There is a common misconception that those on the spectrum don’t like to make friends or being around people. The facts are actually that’s it’s difficult to make and keep friends when you’re on the spectrum, and sensory processing issues and anxiety can make it difficult to be around people. But hey, if you can deal with those things, people rock. I have a wide array of friends. I’ve never understood cliques. I get squeamish the minute I feel one forming around me. Limit my horizons? Ew. No thank you.
There’s another misconception about those of us on the spectrum. People really believe that we don’t have feelings, because we don’t display them like our neurotypical peers. The fact is in this situation, we feel TOO much and have a hard time processing and displaying such intense emotion. In actuality, I believe we feel more than others.
Which brings me to the point of this piece. What happens when someone that you love intensely doesn’t love you back? I’ve had this happen in many different scenarios from boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, and family. The one that will keep me awake, staring at the black ceiling at night, is losing a friend. I’ve lost friends over many things. Being too weird, being too outspoken, being too honest, being a jerk sometimes (typically during sensory overload or meltdown), being too much of an activist, and the one that hurts the most…being too autistic.
When someone that you love doesn’t love what is at the heart of your existence, it is the ultimate betrayal. There isn’t much that hurts worse, and I’m a professional at pain management…So how do you recover? How do you move forward? Well, it depends on the situation. If you’re to blame for the loss in trust or friendship, go to them. Don’t be too proud to apologize. Be real, and then give them time to process. They may not be able to forgive you right away. They may never…but you tried. They may actually care for you enough to forgive you, and while your relationship may be awkward for a while, there’s a depth that comes from weathering those storms and coming out together. Just…be patient. You were a jerk. Don’t do that again.
If someone can’t handle your honesty, you need to ask yourself a couple of things. Are you a blunt jerkwad? If you are, go through everything I just described about being a jerk, and hope for the best. Then work on not being a jerk, because hey…you’re losing friends. If you aren’t a jerkwad, but are in fact, a loving, honest friend who doesn’t want to see your doofus friend get hurt, then hold your ground. They’ll likely come around apologizing, OR they’ll continue being stupid…and really…who needs that ish in their life, amiright??
Finally, the biggest loser of them all…the one who leaves because of your neurology. Forget them. Seriously. Don’t you DARE shed one more tear on someone who is so shallow, they would walk away from you over this. You may not be perfect, but you’re the one concerned with salvaging a relationship while you should be sleeping. So honey, you ain’t the problem here. You are beautiful. You’re a mess, but you’re a beautiful mess, and you deserve friends who are going to support you. I know it’s hard, but they’re out there. Don’t waste your time crying over the wrong ones.
And get some sleep.