recommend that one - it's kind of dull).

    Favourite authors, hmm. The first that comes to mind is Brandon Sanderson, who's rarely brilliant but always a lot of fun. Stephen King is of course usually worth a read. So is Terry Pratchett, though I admit that I skipped his last few books since they were starting to feel mean-spirited. I'm very much looking forward to Joe Abercrombie's next series turning up this fall.

    And I'm also very fond of this really weird guy named Carlton Mellick III, who writes... well, I guess one description would be "high-concept surrealist gross-out horror." It's essentially stories emulating those really weird dreams you have sometimes that makes you wonder if you're secretly a deeply disturbed person, since you've apparently got such things bubbling around your subconscious. The last book he published is about a group of children lost in an amusement park in a world where humanity is going extinct from traps set every night by giant alien robot spiders. Also, the teenagers who are supposed to be taking care of them keeps using them as stalking horses to check if there's traps ahead. Also, some of them are gradually turning into cheese. No, it makes no more sense in context, and it's sort of wonderful in its bizarre horror. :D

    Rambly is good. :)
     
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