How to Deal with Not Having Many Friends

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MadHatterMatador
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09 Mar 2017, 2:04 am

First I want to say that I know that people with Aspergers vary in their skills when it comes to forming friendships, and in no way am I suggesting that my condition is precluding me from doing better when it comes to doing that. But every now and then, it occurs to me that I really don't have "friends." I have a boyfriend, and that's probably the only person I can reliably call a friend. Other than that, I have people at college who I occasionally talk to, who would probably be the closest things I would have to friends, although I'm sure based how casual our relationships are, they wouldn't necessarily think of me as a friend. Honestly, from a practical perspective, I'm pretty much okay with this. The problem for me is that sometimes the thought would come to me that I really don't have friends, and I don't like the stigma of that. Does anyone else feel like that sometimes? If so, do you have any advice on how to not let that bother me?


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Last edited by MadHatterMatador on 09 Mar 2017, 2:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

whatamievendoing
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09 Mar 2017, 2:13 am

I know how you feel. I don't have many people in my life that I could safely classify as friends either - only two or three people out of God knows how many acquaintances. I do occasionally wish I had more friends than that, but in all honesty, I'm good enough with even just a few. I've always been more for quality than quantity when it comes to making friends either way.

I'm not the best advisor when it comes to these things, though. But I hope you find some comfort in knowing you're not alone there.


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qawer
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09 Mar 2017, 6:45 am

MadHatterMatador wrote:
First I want to say that I know that people with Aspergers vary in their skills when it comes to forming friendships, and in no way am I suggesting that my condition is precluding me from doing better when it comes to doing that. But every now and then, it occurs to me that I really don't have "friends." I have a boyfriend, and that's probably the only person I can reliably call a friend. Other than that, I have people at college who I occasionally talk to, who would probably be the closest things I would have to friends, although I'm sure based how casual our relationships are, they wouldn't necessarily think of me as a friend. Honestly, from a practical perspective, I'm pretty much okay with this. The problem for me is that sometimes the thought would come to me that I really don't have friends, and I don't like the stigma of that. Does anyone else feel like that sometimes? If so, do you have any advice on how to not let that bother me?


The reason you find having no friends is stigmatizing is because you adopt NT-standards to you, who is an AS-person. I know, personally, that this is difficult not to do, but we (AS-people) have to accept that we are forced to live a different type of life than neurotypicals because of our different neurology. Our social capacity/need is not big enough to maintain or need a big circle of friends. We can like it or not, but we have to accept we have this setup, socially. There is nothing odd about not having friends when you have Asperger's Syndrome, you should never feel anything is wrong about not having friends as an AS-person. If anything, you could grieve about not being neurotypical in the first place (I don't recommend that!), but that is an entirely different matter, really.

But I agree, living in a NT-world, constantly being met by NT-standards and expectations, it can be difficult to not feel having no friends is stigmatizing. Being the minority is always more difficult.



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09 Mar 2017, 8:19 am

I am almost 27 and I don't have any friends, but this does not concern me most of the time. However, during a 6 month break away from my mother and niece, I did feel extremely lonesome and isolated. I worry about my future in this regard.


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09 Mar 2017, 8:22 am

I've never been that good at making friends because of my shyness and social anxiety. It does frighten me because I'm afraid of starting a new job and not making any friends and feeling lonely each day I go in. Loneliness causes depression and lack of motivation for me, so that won't help my work performance.

This is where Asperger's is a curse for me. If I'm going to live a life with it then why can't I naturally be ignorant of lack of social interaction? Instead I'm as emotionally affected by loneliness as an NT would be if they were socially isolated.


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09 Mar 2017, 8:45 am

I feel it. I don't want a lot of "friends." Can't handle it.

I guess it depends on how one defines "friends." I define them as people you can share your heart with, who will share their heart with you. People who you don't have to paste on a smile for, people who like you for who you are, warts and all-- and it's mutual.

I always have room for more of those people, but don't expect to find too many. I have a little handful. They say, if you find one in a lifetime, you've been lucky.

