Making friends with Asperger’s autism

Se faire des amis en étant autiste Asperger

Welcome to Suivez le Zèbre, the first blog dedicated to neurodiversityin France. Here you will find information about Giftedness (High Learning Potential), hypersensitivity, autism spectrum disorders (including Asperger’s syndrome), DYS disorders and ADHD.

The idea that people on the autism spectrum don’t want to have friends because they’re not sociable is a persistent cliché. Fortunately, we now know that this is a cliché, and we realize that Asperger’s people are just as keen to make friends and socialize in general as neurotypical people. As always, this idea stems from a misunderstanding of autistic behavior, confusing difficulties in socializing with a rejection of sociability.
The worry is that this cliché is also a self-fulfilling prophecy: it’s more difficult for Asperger’s people to make friends, so we think they don’t want friends, so they find themselves isolated, which can lead to a lack of interest in others.

So we need to break this loop, so that the world is more open and informed, so as not to leave people with Asperger’s on the sidelines.

And for people with Asperger’s autism who want to meet new people, you’ve got to keep going! There are lots of people who aren’t bothered by Asperger’s syndrome, who have the patience to learn or who are, quite simply, Asperger’s too.

To remember

It’s quite likely that, after a while, a disagreement will arise because your Asperger’s condition has not been taken into account. It’s an extremely frustrating situation, which can also happen with people who are very close to you, and can leave you feeling betrayed.

In this case, you’ll need the patience to explain the situation. It’s okay if it takes a while to get up the courage to talk about it, as long as the person you’re dealing with is willing to listen to you and prevent it from happening again, there’s no reason to hold a grudge for long.

Autistic Asperger’s: being yourself

It sounds cliché, but it’s a point that’s always worth making. When looking for friendships, it’s important to find people with whom you don ‘t need to hide your autism. Masking your neurodiversity is both burdensome and harmful in the long term, because Asperger syndrome is part of who you are. Camouflaging your ASD means, in the long run, living with the idea that you won’t be accepted if you don’t hide your atypical behavior.
It is therefore vital, as you make friends, to ensure that they accept the behaviours associated with Asperger’s and that their friends are not put off by the behaviours associated withAsperger’s autism.

Our advice

One difficulty that can arise as an Asperger’s is knowing how to view one’s relationships: is this person a buddy? an acquaintance ? a friend? more ???
A certain amount of discomfort can arise from treating acquaintances as friends, because we don’t know to what degree we should interact with them. So it’s not absurd to define your relationships in order to know what level of intimacy you can have with them.

For example:
acquaintances: people you’ve met a few times, or regularly, but with whom you’ve never spoken much. Perhaps you should spend more time with them to find out if you enjoy their company.
buddies: people with whom we’ve already shared moments and with whom it’s pleasant to spend time, they may be able to do us a favor, or we may be able to do them one.
friends: people with whom you’ve already shared very personal problems, and to whom you can turn for many things.

Autistic Asperger’s: how to make friends

Associations for Asperger’s people not only provide guidance and assistance to Asperger’s sufferers, they also act as meeting places. This can take as many forms as there are associations, through organized meetings, with or without activities. It’s an opportunity to meet other Asperger’s sufferers in a setting designed to make you feel at ease and able to exchange ideas. It’s a good way to meet other autistic people with whom it’s obviously easier to acclimatize; there’s no need to make sure the person understands your condition, they share it too.

Associations can also help you find events organized especially for Asperger’s sufferers, such as special museum openings or dedicated cinema screenings. This is your chance to meet Asperger’s people with whom you share an interest, or with whom you can talk about the film you’ve all just seen.

Autistic Asperger’s: the game

Through events and associations, you can meet people with whom you directly share something, be it an interest, a condition or at least a common experience. However, these are community initiatives, and that’s what they’re there for, but we mustn’t condemn ourselves to using only dedicated structures to meet people.

As anAsperger’s, talking can be a real obstacle course. Indeed, knowing how to approach people isn’t necessarily easy, but on top of that they can be unexpressive, sarcastic or very tactile. The game is a great way to connect with anyone.
Whether around a card game, a board game, a video game or karaoke, setting up an environment with rules and a framework makes bonding much easier. It’s a great way to have a basic topic of discussion and make sure no one gets bored. Conversation topics can arise from game situations to find common ground, and if there are any remarks to be made they will not be made to the person but to the player.
Playing means both finding a conversation starter and a way to geta glimpse of the person without risking being indiscreet.

Our advice

For the 2 previous tips: using dedicated structures and playing games are 2 things that are perfectly possible to do online today.
The number of community chats, forums, groups or online games on any subject is incalculable, and the links made on the Internet have little to envy to real-life relationships. Internet friends are no less friends.

At the end of the day

Obviously, there’s no magic formula for making friends. We’re just trying to give you ideas on how to meet new people and tips on how to avoid silences.
In the end, it might be a good idea to point out that making friends is not a quest. Do what you love by being active, getting out and participating in community initiatives, and it’s with people who do the same that you’ll be able to forge links and even friendships.
And maybe in the end it’ll be just 1 or 2 people and that’ll be more than enough, because finding people with whom you can share everything is rare. We just hope our article helps you meet more people, and hopefully some friends in the making.

If you’re reading this article because you think you have a lot of Asperger’s behavior, you can take our test, which will put you on the right track. If your doubts are confirmed, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a healthcare professional specializing in ASD.

You can also find more information, resources and tools on High Potential in Mel POINAS‘ book about her experience (who also has ADHD). With a lot of humor, Mel tells the story of the discovery of her giftedness and the routines she put in place to finally find her place!

Le livre

Écrit par une HPI !
Un témoignage et des solutions concrètes pour découvrir, comprendre et apprendre à vivre en étant HPI.

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