Verbal communication and actions are over rated.
For example, for the past 12 months while I’ve been in burnout, I haven’t heard from hardly any of my friends and barely any of my family, and I’ve got a lot of friends and family, so this isn’t usual.
This has been a true god send to me. Most of them don’t even know yet that I’m autistic and they certainly don’t know I’ve been in a burnout, they have no idea.
However, since I’ve started to feel better, I’ve had a steady but manageable (so far) stream of friends contacting me. Inviting me out for lunch, to go for a walk, to go nordic walking, cycling, one friend who knows I would love to go to Marrakesh has paid for and booked a holiday there for us in June, the same friend has also booked a hotel for us next week so we can go to listen to her favourite band who are coming over from America. None of her friends like the band so they won’t go but she knows I’d go to the end of the world for her if needs be so although I don’t like going to listen to bands, I’m happy to go with her because I know how important it is to her and she’s insisted that she pay for that as well. We might not see each other or have any kind of contact for months and months on end but she knows she can rely on me to the degree that if i’m able to help or be there for her in any way, I will be. She doesn’t have the same level of confidence in the friends she hangs out with all the time.
I have other invites coming in as well, as well as friends popping up to simply say hi, how are you. I don’t keep in regular verbal or physical contact with my friends or family but we are in touch constantly by something much stronger than our words and actions. They didn’t know that I need their friendships right now, that their friendships are what will help me on my next leg of the journey. I’ve decided to go back to India and Bali and some other countries so I’m going to be away for a while this time, maybe a few years, maybe forever, who knows, so it’s great that I get to see some of my friends before I go. And no matter where I am in the world, at least one of my family or friends (who are my family) will come and visit me. They have been to Australia, Bali, India, the Isle of Man, all the places I’ve lived in the UK, wherever I go or wherever I am my friends keep in touch with me some how. I’ve even had letters and cards arrive at remote ashrams I’ve been at in India ~ I wouldn’t even know you could do that!
I don’t keep in touch with them so much but they never let me out of their hearts and visa versa. They all encourage and support me no matter what I do. My dad is currently encouraging me to walk the Pacific Crest Trail, another friend bought me the book with the route etc and I just know that whether I want them to or not, at least one of them will come and see me while I’m walking the trail and either walk a bit of the trail with me or for me to have a little stop off with them. I know when my sister is hurt and in which part of her body and visa versa and she’s the least ‘spiritual’ person you could ever come across.
This is a few days later now and I have to admit that the messages from friends and family is starting to become a little overwhelming for me now. I’ll handle it. But what I’m saying is, if I had to rely on verbal communication, I don’t think I’d have any friends at all, but I speak to them in my language. They don’t use this language with other people and they have no idea really how it works with me but it does and I’m overflowing with gratitude at the love and friendship that’s pouring my way now, now that I’m ready to receive it.
Verbal communication hurts my head, sign language is a bit better but I much prefer to communicate in a non verbal, none sign language way. That way I don’t have to get past all your understandings and you beyond mine before we reach some level of mutual understanding.
This is why I love silent retreats and the level of friendships you form there go way deeper than the ones you make when you are verbally communicating or communicating through body language.
I love it when I go mute but that doesn’t happen very often so I have to accept that I was given the ability to speak for some reason. I have surrendered to this now so now I will be guided in whatever way I need to be and if it means using my voice, so be it. I don’t hate it like I used to. I accept I can speak and now I’m not fighting it I guess I’ll soon find out why I can. I still find verbal/body language to be a very crude and harsh form of communication though.
Wow. Having too many friends. People that actually want to spend time with you. What a problem to have.
Problem? Sorry, I take things literally so you might not mean what you said but I haven’t got a problem with anybody or anything. I don’t have problems, they don’t interest me.
You said you were overwhelmed with all the attention you're getting which I took to be a problem.
I was being a bit sarcastic there. I honestly cannot imagine what it must be like to have people who care, not to mention too many of them. Just indulging in a bit of self-pity.
It’s overwhelming in the sense that I have barely left my house for a year so I need to be mindful that I can’t suddenly expect myself to suddenly be going out and being around people every day. I can’t describe how lucky I feel to have such an out pouring of love and friendship and it’s like I’m seeing it as if it’s the first time. I don’t think a person can ever have too many friends, I just need to remember that too much human contact, no matter how enjoyable, leaves me burnt out and exhausted so I am learning, through baby steps, to manage that better.
BlueRay said:I don’t think a person can ever have too many friends
Really? I always laugh when I see people on Facebook with 849 friends, or something like. I can't name a single friend in my day-to-day life. I have a very select few Facebook friends, and most of them are people I've never met. They're fellow Aspies, or people in other countries who interest me because they're 'different' in some way. Gays, social drop-outs, radicals, etc. We exchange messages from time to time, but that's it. Most of my daily interaction with others (apart from at work) is on here.
