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Harmonie
Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

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Joined: 14 Jan 2024
Age: 35
Gender: Female
Posts: 134

26 Jan 2024, 10:40 pm

I am moving many states away, across the country and don't know if I'll ever come back this way. I have lived here since I was born. Despite my poor social skills, anxiety, and lonerish nature I have made a group of friends and acquaintances that I am going to miss dearly.

In the coming months leading up to my move I want to make sure that I get to see them all and say goodbye. Many tears will be shed. However, taking this in the context of me being potentially autistic, or having similar traits anyway, this is all overwhelming to me. It's super important to me and I DO enjoy my time with them very much, but there's going to be a lot of that happening (unless I fail to see see them all :( ) as well as, perhaps worst of all with my social anxiety, lots of me needing to reach out and ask to set up a time to see them.

I already scheduled that with one of them. One I'm going to miss probably more than most. Even still, texting to make sure we get this meetup felt a bit pushy for me. It's really not pushy in this circumstance, but I mentally perceive it as me being pushy nevertheless. I'm going to need to do this with the rest, too! It's mentally taxing on me, even though, again, I WANT to see them and it's super important to me!

Has anyone else experienced a far away move after making a longtime group of friends? I'm sure others here have. Did you try to make goodbye meetings with them all or did you manage it some other way? Did you struggle with the process of contacting and being "pushy" (in our perception, even if it's really just...asking to see them at all)? And how did you manage the overwhelming nature of lots of socializations in a relatively short burst of time?

I'm glad I have this community, because I've always just struggled with this in my mind alone not realizing that there are other people who could relate.


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Diagnosed with ADHD, Strongly Suspecting I'm also Autistic


IsabellaLinton
Veteran
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Joined: 1 Nov 2017
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27 Jan 2024, 12:55 am

I've moved far away several times, but I don't get upset about leaving people behind.
I can't say I've been in that situation.


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valen
Hummingbird
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Joined: 19 Aug 2021
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Location: America

01 Feb 2024, 9:43 pm

I don't think I have the same experience, but the feelings are a little similar. I've never moved across the country, but I have moved probably within every four years for my entire life until this house. I think we've made it to six years here, now.

For one move, when I left to go to an out-of-state school, it might be the outcome you are nervous about. I saw all of my friends before I left, and then when I was back on breaks I tried to get together with them again. I had two close friends, who I was unable to see much after that- on one break, one repeatedly told me she would not have time to hang out at all as she was swamped by art school work, even to go to a cafe or just to sit and do art together. I accepted this reluctantly, until she posted about going to see the latest Star Wars movie in theaters twice. I have perhaps never felt more pushy... Except when the other closest friend directly told me that I was too pushy, and that I should really respect her feelings better because I was clearly too smart not to understand them!

I stopped pushing, and they never initiated anything.

That was a very sad time for me and I felt heartbroken that they didn't care about me the same way. They didn't say it outright, but it was very clear they didn't want to spend time with me. When I talked about it later with a therapist for autism, she said I had done the right thing by not pushing further.

I still don't know why they didn't want to be friends with me then... and apparently, they don't either. Years later, at different times, I ran into or contacted them again- and they both wanted to be friends again. One of them I would say is the person who is the most genuinely interested in my life of anyone I talk to currently.

That is all to say, I think being afraid of being pushy since then has cost me a lot of potential friendships, or prevented me from deepening the ones I already had. If they send you really clear signals that they are unwilling to reciprocate and you feel like you are uncomfortable with the level of one-sidedness there is, it's ok to pull back to the level you are comfortable with and see where it goes. In the latter person's case, I compromised by just texting her on her birthday every year. Eight years later, she asked me when my birthday was so she could do it in return.

But, if you don't have clear signals, it's also easy to read them where they aren't there. I currently feel so terrified of making a social misstep that I'm still agonizing over every post I submit here, thinking about if something I said could be read as off-topic, bringing down the mood, or talking over someone else's experience. I can usually identify multiple points where it could. But whether it actually is, depends on the person reading it- and it's the same for your friends and you feeling pushy.

If possible, it could be good ask your friend what level of connection they're interested in and what sort of efforts they want you to put forth, and trust them when they answer. Sometimes they answer and are still wrong because they don't even know! One person told me she needed help maintaining the friendship, and wouldn't be the one to contact me- but still reacted badly when I did it the wrong way. But, they know they've given the answer and it gives you both something to work from.

I'm not good yet at actually getting any sort of accommodation, even from friends, on really needing more clarity, but these sorts of questions are the way I've sometimes been able to do it. I think it's better to have something concrete to fall back on when your mind starts telling you something is pushy, when you feel like it probably isn't.


For the burst of socialization... at that time I didn't know I found this taxing so I just powered through with excitement! I think that might not work for a more fully-fledged adult who is more aware of their limitations. In this regard my thoughts are probably fairly generic: if there are ways you find it less taxing, such as preferring to have a meal, a predefined or long-term activity, a certain environment, or something that limits the length of it, etc., you have good reason to request these specifics because you are the one who is leaving. Ask for the terms of your least stressful hangout experience! If they do value your friendship they will likely be at least willing to make a few small accommodations under such a circumstance.

Then, trying to make sure you aren't crammed with other stressful activities surrounding it might be more key- if you can get your packing settled early, make sure you are getting enough sleep and eating well, and have a little time to relax on your own between, it will probably help a lot.

If you are having trouble getting together with everyone and don't mind a group setting, you could also host a quiet 'going away party' for a few friends who weren't able to do something individual. Recently a friend did this, and had a tea party before moving. She had everyone who attended write a page in a notebook for her to read when she felt homesick or lonely.

This might be more taxing in the moment, but does mean less time spent socializing, with more friends seen, so it could be an option. I think it also makes the invite process easier, to be able to invite to an event or two instead of individually saying 'is there a time you want to hang out with me'.


I hope that your move will go well and that you will attain all you hope for from it! It's a bold decision that a lot of people aren't willing to make. I assume you are doing it because you have reason to believe it's best for you anyway-- and that's a cool thing to do.