Not being able to make friends is frightening me

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Joe90
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17 Sep 2021, 3:31 pm

My lack of making friends is really frightening me and I keep beating myself up about it and feeling useless. Other Aspies I know of seem to make friends with their NT peers. My social skills aren't that dreadful, in fact they're quite adept for an Aspie. I've spent all my life mimicking social behaviours and I even understand NTs and can even relate to NTs (their logic is not confusing to me like it is to most other Aspies; I know when and how to lie and why and all of that, and I'm good with social graces). But I still fail. So after my family has died/moved away, I'll be totally alone in this world. I can't make friends. Even the non-NT friends I have got don't really keep in touch and I feel like I'm drifting apart from them. Plus I have crippling depression at the moment so that's making it hard to remember to keep in touch with people, but I'm still friendly and jolly when I'm around people, and I do chat to a lot of people at work (usually guys), but female NTs, forget it. :cry:

I can never, ever see me being invited out with a group of NT people, like from work. It could have happened with a group of people from my work but it didn't, namely because I wasn't good enough for them. Someone said that I was too socially mature for them (even though they were around the same age as me) and they were a bit immature and acted like teenagers, but how can you get a whole group of socially immature NTs when I'm supposed to be the socially immature one?

I think I'm always going to be plagued with these fuck-off vibes that I inadvertently give off. Maybe I'll be better off dead than live a lonely, miserable and isolating life afflicted with f*****g autism. :roll:
How am I supposed to socially sell myself if I can't make friends with people without being accused of being nosy or intrusive or "following people"? Waiting for people to come to you isn't how you make friends.


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Mona Pereth
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17 Sep 2021, 8:38 pm

Yes, we all need friends IMO, especially as we get older.

My suggestion: Since you don't drink, which in and of itself makes you a freak in the U.K. apparently, perhaps you could try to build up a social club of sober people in your city?

You could perhaps use Meetup.com or some similar platform. Your group could meet online for now, then in-person after the COVID crisis is over with.

Your eventual aim could be to gather a group big enough that someone could profitably launch a sober pub that serves only nonalcoholic beverages. Then you all could have a place to hang out and socialize without being under pressure to drink alcohol.

If you can find other people willing to help you build this network, at least some of them would likely become very good friends of yours too.

Also, within the proposed group of sober people, you might eventually want to create a subgroup of people who are sober for reasons other than being a recovering alcoholic. (I would suspect that, in Europe at least, the latter would be the vast majority among sober people.)


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Joe90
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18 Sep 2021, 4:37 am

Thank you for trying to help but no, I don't think I'll be able to organise something like that. When you do something like that, you also unintentionally attract haters and trolls who love making people upset. Yes I know I should "just ignore them" and think "it's their problem not mine" but my sensitive ego can't take it, which is why I don't "sell myself" on the internet and only present myself anonymously (apart from Facebook, but I only have people I know and trust on there).


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Steve1963
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18 Sep 2021, 4:56 am

I wish I had some suggestions for you, but I haven't. I'm 58, and have one person in the entire world that I call "friend"...and she's a virtual friend whom I probably will never meet face to face. I share your pain; the only time I ever had "friends" was when I was drinking and doing drugs. I hope knowing you're not alone gives you some comfort. And if you find something that works, please pass it along.



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18 Sep 2021, 5:32 am

... Hmm..

You have the social drive.
You have the empathy.
You also have the social skills. You have the sympathy.
You're willing to read. You're willing to keep up threads.

What is missing?

But how about charm? And are you an interesting person to engage?
Anyone can entertain. Anyone can echo each other easy.


With that many skills and traits you've cultivated...
You don't know how to draw people in? In spite of any quirks or flaws.


.. Maybe you spent too much time how to blend in, how not to get into trouble and how to not repel others -- it's like a passive survival mode kind of socializing.

But no room on how to pierce barriers -- your's and everyone else's -- and beyond that?

How to attack issues of self and other? How to draw people out?
How to be an example for others than the other way around?

.. How to even overcome anxiety? Or at least bypass that.
Or even actually use it -- no need to feign confidence, just as long as there's authenticity.
But you acknowledge your anxiety very well.
What's holding you back from using that trait to your own social advantage? Other than self preservation, meticulousness and sympathy?

Heck anxiety is a great catalyst for emotional growth against many layers of egocentry.
But that's never as easy as it sounds.



Yeah.
It's a rapid fire of ideas and queries.

There's no need to answer all of them, only to give you an angle or something to think.
Pick whichever serves your purpose. :lol:


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Joe90
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18 Sep 2021, 6:22 am

I think I'm just scared of being called nosy. It's happened before. The problem is, I have a natural desire to get emotionally involved with other people and I like to feel included. It's quite normal for humans, so I'm no exception. But because it's natural, I find myself going out of my way to get involved, because I'm fascinated, intrigued, curious, interested. I never tattle or tell everyone people's secrets or spread rumours. All I am is curious, that's all. But because I can't always build up a close enough relationship with people to be able to automatically be told different things (like gossip and stuff), I can't find anything out or feel included unless I do it myself. But when you do it yourself, you come across as being nosy and then people don't like you.

