Common interests vs common background for making friends

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Rodney00
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26 Apr 2014, 11:49 am

People told me when I was young to make friends with people who had "common interests." Yet in college I tried, and it didn't seem to work. Full disclosure: I went to a college that resembled a bigger high school. I looked at the cliques, and it seemed more of them tended to have kids from similar hometowns, similar majors (and kids at my school weren't actually interested in their majors), similar ethnicities, and economic circumstances. The only thing kids seemed interested in were sports. Which of the common threads will make me more friends? Could it have been that I went essentially to a B-rated college (think Fairfield, Villanova, Marist, etc.)?



em_tsuj
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26 Apr 2014, 1:27 pm

My definition of a friend is somebody you like and who you enjoy spending time with. There is also an element of trust and mutual aid involved in friendship.

I like people who think like I do. It helps me trust them. Having a common background helps (being from the same area, same socioeconomic background, etc.). Having similar interests helps too. It gives us something to talk about and spend time together doing. Generally speaking, the more I have in common with someone, the more likely I am to like them and be friends with them. If someone is too different from me, it is hard to break the ice. I don't know how to interact with them. Don't know what to talk about with them. Having something in common gets the ball rolling in forming a friendship.

Oftentimes I feel this sixth sense about people. We are drawn to each other to be friends or whatever. As I get to know them, I learn that we have several things in common that would make it likely we would become friends. Does anyone else have this sixth sense?



Rodney00
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26 Apr 2014, 1:32 pm

em_tsuj wrote:
Generally speaking, the more I have in common with someone, the more likely I am to like them and be friends with them.
If you were to weight what you "have in common" with someone, how would you rank it? From the choices of interests, background, mode of thinking.

Also with "way of thinking," how can one adjust what he projects his "way of thinking" to be so as to make friends easily? Does that entail talking about the same things and having similar methods of achieving goals, similar goals/aspirations, attitudes towards other groups, etc?



Mindslave
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26 Apr 2014, 4:13 pm

Well for me, the most important common "way of thinking" is how simple and direct that person is. I eat when I'm hungry, I sleep when I'm tired, and I run when I have energy. Also, I have no inherent sacred ground but I know my limits and care about other people's well-being. So if someone is straightforward instead of coy and passive and mysterious, everything else is extra detail. Passive aggressive people text excessively, are often afraid to say no to people, afraid to actually make clearly defined plans and stick with them, etc. I'm the opposite, and any good friend of mine will be, too.



em_tsuj
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27 Apr 2014, 12:47 am

Rodney00 wrote:
em_tsuj wrote:
Generally speaking, the more I have in common with someone, the more likely I am to like them and be friends with them.
If you were to weight what you "have in common" with someone, how would you rank it? From the choices of interests, background, mode of thinking.

Also with "way of thinking," how can one adjust what he projects his "way of thinking" to be so as to make friends easily? Does that entail talking about the same things and having similar methods of achieving goals, similar goals/aspirations, attitudes towards other groups, etc?


morals and worldview are most important.

I don't share my way of thinking with people until I get to know them. It keeps me from putting my foot in my mouth. That's how I present myself best.



Rodney00
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27 Apr 2014, 1:25 am

em_tsuj wrote:
Rodney00 wrote:
em_tsuj wrote:
Generally speaking, the more I have in common with someone, the more likely I am to like them and be friends with them.
If you were to weight what you "have in common" with someone, how would you rank it? From the choices of interests, background, mode of thinking.

Also with "way of thinking," how can one adjust what he projects his "way of thinking" to be so as to make friends easily? Does that entail talking about the same things and having similar methods of achieving goals, similar goals/aspirations, attitudes towards other groups, etc?


morals and worldview are most important.

I don't share my way of thinking with people until I get to know them. It keeps me from putting my foot in my mouth. That's how I present myself best.


this is an excellent insight, big thanks. Now how do you decide you "know them" enough to open up? THAT's one thing in life that's gotten to me before, I show my cards before the would-be friend shows his/hers. Is THAT what small talk is supposed to accomplish?



Rodney00
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07 May 2014, 7:58 am

bump. Also, in situations where you're different than many people, like you go to a state school in another state and you're from an entirely different part of the country, what do you do?



anneurysm
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13 May 2014, 3:42 am

As you've figured out, similar interests aren't the only way people connect, but usually people tend to become friends based on a combination of the factors you've described. Another factor that you didn't mention (and unfortunately this puts people on tne spectrum at a disadvantage) is social skills and similar personality/interaction style.

Since you have tried making friends with others before and it hasn't gone well, it may be not due to a lack if trying, but possibly due to the way you present yourself around others. It would be helpful to you to figure out how you are percieved socially by asking someone you trust. If you have a disability counsellor at your school, ask them about this - I am sure they will be happy to assist you with this.

There are ways around this as well. For people on the spectrum, I've noticed that they seem to get along best with other people with AS or other kinds of differences: if you know of any who attend your school it would help to seek them out. The advantage of this is that you can be awkward and yourself around them, whereas with NTs you do have to follow NT social rules to keep them around. Also, I'm sure that not everyone there enjoys sports...those who are shy and nerdy are also more likely to accept those on the spectrum too.


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I am an anomaly. Diagnosed with borderline,"tentative" Aspergers at 7 as the school board required me to have a label in order to receive special education services. I did not fit criteria for ASD but that was the closest label that fit my behaviour at the time.

My longtime psychiatrist has confirmed that I do not qualify for an ASD diagnosis (but have traits & OCD-like traits).

Mostly keeping a distance from ASD-related things (including WP).