Friends: Making Them, Keeping Them, Outgrowing Them

I need to tell you guys that I have always struggled making friends. Even in primary school my social skills were below average, so much so that the school told my mother they were concerned. 

My brother, a good ten years after that, was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Despite not having been tested, even he tells me that I am right up there on the Autistic Spectrum, and maybe that’s why I couldn’t bond with other children. I’m also a massive introvert. I have a short list of people I enjoy spending time with, and I still need a good twenty four hours to recover, even when it’s my own daughter I’ve been conversing with. I can’t stand small talk and I have no time at all for ignorant people. I’ve very often been called antisocial, but here’s the thing: I’m not.

I love intelligent conversation, and just like everyone else, sometimes I need a friend. If I’m left alone for too long I too start to feel stir crazy. The problem that I have is finding people I can connect with, connecting with them (in a way that doesn’t make me look like a crazy person), and then staying connected with them. It just never lines up. 

There was a point in my life about three years ago when my social life was crazy; I was constantly making plans with friends, extended family, colleagues and so on. Then the truth came out about X and I just… Stopped. The first point of contact was my best friend, who’s seen me through the past ten years with unconditional loyalty. I made a point of avoiding all my “newer” friends, and all my colleagues. These people weren’t close enough to me to see my grief and my desperation; and half of them knew X before they became friends with me! What would happen if they didn’t believe me? If they took sides? I didn’t want to risk it. I cut them all off, without hesitation. I moved house without saying a word to anyone. I disappeared.

It’s not the first time, either. I’ve done a runner in the middle of the night before; changed my name and waltzed into a new city, not knowing anyone and not preceeded by my reputation. It’s not pleasant, but it’s the way I have had to live at times.

I had assumed though, that moving back to my hometown was the end of all that. I had hoped that finding the courage to talk to other parents in the playground, and to head back to social media, would help me to make new friends. A lot of people have talked about how you outgrow your friends over time, but when you become a parent you can forge new, deep and lasting friendships. While I have found myself outgrowing a few of my old friends, I am yet to feel a deep and genuine connection with the new “accquaintances” I have made. Sure, I know them. We talk about our kids and we arrange playdates. We just… Don’t get much further than that. We don’t have much in common.

I wonder sometimes if I come across as an antisocial person. Perhaps that’s where the issue lies. Writing an Anonymous blog does sort of make it look like I am shielding myself from the world! Please understand though, when I say, I do want to connect with people. I want to make friends. I just want those friendships to be real. 

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