[M.M.X.I.V. 158] Let’s be friends

I follow a variety of blogs, and at least one of them is of a fellow Aspie.  This post is a quasi-reblog of one compelling post that I read, with some of my own observations and experiences.  This is partially based on my own experiences, and partially based on Marsh’s words.

Marsh writes a blog that is much more focused on Asperger syndrome than mine is, which means less frequent (but in my opinon, higher quality) posts.   She posted on her personal experiences with Asperger’s Syndrome.  Again, we are all different, but some of the traits that she mentioned are certainly part of my psyche as well.

She posts a few times about myth-busting with respect to Asperger syndrome, such as this post. But, for the meat of the presentation, she brought in ten points to which I agree with.  My list will stay true to her bullet points, but I will change the examples to my own experience.  Also, I will make the things more personal, so as not to (a) fully plagiarize, and (b) not paint a picture of every Aspie–there are so many different social functions of each one!

  1.  Loyalty is a strong suit–I will stick by my good friends through calm OR choppy waters.  I, along with other similar-minded Aspies, genuinely appreciate the beauty of friendship, since friend-making is anything but innate in our minds.  It takes a serious problem for me to abandon a friend.  Acquaintances may enter and exit my life, but I try hard to stay in contact with my true friends.  This flows naturally into the next point…

  2. Once I have made a good friend, keeping that person as a friend is no problem.  This is similar to the previous point, but is a little bit different.  In some sense, even if I am not in constant contact with my friends as other “neuro-typical” people might be, it makes those times that I DO spend with friends more special.  I know that I, along with some other Aspies, have a strong introverted side, perhaps as The Shell against social awkwardness.

  3. I am honest and will talk straight. Any opinion that you get from me will generally be completely honest, even if it is a little bit blunt.  I will help however I can if a friend is in a difficult situation, and once again, the loyalty mentioned in Bullet 1 is important.

  4. Deep conversations are my thing. Whether talking from the heart/personal experiences, or from research of a subject that I am a specialist in, I will engage in deep conversation with friends and acquaintances about said topics.  It is a way of teaching, sharing interests in niche subjects that others may enjoy, and perhaps, in my case, making a friend in the first place!  Although my conversations will sometimes begin with small talk, I will attempt to find a conversation starter, and once that barrier is broken, we are into a deep conversation.  This has definitely passed much time on some שבת evenings at הלל.

  5. I am (overly?) empathetic. Because I understand my OWN need for alone time and personal space, I can certainly reciprocate if a friend needs his or her privacy.  I tend to be sensitive, and can sometimes feel others’ emotions in myself, even if I cannot discern them.  (Sometimes, friends have to beat me over the head with literalism to describe what is going on… empathy is NOT the same thing as sympathy!)

  6. My world-view is unconventional.  If you are my friend, you get to see differences in perspectives, and appreciate the diversity of minds.

7. A lot of people with Asperger’s have a strong sense of justice. Given some of the trials that I have gone through where things seem unfair, I know that I would like more fairness in the world.  It goes back to the old adage, “Treat others as you would like to be treated.”

  1. My rigidity in routines and arrangements means that you will not be stood up or let down.  Excluding extenuating circumstances like weather or illness (and the latter rarely happens to me), I am not going to renege on a rendezvous with a friend.

  2. My sense of humor is full of puns and quirks, and is always clean.

  3. My long-term memory is very good.  Not only does this make interesting conversation (trying to tell relatable stories to my friends), but if a friend confides in me, I will be able to remember what they have told me.  For the same way, I am a good listener.

This post is not a plea to make friends, but is simply an explanation of some of my quirks and assets that I bring to a friendship.  Of course, Asperger’s syndrome should not be seen as a label to generalize me, but think of it more as an asterisk to why my behavior is sometimes the way it is.  People probably have more friends with some characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome than they might think–not all Aspies are completely open about it.  For me, I reveal it in conversation if the conversation goes in that direction–I am not afraid to “come out.”

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Today is the one-hundred and fifty-eighth day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes twenty-two weeks and four days.

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6 thoughts on “[M.M.X.I.V. 158] Let’s be friends

  1. Fascinating, Noah; thank you for sharing this. Most of those points I share – and I totally agree with your comment about empathy and sympathy. The latter can be feigned; the former cannot. If you ‘feel’ another’s emotions, it is from the heart – whereas at least some sympathy is more akin to froth on the surface of the mind, and appropriate social behaviour.

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  2. This is a MOST insightful post, Noah. I think if everyone read this, they would have a newfound appreciation of these additional qualities…among their potential new and worthy friends. Well done, man!

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