It seems I can't successfully keep friends and it's my fault

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Fish Girl In Goth Nets
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21 Apr 2021, 7:46 pm

So, I am struggling as an adult to make friends. Some people are just flat out disinterested in me, and I suppose that's okay, but when I do have a connection with anyone, I get overwhelmed very quickly, because I assume they won't like me for long or that I am too akward. I also tend to cut people off rather quickly too, for anything that doesn't sit right with me. I just don't know what to do.

Does anyone else have this problem?



funeralxempire
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21 Apr 2021, 7:49 pm

It's pretty much the story of my life. I don't know how to fix it or how to make the need for friends go away so I just try to cope with it.

Apparently I even make other weirdos uncomfortable.


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HeroOfHyrule
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21 Apr 2021, 7:55 pm

I have the same exact problem. I have tried to get over it by pushing myself to continue to talk to people, though sometimes things do happen that confirm my fears and put me off from doing so.

I think one of the only ways to get through those worries is to keep talking to people you have a connection to, and to try to get used to negative outcomes and realize that those outcomes are not always indicative of an issue with you.

For me it has gotten easier to be relaxed while talking to people after awhile, and I think people pick up on that and enjoy talking to me more, since I am not as worried about being "awkward" and don't end up making myself actually come off as awkward.


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Empathy Quotient: 34/80
Systemizing Quotient: 104/150
Friendship Quotient: 56/140
Autism Quotient: 36/80

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Your broader autism cluster (Aspie) score: 144 of 200.
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21 Apr 2021, 7:58 pm

The strange thing is that when I stopped worrying about how many friends I have is about the same time I started attracting more friends.


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HeroOfHyrule
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21 Apr 2021, 8:01 pm

funeralxempire wrote:
It's pretty much the story of my life. I don't know how to fix it or how to make the need for friends go away so I just try to cope with it.

Apparently I even make other weirdos uncomfortable.

If it means anything, when we talked on Discord you didn't make me uncomfortable and I enjoyed talking to you.


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I use he/him pronouns.

I like playing video games, watching cartoons and anime, reading, and cooking.

I have two cats, a rabbit, and a dog. I also enjoy learning + cataloguing information about different types of animals and plants.

Empathy Quotient: 34/80
Systemizing Quotient: 104/150
Friendship Quotient: 56/140
Autism Quotient: 36/80

RAADS-R: 169

CAT-Q: 153
Compensation: 57
Masking: 47
Assimilation: 49

Your broader autism cluster (Aspie) score: 144 of 200.
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 63 of 200.
You are very likely on the broader autism cluster (Aspie).


funeralxempire
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21 Apr 2021, 8:02 pm

HeroOfHyrule wrote:
funeralxempire wrote:
It's pretty much the story of my life. I don't know how to fix it or how to make the need for friends go away so I just try to cope with it.

Apparently I even make other weirdos uncomfortable.

If it means anything, when we talked on Discord you didn't make me uncomfortable and I enjoyed talking to you.


I appreciate it and if you're on again feel free to say hi.


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threetoed snail
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21 Apr 2021, 8:25 pm

I can't say I have the same problem, but it's only because I have come to terms with being a recluse. I'm just not good at the whole "keeping friends" thing, and it's not a matter of things I should learn to do or things I'm doing wrong, it's about my whole mental constitution. I've always been a loner, and being anything else is just too taxing. Having friends would be nice in theory, but I need to be realistic about the trade-offs involved. And probably more important than how taxing it would be to maintain any friendships, is how taxing it would be to consistently "be out there" enough to meet any hypothetical friends in the first place.

Btw, fxe, I only didn't join your discord because it's probably not a good idea for me to join any group chat. I was tempted to do it...


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funeralxempire
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21 Apr 2021, 9:18 pm

threetoed snail wrote:
Btw, fxe, I only didn't join your discord because it's probably not a good idea for me to join any group chat. I was tempted to do it...


