Friendships have always been something I have struggled with, I have always been more ‘in to’ the person than they are me. I used to put so much of myself into my connections that when things ended it felt heartbreaking.
I was basing friendships off TV shows like Friends and Fraser – that friends should be around each other all the time going in and out of each others houses and business. Seems pretty toxic and boundary-less to me now.
My idea and understanding of friendship has changed. I think the transition from school to college and then (eventually!) university and then to adulthood in my own house has been difficult. I used to spend all day every day around lots of people, socialising was easier in some ways as there was always someone to connect with in some way. Or to parallel play with – do stuff alongside whilst mostly ignoring each other (my favourite!).
After all the forced connection in education came work, and those connections were set too – we mostly moaned about work!
My biggest group of friendship exists online. I have several people who check in with me and vice versa every week and some I talk to almost daily.
Our friendships are based on shared interests – what some people might called special interests. Since finding my Autistic self my main interest is autism and Autistic experience (probably the most Autistic special interest around!). I’ve found similar others online and we share information, advocate together and have a few laughs on the way too.
Aquaintances and online friends are nicer and a lot easier to understand the expectations of. Especially, now I am at home more often and its more difficult to socialise around a toddler. Having a child has completely changed whatever ‘inner circle’ I may have had.
Interacting with online friends is one of my favourite parts of my day. I don’t have to be involved in all aspects of people’s life and I don’t ever even have to have met them for them to be friends. Chatting online is a valid way to make friends and I’m really rather glad about it.