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invisibubble
Blue Jay
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30 Apr 2012, 8:16 pm

Sometimes I really feel like I want friends but I'm thinking now maybe I just want to know that I can make friends because friendships from the past just show a long history of being used and abused by people.

So I've been thinking about my definition of what a friend is. Above and beyond all else I think a friend is someone who cares about you, is polite to you and never wants to make you feel bad. For me the people I thought I had friendships with always insulted me, humiliated me (usually when they had an audience) and convinced me that I needed to be changed by them and needed to be rebuked and humiliated to make it happen. These days I just reject someone the instant they are rude or nasty to me. Family tell me I'm too judgemental - that I shouldn't take those things personally - that I need to stop being so serious.

So, I've realised that maybe NT friendship is about someone you can hang out with and you just have to tolerate nastiness in the "friendship". It makes it hard for me to work out what the difference is between a friend and an enemy for an NT. NTs have always accused me of being too "intense" in "friendships" - I think when they say that they are referring to my insistence of honesty and consideration of others.

When I think about what NTs consider as friends I realise why I've always felt like I never had any "real" friends. I know that being alone all the time often makes me look vulnerable and then people will pick me as an easy target. I think maybe NT friendships might be mainly about avoiding being the one who is alone and gets singled out. Maybe its not about being around people that make you feel good but rather having enough people around (of any personality type) that will give you safety in numbers?

I'm curious for others' thoughts...



BMctav
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01 May 2012, 5:33 am

invisibubble wrote:
So, I've realised that maybe NT friendship is about someone you can hang out with and you just have to tolerate nastiness in the "friendship". It makes it hard for me to work out what the difference is between a friend and an enemy for an NT. NTs have always accused me of being too "intense" in "friendships" - I think when they say that they are referring to my insistence of honesty and consideration of others.


Sometimes friends will tease each other or be sarcastic, which can be fun. Sometimes these kind of shenannigans can cross the line and they might upset each other, but it wouldn't be done on purpose. However, if a "friend" is cruel and nasty and ridicules you, then they are not your friend, I think.

invisibubble wrote:
When I think about what NTs consider as friends I realise why I've always felt like I never had any "real" friends. I know that being alone all the time often makes me look vulnerable and then people will pick me as an easy target.


If people are targetting you, they're definitely not the right people to try and be friends with.

invisibubble wrote:
I think maybe NT friendships might be mainly about avoiding being the one who is alone and gets singled out. Maybe its not about being around people that make you feel good but rather having enough people around (of any personality type) that will give you safety in numbers?


As an NT I would much, much rather have just one or two people (or even more) people that I have fun with than spend time with a bunch of people that I have nothing in common with or even dislike.
The issue of safety in numbers shouldn't be a consideration. You should always be safe with your friends in the sense that they a) like you, b) are on your side, c) care for you, and d) would not be nasty to you. Aiming for quality as opposed to quanity is the ideal, I think.



SanityTheorist
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01 May 2012, 12:33 pm

Somone who has 4 of the following:

a similar sense of humor
beliefs
similar hobbies
similar taste in art
similar taste in entertainment
shared music interests
trustworthy


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SanityTheorist
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01 May 2012, 12:34 pm

Somone who has 4 of the following:

a similar sense of humor
similar beliefs
similar hobbies
similar taste in art
similar taste in entertainment
shared music interests
trustworthy


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Currently working on getting in a studio to record my solo album 40+ tracks written.

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MrBackward
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02 May 2012, 1:53 am

I noticed that the topic? is definition of a friend and considering I was considering starting this theme I will jump in here.
Are you after a definition of a friend? If so I believe that is a matter of perspective, like beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
My previous definition of a friend is "somone who will both see you and you see them willingly and happily outside the context in which you met, at least once a month"
However now I have gotten older I realise that the end "at least once a month" part of the definition may not be true. i have also noticed a minimal exploration of feelings that a friendship is ment to evoke.
So instead now I dont have a true definition but have started to adapt recognition criterea to the idea.
Such as
1) the friendship with an individual can not be dependant on the group
2) both parties should be happy and willing to see each other
3) the friendship must be an end in itself not a means to an end
Also note that there are different types of friends and these friendships may not last forever
I could go on for ages with this topic but I need to stop and get back to my assignment.
Hope this was in the ballpark of what you wanted, if not then sorry for wasting your time!



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02 May 2012, 2:45 am

If we're talking true friendship here a lot of it boils down to trust.

Say there was a picture of yourself naked doing something that you would never live down. Think about which people you would trust with that picture. If you can trust them with that picture then they are a true friend. (not saying you should try this to prove friendship, in fact I'll just say don't try it just think about it hypothetically)

A more shallow definition would be someone who is willing to spend time with you in an unstructured environment or adds you as a friend on some stupid social networking site, etc.


