Be a Friend

I really hate telling sad stories about my life because I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. I mean, yes I have autism and yes I have a hard time making friends and yes I have struggled with depression and suicide for most of my life, but… I’m not dying. I’m not homeless. I have a family. I live in a country that allows me to follow religious convictions and express my opinions.

So autism isn’t really that bad in comparison. And I hate when people feel hopeless about autism because there is no reason to be hopeless. Autism is something that affects everything in your life, but there’s lots of things like that. We all have our problems that put a tinted lens on our life. Autism just happens to be the problem I’ve been blessed with.

But in saying all of that, I do want to tell a sad story for the sake of motivating others to do better. No, autism isn’t all bad. But yes, it would be a lot easier and a lot less disheartening if people did more to help.

A few stories have gone around over the last couple years about kids who didn’t have friends; their parent posted their need online and people responded to the call. These stories amaze me and sadden me because I was that kid. Not the one that got a response, but the one without friends on my birthday or friends to just hang out with or talk to.

I have had lots of people tell me that they would never have guessed I have autism. On a bad day, the only thing I can think is “Well, that doesn’t make it any easier to make friends.”

I have been teased in school, at church, in extracurricular activities. I have failed to make approachable friends in almost any situation you can think of. I am an extrovert so I’m usually not completely alone, but I am almost always lonely. And I have had birthdays where I have invited people and no one showed up and birthdays where I had no one to invite so I tried to pretend that I really didn’t want to have a party anyway.

Again, I’m not saying this so that you will feel sorry for me. I am saying this to make you think about someone else who might need you as much as I have needed people. I’m saying this so that you will look at your own life and the people around you and really see them.

Is there someone that you could give your friendship to more? Is there someone who maybe seems fine on the outside but is really hurting inside? Are you doing all you can to include people around you? And most of all, are you simply being a friend?

You never know if a friend of yours is struggling with autism or depression or grief or some other difficulty. Just be a friend to the people you can be a friend to and it will make the world a much better place.

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10 thoughts on “Be a Friend

  1. Thanks for sharing it really makes me reflect on how I’ve been going about relationships! I was at work today wondering why I did not have that many friends and you made me realize I was not trying to be a friend myself. Thank you:)

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve definitely had that problem over the years too. The first thing I always look at when I feel lonely is whether I’ve been the best friend I can be. If I have, then there’s not much I can do except try to be busy in other ways. But if I haven’t been the best friend I can be, then I need to work on myself before expecting others to reach out to me.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful encouragement for all of us to reach out to others, to look beyond the differences and see the real person. I hope your post makes each of think of one person who needs a friend- and to be that friend!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The only problem for me, as one with autism (amongst others) as well. I have tried often to be a friend, which also often was me trying to change so I could fit in. People always took those efforts for granted, since they could never begin to imagine how hard it is to try to fit in. But at times it worked, at least I thought it did, and I had friends. I did all I could to maintain that friendship, until they got what they wanted and I ended up feeling alone and used…
    I do have some dear friends now, and I do all I can to be a friend. But I did set limits to different kind of friendships, boundaries of some kind, to prevent me from being hurt again as I have been before.
    Being a friend is at times giving but also at other times being able to receive. One can not always be on the giving end… So indeed, be a friend to others, if you value their friendship. Even if you have bad experiences, like me, there will be people who do appreciate your efforts! And in turn, who will give back…
    Lovely post, hope my comment made some sense 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • It did make sense. And I agree, if you’re the only one working on a friendship, it’s not going to work out. Friendship is two-way. But part of my reason for writing this post was to point that out. That there are some of us who are trying with all we have to be a friend and make friends while others aren’t doing anything to help us out. If more people just tried to be receptive to others and notice others, it wouldn’t be so hard to make friends.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Friendship is such a complicated thing to navigate. learning “the rules” and then not being “too needy” or ‘too attentive” – UGH. So I will just take you overall point – and by the way, often the people who are sad and lonely are sad and lonely because they are without companionship, not inherently sad, lonely people right?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, I think so. I think most people that are lonely would be happier if they were just able to spend more quality time with others. I think people are born to be happy. We just sometimes have a hard time doing that when our needs aren’t met.

      Liked by 1 person

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