Yes, almost every Aspie/Autistic want nothing else than to have a friend, right? But, what if that “friend” doesn’t have any similarities than you do or doesn’t value your input to the level that you feel they should? What if that friend makes you super anxious and causes you to go into a state of autistic burnout or shutdown so you don’t have to tackle the issue head on? Then, this is certainly no friend in any means.
Now, autistics are easily influenced by things. They can only see the one thing about a person without seeing the whole picture before being fully engaged in a committed friendship. Many of us in the autistic community have years and years of social skills shoved in our faces as to what to do to “make small talk” and how to position our eye contact, believe me, if you saw me over a decade ago, you would easily know that I was autistic compared to today, which can be difficult at times to see, which can be a good thing. This isn’t masking, this is me acquiring the skillset of years of social stories and social skills being put in my face as a school student. It becomes taught to us to the point that it becomes an earned trait and makes out autistic features less prevalent.
The aforementioned in turn makes us have others engage in conservation or activity or likewise because we have been encouraged to do so growing up are involved in an activity that makes conversation necessary. I remember this past summer when watching the Australian-based series “Love on the Spectrum” where an individual that was more in need of support was sent to a date and had struggles and did not want to keep conversation and the person, he was matched with wasn’t compatible. He had to excuse himself to the washroom because he was nervous and he didn’t want to talk to the point he was moving around anxiously and the filming crew made him sit next to his “date” and attempt to make conversation when he simply did not want to.
The moral of this story is that if one is not comfortable conversing about things with another person, then by all means don’t do it. When one, especially an autistic does this it will not only build up in their system like the Coke Can effect and eventually this will have to be expressed by the autistic in what will likely be a negative effect on not only them, but those around them and sometimes around those that are close with them. We as autistic people shouldn’t accept friends to our friendship palate simply because that have one attribute and it may be just an identifying factor, like their sexuality or gender, their race, so forth. Both sides must be sure that if they want to have a true friendship that they indeed can be compatible so that they do not overstress or over or under compensate each other by putting in more energy that the other part of that friendship. Simply put, it should be a mutual effort on both sides.
Friendships are very complex. They are on multiple levels, You have ones that you open up to at your darkest times and others that are like acquaints like at work or school. You don’t have that full connection, but you have enough to the friendship pie to have them in your close circle. Of the circles, you can have several, like school, work or day program, living circles. In this regard we look to the late Series of Seinfeld and the “Worlds’ of George” of how he doesn’t want to get certain parts of his life like the Coffee Shop George mixed with the Relationship George that he has with his fiancé Susan.
We must realize that we do have different circles we do associate in and sometimes its OK to cross them but in others it is not where or what you would want to do by any means. This is where the ball is in the court of you, the Autistic to choose who and who not to associate and what “circles” you want them to be involved in in your life, and it can be difficult. However, you must keep your healthy state of mind first and foremost in this process to keep both you and the friendship healthy. If you have to let that friendship go because it is not working out, end it peacefully and hopefully mutually because it will be best for both. Remember, there is no health without your mental health.