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ShadeX
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02 May 2012, 10:26 am

A friend boils down to "someone who will be there when you call them at 1am and s**t hit the fan". Reguardless of the personality, those are friends. Other then that friends come in all shapes and sizes. If they won't get up or if you wouldn't feel like they would have your back in a dark alley if someone jumped you, then they sure as heck wont be there when you need them. To me that loyalty is my only pre requisit. There personality just effects how often we hang out.



NicoleG
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05 May 2012, 12:56 am

ShadeX wrote:
A friend boils down to "someone who will be there when you call them at 1am and sh** hit the fan". Reguardless of the personality, those are friends. Other then that friends come in all shapes and sizes. If they won't get up or if you wouldn't feel like they would have your back in a dark alley if someone jumped you, then they sure as heck wont be there when you need them. To me that loyalty is my only pre requisit. There personality just effects how often we hang out.


Not everyone who is my friend is strong enough to be able to "have my back". I don't think of a friendship as something that I have to rely upon in order to meet some need, although I do want reliable friends, but that's a description of the person not of my relationship with them.



Siddhi
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05 May 2012, 8:11 am

Disclaimer: Not diagnosed but have traits.

My history of people claiming to be "friends", who use me and throw away once done. I am generally the one left staring and waiting for a response. Some have been clear enough to tell me that "i was weird" or "their parents told them to stop" but most just disappear. My family and therapist says that i dont make an effort. Even if i have shown repeated incidences they say i should continue. I explained that they are almost never fun. Since, I have difficulty figuring out what is personal and what is not. I generally talk about anything that i think is fun, which could be something personal. I have had people using that information, but i took it as them being friendly. Later, i would wonder why they went on and on about it. So, I would be the one anxious and wondering "should i have said that?" all the time. So, it was not fun and it hurt later.

To cut my long story short. My learning has been follows:
1. Friendship is a term loosely used by many when they want to get something from you. Generally, people have deep and lasting relationships by the end of teens. They are rarely interesting in adding to that. Their tastes of people they want as companions are also decided by then, so they will rarely change it for you.
2. With some people it could also be a symbiotic relationship, a good give and take.
3. With a rare few it could actually be companionship. There is no guarantee that it will last, which frustrates me, as then i wonder why am i putting so much effort into it.

Most important though: You have be with that person because you have fun, not because you are working towards "making friends".



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05 May 2012, 9:05 am

I think maybe we romanticize friendships a little, we see friendships on tv or in films where friends hang out, 'get' each other, care for each other, etc. Someone replied to a post I made saying not to 'dump' your problems on friends, apart from inaccurancy of this comment in relation to my post I feel this isn't the case - friends should know when you're upset and help you up, not abandon you when you're down.

But then I don't think NT's (or anyone) make good friends, people seem to selfish so only concerned about themselves and not knowing or caring for their friends. In reality I think people are too selfish for friendship how I understand it, that maybe it is just people hanging out when they share interests or due to proximity, thus it's not as deep or long-term as we'd like friendships to be.


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Siddhi
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05 May 2012, 9:08 am

I wish i had read this 3 years back. I would have avoided my biggest mistake.
Work vs Close friends
This is an excerpt of article. I could post the whole article if it is interesting.

You can spare yourself disappointment later on by noting the differences between a work friend and a real friend. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

• If your friend left the company, would you still be in touch with her in a year?
• If you had a personal emergency, would you consider asking your friend for help?
• Do you hang out with your friend outside the office? (Weekday lunch, happy hour, and business trips don’t count.)
• Have you met your friend’s significant other? What about her friends outside the office?
• If your friend received the promotion you were banking on, would you be genuinely happy for her?
• If you ran into your friend in the grocery store, would you be able to talk to her for 10 minutes without mentioning work?
• Have you seen where your friend lives?
• Do you and your friend have anything in common besides your age and your job?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you might have found yourself a real friend at work. Take care of this relationship by making a concerted effort to spend time with your friend outside the office.



Siddhi
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05 May 2012, 2:23 pm

I agree with you in terms of friendships being selfish. My observation has been, most are that way. I think that is the reason why it disturbs me more. My mom always told me, "if you are nice you will have friends". I stuck to it but it never worked. But when i look at it as selfish need, it disturbs both my brother and my ex therapist.

I have a tendency not to understand how much i need to do for a person or talk to a person. So i frequently get taken advantage of or talk about things i should not be telling. I kept on reading about acquaintances, friends, close friends etc, but never got what it was in practice. I used to teach this to typical kids and they immediately knew how to categorize their peer in that way, so i never had to work out the definitions for work. When i started to work with myself, was when i asked these question.

