Autistic People generally do not desire friendships

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ZombieBrideXD
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09 Dec 2015, 11:47 pm

I didnt believe this when i first heard it, after i got diagnosed and looked up the symptoms i said "of course i desire friends! who wouldn't!" years past and i talked to my Psychologist and learned something; I dont desire friendships, i only desire what friendships OFFER. for example:
1. Special Interests: A person with autism can ramble On about their favourite thing forever and creates a sort of pleasure but there is no emotional connection besides that.

2. Material Objects: A Person with autism can receive Objects, Gifts or opportunities to go to places people dont normally go alone. IE Gifts, toys, money food or going to a cinema.

3. Services: This person can provide services for the autistic person, like help with cleaning or drives.

4. they live in close proximity or you see them on a daily basis: this one is a little different, in these types of relationships the NEUROTYPICAL is the one initiating the friendship, its typically not the autistic person, as soon as the proximity changed the friendship is over.

most of these relationships do NOT have a emotional connection between 2 people, there is a Key reason why the friendship is formed aside from general liking of another person.

I learned that i don't form relationships like this because my psychologist asked me these questions:

Do i ever just sit and do nothing with a friend and ENJOY it.

my answer? No,

Do i ever take time out of something i enjoy to see a Friend?

I said no.

In fact the thought of enjoying a person aside from the factors that i stated above seems impossible.

I know this makes me sound selfish and maybe i am but this is something i always sort of known and my psych said its not abnormal, most autistic people see relationships and even sex as a function instead of a general pleasure.
Obviously this isnt autism exclusive, NTs can also have relationships like this but most autistic people lack the ability to form emotional relationships outside of these factors.(this doesnt make the relationship less meaningful or make the relationship fake, it just means the relationship is based on a factor that benifits the ASD person aside from just enjoying the other person)

So what do you think? Do you think this is all horse s**t or do you see some of this in your relationships?


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09 Dec 2015, 11:54 pm

I hear what you are saying ZB. I actually do desire friendships very much but not many. I have maybe three that I really really need in my life. They are the ones that I can sit with and do nothing with. When I was a kid I think most of my friendships were because of what they offered like you mention. But now, the people I am really close to I really am close to them because I love being close to them.


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10 Dec 2015, 12:10 am

I really do care about my friends. I have friends who share my interests, who have had similar experiences, and who are just fun people to be around. And yes, I have friends who I can just do nothing with and have a good time. But that's just me. As the saying goes, if you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism.

I know people on the spectrum who have no interest in friends at all. I know people on the spectrum who can't stop partying. And I know a lot of people on the spectrum like me, who have friends who they just hang out with when they feel like it - they aren't the life of the party, but they aren't total recluses either.

Really you are you in the end, and categorizations like these really don't have much weight to them in the end.



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10 Dec 2015, 1:18 am

I think that is true of some Aspies but I don't think it's true of me. I wouldn't mind having a couple friends I could just hang-out with but I only desire a couple.


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10 Dec 2015, 5:55 pm

Well can you only be autistic or NT? I am not an NT but not officially diagnosed as autistic. I do identify most with Aspies which is why I am here.

Anyway I am sorta like this. I know you often have to know someone to get a job so I wish I had more friends so I could do that. I generally keep to myself but I often wish I had "kindred spirits". I have a few IRL friends but I don't hang out with them anymore except for my bf but sometimes I don't talk to him about deep stuff. Music was always my friend and I find I am more connected with musicians than other people in general. I have had plenty of online friends though. Those friendships I have valued and miss the ones I bonded the most with because they were the closest thing I guess I had to a kindred spirit.

But I don't like to be dependent either so I wouldn't try to enter friendships for selfish reasons.



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10 Dec 2015, 7:37 pm

I think there are a couple of different issues here.

I DO desire the emotional connection between myself and another person. But I don't know how to figure out how to do so appropriately. My relationships generally consist of me doing things for other people and asking favors of my friends, which never seems to be an actual friendship based on how easily I can ignore other people whenever I get tired of 'performing' for them.

But I also want the side benefits of having a friend. But that's part of having friends.

I guess that all of this could be accompanied by a generally skewed view of life thanks to an exceptionally twisted upbringing.


