Life on the Autism Spectrum
Autism & friends
Alex has online friends who help her by checking that she has eaten or locked her doors.
I’ve got a close group of friends on the internet forum I go on. And, who I also talk to on MSM who kind like prompt me to do things in the evening, so at 6 o’clock someone will say, “Have you eaten yet?” And I’ll say, “No, I’m going to eat in a minute.” Or, “Yes, I’ve eaten.” They’ll say, you know, before I go to stuff and things like that, you know, “Have you shut all your windows? Have you locked all your doors?” So they kind of prompt me to do things. And they keep me occupied. They talk to me on like MSM and stuff like that.
And that’s been fine making friendships?
I wouldn’t say it’s fine. Locally I don’t really have any friends that I socialise with. Obviously there’s people that go to the same day service as me and when we go out and do social things. We all get together and we all talk and stuff. But they’re not people that I would see outside my day service probably because we’ve all got completely different needs and for us to try and meet up on our own would be very weird and very confusing and probably very hard for all of us. The majority of my friendships are always net based. They’re people… you know, I mean they’re people that I talk to on MSN or I talk to on the phone or things like that, but I don’t really have any local face to face friends apart from may one or two. Probably one.
Would you want more face to face friends or is the internet fine for you?
The internet’s fine, but it would be nice to have local friends to an extend because then when you’re bored on the weekends and stuff you know, you could go round to someone’s house and have a cup of tea or they’d come round to your house and have a cup of tea. That’s what friends do isn’t it? Social friends.
Richard has various friends that he plays games and watches television with.
Sam finds a lot of people 'banal' but found having a friend at university made a 'massive...
However, I did meet one friend at university who is probably my best friend. I’ve known her for seven years now. And that really made a massive difference, because I hadn’t had one person I could actually talk to. Who I could sit there for an hour or two or longer and have a one to one conversation with, for many years. And quite simply the benefit that that brings is worth more than having twenty or thirty friends who you can socialise with and spend time with but actually can’t really talk to as such, just be in social environments with. And so that was probably, probably the reason I enjoyed university, was because I actually managed to meet someone who actually I could connect with and be friends with. So …
Ian finds it easier to make friends with autistic people as they think the same.
Susie thinks Oliver has a lot of friends but he finds defining friends difficult.
It took Simon a while to learn what a friend was and explains how he finds it hard to trust people.
In his last year at school James found that he had made friends without realising it at the time.
Catherine has learnt how to 'sit about with people' from Neil and is amazed she can now do that.
Mary gets on better with people older or younger than her. She thinks this is because she is less...
Mark says he tends to approach people with a 'level of emotional detachment'.
As a child, Mary was very clingy and obsessive about friendships.
I had one friend in my peer group but that friendship only, only lasted, well I mean it kept on, it kept on stopping and starting, so we were friends for you know, like a few, you know, a few weeks and we would break up and then get back together again. And I also was very possessive and quite sort of clingy because I didn’t like it when anyone else would start talking to her. That really irritated me. So I think it’s more me, then her, who actually broke it up. So... and often when I wasn’t friends with her, then I’d play with a girl a few years younger than me, or I’d just basically be really annoying because I was just fed up with not having any friends or anything. So I just… I think I annoyed quite a few people. Just was quite childish; kind of running around, just being really stupid. I didn’t really have much self awareness, because I used to go up to people and just tap them on their backs and stuff and ask them really silly questions and just run off. And I think I’ve matured quite a lot since then.
I’m not interested in that any more. That sort of withered away. But that was all through adolescence was particularly extreme, and I mean, when I started secondary school, I actually made a friend on the first day. And I was really pleased, really happy, but that friendship didn’t last long at all. The girl told me that I was too clingy, you know, that followed her around too much. She said, “I don’t want to be friends with you anymore.” And I was really upset about that because I remember, you know, I saw her walking off with another girl. This was before she told me she didn’t want to be friends with me anymore, and I saw her walking with another girl and I was actually, and this was on a like residential in year seven, and I was actually, you know, I mean I remember actually sort of crying seeing her walk off with this other girl because I just didn’t want her talking to anyone else. If she was my friend I didn’t want her talking to anyone talking to anyone else at all. Then I just got very possessed with people, like obsessed with them.
So yes, and then I had another friendship, a brief friendship, with a girl who said, who offered to be best friends with me, but then that one also ended. She told me I didn’t speak enough. So then I thought okay so to make friends with people I have to speak a lot. So I started to speak all the time, and, just you know, I mean I made, there was another girl who I briefly had a friendship with, but then she started to move out into a group, and I couldn’t deal with groups. And sometimes she said, “You know you can come and, you can come and join the group, you know, come and join us.” And I did. But they were all talking and I didn’t know what to do, because they all were friends with one another.
Last reviewed July 2016.
Last updated July 2016.