Friendship and autism

I have to admit I find making and sustaining meaningful friendships difficult, at times really difficult. It affects my whole being from my mental health to my identity and makes me wonder about my place in the world and sometimes if I have a place.

Over the past few years I’ve met some new friends and lost some too. It’s been a real rollercoaster ride at times as I try to navigate the thin line that is friendship whilst trying to maintain and sustain it and work out if someone wants more than friendship.

It all starts off well. We talk and talk about anything and everything and to me we get closer and closer sometimes too quickly as I’ve learnt and I wrongly or rightly assume that this is how our friendship will continue. It doesn’t though. The messages get less and less until they become nothing and I’m left wondering what I’ve done wrong.

One lass added me on Facebook and at first we were talking away and I thought it might lead to something more and then it petered out until it became obvious even to me that nothing was going to happen. Strangely we are still friends and meet up regularly to go for runs. Somewhere something happened to turn this into a proper friendship and one that I hope will last forever.

Another lass was going through a very difficult and traumatic time and we started off running together and ended up as really close friends arranging days and nights out and being there for each other. Then it all went wrong. We had a lovely day on the moors and then everything seemed to change literally overnight. The messages and texts stopped and we drifted apart to the position where we don’t even communicate at all anymore.

Now I’ve been running with someone else who is going through a difficult and traumatic time. She seems to be really nice and genuine and wants to meet again to go for another run, yet I’m already worried that I’ve pushed things too far, too fast and I’ll never see her again. She is lovely and has been brow beaten mentally into believing she isn’t. I see an intelligent, kind, caring and fun loving person which she doesn’t although when she ran with me she was happy and smiling for the first time in ages. I hope we do meet again for a run and see how we get on.

I worry though that it will be another potential friend lost and it will be my fault because I don’t know how to navigate the minefield of social relationships and friendships. Do I do this? Do I do that? When do I message? When don’t I? what do I say? What don’t I say? All these thoughts paralyse me and I end up anxious and depressed and lost in a sea of thoughts. I’m amazed how some people find it all so natural and easy and know what to do and when whereas I know nothing behaving like a new born baby trying to take everything in and learn whilst understanding what is happening and why. One day it might click, I just hope it’s soon or someone takes me to one side and explains it all.

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