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A_minor
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06 Sep 2021, 6:13 am

Dang! Completely missed this... :?

Mona Pereth wrote:
A_minor wrote:
I'd add this to Foundations of friendship: Accepting, forgiving (and eventually understanding) each other's oddities and faults.

Is it okay if I quote or refer to the above and credit you on either my website or my blog?

You may quote or refer as you see fit :D

Mona Pereth wrote:
I'm not sure I would regard it as a distinct "foundation of friendship," though. It overlaps to some extent with #2, "Emotional sharing / intimacy. Emotional support, sympathy, mutual understanding, and freedom to be (relatively) unmasked."

Agreed.

Mona Pereth wrote:
Indeed, "Accepting, forgiving (and eventually understanding) each other's oddities and faults" seems to me to be a prerequisite to emotional intimacy. People are not likely to feel "emotional support, sympathy, mutual understanding, and freedom to be (relatively) unmasked" if they are worried about being judged by the other person.

True. My avoidant personality disorder makes it harder to believe someone is genuinely supportive, sympathetic and understanding, also there are people who only act that way but only seek company just to fulfill a personal need, I find it difficult to determine which people. As a result I keep most people at a distance, so I ended up with only two friends, but at least I know they are true friends.


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06 Sep 2021, 6:36 am

TenMinutes wrote:
A friend is someone who enjoys your company enough to occasionally seek it.


This is also the definition I use. It's how I know I don't have any friends. I will make contact with others and they will usually respond, but no one ever initiates contact with me.

As others have noted it isn't a complete definition of friendship by any length, but it's a litmus test.



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17 Jul 2022, 11:49 am

Just now I came across the following: Frientimacy: The 3 Requirements of All Healthy Friendships | Shasta Nelson | TEDxLaSierraUniversity, Dec 15, 2017.



According to Shasta Nelson, a friendship must have 3 aspects: "positivity," "vulnerability," and "consistency."

What she calls "positivity" roughly corresponds to what I call "companionship" (enjoying each other's company; having fun together).

What she calls "vulnerabilty" roughly corresponds to what I call "emotional intimacy" (feeling free to reveal aspects of oneself that one does not show to the general public).

What she calls "consistency" means seeing each other regularly, or at least being in regular contact, over a long period of time. This can be a result of either deliberate plans or just happening to see each other regularly, e.g. by attending the same class.

Shasta Nelson says that, of her 3 requirements of friendship, what she calls "positivity" must come first. I would say that's probably true for most people in most circumstances, but there are exceptions. For example, if two people happen to meet each other in a support group, then it seems to me that mutual "vulnerability" (emotional intimacy) can come first, before "positivity."

To compare her view of friendship with mine, more generally:

I see friendship as having four foundations:

1) Companionship (see above).
2) Emotional intimacy (see above).
3) Comradeship (facing common challenges together).
4) Exchange of favors.

As I see it, a friendship doesn't necessarily require all four of the above foundations, but it needs at least three out of the four.

What Shasta Nelson calls "consistency" is then what enables a friendship to grow from these foundations.

She does not mention anything resembling what I call comradeship. That might be because comradeship is (as far as I can tell) more common in male friendships than in female friendships.

She also doesn't mention exchange of favors. IMO that may reflect an upper-middle-class bias. Exchange of favors is optional if you're well-to-do enough to pay money for everything you need, but much more necessary if you're poor. But it can also be very risky: A person who does favors for another person can all too easily to end up feeling ripped off if the other person doesn't reciprocate enough. Yet, at the same time, exchange of favors can't be treated too much like a business transaction, or else it can become a barrier to true friendship, rather than a foundation thereof.

Of the four foundations of friendship that I've listed, most people would probably consider companionship to be the most essential, especially at the very beginning. Likewise, Shasta Nelson considers "positivity" to be the most essential of her 3 aspects of friendship, especially at the beginning.

But I think it's probably possible, though unusual, to have a friendship that lacks companionship/"positivity" but has all three of the other foundations of friendship on my list (emotional intimacy, comradeship, exchange of favors). This would be a friendship between two people who don't especially enjoy just hanging out with each other, but who nevertheless trust each other and have actively helped each other through various life crises over a long period of time.

And, for some people, that might be the only feasible type of friendship. For example, some people, e.g. some people with severe chronic depression, just aren't capable of being pleasant enough to have much if any companionship/"positivity" with anyone. So they might need -- and in some cases might be capable of -- an unorthodox path to genuine friendship with other people in similar circumstances.


