The troubles of making friends for someone with an Autism Spectrum Disorder is something that I experience everyday. Stated as criteria for diagnosis, one main factor of ASD is the lack of social skills that one must have and needs to develop. I made my first real friend in sixth grade and today as I am writing this post as a newly turned eighteen-year-old, I have only a couple of friends. They are a small but mighty crew.
As many of you know, I had the honor of being a 2019 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award recipient. I embarked on a five day leadership retreat with the fourteen other teenage activists who won the award with me. I enjoyed the time I spent on the retreat and met some fabulous people along the way.
I realize that I created bonds with these other teens, however, I am still confused as to if they are “friends” or not. The term “friend” means many different things to many different people, and I often cannot realize when someone is my “friend” versus acquaintance. I am wanting to make new friends but I do not know if they want to be friends with me. Do you see my dilemma?
Sometimes I feel isolated, in a spot where I don’t know what to do: step back and wait for someone to be friendly to me or take a step forward and be the first one to be friendly. It’s a battle that I usually do not know how to win.
If you are a Diller awardee and reading this, please let me know where we stand! I will keep you all updated at how my social life and friendships go in the near future.