Welcome, today I go into always feeling anti social during social events… with my Autism, it’s automatic people! Turns itself on when I go out and see friends or when I’m at work etc It can make me feel like no one will be interested in anything I say or do…it’s true that some days are dark and lonely because of this but quite a lot, it’s all down to me because I discovered that a lot of the time, it was in fact myself that made me feel that way by casting doubt into my own mind and heart. I’ll talk about a few moments from my past and pretty much say how I started off really bad at making friends but as I get older, I slowly begin to get better at it and why I think that is the case.
Making friends, creating memories together and going to places to meet other people, all things that we go through during our life times or in most cases at least but sometimes, that doesn’t happen for everyone, many unheard voices go through life without having ever made a single friend…sounds very unlikely when you consider the amount of people we have on this planet but it does happen! Moments in your life where you have to socialise with other people can be scary…I’ve found many moments during my life to be terrifying and most of them have been so because I didn’t do very well and would stand in a corner by myself, wishing I could just go home, wondering why I even bothered in the first place.
Despite all of my failures in being social as a child, I have had friends come and go throughout my life, up to the point that I have my lifetime friends by my side always and I know I can always have a good time with them and I feel happy around them, even having one of them as my best man and some of my other close friends as groomsmen which made me feel really happy as I never thought I would even have a friend to ask but I ended up with 4 groomsmen. I feel fortunate that I have the good friends that I have because at one point, I convinced myself that it would never happen!
It sounds like I don’t have any issues being social and truth be told, I don’t…however, it hasn’t always been that way because as I said earlier on, I struggled greatly as a child to make friends and be social…in fact when I think about it, I struggled more before I was diagnosed with Autism then afterwards…well a few years after my diagnosis I got better at it!
I started off not so bad as I had friends at my special needs school but once I left that place, I struggled to make decent friends with many people in school and often spend my times being ridiculed and alone. Not happy days for me and I didn’t even know I had Autism at this stage in my life but I had an idea that something was up as I would always do things without thinking about consequences, whether I was upsetting anyone or not…such thoughts never entered my head and was probably why my childhood wasn’t as good as it probably could have been if I was more aware of what I had at an earlier age, who knows but what happened, happened and it left me feeling negative and not wanting to go near anyone for a very long time.
Going to college though was a huge help for me as it gave a fresh new start after being a disaster at school that left a bad taste in my mouth and made me distrustful of people altogether. You would think that things would only get worse from here because of how I felt, I had pretty much given up on ever making a true friend but I was very wrong! It didn’t take long at all for me to be nice and include me in things…no time at all and that made me wonder just why school went so wrong…had I gotten lucky or something?
Throughout the next 5 years, I would make friends with many people on my courses and my confidence would continue to grow each time, up to the point that I was mostly able to forget all of the hard times in school and accept that I was just with some bad and stupid eggs that I was better away from! However, from time to time I would find myself experiencing meltdowns at awkward times and feel down that people would like me anymore because I was being weird…I began to feel down again but my friends would always bring me back and help me up…no one had ever done that before and it was an eye opener, not everyone is bad, if you can find the right people which are everywhere…anyone can make a friend! My confidence was that high, I even got a girlfriend who’s now my wife!
Eventually, I decided to take the next step, move away from home and go to University was I was terrified off as I had never lived by myself and so far away from home before, I’ll never forget that first moment once my parents drove away after dropping me off and It all clicked, I was on my own now and it was scary…I wasn’t sure if I could make the most of it all or would I crack and want to go home! That first night, I met some of my flatmates and we agreed to go to another flat for a meet and greet drinking party…I was nervous but reluctantly went along, even though I wanted to run into my room and lock the door.
I stepped into the flat kitchen later on with my flat mates and all I saw in the place was a big group of students huddled into the reasonable space which was a decent size kitchen but it contained more than 10 people! So it was a tad bit cramped which I’ll admit was my first issue with the evening, I sometimes feel scared in tight spaces…maybe I’m claustrophobic? Everyone was already drunk and playing drinking games on the counter tops and it amazed me how quick some people can make friends when they have only just met when it can take me weeks or months to feel comfortable around just one person, let alone a whole room!
I shortly made my excuses and went back to my dorm room, feeling sorry for myself but to my surprise…my roommates were…proud of me! They were happy that I at least gave going out a go and that really made things better for me, no one was disappointed or thought that I was being weird…they said we’d try again and take it step by step, I felt like at that moment, I had gone full circle…from the first time I ever went to a social event at a club in my hometown as a child, being all alone and feeling bad about it, as an adult…I was praised for at least trying, no pressure was on me and I would eventually get the hang of it, that speaks volumes for me.
I’ve had ups and downs throughout my life…I’ve liked to play it safe at times because I was to scared to take that next step for whatever reason, like how I stayed in dorms for my entire time in University because I was to scared to ask anyone if I could move in with them, it was an experience as some were good and some were really annoying but that’s life, an experience! Not everyone I met was nice but the difference here was I knew that, as a child…I was naive and didn’t see that in people…it led me to being bullied because of it yet I feel like it opened my eyes and prepared me for times like this…life is an experience, we choose whether we listen to it’s lessons or not.
I have good friends, a wife, family and I can go somewhere and have a good time….just maybe not all the time!