Rant about friendships and trying to be an adult.

I was diagnosed last year in my mid thirties and I'm still finding my way through things and understanding more about myself and how ro deal with situations. I have lovely friends who I cherish a lot because it has taken a lot of effort to maintain. I don't like confrontation but in the period since my diagnosis I have had some minor altercations with friends. I suppose I am trying to be more assertive within myself and its either not expected by them or I am doing it in a different way to my neurotypical friends. Also on a couple of these occasions,  I think I've uintentionally tried approaching it in the way I see other people doing so. Maybe in something I've said or by doing it in a way they've done to me. I feel like it backfires. I'm trying to communicate at their level but it's like i can't do right for doing wrong. I also feel like often friends only contact me when they want to tell me something or are going through a bad patch. I'm a very good listener but this doesn't get reciprocated. I even just went straight to it with one friend "ive got some news I want to share" and I felt this backfired too because I'm always pandering to them but if I just want a little bit bsck what I give it is unexpected. If I have a problem I'm often not met with much but if a friend tells me about their problems I never hear the end of it. It's not a competition but theirs are always "worse". 

Today I was over apologetic which im trying to get away from. I need to stand up for myself more but I think I'd end up losing friends properly then rather than some little fallings out. Confrontation is hard and extremely uncomfortable. Maybe that's why people like me because I'm very agreeable. I'm trying to tell myself today wasn't catastrophic and this is the first time I've had crossed words with this friend in all the many years I've known them. It has sent me into a tailspin and I have tried diverting my attention by keeping busy but I'm still stuck on it.

I'm a grown adult and I'm fed up of having to negotiate people. I'm fed up of having to do adult things. Im trying to have a life with my partner in our house but I feel I just don't care about anything house related. People like to take pride in their homes but for me I just see everything as unnecessary "stuff". Im trying to play this game but in truth I don't care. I don't have a complicated life which I think some people take to think that I'm always ok and don't have any problems.  But then if I so much as mention a bit of something it's too much. I've heard before, autistic people are either too much or not enough. It's like i am expected to play to other people's rules but when I do, I'm not doing it right. So where does that leave me?

Thank you for reading.

  • It's good you started settingboundaries. It's puts all relations into a test, and what is true comes out. if they are jsut using you it;s not friendship. if you have to hide who you are it's not friendship. I think it's better to avoid wasting time on relations like that, if they won't do a little thing like listen, they won't help with bigger either.

    I had few clashes with my friends when I started talking about being autistic, or that I don't like something, hopefully they will recover from initial shock.

    I'm not worried about being to much or to little, because I was always to much for everyone, it's the charm, the dedication and full commitment, not halfways or halfmeassures

  • Yes setting boundaries with myself and others is something I'm starting to practise more. This friend is very good at doing that too, so I know where I stand which I appreciate. This one particular friend doesn't know I'm autistic.  I was actually going to tell them but now I've changed my mind. I've never considered if I'm being used by people...I don't think this is the case and there's give and take in friendships. I think I'm just to go to person for everyone's problems. Which is a strength but sometimes it'd be nice to go the other way with a friend instead of having to pay a professional. And my emotions can be at 0-2 or 9-10 without the bit in between so things often seem worse than what they are to me but I keep a cool head so no one actually knows.

    I think I'm just on one today.

  • Navigating the social structures in life can be tricky, in fact it’s just plain confusing at times. The hidden rules that always seem to change in social situations are forever out of grasp. Major things are obvious and therefore don’t require thought, but the subtler more intricate social norms are difficult to observe and understand. This is where direct communication, where words actually mean what they are supposed to mean are much more preferable. The only problem is, the largest group of the population don’t really see this as being the case, which can leave us stuck between a rock and a hard place. All of these communications require actual intense focus, which other don’t seem to need to put in.

    The setting of boundaries, as mentioned above, is really important though. I think, for me at least, it isn’t about setting these as others do, but rather stating things in a direct but polite way that I am happy with. I’m new at it, but I did it recently. In talking to some colleagues, things took a turn for the worse. They started talking badly about someone who wasn’t there at the time and tried to get me to comment on the situation. I don’t like this at all, so didn’t comment. Rather I stood silently and awkwardly until conversation moved on. It was the next day when one of them came to apologise to me. I chose that moment to say that I didn’t like that sort of thing and that, whilst they were free to vent to others, I’d appreciate it if they left me out of it due to how uncomfortable I was with the situation. I was polite and can guarantee that I wasn’t rude, so therefore I felt satisfied. It probably wasn’t the ‘normal’ way of establishing boundaries, but I was happy that I’d said what I needed to. The situation hasn’t happens since and we have spoken several times since then too. As long as you are clear and polite, I think others can deal with a bit of the pressure we put on ourselves all the time to consider our needs too. Not to comment on your friends of course, but rather more of a generalised statement to say that the needs of ND individuals count too. 

  • Yes boundaries are important and it sounds like it's work in practise for both of us to find our way through. It sounds like you'd had a good result from your experience.  I thought I was being polite but direct today. I think i actually have a lot more leeway than i think i do before people get pissed off.  This person was unhappy with me in the end but I've been telling myself it's ok for someone to be unhappy with me. So what? Moods change.  Actually on reflection they were quite rude to me and I could've said a lot more (ie if the boot was on the other foot what they'd probably have said to me). We didn't end on a bad note though. 

    The people who mind don't matter. The people who matter don't mind.

  • The people who mind don't matter. The people who matter don't mind.

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here. I like to consider the lengths I’d go to for someone else, especially a friend. It’s therefore reasonable, with that being the case, to expect the same courtesy every once in a while. Nothing groundbreaking, just a little sensitivity, consideration and respect.

    Also, it’s fair to assume that time to process your requests may be required. People react in all sorts of bizarre ways in the moment (cross words, rudeness, making light of something etc.). It might be that after a couple of days of standing by your expectations, that a bit of clarity appears. I’m pleased to read it didn’t end on a bad note for you though. It seems assertiveness is sort of new to both of us. Sometimes it’s a bit of a waiting game. But I wish you the best of luck with it.

  • It didn't end badly cos I made sure it didn't.  However with people, once their cards are marked, they are marked. I think the rudeness was down to lack of understanding on their part. Maybe they were just having a bad day. I think you are right...and mutual respect and consideration goes both ways. I don't think however, people understand the lengths I would go to or have already. It's interesting what you said in your previous post about navigating social structures.  It reminds me of something I heard an autistic person say.... we find the easy things difficult and the difficult things easy. Good luck too!

  • what ive found in myself personally when i try assertion, is that, as i expect conflict from it, i tend to escalate conflict from the start, and thus my attempts at assertiveness tend to have a very anger fueled component to them, youve not stated anything of the sort in yourself, but i felt it may be useful information regardless.

  • I am probably like that with people very close to me because I know relations are more solid to be able to withstand it. Or I might ve been like that in the past. Its good to hear others experiences, everyone's are valid!

  • I don't think on reflection I was assertive at all. This person thinks I'm ok with what happened (ie their rude response) when I'm not at all. But it's too late to say anything now.  This happened before in a different situation with someone else. I never learn.

  • I used to feel like that too. Now that I know it's miscommunication most often, that is not my fault, I can be a lot more in control

    once you get angry it's over