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Autism and friendship

Billthecat

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Being autistic made you a better or a worse friend?

Do you have multiple friendship at once or you can just concentrate on a single person, ignoring or settling the others?

Are you "jealous" of your friend/s?
 

Raggamuffin

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
On the whole I think people like my company more than I enjoy theirs. I seem to leave a good impression on most I meet, but I find socialising very draining. I can't do small talk though, it makes me feel uncomfortable. So I tend to leap into bigger topics, all the while I have an energy, curiosity and naivity which seems to make people view me as different. I've been called a "nice guy" time after time in my adult life.

A few months back I ended up meeting a lot of new people through my ex who I was dating at the time. Got on well with virtually everyone I met, and several said I was a very nice guy, and a generous conversationalist. As I liked to listen, but also asked questions which were thought provoking and allowed people to open up to me readily. My social mask is either very quiet, shy and helpful - or a more energised, positive and engaging type. Either way - all socialising wears me out. Personally, I don't understand how people can do it so often. Plus, since I quit drinking, I have no means to ease social anxiety.

I'm polite to most, but I click with very few people. Honestly, most people bore the ass off me. Multiple friendships? Only ever had a handful of friends. Mostly got to know them through places I studied, worked, or through people who I dated.

I'm a people pleaser. The Fawn Response is common with me. Also being a helpful guy helps you fit in, and paints a positive picture to people around you. Also I went to a private school for 11 years, so etiquette and politeness was hammered into you on a daily basis.

Pattern in recent years was associating with emotionally damaged individuals, and that wasn't good. They're draining to be around, and paired with trying to help people - why do that to myself? It's utterly exhausting, and I've started to distance myself from these people in recent months. My last therapist figured I was repeating what I knew from my upbringing. Associating with emotionally unavailable people, who tended to talk at me, and continuously feeling unheard, unseen and underappreciated.

When I date I tend to ignore other people, responsibilities, and things like self-care and independence suffer significantly.

Jealous? Yes. I unfollowed all friends on Facebook because seeing other people living and enjoying their lives affects me negatively on numerous levels. Mind you, I spend most of my free time sat in a dark bedroom on my own. So I guess it's understandable that seeing people living their lives can make me feel rather forlorn.

Ed
 
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Neonatal RRT

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Being autistic made you a better or a worse friend?

Do you have multiple friendship at once or you can just concentrate on a single person, ignoring or settling the others?

Are you "jealous" of your friend/s?
1. Worse: Physiologically, psychologically, and psychiatrically,...I have an extreme disability when it comes to interpersonal bonding. At best, I am a friendly co-worker and family member. A lot of masking going on there.
2. Single person: My wife. I have to bond with her both intellectually and through physical touch,...and with my alexithymia,...I am not conscious of my love for her,...it's at a subconscious level. Very weird to me.
3. No: I don't care much about what others do as long as it doesn't effect me or upsets my moral compass.
 
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Knower of nothing

Well-Known Member
I can maintain about 2-3 friendships at an active level. Most friends I have I talk with less than once a week to compensate for that. I'm there if they need me, and we hang out occasionally, but I can do no more and people either appreciate what's there or leave. I only get jealous in romantic contexts.
My autism definitely raised the bar on what kind of people I can tolerate and what kind of people can tolerate me, but once friendship is established I have the confidence to say I've always been an excellent, if passive friend. It's like a large initial hurdle followed by smooth sailing. Much preferred over the reverse that's for sure.

I don't doubt my autism played part in my ability to be understanding of others. I know the stereotype is actually being unable to understand people, which definitely happens, but another common autistic trait is the lack of upholding values if you don't see their point. I think this made me rather non-judgmental. It is no surprise then that most of my friends, while not autistic, are also social outcasts. It's convenient for me as one friendship seems to matter a lot more for people like that and I like my friendships close and lasting.
I also no longer mask around friends, a recent development. It leads to situations of being harsh and blunt, but has had no negative consequences yet. I try to invite the same honesty in return.
 