My key observation was there were areas of people's life i was not part of which others were. Some are okay with talking with me about their issues but not being with me. while there were others who encouraged me to talk but never revealed their vulnerable side. Both left soon enough. So i figured there was a give and take in relationships and trust dictates how much you give about yourself.

It made complete sense to me as i imagined it as a regulator. So if i know someone is on 2 with me, i should also be on 2 and not more or less. This though completely freaks my brother and therapist. They try to humor me, but always tell me, dont think about what it is but just have fun. I keep on telling them, i cant have fun when i dont know when i am supposed to say what or how to behave. I can form levels of friendships and form instructions for me stating how much i can expect or i need to do. But it does not make sense to them. They keep on telling me "dont think too much". I keep on telling them, "i need to think as i am not good at it".

I have not really understood the "fun" of being with anyone outside my immediate family.



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05 May 2012, 5:47 pm

Siddhi wrote:
This though completely freaks my brother and therapist. They try to humor me, but always tell me, dont think about what it is but just have fun. I keep on telling them, i cant have fun when i dont know when i am supposed to say what or how to behave. I can form levels of friendships and form instructions for me stating how much i can expect or i need to do. But it does not make sense to them. They keep on telling me "dont think too much". I keep on telling them, "i need to think as i am not good at it".

I have not really understood the "fun" of being with anyone outside my immediate family.


Any therapist that tells a person with autism not to think too much about something doesn't have a good understanding of autism. You mentioned at the beginning of your post that this is now an ex-therapist, and that's a good thing.

It's not going to be much fun when you are having to think so much about it, but I can totally understand that you have to think enough about it in order to get those categories set up in your mind. Once you get further along in your processing you should start to feel more relaxed and able to let your mind categorize without much conscious thought on your part, and then you'll start to see the fun that friendships can offer. Be patient, and keep thinking about it until it starts to gel in your mind, and then you won't have to think so much about it after that. It does take time, unfortunately, but you'll get there.

The reason that your brother and ex-therapist and any others that can be listed don't understand it is because they did all this categorizing when they were much younger and with much less conscious thought going into it. They didn't have autism blocking how they were learning this stuff, so they don't understand (nor will they likely ever understand) why it requires so much conscious effort on your part. Learning this stuff for someone with autism is the same as someone else learning a foreign language. They have to translate it into their primary language first in order to understand it. They don't learn it intuitively like they did their primary language.



Siddhi
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05 May 2012, 6:21 pm

The problem is that i dont have a diagnosis. I told my ex-therapist about my belief, she initially said it was not there. Then when i highlighted my social skills issues, she said that is there. I have also had screening done by sensory integration therapist, who also clear said that i had sensory issues. Due to my awareness of my sensory issues i have been able to preempt some of my meltdowns and do daily routine things i could not do. The meltdowns and inability to form or sustain friendships were one of the reasons why i went to the ex-therapist initially. When i mentioned the earlier points, she said that i had traits but i would never get a diagnosis. I told her, i was not lookingfor a daignosis, but i just wanted a way to understand myself. She said if i wanted a diagnosis, i should go with PTSD as i have a death and molestation in past. I pointed out that i was like this even before those incidence. I have no flashes of the incidence or avoid those situations in any way. In fact my meltdowns occurred either due to being forced to socialize without structure and before that due to sensory overload and nothing else, but she kind of just ignores it.

My brother on the other hand helps me out a lot when i am trying to understand the other persons perspective, but he does not want to accept it. He says that it is mostly because he cant see anything wrong with me and would prefer to call everybody bad than say i need to learn. Both he and my mom also worry that i am going to go back to being the way i was before if they acknowledge my challenges. They say, i might use it as an excuse to not work. I asked them if i had stopped working. They said no, they knew i am working hard and was improving, but they worried that i would make myself worst. (it does not make sense to me)


Quote:
It's not going to be much fun when you are having to think so much about it, but I can totally understand that you have to think enough about it in order to get those categories set up in your mind. Once you get further along in your processing you should start to feel more relaxed and able to let your mind categorize without much conscious thought on your part, and then you'll start to see the fun that friendships can offer. Be patient, and keep thinking about it until it starts to gel in your mind, and then you won't have to think so much about it after that. It does take time, unfortunately, but you'll get there.

That makes sense. I will remember this, especially when i get frustrated with myself and just dont want to deal with anybody. Thanks. :-)


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06 May 2012, 3:19 am

Siddhi wrote:
She said if i wanted a diagnosis, i should go with PTSD


What kind of quackery is this? "Look on this list of diagnoses and pick which one you'd like to have from the ones that I've highlighted. Yeah, yeah, that should do the trick."