An Adult Aspie Looks at Friendship

Having trouble making friends? For people on the spectrum, this is a common situation. A recent study indicated that of the participants, more than half the children with ASD did not have a single close friend. How does a person learn to live with that?

I have been fortunate to have one or two friends who have remained constant. But mostly? Friends come and go.

My approach to friendship is different from that of people who seem to know all the rules of bonding and building peer relationships.

Occasionally, people come to have some meaningful connection with me, and then, for the most part, sooner or later drift away. And that’s okay because they always leave me emotionally richer, with lessons learned and experiences shared that I would not have otherwise had.

I have let go of my expectations of a life-long friendship when my life intersects with others. If we have no interests in common, or not enough to sustain a typical friendship, that’s ok.

Not forming a lifetime bond with others is not a failure.

I see my role as bringing light into their path just by virtue of being me.  I want to offer them a gift, introducing an upbeat, pleasant moment into their day. I may do this in many ways: with kindness, validation, humour or encouragement.

I see our meeting as a connection, not a life-long commitment.

I believe connecting with someone new occurs at a meaningful time for both of us, and that we are each somehow important in that moment for the other, assisting each other along whatever path we are individually, or jointly, travelling.

It is not for me to judge others, to work to improve the people who come into my life, or to see if we can converse comfortably for hours … although it is always a pleasant surprise when a lengthy, satisfying conversation occurs! 

Actually, shorter connections feel safer for me, I can avoid having to analyse whether what we have discussed or disclosed is really appropriate.

Just a connection that however fleeting, will be rewarding in the moment, and remembered with pleasure.

That’s not so hard to live with!

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