I’ve written about my not understanding friendship in other posts. This one will focus on that.
I don’t know if my problems are due to not really understanding or if they are due to the choices I make. I think I need to do some serious research to give myself more knowledge on what a friend is. I have to have time to do that though. Right now, my book and symposium are the priorities.
Friendship seems to range from acquaintance to spouse. I do have the spouse part! I have been hurt many times by people saying that they are my friend. They disappear out of my life never to be heard from again. I feel that there are people on my Facebook ‘Friends’ list, some of whom I occasionally see in real life and some I don’t, who are better friends than people who tell me in plain English that they are my friends.
I have had people, who work with me in various capacities to help/instruct me, say that they are my friends. Is it really possible for there to be a friendship in those situations? Maybe while we are in those conditions, like having school friends whom you don’t see outside of school.
I think my life is a big misunderstanding. Not me but everything that goes on around me- I don't comprehend what is going on. I don’t fully understand the role each person in my life plays. I think that is because sometimes the lines do blur--I don’t comprehend friendship and sometimes the other person says they are a friend when they aren’t. No wonder I get confused! Part of my problem is that once a person disappears out of my life and I don’t see them face-to-face, it is like they don’t exist. Not literally, but as in if I don’t see you, I don’t really have a relationship with you anymore. I have read of other autistic people who experience something similar. It even happens to me with family members. If I don’t see them for a while, it is almost like they are strangers but not quite.
I get very devastated when people who help me or who say they are friends disappear out of my life. My anxiety gets out of control and I end up irritable and in tears for days. It sucks. As much as I try not to, I guess I get too dependent. It is difficult when you don’t make friends or even acquaintances easily, so it is special when you actually have someone to talk to and, if you are really lucky, to do things with.
I’m not sure where to go about researching what a real friend is. Most books are for kids and what they describe is not usually applicable to adults. There are different types of friends. Ones you talk to or see once a year or so but that friendship is somehow maintained like you see each other all of the time. That kind of friendship, I don’t get at all. How does that work? There are other friends, whom you occasionally get together with and there are friends you see more often. All of the ‘friends’ whom I see occasionally to more often are all paid in to work with me or a family member in some way. Yes, some will spend time chatting or sharing some fun or a meal with us but I have always noticed that even though they say that they are friends, in most of these cases, they disappear the moment their ‘job is done’. So the question is, were they true friends? Is there some category for that type of ‘friend’? If there is, I think it shouldn’t exist. If you are a true friend, in my view, you will be around whether you are paid to be or not. I know things happen in life and changes occur. I believe that if the friendship was that important, there would be the odd note, text, or message sent or returned. I do try to stay in contact with people but there are only so many times that you reach out without a reply before knowing that it is the end, again.
I try to avoid making friends now. It is too disappointing. It is short lived when it happens and I am usually fine without a friend even though I still long for a best friend to hang out with and do the things I hear about other friends doing-maybe that is just me missing having a best friend as a child. My problem is that sometimes when I make a friend and then they disappear, I never know if it is something I’ve done or not. I do try to ask about things happening in the other person’s life etc. but I must be doing something wrong. Maybe I am too high maintenance and I’m not good friend material. I know how badly hurt I consistently get when someone says they are my friend and then disappears and doesn’t act like it. This has happened to me again recently. I thought I finally had someone who might turn into a best friend and then it was suddenly over. It was a rough summer. I don’t know what went wrong—was it something I did or said? Maybe I just make bad choices and it is the other person who is has the problem. I don’t know but, it is devastating when it happens.
If someone works with our family instructing or helping in some way, don’t say you are my friend when you are just doing your job. Don’t make promises about the future and always being around to help. Based on my experiences, it’s not true, even if you really think it is at the time. I think I prefer my Facebook friends in some ways because they don’t make promises like that.
The whole friend thing is hard to comprehend and I don’t know if I will ever find my answers.
On a positive note, the symposium is really coming together! The website link is http://mandy2395.wix.com/autismrocks#!