[M.M.X.I.V. 101] The first step

This post is based off the Daily Prompt from a few days ago.  Incidentally, it will also sound a little bit like one of my popular posts from the beginning of the year.

But, this time there was no typo in the prompt. 🙂

I consider myself to be a friendly person, and will easily engage in conversation with strangers who appear to be friendly.  This can happen anywhere–it has occurred at Hillel, at the University in classrooms and social functions, on the buses and trains, and plenty of other places.

However, it was not always this way.  Before I learnt to harness the power of communication, I was very much a loner.  After my diagnosis of Asperger syndrome, I was put on an I.E.P. (individualized educational program), and paired with a speech/language pathologist at Cooper Elementary School (and later Humann Elementary School after I moved to Lincoln).  I learnt more about non-verbal cues, ways to fit in to social situations, and the counselors (Mrs. Krueger and Mrs. Feeney, respectively) facilitated my development of a circle of friends.

Nowadays, people seem to be attracted to my bubbly personality, and they say that I am easy to talk to.  In public places, items like my journal, Ark, or bike will often be conversation starters.  (Sometimes, I may hover around a conversation and chime in when on the train too, which I realize could be a faux-pas…)

These techniques allow me to develop a lot of acquaintances, but acquaintanceships do not necessarily imply good friendships.  I would say that although I have lots of acquaintanceships, my list of friendships is very small.

A few things that I have noticed that have helped me to develop friends is to see a person in a regular context for a while, and sometimes to get into a deep conversation with them.  This worked particularly well toward the beginning of my career at Northwestern, when I would attempt to talk with a few people in more detail at some of the orientation mixers rather than go from group to group.  I am usually better at one-on-one or one-on-few as opposed to en-masse.

However, even if I collect someone’s contact information like e-mail, Facebook, or phone number, I have a high activation energy barrier to follow up, unless I am likely to see that person in the same context on a regular basis (e.g. people that I have met at Hillel that I will likely see every Friday).  I tend to be quite entranced to my own activities that I do not often make time to try and reach out to friends and acquaintances outside of a context that I am likely to see them anyway.

I have no idea how to analyze this barrier that I have.  It may be a part of my Asperger syndrome, or it may be a part of the introvert side of myself.  Regardless, I feel that if the person is a true friend, they will help me to break down the barrier.  In some sense, maybe for me that is a matter of fate.

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Today is the one hundred and first day of M.M.X.I.V.  That makes fourteen weeks and three days.

Just today, “The Daily Post” has changed their layout, which makes it impossible to copy the list of ping-backs.  There may be days where I recommend a few of them, but I don’t always make time in each day to read a lot of blogs.

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