Another contradiction that I'm battling with:
I'm 95% deliriously happy to realise that I've never understood friendship, don't particularly need friends, love solitude & peace & quiet, & I'm relieved that people are leaving me alone, especially at work. But 5% of me feels that I'm now in solitary confinement and that this can't be a good thing in excess - but as soon as I meet someone I wish I hadn't and can feel the exhaustion building.
I was asked in my ADOS if I ever get lonely & I said no, but sometimes I thing that asking me if I ever get lonely is like asking a fish if it ever gets tired wings; the apparatus for processing the question simply isn't there.
I can get lonely but not in the sense most people do. I don't get lonely in my own company or with a very few trusted people but I do get lonely in a large group or crowd as it reminds me that I am different.
I only have a handful of close friends and I see them infrequently - but I've known them for decades. I suspect they are all undiagnosed aspies like me. They're all nerds and techies so we have lots to talk about.
I do Meetup.com for general superficial socialising - just to get out of the house and to keep myself sane/balanced to stop myself retreating into solitary hermit-mode. None of these people are nerdy like me so they will never get to proceed to the inner-circle of close friends.
Don't really ever feel lonely, but sometimes feel very alone...
I have a slightly different contradiction - I have a few people I would like to see more often, but when they ask I'm always busy with my own things, and I know if I change my plans I won't enjoy it because I'll just spend the whole time thinking about what I could be doing on my own.
I know that feeling! :-)
Oh, that is so familiar! I have forced myself to go to many social occasions, only to find that following the conversation is even harder than usual because I haven't crossed the t's and dotted the i's in some "special interest" project or other, or have an intense feeling that it's not right that the day doesn't match my expectations for it.
Especially as I've gotten older, another related problem has become more prevalent, too. My, now middle-aged, friends don't have the time for socialising that they used to have, so very often the only time they can make is for special occasions of one kind or another - i.e. the kind that involve a whole circle of friends getting together at once in an environment which I'll find overwhelming, such as a pub or restaurant. I feel as if I'm being rude and selfish if I don't attend, yet if I do, I can't honestly describe it as "socialising", as I'm constantly having to retreat into my shell to avoid becoming overloaded. I feel like I'm only really there in body, but not in mind, and may as well have sent a cardboard cutout in my place!
This kinda knocked me sideways - after so long thinking that no one feels the same way I do, it's really strange to hear someone able to relate - reassuring but... wow!
It doesn't even have to be something I actually want to be doing, nothing is allowed to disrupt my laundry schedule! For a while I had some colleagues who used to go out a lot after work, they gave up inviting me along, but then every now and again if I didn't have something to be doing I would ask to go with them. I do miss that because I did enjoy spending time with those people, when I could do it on my terms. I understand what you say about groups of people, even if you like each of them individually doesn't mean you enjoy seeing all of them at once. Is there any way you could meet them separately by fitting into their lives, maybe for a workday lunch, or invite them round for dinner? Everyone's gotta eat!
I'm done with Christmas Cards
Back to your original question though, I think if people exhaust you then you need to consider whether that's all people, or are there some who you can be around for longer than others? The people I manage to keep friendships with all tend to have some sort of mental health issues (not becuase of me!) and I think they are just quieter, less energetic, and also understand if you don't keep regular contact, or are tired, anxious and preoccupied and have to leave things early. I do think it's important for us to socialise some, just not as much as NT people.
I know today more now than ever, we are largely solitary creatures and more than happy in our own company but when the worst happens, as it has for me over the last few days,
we still need that trusted someone to turn to.