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10 Dec 2015, 8:32 pm

I'm a bit ashamed to say this is the same for me.
Councillors are always correcting me saying "this is not something that provides a function." About everything. All the time. Friendship seems to require an emotional attachment, a real neurochemical reward, that I just don't understand. I'd like to, but I don't so far. I've been trying to make connections myself, and though I have had some success in talking to people, attending groups, texting occasionally, and I am getting better with being more "open" with people as I practice, but there is always a reason behind it. We're part of the same interest / issue group and are all coming together for this purpose, to engage in this activity. Alternatively, I believe I can learn something from this person about a topic, or about how to be a real person from a real person. I'm interested in connections to go places with that require a companion, and to have fun doing interesting things with. I can't think of a single connection that persisted past its usefulness.
As you said, do we get pleasure out of being with someone and doing nothing? I agree - no. Unless we're talking about an interesting topic or doing something I enjoy. I always used to wonder this about parties. Nothing is happening, the music is too loud to listen to anything. People just stand around drinking and staring. I don't get it.
It's difficult to understand, this issue. I think the empathy thing may come in here too - I recently spoke to a woman who was an ex drug addict at a group, for example. She was very upset and afterwards, I made a point of going over and saying hello, welcome, great she's making the effort to stop drugs, listened to her problems and offered my help. People would tell me this is empathy, of imagining myself in this woman's place and my emotions were activated. But it wasn't. I simply don't enjoy suffering and understand that being welcomed and having someone talk to you and listen to your issues makes most people feel better, so that's what I did.
There is nothing connecting us emotionally. Every other connection I have it out of obligation - I'd feel guilty if I shirked it and get drama from others if I did, so I continue.
I'd really like to be proven wrong on this topic.


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Brittniejoy1983
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10 Dec 2015, 8:56 pm

C2V wrote:
I'm a bit ashamed to say this is the same for me.
Councillors are always correcting me saying "this is not something that provides a function." About everything. All the time. Friendship seems to require an emotional attachment, a real neurochemical reward, that I just don't understand. I'd like to, but I don't so far. I've been trying to make connections myself, and though I have had some success in talking to people, attending groups, texting occasionally, and I am getting better with being more "open" with people as I practice, but there is always a reason behind it. We're part of the same interest / issue group and are all coming together for this purpose, to engage in this activity. Alternatively, I believe I can learn something from this person about a topic, or about how to be a real person from a real person. I'm interested in connections to go places with that require a companion, and to have fun doing interesting things with. I can't think of a single connection that persisted past its usefulness.
As you said, do we get pleasure out of being with someone and doing nothing? I agree - no. Unless we're talking about an interesting topic or doing something I enjoy. I always used to wonder this about parties. Nothing is happening, the music is too loud to listen to anything. People just stand around drinking and staring. I don't get it.
It's difficult to understand, this issue. I think the empathy thing may come in here too - I recently spoke to a woman who was an ex drug addict at a group, for example. She was very upset and afterwards, I made a point of going over and saying hello, welcome, great she's making the effort to stop drugs, listened to her problems and offered my help. People would tell me this is empathy, of imagining myself in this woman's place and my emotions were activated. But it wasn't. I simply don't enjoy suffering and understand that being welcomed and having someone talk to you and listen to your issues makes most people feel better, so that's what I did.
There is nothing connecting us emotionally. Every other connection I have it out of obligation - I'd feel guilty if I shirked it and get drama from others if I did, so I continue.
I'd really like to be proven wrong on this topic.



See, and just when I think that I have my thoughts figured out, someone posts something that makes me re-evaluate my views. I can see this. I can understand this too. I don't like 'silence', or people watching. If you want to spend time with me, then we should be getting to know one another or chatting. If not, what's the difference between watching a movie or something?


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Brittniejoy1983
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10 Dec 2015, 9:01 pm

Is it wrong that I'm afraid to admit how much it resonates with me about this whole issues because of what I may be admitting about myself?


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10 Dec 2015, 9:11 pm

People with (especially "high-functioning") autism desire friends. They just don't want to have to go through the social loops (i.e., social gatherings) to obtain them. I, myself, would rather dispense with these sorts of "formalities."

It's possible that at least some autistic people are awkward in how they express friendship. I just like to talk to people, do things with people, without there being a verbally-expressed "reason."

I don't like to talk about the nature of "relationships." I'd rather do than talk, in that sense. Rather similar to how I see sex. Sex should not be an intellectual discussion.

They also don't want to always "be in contact" with someone in an obligatory sense. I have trouble with that. I don't like coming home from work to my wife sometimes. Sometimes, I'd prefer it if she wasn't there. It's not because I don't like her...it's because I just want to be all by my lonesome.



