Autistic people are known to have very few friends and its difficult to make them. But when you get close to the ones you do have and they claim they understand your condition. Do you ask yourself, do they really know? Do they really know what we go through on a daily basis? Do they really know how hard it is to be forthcoming?

Take it from me, I don't have a lot of friends and the ones that I do have I did tell them about my condition. But sometimes I feel that that want to understand and try but they don't know the entire story. I try to let people in and they either accept it or they don't. The ones that do are supportive in their own ways. Sometimes its nurturing and others its not so nurturing. I have the best of both worlds.

One day, you should ask your friends if they truly understand who you are, what you are, and if they can really accept. If they can't cut them out of your life. If they do, you keep them close because that is a true friend.

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Comment by Ryan Haydock on December 27, 2013 at 1:44am

The answer to your question, 'do they really know?' I have found, is pretty much 'no, they do not.'

The few people I have found, who DID know, pretty much all had PhDs, or at least a Master's, but people who had a lot of intellectual rigor, regardless.

The truth is, most people are really going to be incapable of giving the time and attention that I require. I think this is because most people can't focus the way I can.

Like you said, people can be supportive in their own ways - and it has been a difficult road to learn to accept and to embrace them, for who they are, as they have embraced me for who I am. It is give in take. I have to learn to see them, while they are learning to see me. It takes effort, but this is really the way all relationships are - not just those involving Aspies.

Real friendship happens in the spaces between people. It's what we build in the common spaces that we share that makes a friendship. It's not important, I've had to discover, sometimes painfully, for others to know all of me. No one person can ever no all of another person.

There are many people in my life, NTs and aspies, who are nurturing presences. I have never really interacted much with other aspies before I got here, but I find that, equipped with an awareness of my condition, that I feel very comfortable around other aspies.

And having that safe space, that comfort level, with Aspies, gives me the strength to improve and to build a comfort level with others who are not aspies - knowing that they can only give so much, at any given time. And that they are trying their best, just like I am trying my best.

I do not think in terms of 'cutting people out of my life.' Instead, I think in terms of looking for likeminded people with whom I can share and appreciate a common vision. If people are not likeminded, or they are not willing, or they are not capable - then perhaps I move on. Or perhaps I still see something good in the relationship, and so I keep nurturing it.

It is not healthy to think of other people as being a built-in part of my life. They are there because I have allowed them the freedom to be there, and because they want to be there, having freely chosen to be in my life.

As long as one has a good attitude - that's all that matters. Then one can keep moving forward. And life will start to take a shape that one can embrace and accept as one's own. This is a good way to look at life - and it always works.

Comment by Denver NeVaar on December 27, 2013 at 10:48am

I am happy to allow casual friendships into my life, but I find that my attention to detail requires that I define and relate to such friendships very consciously.  Unfortunately this apparently feels a bit too intense for those seeking light-hearted or casual friendships with me--and they pull away, rather than come to a more detailed and conscious understanding of what a casual friendship does or does not include.  They may, for example, frequently slip into "sending mixed messages" without realizing either that they are doing so or that they are in fact alternating between dynamics appropriate to casual friendship and dynamics appropriate only to very close friendships.  In becoming a close friend to someone, one consciously or unconsciously makes a commitment to jointly work through difficulties and challenges of a more serious nature.  A casual friendship, metaphorically speaking, is a small foot-bridge.  A close friendship, conversely, is a highway bridge capable of supporting the simultaneous weight of multiple semi-trucks.  A foot-bridge could not bear the weight of even a single semi-truck and a highway bridge would be seem trivialized, neglected, and under-utilized if it was used only for occasional foot traffic and never allowed to participate in life using its full capacities.  Casual friends, consequently, should not expect to be contacted during times of crisis.  Close friends who are not contacted during times of crisis, conversely, may feel somehow rejected.  Regardless, while I think about such things very precisely and specifically, I have never quite figured out how to relate to a mostly neurotypical world that does not.  It does seem, however, that autism has a lot to teach the neurotypical world in such areas.  A principle challenge is being an effective teacher while also tending to one's own survival. 

Comment by Joseph Monette on January 2, 2014 at 12:31pm

You both have very good arguments and they hold a lot of good advice and information, but unlike us aspires the nerotypical community will not with out prompt or cause put as much effort into the thought as you have. It is to much work for them to put into something they can't see a immediate value to. May be it is there comprehension ability or the way there social teachings affects how they process these issues I am not a specialist and my facts are based on my own life experiences but I have always been quoted through life keep it simple stupid the saying has something to do with substance abuse programs because I am a care giver I hear this a lot. Eather way it seems to hold value in the MT community which makes me believe if it seems to complicated they will not put the effort in to it like water they look for the path or least resistance.


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