There's usually at least one person in the workplace who I build up a close enough friendship with to be told gossip and stuff, but they're usually people like me (a little odd, or have learning difficulties, ADHD, etc).

I just don't get how I'm so useless at making friends, yet I succeeded in dating and keeping a healthy relationship with my NT boyfriend. I picked up on all the subtle signs that he liked me, and it just seemed so easy. We have a very strong bond and our relationship seems more successful and steady than a lot of NTs that I know. So I'm successful in the dating world but with friends I am worryingly terrible even for an Aspie. :oops:


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Edna3362
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21 Sep 2021, 1:47 am

It is no question that you are drawn to people.
That you're willing to be involved and you're considerate enough either ways.

But I wanna know... if you're drawn to people in general.. What kind of people are you drawn towards? And why?

And.. What kind of people do you draw into?
Or, if, how would people are drawn to you in any way at all?

Also was it for a good or for wrong reasons?





In dating... I can't help anyone with that. :lol: Not directly at least.

Romance and sex -- the idea of desiring any, let alone entering one, is a very alien thing to me. :o

Yet... If I feel like it, I can draw people in. Sometimes I don't know why it happens.
But I do know my ability to draw people in exists. Only that I don't know how to take advantage of it.
And... I'm not easily drawn to people.


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Velorum
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21 Sep 2021, 2:12 am

Heres another perspective.

When I was younger I worried about getting and keeping friends. My difficulty was that socialising in most situations felt so uncomfortable to me. I was oddly indifferent to people whom I considered close moving away from my over time - if I am honest it was a something of a relief.

I came to the realisation that what I was doing was a form of masking or 'trying to be normal' and fit in with how everyone else was. It wasn't friends or social contact I was seeking, it was understanding and acceptance. I understand that this isnt how it is for everyone of course.

Now I am so much happier as I don't seek friendships or socialise. I have two people that I guess would fit the description of 'friends' - I met them at school 57 years ago and we have always remained in touch. We see each other once a year for a few days and aside from a couple of emails at other times thats it.

I do have family though, and socialise with them - but that feels like a different thing to me.

I get along fine with people at work - mainly because we are focussed on a shared interest but I never associate with them outside of work. In my spare time, I am pretty much self contained and dont need feel the need for other people other than my family.

If you had asked a 30 year old me about this I would have said that I was worried about getting and keeping friends - what was I doing wrong, how did I need to change? Now I know myself far better these things are pretty much an irrelevance.


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28 Sep 2021, 3:59 pm

At this point in my life I am seeing my solitude as isolation and am so very lonely.
Everything you have written resonates.
I wish so much that I could fit in, be part of a group, but that does not seem possible at all.


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Joe90
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28 Sep 2021, 6:12 pm

Sometimes it really gets to me chronically. I want to believe that I was misdiagnosed with Asperger's but my lack of friend-making skills is enough evidence on its own to prove that my diagnosis wasn't wrong. I just don't want to be on the f*****g autism f*****g spectrum. f**k autism, I hate it. :x


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28 Sep 2021, 8:37 pm

To Joe90: It has occurred to me to wonder if sober/nonalcoholic pubs/bars already exist.

So I did some Googling, and, lo and behold, they do exist. There's a growing international movement of them around the world, including the U.K. See news stories here and here.

Hopefully you can find one near you. If so, hopefully it might help you have a better social life.


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Mona Pereth
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28 Sep 2021, 9:19 pm

Joe90 wrote:
Sometimes it really gets to me chronically. I want to believe that I was misdiagnosed with Asperger's but my lack of friend-making skills is enough evidence on its own to prove that my diagnosis wasn't wrong.

Maybe, maybe not. ADHD can cause social difficulties too.

Speaking of which, have you ever attended an in-person adult ADHD support group? Or have you ever participated in an ADHD forum that included a fair number of members in the U.K.?

If not, such a forum might be a good place to get advice on seeking an ADHD evaluation -- and, while you're at it, might also be a good place to find good potential friends. You probably have more in common with most ADHDers than with most NT's.


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28 Sep 2021, 9:40 pm

Similar to you, I've had more success dating than with making friends.

Also, ADHD doesn't rule out autism. I'm diagnosed with both.


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Mona Pereth
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28 Sep 2021, 9:54 pm

funeralxempire wrote:
Also, ADHD doesn't rule out autism. I'm diagnosed with both.

Agreed.

(To Joe90: I would encourage you to be re-evaluated for ASD as well as evaluated for ADHD.)


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28 Sep 2021, 9:59 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
funeralxempire wrote:
Also, ADHD doesn't rule out autism. I'm diagnosed with both.

Agreed.

(To Joe90: I would encourage you to be re-evaluated for ASD as well as evaluated for ADHD.)


Definitely this.
Being diagnosed with ADHD won't remove being diagnosed with ASD but being reevaluated for both might indicate it's only the former. That said, if they still think ASD is in play they might end up confirming it instead of removing it.


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29 Sep 2021, 12:21 am

It becomes quasi impossible after a certain age unless you are willing to make friends with much younger people.
After that age (often 30, and often after marriage), most people are no longer interested in expanding their social circles, and stick to the their own.


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