I don't have the time and the energy for "people to share the good times with." "People to laugh and smile with." Whatever you call them. I have the parents of my kids' friends for that; that's something I have to do for my kids' sake, but it's more than I want to deal with. I'm not interested in pouring time and energy into people if all I'm ever going to see is their metaphoric Facebook feed, and if that's what they expect from me. They wear me out; I see the apparent differences between me and them and get even more lonely.

Yeah, I feel like a loser sometimes because I can't send a few text messages and pull a barbecue together and have a great, shining, social weekend on a moment's notice. But-- the hell with it. I can't do that, I don't want to do that. It isn't even fun for me a lot of the time-- maintaining those relationships and presenting the person they expect to see is EXHAUSTING. If I'm going to get exhausted for someone, I'd rather it be my kids or someone who needs my help, who's going to be there when I need theirs.

Even a lot of NTs end up deciding that as they get older. They get wiser, and have a little less energy, and end up deciding to limit their social circle to people who feed their souls instead of depleting their energy. Even my grandmother, who was a super-NT (all bright and shiny and cheerful and stuff, but at the same time, the jokes we make about "neurotypical syndrome" were kind of real with her, especially in the extent to which she needed absolutely everyone to approve of everything she did), decided after she hit about 80 that there were people she would still be polite to, but she wasn't going to invite them into her life or give weight to their opinions or voluntarily spend time with them any more.


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09 Mar 2017, 3:25 pm

I hardly have any friends at all and I'm ok with that. I've been a loner all my life. In fact, I don't really feel the need for friends. To me, they just get in the way of what I want to do and how I want to do it. Also, I don't like my daily routine being disrupted, so that's another reason why I'm not interested in friends. Don't get me wrong, I still talk to people, but it's casual. They're more like acquaintances. All my previous friends I either don't talk to anymore or they've done me wrong and weren't really my friends.



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09 Mar 2017, 4:16 pm

qawer wrote:
MadHatterMatador wrote:
First I want to say that I know that people with Aspergers vary in their skills when it comes to forming friendships, and in no way am I suggesting that my condition is precluding me from doing better when it comes to doing that. But every now and then, it occurs to me that I really don't have "friends." I have a boyfriend, and that's probably the only person I can reliably call a friend. Other than that, I have people at college who I occasionally talk to, who would probably be the closest things I would have to friends, although I'm sure based how casual our relationships are, they wouldn't necessarily think of me as a friend. Honestly, from a practical perspective, I'm pretty much okay with this. The problem for me is that sometimes the thought would come to me that I really don't have friends, and I don't like the stigma of that. Does anyone else feel like that sometimes? If so, do you have any advice on how to not let that bother me?


The reason you find having no friends is stigmatizing is because you adopt NT-standards to you, who is an AS-person. I know, personally, that this is difficult not to do, but we (AS-people) have to accept that we are forced to live a different type of life than neurotypicals because of our different neurology. Our social capacity/need is not big enough to maintain or need a big circle of friends. We can like it or not, but we have to accept we have this setup, socially. There is nothing odd about not having friends when you have Asperger's Syndrome, you should never feel anything is wrong about not having friends as an AS-person. If anything, you could grieve about not being neurotypical in the first place (I don't recommend that!), but that is an entirely different matter, really.

But I agree, living in a NT-world, constantly being met by NT-standards and expectations, it can be difficult to not feel having no friends is stigmatizing. Being the minority is always more difficult.


Introversion and extroversion are not autistic traits. Extroverted Aspies need a lot of human interaction friends or otherwise that they are unable to get because they have a small minority neurology. While stigmatization makes the problems of this sub group of Autistics worse it is not their primary problem.

The above does mean that I do not agree that being and Aspie in an NT world is causing a lot of Aspies that do not have a great need to have a bunch of friends to think that they do have this need. The seeming acceptance of the belief that what differentiates Aspies from other Autistics is the need for friends is not helping matters.


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09 Mar 2017, 7:23 pm

It does bother me that I have a cousin who is the mirror opposite of me. She's what I call a 'heavy socialiser'. She goes clubbing at week-ends, she has a very social job, and she spends most evenings out somewhere with people, and knows so many people.
I've always been jealous of her. She's always had everything; confident, sporty, popular, bright, motivated...everything. Luckily she's a nice person but still, I do wish I was her.