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09 Aug 2022, 2:26 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
Shasta Nelson says that, of her 3 requirements of friendship, what she calls "positivity" must come first. I would say that's probably true for most people in most circumstances, but there are exceptions.

Hmm, how do you even find positivity in autistic spaces? Everyone seems to be depressed and hating themselves for "being weird"...



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09 Aug 2022, 4:29 pm

Well I'd like to have friends. I had friends in the past. But I don't seem to be able to make any friends anymore, for the last 20 years, so I just have online friends now. I've just accepted that.


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09 Aug 2022, 4:33 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
Just now I came across the following: Frientimacy: The 3 Requirements of All Healthy Friendships | Shasta Nelson | TEDxLaSierraUniversity, Dec 15, 2017.



According to Shasta Nelson, a friendship must have 3 aspects: "positivity," "vulnerability," and "consistency."


I read this a few years ago, Shasta had a whole social forum called Girlfriend Circles for women to meet new friends. Unfortunately for me, 99% of them were in the USA and I'm not. I did get a few email friends from there though. It's closed now however.

I used this formula to make my recent 2 friends, it does work quite well if you stick to it. I learned that I wasn't very positive and hopeless at consistency, but far too vulnerable.

So I corrected those imbalances, and still found it hard to find friends :shrug:


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10 Aug 2022, 2:10 pm

KitLily wrote:
I used this formula to make my recent 2 friends, it does work quite well if you stick to it. I learned that I wasn't very positive and hopeless at consistency, but far too vulnerable.

So I corrected those imbalances, and still found it hard to find friends :shrug:

Given your propensity for "vulnerability" (emotional intimacy), it seems to me that one of the best kinds of places for you to make friends would be a support group of some kind.

You live in the U.K. Have you tried to make friends within the U.K. autistic community? As far as I can tell from afar, the U.K. has the best-organized autistic community in the entire world.


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10 Aug 2022, 2:16 pm

StrayCat81 wrote:
Hmm, how do you even find positivity in autistic spaces? Everyone seems to be depressed and hating themselves for "being weird"...

This is one of the reasons why the autistic community needs to become much more organized than it is now. We need more than just support groups. For example, we need hobby-oriented social groups devoted to specific hobbies/activities that their members enjoy. We need spaces in which we (or at least some of us) can have (our own kinds of) fun together, not just commiserate.


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10 Aug 2022, 3:44 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
KitLily wrote:
I used this formula to make my recent 2 friends, it does work quite well if you stick to it. I learned that I wasn't very positive and hopeless at consistency, but far too vulnerable.

So I corrected those imbalances, and still found it hard to find friends :shrug:

Given your propensity for "vulnerability" (emotional intimacy), it seems to me that one of the best kinds of places for you to make friends would be a support group of some kind.

You live in the U.K. Have you tried to make friends within the U.K. autistic community? As far as I can tell from afar, the U.K. has the best-organized autistic community in the entire world.


I suppose so but I'm a bit tired of focusing on my emotions. I need some fun and laughter.

I was on a UK autism forum for a while but I got fed up with the racism and sexism on there and left. Same old same old about online sites.

I've no idea where to start with a real life autism community, I suppose they'd be in the cities would they? It would be easy if I lived in a city. I'm a bit wary of groups because a lot of people on the autism forum said they've tried autism groups but they were far too high functioning for the groups and most of the members had learning disabilities.

I don't really know what to do about that.


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10 Aug 2022, 3:46 pm

StrayCat81 wrote:
Hmm, how do you even find positivity in autistic spaces? Everyone seems to be depressed and hating themselves for "being weird"...


That confused me for ages, thinking I had to be a wild extrovert and party animal to be 'positive.' But I decided that positivity for me means 'not going on endlessly about my problems.' Which I used to do because I had no one to talk to about them. Now I just mention a problem briefly and move on. I try and talk about upbeat things in conversation and not focus on problems.


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10 Aug 2022, 6:25 pm

KitLily wrote:
I suppose so but I'm a bit tired of focusing on my emotions. I need some fun and laughter.

What are your hobbies and interests? What kinds of recreational activities, if any, do you enjoy?