paloftoon

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I think it's made me a better friend overall in the sense that I can appreciate what it's like to struggle and it may make me open to more people's differences than others would be of me.
Yet, I still turn many people off seemingly because of my looks, lack of common interests, or because I don't try to be a people pleaser outside of my job and I can be very straightforward and direct. I don't enjoy being in a circle where I'm kind of a 2nd class citizen when I try to offer 1st class friendships with a small, more personal group.
 

phantom

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
1. Worse: Physiologically, psychologically, and psychiatrically,...I have an extreme disability when it comes to interpersonal bonding. At best, I am a friendly co-worker and family member. A lot of masking going on there.
2. Single person: My wife. I have to bond with her both intellectually and through physical touch,...and with my alexithymia,...I am not conscious of my love for her,...it's at a subconscious level. Very weird to me.
3. No: I don't care much about what others do as long as it doesn't effect me or upsets my moral compass.
I have noticed that even in the autism community people don't always seem to understand how psychologically deep rooted our inability to have normal social relationships can be. I often see people suggest that we improve social understanding by studying books on the matter or practicing, but even if it would help us get trough certain interactions it does nothing to improve our difficulty with feeling social connections, which is single most debilitating symptom of autism in my opinion.
 

velociraptor

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Being autistic made you a better or a worse friend?

Do you have multiple friendship at once or you can just concentrate on a single person, ignoring or settling the others?

Are you "jealous" of your friend/s?
I don't know how good of a friend and I'm not sure I want to speculate on it. I can tell you that I spent the weekend doing photography with an NT friend and he kept hugging me and telling me how much he appreciates me. Everyone likes to be appreciated (I think), but not everyone likes to be hugged.

No touchie. Please.

I have multiple friends, but not a lot. I tend to spread out my contact with them. No jealousy. It's a waste of energy anyhow.
 

phantom

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I don't know how good of a friend and I'm not sure I want to speculate on it. I can tell you that I spent the weekend doing photography with an NT friend and he kept hugging me and telling me how much he appreciates me. Everyone likes to be appreciated (I think), but not everyone likes to be hugged.

No touchie. Please.

I have multiple friends, but not a lot. I tend to spread out my contact with them. No jealousy. It's a waste of energy anyhow.
Was this a guy?
 

MildredHubble

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I struggle to keep in touch with more than a handful of people. But the handful know I'm not ignoring them or trying to be impolite.

I dislike being pushed to be social or make new friends for the sake of it. It kinda feels to me like I don't have the energy and it will make things awkward when I don't feel like going out or meeting up which I've often found is interpreted in the most negative way by most people.

I feel like I have a much better and meaningful friendship with my small group of friends, they seem to "get" me and I them.

In work situations there have been times where I've been invited to things. Sometimes this will coincide when I have the time and energy, other times it won't and I will politely decline.

The issue is that some people seem to feel entitled to decide when I can decline or have time to myself.

I've been criticized for not accepting invitations to socialise and treated like this makes me a bad person. The rationale being they are being nice to me and they are nice people and you should always do what nice people want you to. But I don't think it's particularly nice to shame or bully people into socialising. The irony seems lost on these types of people sadly.

I tend to prefer online communities because I can think about what I'm saying carefully before I post. It's not as stressful as real world interactions.

I can go for long periods of time engaged in activities I find interesting with hardly any human interaction at all. I just don't crave social contact the way other people do. Oddly when I've described this to some people (some mental health professionals too) they seem to hear me say "I absolutely hate people, they are disgusting and I'm afraid of them..." when I'm certain that's not what I'm saying at all.

It's quite funny as in the main brunt of COVID lockdowns it was absolute bliss for me but others were going out of their minds because they couldn't "go to the local pub" lol!
 

Au Naturel

Au Naturel
I don't know about a better or worse friend. It definitely made me far less frequent in finding friends. And keeping them was difficult.
 

Shamar

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Being autistic made you a better or a worse friend?

Do you have multiple friendship at once or you can just concentrate on a single person, ignoring or settling the others?