No worries or pressure. You've gotta do what's best for you. 8)


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Udinaas
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22 Apr 2021, 10:55 am

I have trouble finding the middle ground between aloof and clingy and I tend to err on the aloof side. I'd rather not do instant messaging with people I'm not already friends with because I'm a slow writer who overthinks everything and I'd feel like I have to constantly participate to become part of the group.



Mona Pereth
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22 Apr 2021, 3:11 pm

Fish Girl In Goth Nets wrote:
So, I am struggling as an adult to make friends. Some people are just flat out disinterested in me, and I suppose that's okay, but when I do have a connection with anyone, I get overwhelmed very quickly, because I assume they won't like me for long or that I am too akward. I also tend to cut people off rather quickly too, for anything that doesn't sit right with me. I just don't know what to do.

In what kinds of social contexts do you try to make friends?

Have you participated in any support groups for adults on the autism spectrum?

Have you participated in groups devoted to your interests/hobbies?

Personally I had a lot of trouble making friends in childhood and in my teens, but I managed to make some good friends (mostly with people who were ten to twenty years older than me) when I was in my early-to-mid twenties. All these friends were made in the context of shared unusual interests.

As for cutting people off quickly, perhaps you might want to try to learn to be more assertive (without being aggressive) and thereby make an effort to resolve issues between you and your friends rather than break off the friendship. (See the list of tutorials on Assertiveness on my website.)


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OkaySometimes
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23 Apr 2021, 8:13 am

Can definitely relate to many posters here. I have never been able to sustain friendship either. I have had people in my life I considered friends, enjoyed spending time with, helped when they needed help, etc. All the usual hallmarks. Then, at some point, I realize that we haven't spoken in a week or so, I try to get back into contact and they aren't too interested. It just devolves from there, and at some point I stop trying. I always felt like that made it my fault, felt like I was "ghosting" them, but the truth is that it's normally been the other way around. I wish I had an answer for you, some secret that worked for me, but all I can offer is the knowledge you aren't alone.



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23 Apr 2021, 9:12 am

OkaySometimes wrote:
Can definitely relate to many posters here. I have never been able to sustain friendship either. I have had people in my life I considered friends, enjoyed spending time with, helped when they needed help, etc. All the usual hallmarks. Then, at some point, I realize that we haven't spoken in a week or so, I try to get back into contact and they aren't too interested. It just devolves from there, and at some point I stop trying. I always felt like that made it my fault, felt like I was "ghosting" them, but the truth is that it's normally been the other way around. I wish I had an answer for you, some secret that worked for me, but all I can offer is the knowledge you aren't alone.

This didn't happen with the friends I made back in my early twenties, back in the 1980's. We often fell out of contact for a while but then resumed contact and everything was fine.

Within the past several years I've heard/seen several stories of friends falling out of contact, and then one of them reacting with suspicion when the other person tries to resume contact. I'm not sure whether this is a new overall cultural trend or just those particular people.

Under what kinds of circumstances did you meet most of your former friends?


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23 Apr 2021, 10:05 am

Fish Girl In Goth Nets wrote:
So, I am struggling as an adult to make friends. Some people are just flat out disinterested in me, and I suppose that's okay, but when I do have a connection with anyone, I get overwhelmed very quickly, because I assume they won't like me for long or that I am too akward. I also tend to cut people off rather quickly too, for anything that doesn't sit right with me. I just don't know what to do.

Does anyone else have this problem?


It could be one of two things:
1. Maybe you are scared of being rejected so you reject first which would be a defense mechanism. Perhaps you were rejected before and feel scared that no one will accept you. So you are trying to protect yourself.
2. You also mentioned that something does not feel right about these friends. There is a saying that you have to go with your gut instinct.



Mona Pereth
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23 Apr 2021, 10:25 pm

Udinaas wrote:
I have trouble finding the middle ground between aloof and clingy and I tend to err on the aloof side.

Me too. It's safer to err on the aloof side, especially with people you don't know well.

