Recently, I wrote a post on how difficult friendships can be for me. I don’t know if I explained it very well, but here’s a taste:
It’s not that I don’t want friends; the fact is I really desire friendships and there have been people that I really want to be good friends with. But the problems with communication makes it very hard. Sometimes I hold back, scared to move forward and what to do. Sometimes I charge ahead and I’m waaay too forceful or say something that might creep people out. And sometimes, I’m just a big asshole that says really cutting things to friends not really knowing how hurtful they really were. Friendship is difficult for me because I don’t know how to best proceed. Since I have a hard time with social cues, I have to basically operate blind-which usually ends up a mess. Friendship for someone with Aspergers is like entering a room where everyone is speaking German, everyone that is but you. You keep trying to speak in English to them and they respond in German to our mutual frustration. It places a barrier between people, because you can’t ever get close to someone because, well they speak a different language.
Like I said, I don’t think I got my point accross. And it’s not that I don’t have friends, but I don’t feel I’m able to get to a more deeper relationship. A guest blogger at the League of Ordinary Gentlemen did a far better job of explaining what folks with Aspergers go through when it comes to friendship:
But at the same time we’re rejecting normal social relationships we also crave them. It’s like you’re locked outside, with your nose pressed against the window, watching the normal happy people inside the party, like a dog who’s been banished for peeing on the carpet. When I’m home for a weekend there’s no friends for me to call and go have a beer. There’s no circle that gets together for cookouts in the summer. No holiday parties to attend. Frankly, it’s damn lonely and it puts just that much more strain on the one real relationship that I maintain, my marriage. A lot of people say their spouse is their best friend, but in reality, those are different roles that need to be played by separate persons. Who am I supposed to talk to when my wife pisses me off (and she does sometimes; they all do)?
He was able to get to the root of the matter. I’m more comfortable being alone at times, but I also crave social relationships. You see others having this deep and meaningful relationship with others and you want what they have, but damned if I know how to do it.
People with Aspergers might appear to not be interested in friendship, but the reality is we really desire them. The problem is that we don’t know how to do it and relationships bring a lot of stress to us because we are constantly guessing how to act and fearful we will make a mistake.
Can I learn how to make and sustain friendships? I think so; it’s just going to be hard. I wish they had Rossetta Stone for Aspies.
John, I apologize for the mischaracterization.