As an Autistic person, I have always found it hard to make friends. I also have social anxiety so that makes it even more difficult to interact. I only have one friend and I have a lot of anxiety about our friendship “What if she doesn’t like me anymore?” or “What if she didn’t like what I talked about?”
I would love to have more friends, but having sensory issues from SPD can make it hard to talk in places with a lot of people. If somebody really would want to get to know me, he or she would need to be able to talk to me in a quiet, uncrowded place. I also need them to be accpeting of me. If he or she judges me for things like stimming, tics, and sensory issues then he or she can’t be my friend.
In friendship, I need time to get comfortable with a person. I had to get comfortable with my friend before I started opening up to her. I still feel a little uncomfortable talking to her sometimes. I need someone who can try to understand why I wince when a dog barks, or why I only eat certain foods. I also need someone who needs to understand that I don’t express excitement a lot and that I need permission before being hugged. I also need someone who will understand that meltdowns are NOT on purpose and that they are NOT tantrums, and that shutdowns are NOT on purpose either.
I hope someday that I will be able to make more NT (Neurotypical) friends, I also want to make some Autistic friends if some Autistic people pop up in my life. I have been around Autistic people before and I feel comfortable around them because most of them have similar (and sometimes the same) issues that I have.
To finish this post up, I DO WANT to be included with things. I think people assume that because I’m quiet that I don’t want to join in. I long to join in conversations- It’s just that conversations can be difficult to start and keep up with. I do occasionally need social breaks, but I’m happy to try to join in. 🙂
This is why friendship is hard for me as an Autistic person.
photo credit: Ralph van Katwijk <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/40111314@N02/29643895541″>Friendship</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)