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10 Dec 2015, 9:23 pm

I do desire friendship but what I have discovered is that it is much harder for me to build that emotional connection. The one time it isn't is when I have several interests in common with the person at which point things like shooting the breeze become that much easier and natural for me. I also have a bit of anxiety that needs to be cleared up through repetition first before I can feel comfortable.


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10 Dec 2015, 10:26 pm

It is I desire something and care about very specific people. I have limited abilities with people, very sensitive towards personalities.


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10 Dec 2015, 10:32 pm

For me friendship is like communism - it sounds great in theory but has been repeatedly discredited by history.

There are acquaintances that I'm friendly with, mainly because they have yet to be hostile, but that's only because offending the people around me is unwise. I'm also nicer to people if I want something from them.



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10 Dec 2015, 10:33 pm

Nickchick wrote:
Well can you only be autistic or NT? I am not an NT but not officially diagnosed as autistic. I do identify most with Aspies which is why I am here.

Anyway I am sorta like this. I know you often have to know someone to get a job so I wish I had more friends so I could do that. I generally keep to myself but I often wish I had "kindred spirits". I have a few IRL friends but I don't hang out with them anymore except for my bf but sometimes I don't talk to him about deep stuff. Music was always my friend and I find I am more connected with musicians than other people in general. I have had plenty of online friends though. Those friendships I have valued and miss the ones I bonded the most with because they were the closest thing I guess I had to a kindred spirit.

But I don't like to be dependent either so I wouldn't try to enter friendships for selfish reasons.

^^This here I relate to the most, wow!

I have 2 online friends who I've never met in person, and they are outstanding musicians. The words "kindred spirits" have crossed my thoughts when I think of them or interact with them. I have an incredible amount of love for them emotionally even. I hope to one day meet them IRL... even though they are like in different parts of the world.

My fear is that if it wasn't for music, then I'd have no interest in them. But I refuse to accept that. Even if that were to be true, I would fight and force myself to continue being their friend until I could love them unconditionally. I don't want to be a selfish people user... even though that's what I've been for at least 2/3's of my life.

I will say that the thought of just sitting on the same couch with these 2 people I know, and just enjoying their company doing nothing... it makes me feel warm inside! :)


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C2V
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10 Dec 2015, 11:28 pm

Quote:
People with (especially "high-functioning") autism desire friends. They just don't want to have to go through the social loops (i.e., social gatherings) to obtain them. I, myself, would rather dispense with these sorts of "formalities."

It's possible that at least some autistic people are awkward in how they express friendship. I just like to talk to people, do things with people, without there being a verbally-expressed "reason."

Sure about that? I think for some, it's not so easy to define, and this topic has made me uneasy for quite a while.
As far as I can understand, a friend is a person you "like." You like their character, you get along with the person well, you have an emotional attachment to that person, you feel pleasure or affection when around them and would feel sadness and loss if they weren't around.
This is where things get creepy for me. I can't think of a single relationship I have or have ever had where this has been the case. I have only had connections for utilitarian reasons. I don't feel particular pleasure at being around them - it may be interesting, I may be engaged and having a good time, I may regard the person as a nice person and our interactions are good because they provide conversation and company to do things and go places, and I would be pleased that I can provide enjoyment for the other person. But what's missing is the emotional connection. That affection and pleasure in their presence and its opposite of sadness and loss when they aren't there anymore.
That and the empathy issue had led me to make sure I wasn't a sociopath, but luckily the criteria rules me out. I had understood this to be an alexithymic issue, which some autistics report. "Friendship," whatever that is,may be a very different thing for someone who is HFA and alexithymic than someone who is HFA and of normal emotional makeup.


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11 Dec 2015, 3:12 pm

My thought about this topic is that is incorrect to generalize about any group. We are all different - and that seems especially true about our group.

The concept of platonic friendship is rather foreign to me. I have rarely if ever sought out friends because I don't get an emotional reward out of it. I do, however, realize there can be an intellectual benefit of exchanging ideas with acquaintances which I don't mind doing occasionally. Whenever I had a platonic friend it was almost always because the other person initiated the relationship and maintained it. And these contacts would be mostly in one-to-one situations - groups were never my thing.

Companionship, on the other hand, is something that I do desire occasionally. That is where my life (read romantic) partner comes in. I get a very real emotional reward from that specific friendship/relationship.