I’ve been thinking a lot about what happens to me with friendships. People always say there are different levels of friendship. And I understand that there are. But my mind is like an on and off switch. My issue is that my brain is either emotionally turned off or emotionally turned fully on – there are no in-between stages.
So, anytime I’ve ever had a friend, I am fully into the friendship and end up pushing them away and smothering them. I get excited when someone wants to be my friend and cares about me. With autism, you don’t exactly have friends that care about you often and it’s easy to get excited.
This summer I made a really good friend. A true friendship, but I did the same thing that I always do. It’s either on or off. And for me, on is obsessively focusing on the friendship and the friend. There’s no mildly interested in the friend or just casual. It’s like the world revolves around that friend. I smothered the friend I made this summer.
I think that whenever I make a new friend, they’re able to handle Asperger’s and some clingyness. But there’s a difference between clingy and obsessive.
It’s always painful for me because when they tend to pull away and start needing space it feels like they are rejecting me. Then I try harder to save the friendship and that just makes it worse. Being able to break this cycle will be a huge step for me.
As hard as it is, Asperger’s isn’t an excuse to smother a friend. It is so easy to put all the blame on the friend and make them feel they’re responsible for you being happy. But a true friendship works both ways. I have to work harder to meet the needs of space for the friend of mine.
I really want help learning how to have the in-between levels of friendship so that I can keep a friend. How can I learn or train my brain how the interaction works with different levels of friendship? I know there’s no magic pill or cure. I’m just hoping that I can learn and not only save my friendship with the friend I made over the summer but also for help with making future friends as well.
- Travis Breeding
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