Monday, 16 April 2018

What is Friendship?


Hello again. Here I am on a Sunday night, at home with all my friends writing on the subject of friendship.  I'm really here with Mr 14 while the rest of the brood are at a soccer game. Details. This may be a short and rambling post due to the fact that I'm trying to type this with a dodgy laptop where the backspace key doesn't work. Very annoying. Especially when you're a crappy typer like me.  But anyway, I'll try.

So, yes. Friendship. Let's talk about it.

Recently, my shrink suggested that I should make some friends. I explained that I DO have friends but the same ones for twenty plus years. I never make new friends. I certainly never belong to any mum cliques. You know, the ones gossiping at the school gates. Totally my fault. I get in and out quickly and don't hang around to gossip. The couple of times I thought maybe I was becoming friendly with another mum, I obviously misread the situation or didn't respond or reciprocate appropriately. I don't know. I'm aspie and socially awkward. I guess I come across as weird to others.

But aren't true friends supposed to accept your brand of weirdness? Luckily, I do have friends who do this, so I won't spend too much time worrying about the others. Not everyone will like you and that's fine. I'm an introvert. I'd rather have a small amount of real friends than a bunch of phonies or what I call "fair weather friends". I've definitely been there.



As a child and teen I struggled to make friends. I suffered from excruciating shyness, I was so quiet I was practically mute (not much has changed there), and as it turns out, I was autistic, but didn't know at the time. No wonder I struggled!

Typically, I would have one friend, and due to all of the above, I tended to be clingy and needy. Unfortunately I was (and am) somewhat naive and sweet. This clinginess and naivety often attracted toxic so called friends. It became particularly problematic as I progressed into young adulthood.

There was one person in particular who had been my best friend since childhood. Her behaviour towards me become appalling. Eventually I had to say something and I hate confrontations, so it was a huge challenge for me. Long story short, I removed her from my life. In a weird way I'm grateful to her. It was her actions and the dissolution of our friendship that led to me joining rotaract. This is where I met my real friends and Mickey Blue Eyes.

So thanks, former "best friend". I forgive you and am grateful. I hope things worked out for you as well and you've found the sort of friends you want. I know it wasn't me.

To be fair, maybe I am not the ideal friend for a lot of folks. Especially in the sense of being hospitable and inviting people over for dinner or barbecues. Hosting parties, that sort of thing. I'm not great at being in charge, at organising things. I prefer to blend in, so to speak, at social gatherings.

I've gradually come to realise that due to my limitations/quirks/autistic traits or whatever you want to call it, I am not going to be able to give some people what they expect or require in a friendship. I guess it comes down to this thing called reciprocity that us aspies seem to struggle with. It's weird because inside I feel like I'm a warm, sincere person and genuinely interested in others. But I guess I don't convey that in actions and demeanour.

Meanwhile, due to the magic of Facebook I've been able to reconnect with a bunch of people I went to high school with. I spent most of high school in the corner, nose in a book, being ignored. But as it turns out, I don't think I was universally loathed the way I thought at the time. When you're a teenager the word revolves around YOU! In retrospect, I think people just left me to it because they figured I was happy enough alone. Mostly I was, but even the most introverted of introverts craves friendship. '




Of course there's always online friends. This is where I can shine. And you're all invited here! .That's another question. Do you need to meet in person to be considered real friends? I've connected with people online but have never transferred those connections to real life. It's definitely easier for me to interact online, but then there's a whole new world of "FOMO"and odd things to navigate. Sigh.

I guess there will always be certain things about friendship that are confusing for me. But my short answer to this conundrum? 

In summary, friendship is accepting quirks and not being a fair weather friend. And at this point I would have to add it's also being able to go for long periods between catching up but still feeling like it was yesterday when you do. I haven't caught up with any friends since...never mind...

What about you?

What is friendship to you?


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3 comments:

  1. I am truly AWFUL at making new friends. Like, woefully bad. I get anxious at the idea of meeting up with people, without having some kind of hard stop or out in view. I have a friend who works in another state, and she's probably my best friend in the US. I think I'm just better in writing then in person. At least friendship wise. I love reading your musings, you seem like such a funny and thoughtful person.

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  2. Ness, you articulate what many people cannot. I reckon you have summed up what many of us had growing up and at high school.
    I hope you see your gifts of observation for what they are. I believe that you are a great person doing the very best she can.
    As for a therapist telling you "get out and make new friends". Umm. sorry, that is not something that is an instruction. Friendships have to happen by themselves. I suspect that person is not quite as person-centred as he or she needs to be!!

    Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek 16/52. Next Week’s Optional Prompt: 17/52. School Holidays Memories. 23/4/18 Denyse

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  3. Oh yes I can relate to much of this - and can I just say I am thrilled to have be-friended you my dear! x

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