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Featured Can a person be a special interest?

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by BrokenBoy, Oct 17, 2018.

  1. BrokenBoy

    BrokenBoy 戯言使い(Nonsense User)

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    Throughout my life, I kept hearing about people with autism having these things called "special interests" where autistic people would find themselves having an obsessive interest in something. Despite being autistic myself, I did not recall myself ever having anything like this which had lead me to assume that I simply didn't have this trait. But I made a friend on the internet and I think he might have become my special interest. It's weird, I can't stop talking to him. It's literally never boring. I could do it all day. And I don't seem to feel that way towards anyone else. But I have never heard of the idea that a PERSON could be someone's special interest. Is it possible that my friend is my special interest?
     
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  2. Bolletje

    Bolletje Overly complicated potato V.I.P Member

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    It’s not uncommon for aspies to become obsessed with new people they meet.

    I’d urge a bit of caution, intense interest can scare people off.
     
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  3. Isadoorian

    Isadoorian Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Historical people, sure, but some random person that you just met? They may get the wrong idea that you're gonna stalk them or something like that
     
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  4. BrokenBoy

    BrokenBoy 戯言使い(Nonsense User)

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    I should clarify, we didn't just meet at the time of this writing, we have been friends for 3-5 months.
     
  5. Bolletje

    Bolletje Overly complicated potato V.I.P Member

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    It’s still something that happens to Aspies. If it’s a mutual obsession, then it’s all fun. If it isn’t, your interest can be perceived as creepy.
    I’ve had longtime friends become special interests, I also know that special interest in other people comes and goes. It’s a bit of an ebb and flow dynamic with me.
    My increased interest is not always received well though. I have had more than one friendship fall apart because I was “coming on too strong”, so to speak.
    I’ve also had friendships flourish because the other person was simultaneously temporarily obsessed with me, so messaging all day was fun for both of us.

    Edited to say I’m just talking about platonic friendship here, but the same could just as easily apply to romantic relationships (and it has, for me).
     
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  6. Iamnotarabot

    Iamnotarabot Well-Known Member

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    I have the same question realy, I even wonder if the way I felt I fell in love back in hightschool wasnt some kind of weird special interest aswell...
     
  7. Mr Allen

    Mr Allen Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    A few years back I had a female colleague on Hospital Radio called Rachel, she was 23, I was 35. but I did like her and started kind of "cyber stalking" her on Facebook, until her possessive Boyfriend "warned me off".
     
  8. Autistamatic

    Autistamatic He's just this guy, you know? V.I.P Member

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    Throughout my life, most of my friendships have been single "best friends". We have been very close and spent lots of time together. I'm not in touch with any of them now. Either we drifted apart when they made other friends I didn't gel with, or I withdrew when they p**sed me off. Those friends were not special interests, but they were special people, that for however long, connected with me in a way few ever do.
    Eventually in my 30s I met a woman who has now been my best friend for years and is also my wife. I don't particularly need RL friends with her in my life. She's not my special interest, but she IS the most special human being I've ever been fortunate enough to meet - because it lasted and looks like it will continue to last :)
     
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  9. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    My entire life revolved around a person for at least five years, three years with him and two years in my thoughts. When I read the title of this, my brain gasped!
     
  10. Peter Morrison

    Peter Morrison Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It's wonderful to have a friend that you enjoy spending time with - online or in RL. Don't ignore all the other aspects of your life. Treat this friendship with care, and due caution. Clearly this relationship is important to you. Let it develop, but pay attention to life's other needs as well. Congratulations.
     
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  11. Lysander

    Lysander Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Isadoorian that you should proceed cautiously and perhaps not tempt your fate. Aspie obsessions are intense on a completely new level and to be the subject of that intensity would not be very comfortable.

    Go back to some of your old hobbies for a while and maybe try to distance yourself a little and see how it feels. If you can't focus on your other hobbies and you're constantly thinking about this other person, that's a red flag.

    I get obsessed with people for some reason too. It's nothing specific about them, other than the fact that we get along comfortably and the feeling is mutual. Make sure: give them space, give yourself space, have other hobbies and actually do those hobbies.
     
  12. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    Yes, people can be 'special interests'.
     
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  13. Bella Pines

    Bella Pines Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Yes.

    A special interest is an intensity of focus. It can be a subject, a person, an object or collection of objects, a book, a game, a shape, just about anything.

    What happens is, there is an initial curiosity, followed by the desire to learn more. Which grows into the desire to learn everything and fully understand it.

    When a topic becomes a special interest, you'll study it, read everything on the internet, enjoy talking about it. I have this with cellular biology.

    When an object becomes a special interest, you'll collect it, notice them, seek them out. I have this with pens and old, gilded books.

    When a person becomes a special interest, you'll think about them a lot, enjoy interacting with them, want to know everything about them... want to be them...

    As mentioned in the above posts, the person category of special interests needs to be handled with care. Being interested in something is refreshing to us, special. We often don't see anything unusual about curiosity. But bizarrely, neurotypicals don't have this level of curiosity or focus of intensity. To have someone give their FULL attention, specifically an aspie, is unnerving and uncomfortable.

    To get through it with a friendship in tact, simply acknowledge that they are a person, not an object. Learn to pick up on their cues, if you go too far (which you probably will), step back into small talk.

    Pace yourself just as you would with an addiction, don't indulge every time you want to talk to them, contact them, hang around places you know she will be, rummage through her desk drawers, stalk her online, touch her clothes, follow her from a distance... Errr hypothetically if course...
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018
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  14. sarepta

    sarepta Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I would like to point out that intense interest also can make people feel really special. When you lose interest in them they might get hurt.
     
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  15. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    yes, yes and yes. And I would guess those always become somewhat of a problem since you can not obsessively spend all your time in /with that interest. (I wish I had known that in my past).
     
  16. Ailuvkatz325

    Ailuvkatz325 Active Member

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    I have the same issue, but the girl I'm interested in is not my friend. She doesn't even want to be my friend. I basically stalk her. I could never get over her since 8th grade. We are 11th graders now. I may be stalking her because I want(ed) to become her friend, but I mostly want to learn more about her so I could become more like her.

    I try to force myself to not copy her or even think about her, but I would ask myself "What would ---- do?" or "I wonder what ---- would do if this happened to her." or something like that. This is an issue and interrupts my thinking and actions and leaves me in distress (because I honestly hate myself and I want to physically be someone else which is obviously not possible unfortunately).
     
  17. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    I love this thread! Thanks for making it!
     
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  18. Ian smith

    Ian smith New Member

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    I found people and social interaction to be my special interest very early in life. Friends and family have helped me to develope a greater understanding of their feelings. In turn empathy has helped me in discern and understand my own emotions. With out a dedicated interest in others I would likely not have many valuble interpersonal skills today. I can think of no better special interest to have.
     
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