KitLily wrote:
I was on a UK autism forum for a while but I got fed up with the racism and sexism on there and left. Same old same old about online sites.

I'm very sorry to hear that.

KitLily wrote:
I've no idea where to start with a real life autism community, I suppose they'd be in the cities would they? It would be easy if I lived in a city.

Yes, in-person groups tend to be in cities.

KitLily wrote:
I'm a bit wary of groups because a lot of people on the autism forum said they've tried autism groups but they were far too high functioning for the groups and most of the members had learning disabilities.

Hmm, it seems to be a common problem in generic "social" groups for autistic people that members find each other to be insufficiently "high-functioning." It seems to me that this would be less of an issue in more-specialized groups, e.g. in career-oriented groups or groups devoted to specific hobbies/interests/recreational activities. Yet another reason why we need more of the latter.


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StrayCat81
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11 Aug 2022, 12:51 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
This is one of the reasons why the autistic community needs to become much more organized than it is now. We need more than just support groups. For example, we need hobby-oriented social groups devoted to specific hobbies/activities that their members enjoy. We need spaces in which we (or at least some of us) can have (our own kinds of) fun together, not just commiserate.

Yeah, in local autistic fb group, I tried to find people who enjoy wandering around in nature for example, but surprisingly it's very unpopular... I also seem to be the only autistic who loves riding a bicycle there... The same with volunteering at the animal shelter, again, not popular at all...

Mona Pereth wrote:
Hmm, it seems to be a common problem in generic "social" groups for autistic people that members find each other to be insufficiently "high-functioning."

I begin to suspect it could be opposite for me... All those "high functioning macho big ego autistics" just feel way too serious adult for me? Nobody does things just for fun? So maybe those with higher support needs could be more childlike, like me?



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11 Aug 2022, 1:05 am

This type of thread is started each year about 10-12 times in various forms since 2011 when I joined WP.

There is a mountain of thoughts on this forum which is a great resource

To quote the famous 1970s Aspie synth-pop artist, Gary Numan, "friends are electric"
Gary would never have guessed how true his prediction was!



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11 Aug 2022, 4:53 am

DuckHairback wrote:
TenMinutes wrote:
A friend is someone who enjoys your company enough to occasionally seek it.


This is also the definition I use. It's how I know I don't have any friends. I will make contact with others and they will usually respond, but no one ever initiates contact with me.

As others have noted it isn't a complete definition of friendship by any length, but it's a litmus test.


Same here. If I stop making the effort to contact others, they don't contact me first.


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KitLily
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11 Aug 2022, 5:02 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
What are your hobbies and interests? What kinds of recreational activities, if any, do you enjoy?

Hmm, it seems to be a common problem in generic "social" groups for autistic people that members find each other to be insufficiently "high-functioning." It seems to me that this would be less of an issue in more-specialized groups, e.g. in career-oriented groups or groups devoted to specific hobbies/interests/recreational activities. Yet another reason why we need more of the latter.


I suppose my 'hobbies' are quiet things like reading, writing, watching TV. Things I do at home. If there were any interesting groups where I live, I would join them but it's really dull.

Yes it was unfortunate on the Autism website. I wasn't the only one to find it was too full of racism and sexism, a lot of us joined then left because we'd had enough of all the nonsense. It seemed to be a backwater for people with extreme views to meet up, but many online places are like that now. The moderators weren't very active either.

However, one guy on that site advised me to make friends via my hobbies e.g. he went to a model train society and made friends there. Some other things too but I can't remember what he said. He made a valid point, saying that hobbies which attract autistic people are good places to find friends. I need to find a type of hobby which might attract autistic people and go there. I suppose a book group but I work as an editor and I spend all day reading books. I don't fancy reading yet more books for a hobby :lol: I like watching motorsport but we can't afford to go to any races or anything like that.

I'm pretty restricted by my health and finances. I think online friends are the only ones available to me. That's not a bad thing except when I need someone to help me with practical, local problems.


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11 Aug 2022, 5:06 am

StrayCat81 wrote:
All those "high functioning macho big ego autistics" just feel way too serious adult for me? Nobody does things just for fun? So maybe those with higher support needs could be more childlike, like me?


I'm interested to know who these high functioning macho big ego autistics are? Most autistics I know are anxious and awkward, often disliking themselves for being 'weird.'

I've been thinking what fun things I could do. I like the idea of karaoke, if I had any friends to do that with.


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