24 and can't make and keep friends still. heeeelp

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FloatingMuse
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15 Dec 2013, 1:15 pm

It's been forever since I was in a social skills meeting. I do have a very close guy friend that I skype across country with and he's sweet, humorous and smart. anything a guy or girl could ask for.
it's just.....

I'm finally at the point of my maturity process (as it is with that famous what's-his-name dude who created this standard) i'm like...one, two? thirds my actual age which means i'm about half way through high school in what I can handle socially. But I'm still not there given at this not-so-tender age people have either had their friends since grade school DUH but even some are, of course being NTs able to socialize and keep friends with new people. I just go on facebook and once and awhile it's like...hm, no friends.
is it that big a deal that i'll never get socializing? i know, in a way it isn't.
I don't have any girls for friends, I should note, but it wouldn't hurt to have a decent circle, people to trust, to laugh with, enjoy time with. It is gonna be damn friggin hard for this to happen and I know it's possible, I just need a lot of help, and at this point I really don't think it's all that possible to need social skills classes given that so many of you experienced older WP peeps can hand out some awesome pointers ;)

an old friend and my mom did say that you should talk and break the ice casually, but I've been too serious and asking for personal information...aggh well, the former is obviously the NT scheme of things, and I want to be there.
not to be like everyone else with a gazillion friends, just to have other friends i can relate to and you know, be there for and laugh with and whatnot.


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redrobin62
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15 Dec 2013, 2:17 pm

I can make but not keep friends. It seems to be a common thing with some of us on the spectrum. I guess, apart from going from relationship to relationship, we can hope one of them will turn into a life long event.



Willard
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15 Dec 2013, 4:03 pm

The friends that I have had the longest - well, the only friends I still have - I would bet money are all on the Autism Spectrum, or have some other neurological dysfunction. In some cases, I know that for a fact, in others, it's a strong suspicion from having known them for years. Sadly, even those friends have all ended up living too far away from me to be able to see them on any kind of regular basis, so I only hear from them by electronic communications from time to time (and that rarely).

I've never formed a bond with a neurotypical person that lasted for any length of time. We always seem to stay at an arm's-length distance from the moment I meet them, until they go on their way and I never hear from them again. Of course, that pretty much describes my relationships with my family as well, but they stay in touch with me out of obvious feelings of obligation. There's still a clear sense of discomfort and embarrassment at having to be associated with this inexplicable freak.



Hephaestia
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22 Dec 2013, 11:56 pm

RE: famous what's-his-name dude- I found documentation in the book, A Disability History of the United States by Kim Nielsen, that Erik Erikson, founder or psychosocial theory to which I think you are referring, was an outright ableist who institutionalized at birth an intellectually disabled child of his own and told the rest of his children that the baby died. I don't like psychosocial theory, or Erikson, or proponents of Erikson and psychosocial theory. It is a good book btw, but I will have to corroborate this accusation.

I feel really lucky to have the friends that I have. I am alone in this group in identifying as autistic, but they are not the kind of people you would meet in a sitcom environment. I met my friends through a shared interest, in this case art class, and it was three years or so before I felt really comfortable with them. For a long time I would just disappear when there was something I didn't like, me, or the time, or the place, or whatever, without saying why. They just told me it was okay, there was no reason to be embarrassed, and they would see me when they saw me.

The reason I don't make friends all the time is me. I don't need to be a socialite, but it can be tricky in a new environment, like job or school. But I am usually the one to pull away between "acquaintance" and "friend." I choose "friend" candidates really carefully and make sure they choose me back. But if you want people to be around sometimes, know that autistic is not the only kind of odd in the world. I try to join an organization or club. I make myself a regular at the library and a coffee shop that doesn't overwhelm me.

Without knowing your circumstances or what makes you uncomfortable, I can't be more specific. But, as I said, I am really lucky to have the friends I have, and I think everyone deserves good friendships. I would be willing to be more specific if advice is what you're after.



MathGirl
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23 Dec 2013, 1:42 pm

Willard wrote:
The friends that I have had the longest - well, the only friends I still have - I would bet money are all on the Autism Spectrum, or have some other neurological dysfunction. In some cases, I know that for a fact, in others, it's a strong suspicion from having known them for years. Sadly, even those friends have all ended up living too far away from me to be able to see them on any kind of regular basis, so I only hear from them by electronic communications from time to time (and that rarely).

I've never formed a bond with a neurotypical person that lasted for any length of time. We always seem to stay at an arm's-length distance from the moment I meet them, until they go on their way and I never hear from them again. Of course, that pretty much describes my relationships with my family as well, but they stay in touch with me out of obvious feelings of obligation. There's still a clear sense of discomfort and embarrassment at having to be associated with this inexplicable freak.
This. I've just come to accept that I cannot relate to NTs, which is why trying to make friends with them is so exhausting. I've realized that I cannot maintain the facade that is needed in order for me to be able to keep these friendships. Once my energy becomes too drained and my true self comes out, the friendship fades away. It's really not worth it.

That being said, I've made NT acquaintances based on common interests. I call them acquaintances because they don't initiate the interaction as much as I do in order to maintain it. I have a feeling that this is the case because I don't emit the common cues that would indicate to them that I like them as a friend. I try to communicate it directly whenever I can, but the right situation doesn't always come up for me to be able to state this. Oh well, it's their loss :?

That being said, I have too many friends somehow, all on the spectrum. I think what drives people toward me is that I am open toward new people, that I am very straightforward and honest (instilling trust) and that I have a decent range of interests I can engage in with other people.


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greengeek
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23 Dec 2013, 11:15 pm

It's hard for me to make friends too.


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SecretSavant
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01 Jan 2014, 11:42 pm

Overcoming a social disability is all about acting.

If you're acting out of character, then you're not in tune with your own skin, and that's a tough spot to be.

Two words of advice.

Acting class, because while it may not make you a star, you will learn who you really are, character wise.
Then you can decide if you want to be friends with yourself.


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Holmesian
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19 Jan 2014, 10:02 am

That's me...somewhat. Most of the classes I've been in were filled with annoying people (text while the teacher is talking, creepy old men that hit on me, giggling girls with gum...) so maybe I'll have better luck this semester. If I'm lucky.


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Vitani
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21 Jan 2014, 8:41 pm

I'm the same age and pretty much have the same problem with making friends. Though I'm sure it doesn't help that I never leave the house, but even making friends online is harder than it used to be. Sometimes I miss when I was socially inept. At least I had no fear in what I said and talking to people.



Billw1628
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03 Feb 2014, 9:23 pm

I used to have this problem a good bit at your age. But at 29, I am a guy that my female peers who are NT social butterflies love. I have several tips.

1. Error on the side of being nice (as long as you are aware that you are not taken advantage of). If you are nice to nice girls, you will gradually gain more confidence.

2. In your conversations, make sure you don't talk about you all the time. Show that you care about the other persons you talk to as well.

3. If you are good with social media, build a rapport with them on there first. Then, try to carry over the momentum you generated when you eventually meet them offline. I ideally want to have a rough idea of what the other person I will be talking to look like (if I could).

4. Don't try too hard to come up with conversation topics on the spot. Rather, try to come up with some when you are calm (like a few hours before or more). If you are better at this, then you can slowly try to come up with topics on the spot.

5. Be yourself while acting appropriately. You don't want to be someone that you are not. But you also don't want to be inappropriate either... since that is how you can lose friends fast!