10 Truths About Making Friends When You Have Autism
I’ve heard some harsh and untrue comments based on personal theories about people with autism making friends. Some people go so far as to claim those with autism are unable to make friends, and that comment alone is shocking. We may have difficulty making friends, but we’re certainly able to make friends. It needs to be the right kind of person who’s willing to understand and accept the individual for who he or she is. If there were less statements about how “those with autism can’t make friends,” I think that alone would make it easier for us to do so and for other people to open up to us. The way the media presents autism is important, and if we can present it in the right way and help eliminate these stereotypes, things would be much better for us.
As an adult with Asperger’s syndrome (high-functioning autism), the general public’s perception of autism makes me want to fall into my shell and recluse myself from the world. So my advice would be to stop talking and start listening to those on the spectrum.
Recently, I asked my Asperger Syndrome Awareness Facebook community this: Do any other Aspies struggle making and maintaining friendships?
Related: 7 Things to Do When Your Kid Points Out Someone’s Differences
These are some of their answers.
1. “I find as you get older you learn to adapt better in social situations, but sometimes we just don’t want to be social — not because we are depressed — we just want to be alone.” Melanie Reinburg
2. “I have very few close friends, and many of them also have Asperger’s or another form of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We get along because of mutual understanding of each other’s strengths and limitations.” — Rhiannon Hartwell
3. “I can make friends. It’s maintaining them [that’s] hard.” — Evenstar Hebert
4. “I always waited for people to ask me to join them, and always have. I went to a couple of groups (and still go to them). Over time I’ve become more and more confident though.” –Jack Pickering
Related: When I Overheard a Conversation Between My Son With Autism and His Brother
5. “Quite a few, I have found, say all the right things, pretending to show themselves as understanding towards Asperger’s syndrome (AS), but still seem unable to cope if things become difficult.” — Lucy Maull
6. “Friendships? Not a problem. Relationships, however…” — Jonny Gill
7. “I just enjoy being with those few close friends who I have a great bond with. My acquaintances just don’t know how to relate to me completely.” — Chris Buley
8. “The right people will show up in your life [at] the right time. It doesn’t mean they are meant to stay forever. Those that never fail to be your friend are untouched by time and space.” — Fabiana Fabis
9. “My desire and need for isolation is so great and I almost never feel lonely… nurturing my budding friendships with the time and attention needed is very difficult for me.” –Dymphna Dionne Janney
Related: A Man Called My Son ‘Retarded.’ One Stranger Wouldn’t Stand for It.
10. “I’m learning to let go and focus on the few friends that are truly worth the effort (and are actually the ones that feel just as different as I do)!” — Renata Jurkevythz
More from The Mighty:
5 Things Not to Say to Someone Living With Anxiety
The First Time My Son With Autism Got a Birthday Invite I Didn’t Have to Decline