Udinaas wrote:
I'd rather not do instant messaging with people I'm not already friends with because I'm a slow writer who overthinks everything and I'd feel like I have to constantly participate to become part of the group.

Whether and to what extent this is true varies a lot from one group to another. In the groups I'm involved with, there's no need for constant participation. Quality is more important than quantity. I'm a deep thinker too, and I prefer to associate with other deep thinkers.

I recommend that you too seek out deep thinkers as companions, rather than berating yourself for "overthinking."


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OkaySometimes
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25 Apr 2021, 6:19 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
OkaySometimes wrote:
Can definitely relate to many posters here. I have never been able to sustain friendship either. I have had people in my life I considered friends, enjoyed spending time with, helped when they needed help, etc. All the usual hallmarks. Then, at some point, I realize that we haven't spoken in a week or so, I try to get back into contact and they aren't too interested. It just devolves from there, and at some point I stop trying. I always felt like that made it my fault, felt like I was "ghosting" them, but the truth is that it's normally been the other way around. I wish I had an answer for you, some secret that worked for me, but all I can offer is the knowledge you aren't alone.

This didn't happen with the friends I made back in my early twenties, back in the 1980's. We often fell out of contact for a while but then resumed contact and everything was fine.

Within the past several years I've heard/seen several stories of friends falling out of contact, and then one of them reacting with suspicion when the other person tries to resume contact. I'm not sure whether this is a new overall cultural trend or just those particular people.

Under what kinds of circumstances did you meet most of your former friends?


Hi, sorry it took me a couple days to respond, I'm only here a few nights most weeks and hadn't seen it. Most of the friends I've had, I knew from school when I was still there, and I had a couple of friends from work for a while. Otherwise, they all started as friends-of-friends, but we established an actual friendship. In a few cases, neither of us saw the person we met through in a while but we would still be hanging out. I met a couple people off message boards (on other topics, WP is the first autism board I've been on.) The last person I met/knew who I would consider a friend was the spouse of one of my wife's friends, and though we were all friends as a group, he and I were very close friends for a while. I know what happened with that one, though.
Overall, I haven't been too interested since that last friendship fell apart, especially since most of the people I've considered friends over the years have been mostly interested in using me, and many were good enough at it that I didn't notice until years after it all went down. I've also narrowly avoided bad situations a couple times, which has only made me more wary of others. Right now, this forum and one other that I'm on are pretty much my only socialization outside my wife, daughter, and mother-in-law, and even that's more than I can handle sometimes.
In the future, I may be more interested in friendship, and would likely look into local groups, as I'm sure they exist in SF. I think it would be a better "fit" with someone similar to me. Looking back at the better friendships from school and work, several of them seem to have been (looking back with knowledge I didn't have then) undiagnosed aspies who didn't suspect it yet, same as I was, so I'd probably look for a late-diagnosed/self-diagnosed group as I'd likely have things in common with at least some of them. Again, I'd bet it exists here, especially once we can start meeting up with people outside our household/pod/whatever. I will probably want to do that someday, but not yet.



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29 Apr 2021, 10:45 pm

Fish Girl In Goth Nets wrote:
So, I am struggling as an adult to make friends. Some people are just flat out disinterested in me, and I suppose that's okay, but when I do have a connection with anyone, I get overwhelmed very quickly, because I assume they won't like me for long or that I am too akward. I also tend to cut people off rather quickly too, for anything that doesn't sit right with me. I just don't know what to do.

Does anyone else have this problem?


Healthy friendships are mutual. I know I messed up in childhood, being myself, sensitive. I was an easy target for bullies. I was alone a lot. But I had friends on occasion, for brief periods. or one friend at a time. I think autistic women, especially, have to seek out genuine people for friendship. It takes a really good person who is very secure within themselves to befriend an autistic person. Don't be overly hard on yourself. People, by nature, are insecure, even the ones who look like they aren't. Pursue your interests. That's what I do. Good luck.