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What’s normal in a friendship?

I have autism, but it hasn’t stopped me making a new friend. Trouble is, I’m not sure how this is meant to work…

It sounds like you’re on the right track, says our elder. Just let it happen.

Dear EWC

I found out that I have autism; I don’t remember which part of the spectrum it’s in. But it’s helped me realize that not seeing things the way most people do isn’t bad, or something to be ashamed/embarrassed about. I guess it’s good to know that about myself, but most of my family refuses to believe what the doctors say and are going so far as to avoid me because of it. I don’t know what to do, and their actions towards me makes me rather depressed and a little more anxious than usual.

On a good note though, I’ve been making a new friend. She’s really nice, and she’s asexual like me; it’s great having someone to talk about that sort of thing with, especially when I know they’ll understand where I’m coming from or what I’m talking about. I have a very hard time making friends, so I don’t want to chase her away unintentionally, but I don’t really know what to do or what boundaries to set. My other friend that got married can’t come around me because her husband hates me and I don’t know why… so this new person is currently my only friend, and even that is uncertain. I don’t want to be alone again, because I was really lonely and my work schedule doesn’t have me awake during the day most days, and most of my family won’t talk to me anymore.

What’s normal in a friendship? I’ve only ever been friends with people that have serious relationship issues, or constantly need help with things… I have no idea what to do with a friend that doesn’t need my help. I like spending time with her a lot, because it feels like we’re together for a lot less time than we actually are. And I don’t feel drained when I hang out with her either; I actually want to be around her even longer which is quite rare for me. Most people drain my energy really fast. She’s smart and creative, and loves to read and write just as much as I do. She likes animals, and going for walks, and movies… I just think she’s really great, but I also don’t really know what to do get closer to her and become even better friends. We’ve only talked recently in the last couple of weeks, but I used to go to high school with her and she hung out with a group of people I used to sit with. I just find this situation confusing because it’s very new to me and I’m not really sure what to do

Dayle replies

Here is a website that gives a great deal of information about autism. It should help you understand yourself better and how to deal with other people: https://www.autism-society.org/what-is/

I can’t say whether or not your family will be willing to look at this website, but I believe you will find valuable information that will let you explain yourself better to them. Sometimes you may just have to let them, or other people, know that there are some things that are uncomfortable for you, or that perhaps you don’t do well (or at all) or would rather not do because of your condition.

I’m glad you have found someone with whom you do feel comfortable, and with whom you can do things. That is what friendship is. And because you are finding what you both like about each other, you don’t have to do anything special to become closer as that should happen automatically as the two of you continue to do things and talk together. Just let it happen. And as you get more friendly and comfortable with each other, it will become clearer to you what friendship is, and I suspect you will then find other people with whom you can also be friends. It sounds like you’re moving in the right directions in your life. Don’t be afraid of life.

Letter #: 443324
Category: Friendship

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