I have decided to make 2014 the year that I move my social life up a gear. It’s not an official new year’s resolution, but I need to make some progress in the friend department. This won’t be easy because I’ve only just started getting a handle on what I think friends and friendship are.
Firstly I will seek out advice from local institutions on how to make friends and socialize with people. I’ve been making some progress with social stuff, like making sure I don’t talk too much and to not just answer but to ask questions as well. This way the person I’m talking to will have a chance to talk about themselves, which is good because it stops me talking about myself too much.
One of the biggest obstacles I come across is how social behaviour is not innate to me, but learned, or in my case not learned yet! It goes like this:
ME: “Right! I’m going to go to new places and make friends with people”
BRAIN: “Where are you going to go then?”
ME: “Uh… dunno. Isn’t it your job to think of that?”
ME: “Well, isn’t it?!”
BRAIN: “Sorry, I’ve got nothing.”
ME: “Okay, we can work around that, which people do we know that we could socialize and make friends with?”
BRAIN: “How about… um, what’s her name?”
BRAIN: “You know, the one with blonde hair.”
ME: “You’re not really doing this very well either are you?”
BRAIN: “Charming. I’m the first one you turn to when an essay needs writing and this is how you talk to me?!”
And it goes on like that for quite a while.
In short, telling me to go out and make friends is like telling me to speak Swahili. It won’t happen overnight; firstly I need to find out more about what it is, where to go to learn and then how to do it. It frustrates my parents as they see my diagnosis with Asperger’s as pointless because it’s been almost a year and I still don’t have much of a social life. They don’t see the small victories that I am putting together, such as plucking up the courage to reach out to people on Facebook and by text to see if they want to go out and do stuff. They just don’t seem to understand how that’s a big deal for me.
I’m going to look for clubs and other places where I can meet and socialize with new people. Any tips/suggestions in the comments below would be greatly appreciated.