Today will be about getting back to my special interests! I’ve been experiencing a new excitement about a job opportunity to do what I love. It’s probably mine as soon as I would like to take it. Oh, to be sure, I am scared. I’m meeting new people, and they are nice. I keep reminding myself that these people are not my friends! But, they are being so nice to me! That’s better than being mean to me, right?
This is key. I keep hearing the words of my therapists and former boss reminding me: “they are not your friends.” Someone else has told me that recently as well, in so many words. Friendly doesn’t mean friends. OK. I think I can remember that.
Showing interest in my special interest doesn’t mean they are my friends, or they actually care about what I’m doing. On the other hand, friends wouldn’t have to care about your special interest, would they? I’m not convinced.
I don’t really know what a friend is, and I think I’m fine with that now. Through my wife, I’ll have some friends by proxy. Actually, that’s not going to work entirely, as my wife considers her colleagues to be her friends, and I’ve not even met many of them. Somehow, she can consider them to be friends, and it works out for her. It works out for her. Good for her! I can do things another way.
I will focus on what I want to do. Possibly, I will risk becoming as selfish as the average neurotypical, lying my way through life, faking happiness and concern, ignoring any desire to have a connection with people, and absolutely denying any empathy I feel towards people who are hurting. Empathy is apparently the last thing that should be used to make friends! Those relationships end up being more of a trauma bond or utilitarian (in both directions) than any true connection. All neurotypical friendships may be fake. (I’m overstating on purpose.) Yes! That would explain so much.
All friendships are fake!
(I acknowledge this is an overstatement. Please don’t panic. Sarcasm may also be present.)
As I (and probably others) have suggested before, a “friend” is a construct used to divide people into groups. All of this time and energy autistics spend on defining “friends” is only because NTs insist on these labels. Since these labels exist, we have to sort them out. We like sorting! But, I believe autistics would not come up with those types of labels on their own. We might describe people as a way to identify them in conversation or when we see them, but I don’t think we’d naturally put people into groups that have a hierarchy. Why do I need to identify someone as a friend? Oh, wait! It’s about safety! Hmm . . . But, “friends” are the ones who hurt me the most, so I need to avoid friends?
“Friend” implies a higher place in the hierarchy of human interaction than “acquaintance.” Yet, we spend more time with acquaintances than friends! That seems dumb to me. Idiotic. We spend more time with “colleagues” than “partners.” Is there an inverse relationship between time spent and how much you like someone? Possibly, that’s only true for autistics! I feel much more liked by people the less I am around them.
Imaginary friends are the way to go. Fake friends are not. Create a world in your mind, but don’t ever think it will happen. It does for others, but it probably won’t for you, especially if you are dealing with NTs. You might have a chance with other autistics, though I’ve had that go horribly wrong as well.
I am happiest when I don’t consider anyone to be a friend. Having said that, I am sad to hear my one son say he doesn’t want friends. He has picked up from my experiences, especially recent ones, and he also finds all of these words and definitions contrived. I worry about another son who has many friends now, but they are built in to his school structure. Will he be able to maintain those relationships he so deeply values? I hope so, but I’m trying to figure out what to do when they all disappear. And, they will. “Friendships change,” was one piece of advice I was told this year. Yes, they do, so to avoid more pain and suffering, it’s much easier to not have friends.
When I hear someone call me a friend now, I get very nervous. What is about to happen? How am I about to get hurt? And, most significantly, what are they trying to get me to do for them?
I very rarely tell someone directly they are my “friend.” It tends to be precisely the last thing anyone wants to hear me tell them. The reason is obvious: they are not my friends!
See! Look! I was right! I’m distracted by all of this neurotypical labeling bullshit! This is not the way; it is not the way to my special interests, my own happiness.
So, I will focus on myself, no matter how selfish that seems. (Does that make me a narcissist?) At least, I will for a couple of hours, before my wife gets home, and I get overwhelmed with trying to understand exactly what she does or doesn’t want me to do.
Not all autistics want to focus only on their special interest. However, when we don’t, the world gets very hostile quickly. The bottom line: it’s not easy being autistic in a world where everyone else expects you to do the opposite of what feels right and natural, where you only end up failing the more you try. I’ve tried enough – too much. It’s time to put aside the NT lies and expectations and do what I want to do. My primary exception is to do my best not to harm others, but I now know that I can’t let them harm me in the process. A quick, original poem:
It’s time to put to rest
The NT “friend” b.s.,
And exchange it for
A special-interest chamber.
(NOTE: don’t give up on trying to have friends if you want them! This is how I feel right now. Maybe some NTs will figure out how to be friends with me someday. I don’t know. But, I’m going to do what I can to be happy and fulfilled with or without people, especially those who like to use labels – of any sort – to exclude others.)
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