I feel for Aspies who would desperately like to have friends. There are many amongst us who are very lonely. Personally, I'm happier being alone and not having friends - it doesn't bother me too much. But others don't feel the same.
I, too, think you're lucky to have people who care for you and look out for you, BlueRay. I expect many people here are wondering what the secret is.
Why would you laugh at people for having friends? I don’t understand? But it’s ok for you to have friends?
I guess the secret is, I love ALL people therefore I am friendly to EVERYONE I meet and I guess when you are friendly to people and you love them they’re friendly back to you and they love you. I haven’t got any other secrets, not that that’s a sectet. Jesus told it to the world a long time ago, but I was friendly even as a kid, even before I’d even heard the name Jesus. I was always friendly as a kid. I appeared to be shy and I liked my own company, which I still do, I didn’t understand the other kids and people around me then and I still don’t but it didn’t stop me from being friendly and loving people then just like it doesn’t now.
One friend is fiercely loyal and loving to me (they all are actually) even though I hardly ever see her and all I did for her, was smile at her and speak to her in the school playground. Apparently her son had just moved to my sons school from another school. My son didn’t start school until he was 6 so they were both starting round about the same time. I saw her stood by herself in the school playground while we were waiting for the kids to come out one day and I walked up to her, smiled and said hello. She told me years later that I was the first person to be friendly to her at that school. She said all the other parents had ignored her. She said my friendly act of saying hello to her gave her the confidence to not let the other parents get her down. Our sons became good friends and they were in the same football team so we spent time together at football matches etc and we’ve had nights out because I introduced her to some of my friends (because I learned she was new to the area) who lived near her and she has been best friends with them ever since, for almost 30 years now. So when I’ve had nights out or in or whatever with my friends, she is part of that friendship circle now and a good friend to me.
If I see anybody looking a bit distressed or something, I’ll ask them if they’re ok and if there’s anything I can do to help. That might turn into a lasting friendship. I sometimes, actually often, just go and talk to people while I’m out walking or whatever and just have a nice chat. That might turn into a lasting friendship. One of my latest friendships came after I walked into a shop in town on my way to the job centre for my first appointment, after I started to have a meltdown. I walked into the first shop and said I’m having a meltdown, I’m autistic and I’m on my way to the job centre and I just need to calm down. It turned out the woman who owned the shop said, my son is autistic, he’s stood there, go and talk to him. So I did. He calmed me right down, gave me the strength I needed to face the job centre and he told me about the autism group that I now go to every week. I love him so much and he makes me laugh. He’s like my best friend at the autism group and we both look forward to seeing each other every week.
I meet friends in lots of different ways but generally, I do it by being friendly, loving everybody and judging nobody. I don’t have any secrets but I do have lots of friends so maybe that’s the secret, being friendly. I like having loving kind people in my life so I am loving and kind to the people I meet. I have still got the friends who I grew up with from being a baby, several of the kids who lived on my street are still active friends of mine. But it’s the same for my brother and sister and cousins as well and all their friends are my friends as well. In fact, a lot of my friends have come through my sister and brother. I didn’t use to know how to make friends so my sister used to take me out with her, even though she’s younger. I was in my mid twenties by this time I think. Before that I had my brothers friends or kids off the street. I’m just a really friendly person and people are rarely if ever, not friendly back to me and if they’re not, I figure they need some silent love sending their way and to be left alone. I don’t judge people and if I do, if for example I get angry at someone for something they did to me, for example, that I didn’t like. I own that. I don’t blame my anger or hurt on them. I know they can’t hurt me so the hurt must be in me. And I deal with it.
So yeah, I guess it’s what Jesus said, although I don’t do it because he said it, but I love my neighbours as much as myself and I treat people how I like to be treated and they seem to do the same back to me.
BlueRay said:Why would you laugh at people for having friends? I don’t understand? But it’s ok for you to have friends?
Because who, seriously, has 849 friends. Or 1,445 friends (as one person does whom I've seen on Facebook). Interestingly, too, it's often the good looking women with lots of alluring selfies who seem to have the most. Even having 100 friends would require a form of social maintenance that would take up all of your available time. Such 'friendships' can never be more than superficial. Most people have one or two, at most four, close friends. A lot of Aspies, myself included, have none at all. As I said, it doesn't bother me. And I'm glad for people who have friends. They're not my concern, though. It's those who want friends and don't have them - for all sorts of reasons - that I worry about. It isn't just a matter of having more confidence to go out there and find them, either. It's about so much else.