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Navigating Friendships & Building Connections

Updated: Feb 14



Autism often shapes the way individuals interact with the world. Exploring the realm of friendships for those on the autism spectrum reveals unique challenges and triumphs that contribute to the rich tapestry of human connections.

 

Want to know some facts about autism and friendship? These facts can help neurotypical people create and build friendships with autistic people:

 

1. Diverse Communication Styles:

Autistic individuals may have diverse communication styles, including non-verbal cues or unique expressions. For example, I use emojis in my text messages, so my friends can understand my emotions when I respond to them. Understanding and embracing these differences can foster deeper connections.

 

2. Sensory Sensitivities:

Many autistic individuals experience sensory sensitivities, which can impact social interactions. For instance, I’ve never been to a concert before because I’m sensitive to loud noises, though my friends would watch concerts with me on TV or on my laptop so I can control the volume. Creating environments that accommodate these sensitivities can enhance the comfort of autistic friends.

 

3. Strength in Routine:

Autistic individuals often find comfort in routines. Establishing predictable patterns within friendships can provide a sense of security, strengthening the foundation of the relationship.

 

4. Empathy and Loyalty:

Contrary to stereotypes, autistic individuals can display profound empathy and loyalty in friendships. I’m so thankful for all of the friends in my life. My camp friend Gabby and I have been friends for 20 years this year. My group of best friends ever since middle school, they all live in New Jersey, and it’s been over 10 years of friendships. I’ve made sure to keep in touch with everyone in various communication styles along with meeting in person. I made new friendships in Florida as well since last year through All Friends Network by connecting online and in person. All in all, autistic people’s commitment to understanding and supporting friends can create lasting bonds.

 

5. Literal Interpretation:

Autistic individuals may interpret language literally, leading to potential misunderstandings. Autistic people sometimes do not understand metaphors, such as myself. Clear communication and mutual understanding can bridge these gaps and nurture strong friendships.

 

6. Shared Interests as Bridges:

Identifying and embracing shared interests can serve as powerful bridges in forming friendships. For example, I love music and a friend of mine for 10 years now loves music too; we’ve known each other since high school in New Jersey. We are both in Florida now, and my friend has so much knowledge of music that he incorporates his interest with music into drumming and collects vinyl records. Autistic individuals often thrive when engaging in activities aligned with their passions. Neurotypical people can connect with autistic people through shared special interests.

 

In unraveling the intricacies of friendships involving autism, it becomes evident that understanding, acceptance, and a willingness to adapt contribute to the foundation of meaningful connections. By recognizing and celebrating the unique qualities that each individual brings to the table, we foster an inclusive environment where friendships can thrive.

 

Any questions? Share them in the comments section!



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