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Dots
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04 Feb 2012, 9:40 pm

I want friends, but I have a very hard time making them.

For example, two girls in the choir I sing in at university befriended me last year, and we talk and walk home after choir, but our friendship has never moved past that. We don't hang out outside of choir, and I don't know how to have a real friendship with them. I've pretty much given up on that, because they're graduating in 2 months and then they're going to go back to their hometowns and we'll probably only talk every few months on facebook or something.

As much as I wish I could just be alone, I actually do feel lonely, so I have tried to make other friends. But the few times I've tried this, it has ended in disaster. A girl befriended me this summer, and we hung out a lot for 2 months or so, and then all of the sudden she got distant. I asked her why things got awkward and she told me nothing was wrong, which was incredibly frustrating because her actions did not match her words. Every time I suggested plans she said "maybe" and never committed, so I stopped asking. And she never made suggestions of her own. The only thing I can figure out is maybe I was relying on her too much, since at the time she was my only friend, and she felt burdened. Also, she mentioned that our friendship was not as two way as she would have liked, so I suppose through my AS inability to reciprocate, I doomed the friendship.

Last month, I asked a girl I wanted to get to know better in my choir if she wanted to go for coffee. We went for coffee once, and then planned a second one but she got sick and cancelled. After that, she hasn't answered my texts. I see her at choir on Monday nights, but I have trouble talking to her there. I prefer to text her - so maybe she thinks I'm ignoring her at choir and that's not ok with her.

I find it so hard to navigate relationships and friendships. The only thing saving my sanity right now is that a few people on the spectrum have been getting together in my city weekly and I can go there and not feel like an alien.

The way I've decided to try to make friends now is by volunteering - if I'm in a volunteer position doing a job, I feel useful, and there is social interaction there - for example I am the communications officer for my school's theatre company, which basically means I take minutes at our meetings. It gives me a job to do and a reason to be there. Maybe we're not lifelong friends, but at least I'm not shutting myself off in my room alone.

Does anyone else have difficulty making friends even though you want them? Has anyone found a way through this? Is my new strategy of just volunteering and socializing that way a good strategy? I -am- happy that I have a friend or two on the spectrum, I seem to be able to connect with them.


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Erinwolf1997
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06 Feb 2012, 12:52 pm

I have two friends, one, my mom thinks she must have some sort of ASD, and the other has bipolar, so I guess I've never technically been good friends with a NT. I haven't made any new friends in a couple years, but it kind of came naturally then.



MakaylaTheAspie
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06 Feb 2012, 3:41 pm

I have a few friends who are completely NT, whom I associate with quite often.

Most of my friends have a disorder of some sort, mostly bi-polar. One almost got diagnosed with Schizophrenia (ended up being a bi-polar case as well).


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readingbetweenlines
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06 Feb 2012, 4:34 pm

I don't know if you're inviting views from NTs so feel free to ignore if it's not what you want.

Your volunteering strategy sounds like a very good idea and over time other, perhaps slightly deeper/more meaningful things can come from that.

Likewise being friends with others on the spectrum is a good idea as you won't have to explain yourself as much. Whether you'll get a deeper friendship there is difficult to predict. On the NT side, it depends a bit what kind of personality attracts you in the first place.

I guess you might be investing every encounter with more significance as it is such an upheaval and plain hard work? On the whole it sounds like you're doing really well and if the other party loses interest then that may be more about what's going on in their lives then any reflection on you. I appreciate that if they are not communicating then you are left with the uncertainty of why the contact has ended. Their loss at the end of the day, even it doesn't feel like that at the moment.


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Cornflake
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06 Feb 2012, 6:12 pm

[Moved from general Autism Discussion to Social Skills and Making Friends]


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minervx
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06 Feb 2012, 11:18 pm

NT's are difficult, but so are Aspies lol.

It's all trial and error.



BMctav
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07 Feb 2012, 6:22 am

Dots wrote:
Does anyone else have difficulty making friends even though you want them? Has anyone found a way through this? Is my new strategy of just volunteering and socializing that way a good strategy? I -am- happy that I have a friend or two on the spectrum, I seem to be able to connect with them.


I was ill for several years and lost all my friends. What you are doing, is what I did. I think it's a perfect strategy. The only way to make friends is to meet people and volunteering is a great opportunity for that. You might want to think about other activities in addition. Something like a local running club perhaps (this is what I did). In my experience runners are friendly, supportive people (as long as your join the right club - fun runners, not competition) and they're sociable outside of the running. I did this and over time was able to build a reasonably large base of aquaintances (about 30 people) and some have become friends. No "best" friends yet, but some are pretty close (about 6).

Try not to let the relationships that didn't work out get you down. Learn from them where possible, but don't be put off from trying with someone else in the future. I think it's more difficult as an adult to make friends, but there are lots of people out there and a lot of them don't have friends and are lonely, too (NT and AS).

Keep at it. Good luck.



deathsign
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07 Feb 2012, 6:30 am

In my place, I'm the only AS guy. Everyone around me is NT, including all of my friends. It is hard to make a good friendship with them, and most of the time I just strike them as some weird crazy guy. I try to look and act as normal as possible, but after some time it just fails. And when you look weird/crazy/abnormal/etc. people start to leave me and treat me as s**t.
I do however have several close NT friends who I'm cool with. The number keeps decreasing however as we get older and some of them stopped being friends due to my weirdness. I'm afraid that as I get older I wouldn't have any friends anymore. I can't seem to get new friends as they're more aware of my weirdness.
I'd appreciate any help/tips about this.


