A Commentary by Reese Eskridge
Too often, neurotypicals expect a perfect useful relationship from a friend. They like friendships to be easygoing with as much similarity between two people as possible. Therefore, they hold higher expectations for the other side, even though the other side shares that same expectation. Due to the absence of fulfillment, neither person makes connections or sometimes people can become unreasonably selective in the friendship process. The reason for this is that both neurotypicals and aspies often feel like outcasts around certain groups of people.
If this happens too frequently, the inclination to make friends declines. However, this shared dilemma can actually help to foster the relationship between an aspie and a neurotypical or an aspie and another aspie, if they are willing to give a chance for that to happen. After all, few things feel more reassuring than being able to take up your worst fears and issues with others, knowing that they will not condemn you for them.
Here are some suggestions for becoming an aspie’s best friend:
1. Invite the aspie to an event. During that first meet and greet,
- Offer the aspie a very warm welcome and allow them to speak their mind or to be quiet altogether. This strategy helps the aspie to acclimate to their surroundings in all ways.
- Have fun while allowing the aspie as much space, time, and opportunity for something as he or she desires. This allows you to assess the aspie’s comfort zones and personal traits as they apply to the social context.
- Make the climate down-to-earth, calm for those who experience sensory overload (or exciting for sensory seekers), and uplifting. Uplifting in this case means that the aspie’s new friend can introduce the aspie to new and engaging opportunities that simultaneously foster personal growth and the personal relationship on both sides.
2. After the first day, express interest in the aspie’s intense interests, even if you do not truly appreciate them at first. Then, inquire about the aspie’s life.
- Whether it is video games, books, or TV shows, aspies always have that one thing that keeps them preoccupied. The aspie loves to come out of their shell to show their intense interest to others hoping that they will take a similar level of interest in that something. Therefore, allow the aspie to go into detail about it.
- Additionally, ask questions as you go along day by day, rather than all at once. It is almost never a good idea to either keep completely silent or to jump all over the aspie.
- If both sides do thoroughly enjoy it all, it sets the tone for an amazing, expanding friendship that makes virtually everything else simpler.
3. As you get to know the aspie, be non-judgmental, but tell the aspie if something is inappropriate in a given instant. Then, demonstrate or explain an example of what they could do better while noting strong and desirable aspects. This kind of accountability helps the aspie to understand the qualities of a true companionship. It is not about enabling, it is about what is in everyone’s best interest.
4. Make a mutual arrangement to try something that is completely unfamiliar to the both of you. After all, there is no better way to conquer fears than with a companion who sees you through it all. This is important for aspies because they require more time to process the thoughts that trigger feelings of intimidation and discomfort.
Simultaneously, however, the aspie’s friend must insist on the aspie to not let those challenging feelings ruin their good time. This is a fully give/fully receive dynamic in which both sides give each other their all.
5. Show the aspie your own interests. This is better in the case of anxiety and overload on the aspie’s part. Aspies typically have a relatively strong inner child and, therefore, have a greater sense of appreciation for the easygoing things, such as arts and crafts, movies, collections, and more. This permits the aspie’s companion to get closer with the aspie.
However, if these activities never promote personal growth, the aspie may fail to develop or take personal responsibility. This enabling can lead to dire consequences in adult life. After all, nobody likes someone who refuses to mature.
6. Help the aspie professionally, as well as personally; this is companionship and integrity at their best! Everybody relies upon somebody else for support in all kinds of life challenges. Examples of which include:
- offering tips and insights for getting a job
- taking a particularly useful and intriguing class or course inside or outside of school
- identifying and sporting a new fashion trend
- getting involved in a rigorous sport.
In the aspie’s childhood, it could mean getting the aspie to play with other kids using the process above. In adolescence, it could mean expanding interests in order to set future goals and priorities. The adolescent aspects continue into adulthood.
The best-case scenarios encompass activities that allow the aspie the opportunity to develop various transferable skill sets, such as attributing the aspie’s ability to talk about something in-depth to a job interview. This helps to make the aspie better able and more willing to sell their qualities during a job interview or networking event. In short, this kind of relationship allows the aspie to connect the dots at the personal level as they build a high-quality profile and reputation.
To sum it all up, in order to be an amazing friend to an aspie, the best philosophy to adopt is to demonstrate as many definitions of sensitivity, positivity, and accountability as possible. Those who go extra miles for aspies will have the privilege of relishing in the aspie’s pure personality and soul.
By Reese Eskridge
Reese Eskridge is a Production Technician with Fairville Products who is passionate about working in the sciences (biology) and wishes to take his work experiences further into the fields of Educational Neuroscience; Science Fiction; Freelance Writing; Disability Advocacy; Public Speaking; Leadership and Entrepreneurship. Aspergers101 is proud to offer the insights and perceptions of the talented Mr. Eskridge to our team of bloggers as he is a great example of living life on the spectrum to it’s fullest!