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3nigma
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23 Mar 2013, 10:27 am

Hi there,
I'm relatively new to this forum (and Asperger Syndrome in general). While having been officially diagnosed, I still find it hard to really get my head around whether Aspergers really applies to me. In my opinion, many of the questions for diagnosis are incredibly vague.

For instance: 'Do you have many friends?' What exactly is 'many'? And, probably more importantly, how do you define 'friends'? How is a friend different from an acquaintance or someone you occasionally meet?
One inevitably meets people, whether in school, university or job and develops some form of 'knowing each other'... but when does that turn into 'friendship'???

Maybe it's a very silly question, but I keep wondering about it. I couldn't find a thread on this yet as most discussions focus on the 'how to' and social skills in general. It would be nice to hear someone else's opinion on this.



jk1
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23 Mar 2013, 11:04 am

It's actually a hard one.

I would say a friend is someone who is willing to spend some personal time with you (if living not too far away) and vice versa and who shares with you at least part of what he/she truly thinks - not being superficial. Well, that's all I can think of for now.

It certainly doesn't automatically include colleagues, neighbors or acquaintances.



KateUher
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23 Mar 2013, 11:17 am

I tink you are on to something. The diagnostic criteria can be rather vauge and proffessional oppions can varry greatly. I think you just have to decided if it sounds right to you and what the point of having a diagnoses is. Do you want more support for things that challange you? Do you feel very differnt to those around yourself and just want answers? I wouldn't get too hung up on what it's being called because they are still learning about autism and aspergers and are still making changes to the diagnostic criteria. Who knows what it will be called in 50 years.


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Urist
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23 Mar 2013, 11:31 am

I think the actual reason for that question may be based less on how many 'friends' you could be said to have, and more on your definition of friends. I'd say I only have about 8 at most because I have a pretty narrow idea of what I'd call a friend, whereas some people call anyone they talk to casually a friend. I'd assume that most people with an ASD would have a relatively narrow definition of a friend, whereas many 'neurotypicals' are likely to consider more acquaintances to be friends.


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Thom_Fuleri
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23 Mar 2013, 1:07 pm

I have a four level approach to defining friends, with higher levels being closer but requiring more maintenance.

I have a fair number of level 1 friends (work colleagues, etc) and a smaller number of level 2 friends (who I know a lot better) but level 3 friends are rare, as it takes too much time and effort to keep track of them if they aren't practical. One way to identify them is long distance - if a level 3 friend is far away and I can't see them too often, I will still keep in touch. On the other hand, level 2 friends are at risk of drifting away. Several school friends have been demoted to level 1 for that reason.

Level 4 is limited to close family (and not all of them qualify) and those friends that are very intimate, not necessarily in a sexual sense. Indeed, I've previously slept with a lot of guys that I barely even remember.



Panddora
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23 Mar 2013, 7:03 pm

I used to have some friends and would define these as people who I would socialise with in the sense of meeting at each others houses and having dinner together etc. and who I could discuss personal issues with.
I no longer have any of these but I do have a relative and his partner who I get on with.
There are also work colleagues who are people I like very much and get on with ok but we would never meet outside of work so do not regard them as friends.
Then there are neighbours. Only one couple really ever talks to me. Most may say hello but never more than that, so not friends.
Therefore I feel I have no non-related friends and one couple who we are friends with. I actually think my relative has AS as he was always as bad as me at socialising but our partners are more outgoing.



RagingShadow
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23 Mar 2013, 7:31 pm

for me a friend is someone who I have a) known for 2 years or longer, b) someone I have class with, or c) someone I do not mind speaking to.
so, by my definition, I have TONS of friends. But to most, I have maybe 5. Maybe.
If you asked me what the difference between a friend and an acquaintance is, I'd either say that I didn't see one, or that an acquaintance is someone I have seen but not spoken to.
most of my "friendships" end at the school gate. There is only one person I socialize outside of school with, and I have known her since we were 7.


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bumble
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23 Mar 2013, 8:24 pm

Someone whom shares my interests and with whom I can chat about said interests regularly and exchange ideas. I also like to share a laugh and joke with them (I can have an unruly sense of humour sometimes and tend to be easily amused by the smallest of things lol).

I really do not turn to them for emotional support often, other than to have the occasional rant. I generally don't like the type of emotional support that I get back as it does not seem to work for me so I don't seek friends on that basis or for that purpose usually.

The sharing of interests and humour is most important to me.

When it comes to life companions or romantic attachments obviously I seek something different, but I like the above qualities to be in my partner as well. It is just that with them I like to include lots of cuddles and intimacy also.



MannyBoo
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23 Mar 2013, 8:50 pm

A "true friend" is anyone I stay in close contact with even after 10 years.. Right now, for me, less than a handful.



uwmonkdm
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23 Mar 2013, 9:18 pm

I don't have any friends now, and the ones I considered real friends in the past are all gone now.. turns out they weren't real friends.



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23 Mar 2013, 9:21 pm

3nigma wrote:
Hi there,
I'm relatively new to this forum (and Asperger Syndrome in general). While having been officially diagnosed, I still find it hard to really get my head around whether Aspergers really applies to me. In my opinion, many of the questions for diagnosis are incredibly vague.

For instance: 'Do you have many friends?' What exactly is 'many'? And, probably more importantly, how do you define 'friends'? How is a friend different from an acquaintance or someone you occasionally meet?
One inevitably meets people, whether in school, university or job and develops some form of 'knowing each other'... but when does that turn into 'friendship'???

Maybe it's a very silly question, but I keep wondering about it. I couldn't find a thread on this yet as most discussions focus on the 'how to' and social skills in general. It would be nice to hear someone else's opinion on this.


I would say 'many' friends would be anything upwards of 4 or 5.

A friend is someone you would see reasonably often, or someone you have known on a friendly basis for a long time, although of course you could have friends that lived far away too, that you only spoke to on the phone or emailed etc. but you would socialise with them in some form.

An acquaintance or colleague turns into a friend if you socialise with them outside of work or the situation you know them from. That would be initiated by one of you suggesting you meet socially e.g. for a drink.


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