Instead I'm quiet, shy, reserved, anxious, useless, dim, can't cope in a job, shy away from social events, always been slow at learning, often feel dejected by people, get rejected when sending friend requests on Facebook...

Why is my brain wired like this? Did a gypsy curse me when I was growing in my mum's womb? I hate Asperger's. And that's an understatement.
I wouldn't wish the f*****g s**t on my worst enemy.


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The Unleasher
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09 Mar 2017, 7:27 pm

Joe90 wrote:
It does bother me that I have a cousin who is the mirror opposite of me. She's what I call a 'heavy socialiser'. She goes clubbing at week-ends, she has a very social job, and she spends most evenings out somewhere with people, and knows so many people.
I've always been jealous of her. She's always had everything; confident, sporty, popular, bright, motivated...everything. Luckily she's a nice person but still, I do wish I was her.

Instead I'm quiet, shy, reserved, anxious, useless, dim, can't cope in a job, shy away from social events, always been slow at learning, often feel dejected by people, get rejected when sending friend requests on Facebook...

Why is my brain wired like this? Did a gypsy curse me when I was growing in my mum's womb? I hate Asperger's. And that's an understatement.
I wouldn't wish the f*****g s**t on my worst enemy.


You just gotta work it out. There's nothing wrong with being quiet, shy, and reserved. As for anxious, aren't most people anxious? Some are just better at hiding it than others. Useless is an opinion. As for social events, I don't really blame you. They're loud, noisy, I recommend going to quieter ones with less people. They're easier to cope with. Don't worry about social media, it's probably causing more problems than it's fixing in the first place. The gypsy thing only applies if your mother visited Romania when you were in the womb.


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Jacoby
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09 Mar 2017, 7:37 pm

Having a partner is at least having 1 friend at least

My social capital is completely extinguished and my world is shrinking, I have nobody outside my immediate family and a couple support workers. It's tough basically living in isolation, that is what they use to torture and break inmates and it's taken a mental toll on me for sure. I don't really see a way out for me, I am agoraphobic and ruled by anxiety which if not present turns to soul crushing depression. I really don't know how to meet people, I don't trust anyone and can't read people at all. It's a terrible situation. I go to school but I don't talk to anyone, you'd be surprised how little interaction you can have with people in 2017 on these college campuses. I feel worse about myself having gone to school even tho I get excellent grades, being alone in a crowd is unbearable.



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09 Mar 2017, 7:41 pm

Loneliness is not a terrible thing to have. Besides your quirks and missteps, the people you are with are having a casual everyday life, and may have difficulty handling the odd man out. I'm the odd man out. What got me to have friends was accepting myself for my own quirks, and being my own cheerleader.

You don't even need a book title life, but what you need to accept yourself for your autism, and just let yourself go. If I was in your shoes right now, I would honestly be trying to find a different friend, and would be learning my mistakes from the past to apply to now with new and different people.



NikNak
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09 Mar 2017, 8:02 pm

If you are as okay with not having many friends as you say you are then I'd say the best thing you can do to cope is practice self-acceptance. If you feel you don't need close friendships then that's absolutely fine. Don't let anything or anyone make you think otherwise. If you decide later that you would like to have more friendships then that's also fine. Just do you as the saying goes :D


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jmncrr000
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09 Mar 2017, 8:17 pm

I don't have a single friend. The friends I've had in the past were very few, maybe 3 were the most I've ever had at a single time. I ended up alienating the few friends I had, and haven't spoke to them in 15 years.

I'm fine though with not having friends. I only have a few family members I speak to. I use to get a little lonely at times, but since I started meds I no longer get lonely.

I'm a land surveyor, so I don't have to speak to many people at work. I'm glad to have this website, and would like to make some friends here. Good thread and topic



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18 May 2017, 11:26 am

I wish I could have alot of friends but I can barely keep a relationship going with aquaintences from work. I had a boyfriend who want to be on a break now and I am broken hearted about it. I can't deal with this and am going to a counselor. I'm 38 and have hear every single trope about friends, love and relationshipe and they all at best are very minimizing to my emotions. I wish I could turn off my emotions so I could function and at least do a proper day at my job.