Are you "jealous" of your friend/s?
Better or worse is very subjective. At best, I can be a non friend, someone who is just there. Multiple friendships at once? What A Concept!! As someone who has never had a friend in his life, I find the idea to be somewhere in a land of unreality out beyond fantasy. I am jealous that other people can have friends and I can't. See the response by Neonatal RRT above, it mirrors my own thoughts.
 

SusanLR

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Non friend is a good term.
I guess I would say it's made me a worse friend since I've never had close friends.
Only one at a time if I do have someone I call friend.
And I've never felt jealous of others abilities to have friends.
 

Luca

charm & chaos
V.I.P Member
Being autistic made you a better or a worse friend?

Do you have multiple friendship at once or you can just concentrate on a single person, ignoring or settling the others?

Are you "jealous" of your friend/s?

I think my autism is possibly why I have heightened empathy, which probably does make me a better friend, but at a cost, since the majority of my friends don't really reciprocate it.

I have multiple friendships, but only a few close friends. The rest are more like acquaintances. I do put a lot of concentration into the relationship I have with my best friend because he is one of the only people in my real life that I believe genuinely cares about me.
I don't "ignore" my other friends, but if I sense that they're pulling away or not putting in any effort, I move on eventually.

I'm not jealous of any of my friends, sometimes I think the opposite... yeah, some of them are prettier, skinnier, more popular, or more sane than I am, and they definitely make friends more easily than I do, but I look at what their lives (or their marriages, jobs, kids, etc) are actually like day to day and I think I should be grateful for what I have, even if it feels like less than what they have.

I also don't really think most of my friends truly enjoy my company, I think they enjoy it conditionally and when I'm not struggling, and I think if I was really in need, most of them wouldn't offer help or support and would just disappear.
 

Outdated

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I've met a lot of truly wonderful people in my life and I've had a lot of great friends, I still keep in touch with a couple of them but they live more than 3000 Ks away.

People have come and gone throughout my whole life and I don't miss them when they're gone. This is the part NTs can't seem to come to grips with - I don't get lonely. The exact opposite, I get all peopled out and need regular breaks away from them.

I used to always look forward to Christmas because it was the one day of the year when I could guarantee that no one would come knocking on my door. Now I'm getting older they all worry about me more and they think they're being friendly by trying to include me in their family celebrations.

When I moved down to Adelaide I was quite determined that I wasn't going to put myself in that situation again, 3 years later I still haven't changed my mind. I enjoy peace and quiet with no interruptions, even better than that is knowing beforehand that there's going to be no interruptions, it's only then that I can truly relax.
 

Shamar

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Non friend is a good term.
I guess I would say it's made me a worse friend since I've never had close friends.
Only one at a time if I do have someone I call friend.
And I've never felt jealous of others abilities to have friends.
The problem is my inability to bond or connect with people. I cannot feel emotions toward anyone else, including my parents. Relationships are meaningless. The lonliness is a constant pain, sometimes not too bad, sometimes agonizing, but almost always there. It is this desire to have what everybody else has but I can't that makes me jealous. Christmas, with the emphasis on joy and togetherness is the worst, even with antidepressants I get suicidal.
 

akkkk99

New Member
I’m an excellent short-term friend for the people I meet. I’m a good listener, love asking questions/learning things about people, generally quite fun and very chilled out initially. My friendships tend to weaken the more comfortable I get with people, I think I’m a bit more draining and difficult than people would assume at first. I don’t resent them for it, I don’t expect anything from anyone and people shouldn’t stay in a friendship if it drains them. But do wish I felt more comfortable just being myself straight away to avoid this happening.
 

Duna

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Being autistic made you a better or a worse friend?
I think it makes me a better friend because I don't care about what third parties tell me about the friend, and usually I can deal with a lot of behavior many people show without getting emotionally involved. My disability to connect emotionally to what is happening to my friends usually probed to be helpful for them when they asked for advice or another perspective.
Do you have multiple friendship at once or you can just concentrate on a single person, ignoring or settling the others?
I can have more than one friendship at once, but never more than two or three. And I prefer if those friends know each other (though they don't necessarily have to be friends, too)
Are you "jealous" of your friend/s?
Nope. Why should I?
 

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