What I Wish My Aspie Girlfriends Knew About Friendship
1. I wish all aspies would read Dale Carnegie's How To Win Friends and Influence People. And take notes. And work on applying what they read.
Applying the principles in Carnegie's book will draw people to you. It teaches you how to show interest in another person. It focuses on making the other person feel appreciated. It teaches you to shut up and listen. And to ask questions about what someone else is interested in. People are by nature very interested in themselves. So if you act sincerely interested in them, you will be showered with attention. People will like to be around you! But a meaningful female friendship takes even more to sustain than Carnegie's book delves into (it was written by a man, you know).
2. I wish my aspie girl friends would accept that a close friendship involves mutual sharing. This is give and take. This includes asking about the feelings of others. It also includes sharing your own feelings. But maybe feelings talk is beyond you. Okay. Mutual sharing of some sort is still required. At least habitually ask something about others. And habitually share at least a little something about yourself.
Some of my aspie girl friends never ask anything about me. They talk about topics of interest (that is, topics of interest to them), but never ask about my life, my thoughts, my health, anything. These are very superficial companions--and it is very hard to feel close to these aspies.
And then I have a few aspie girl friends who ask a lot of questions about my family, my health (no, not about my feelings--are you kidding?), but do not share anything about themselves. This gets old. Because friendship should be give and take. Give of yourself by asking about others, yes. But the give also involves letting the other person "in" to your life/thoughts/feelings as well. Because too much "giving" of yourself in the realm of mere asking about others . . . can seem like "taking" too much from the other person.
The asker-only aspie can come across as an intense counselor or may even make the NT feel as if she is standing before the Inquisition. It can be downright frightening at times to be the "special interest" and focus of a female aspie! These are often the aspie females who will never respond to your questions via email, either. "How are you? What did the doctor say? Are you okay?" C'mon, aspie girls. If someone asks you a question it means they care about you. Please make the time to answer it. Answering questions about yourself and voluntarily sharing at least a little something about yourself (on a regular basis) is necessary fodder for a solid female friendship.
Sound tricky and confusing and way too difficult? Not to an NT. It comes naturally. Your turn, my turn. You share, now I share. I give, now you give. It's a dance and NTs assimilate this naturally on the playground as wee bairns [children].
If you truly care (and you keep saying that you do) about sustaining friendships with other females, it will take very hard work. Stop throwing your hands in the air and whining about how you always try and it never works. Keep trying and keep working. Read books on friendship. Get interested in the study of friendship. Make it a scientific research project and determine to master this subject area with the dedication of a PhD student completing a thesis. Ask questions about others. Respond to questions via email (quickly). And share a little something about yourself. And keep doing all of these things. Over and over again.
You can do it. And we can be friends.