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BMctav
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07 Feb 2012, 7:40 pm

deathsign wrote:
I do however have several close NT friends who I'm cool with. The number keeps decreasing however as we get older and some of them stopped being friends due to my weirdness. I'm afraid that as I get older I wouldn't have any friends anymore. I can't seem to get new friends as they're more aware of my weirdness.
I'd appreciate any help/tips about this.


Are you sure they've stopped being your friends? Sometimes friendships have their down periods. I'm NT and have had them in the past where I haven't seen a friend for over a year (for no particular reason) and then out of the blue one us would call the other and we'd meet up weekly for the next couple of years, then have several months of down time where we wouldn't communicate or see each other. Perhaps that's what's happening with your situation? Unless it's been explicitly stated to you it's because of your "weirdness" that they are not hanging out with you, then I think the chances are your assumption is wrong and you are incorrectly shifting the blame on to yourself when it could be any number of things.

I understand your worry about making friends as you get older; it's daunting, but I think you are being a bit of pessimist. You've made friendsin the past despite your "weirdness" and can do so again. You have to be proactive to make friends. Join a club, do an activity (running, for example). It's the same rules for AS as it is for NT. It takes time and you probably won't find a friend straight away, but you might make some friendly acquaintances that will become friends in time. At the very least it's always a learning experience.

Good luck.



deathsign
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08 Feb 2012, 9:35 am

BMctav wrote:
deathsign wrote:
I do however have several close NT friends who I'm cool with. The number keeps decreasing however as we get older and some of them stopped being friends due to my weirdness. I'm afraid that as I get older I wouldn't have any friends anymore. I can't seem to get new friends as they're more aware of my weirdness.
I'd appreciate any help/tips about this.


Are you sure they've stopped being your friends? Sometimes friendships have their down periods. I'm NT and have had them in the past where I haven't seen a friend for over a year (for no particular reason) and then out of the blue one us would call the other and we'd meet up weekly for the next couple of years, then have several months of down time where we wouldn't communicate or see each other. Perhaps that's what's happening with your situation? Unless it's been explicitly stated to you it's because of your "weirdness" that they are not hanging out with you, then I think the chances are your assumption is wrong and you are incorrectly shifting the blame on to yourself when it could be any number of things.

I understand your worry about making friends as you get older; it's daunting, but I think you are being a bit of pessimist. You've made friendsin the past despite your "weirdness" and can do so again. You have to be proactive to make friends. Join a club, do an activity (running, for example). It's the same rules for AS as it is for NT. It takes time and you probably won't find a friend straight away, but you might make some friendly acquaintances that will become friends in time. At the very least it's always a learning experience.

Good luck.


That might be the case. My old friends never say that they stopped being friends of me or that I'm too weird to be their friend, it's more because of we didn't contact each other in a long time. I've had that out of the blue situation once, with a friend of mine who I haven't seen for a year, then we got assigned the same class and we became friends again, though I don't meet him much anymore. I'm also still on friendly terms with most of my old friends.

Well these days, I've became very paranoid and anxious because of social rejection and mistreatment in my new school and my AS getting worse.That might be the reason (or at least a reason) why I'm unable to make new friends (I do still make acquaintances though). Then again my social ability (?) isn't what it used to be due to said anxiety, paranoia and worsening AS conditions. I'm also is and always have been a pessimist.


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I'm very paranoid. I have inferiority complex (a.k.a i always think others are better than me, mostly b/c of my AS)
My AS is getting worse as time goes on.
WORST PROBLEM: HAVING AS


RobotGreenAlien2
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10 Feb 2012, 12:41 am

It sound like you have a good start but you need to deepen the relationship. If possible you need to socialise with the same people in a different context. Try suggesting grabbing food after or asking what they are doing next.
Sharing secrets also builds a bond but dont make it too big you want to keep everything low key at this point. So a secret like have a crush on someone is good because its low key and emotion.
You want them to assosiate you with positive experiences so don't be negitive early on, try to have fun.

As regards the people that are leaving soon thats perfect. You might feel like its a waste of effort but its good practice and low risk. you can experiment more (that sounds unethical) you can try out parts of you social skills that need work or you aren't sure off.



Dots
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10 Feb 2012, 8:37 pm

RobotGreenAlien2, I didn't even make the connection that friends who are leaving soon would be good to "practice" on. I know what you mean, it doesn't sound unethical to me - how else do you learn other than just trying things?

I might try and ask them to do something outside of choir.

And I've recently realized that most of the people I actually make a connection with (that is, someone who when I share stuff about me actually shares stuff in return, a lot of people I talk to don't reciprocate and the friendship never goes anywhere... and I'm supposed to be the one who has impaired social or emotional reciprocity :roll: ) are actually not entirely NT themselves, even if I'm sure they are at first.

I just, for the first time in my entire life, made the first step in a friendship. All of the friends I've had in life have been people who have approached me, people who made most of the effort and did most of the asking/planning/inviting. It took me 28 years of learning how, but I did start to make friends with someone by asking them myself instead of hoping they'd come to me.

My friendship making skills are tens of years below my age level, and my therapist acknowledges this. Hopefully I can learn.


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Free speech means the right to shout 'theatre' in a crowded fire.
--Abbie Hoffman