General Question

hug_of_war's avatar

How do you know or ask if someone is a friend?

Asked by hug_of_war (10715points) June 12th, 2012

This is a bit complicated. As I’ve said previously, I’m autistic (asperger’s) and I have an impossible time making friends due to issues reading people and other stuff. The last time I made a new friend was when I was 14. I am 23, nearly 24 now.

The few friends I have are people I know from high school (we all live in the same area still) but as is probably true for everyone, those relationships are not what they were in high school.

The person I am closest to, I’m not sure if she really considers me anyone anymore. I want to flat out ask her, so I can move on. But I also don’t want to cause a situation where the person feels pressured to say yes.

I don’t know what to do. I’ve been having lots of dreams about times when I had friends and then I wake up and get all depressed about my extremely solitary life. So I think I really need to know the truth, for my own mental health.

But as I said, I’m not too sure how to go about it.

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6 Answers

BBawlight's avatar

Just ask them. You will feel much better about it afterwards.

wundayatta's avatar

I think in your situation you need to just be straight with people. Tell them you have a hard time reading signals because your aspergers makes it hard to pick up cues. So you need them to help you out. Could they please tell you straight what they want from the relationship. Ask them not to say friends if they don’t want to do things with you. If it’s time to end the relationship, just tell you. It’s not going to hurt your feelings because you are aspie (or some such nonsense—people will believe anything).

The point is, you need them to tell you the truth, and you don’t want them to lie to you to save your feelings, even if it does hurt your feelings. You need to know.

But here’s a hint. You’re really not any worse off than anyone else. No one is all that great at reading other people. Instead, read their behavior. Look at what they do, not what they say. If they never respond to your invitations, and they don’t offer excuses, then it’s a good sign that things are over. Let them go. You don’t need them to write it down and sign it in triplicate.

It doesn’t matter what people say. It matters what they do. We can all read what people do as well as anyone else.

jordym84's avatar

When it comes to friends and friendships, if it’s the real deal, there shouldn’t be any doubts. I would suggest approaching your friend in question tactfully and letting her know about your concerns in a non-menacing manner. If she’s your true friend, she won’t judge you for it, and depending on how she reacts, you’ll know if she’s someone you want to keep around or not.

In terms of making new friends, though I used to have issues making new ones after moving to a new place (language barrier, culture shock, and the fact that I was very shy and reserved), I’ve managed to secure myself a very close group of friends, first by accepting myself, which allowed me to be who I am, and secondly by putting myself out there and not hiding behind my limitations (the shyness, for example). Though not many, I take solace, pride, and joy in the fact that they’re all the friends I need because they just make me happy. I don’t know how hard it is for you to put yourself out there, but don’t let your “disability” hold you back. I’m not an expert in Asperger’s and you no doubt know way more about it (its challenges, limitations, etc.) than I could ever understand, but from the little I know, I’d say you have a lot more to offer than you seem to be allowing yourself to believe. Just be yourself and whoever likes you for who you are, make them your friend :)

Best of luck!!!

jrpowell's avatar

Whoa, why is it all or nothing? I have friends I haven’t seen in ten years. They are still friends we just don’t see each other anymore since they have grown up while I remain a man-child.

We will hug if we see each other but that isn’t very often since they have jobs/wife/kids.

But they are friends since I don’t want to burn their house down.

Asking is a terrible idea since it is polarizing. You aren’t 16 anymore. Hanging out isn’t on peoples list of shit I need to get done today. They didn’t stop being your friend. If you want them to hang out have a BBQ and buy the keg.

zensky's avatar

I ask.

E.g., I asked @johnpowell once and he said no, he isn’t my friend. I thanked him for his candor.

annewilliams5's avatar

@wundayatta Great answer! Even here on this site we misread each other. Often times we mean the best for each other, and it is taken in an opposite way.
Just ask. You’ll be better off.

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