Saturday, 7 November 2009


It's dawning on me that my concept of friendship isn't quite what I thought it was. I think I've been under the influence of friendship-by-proximity. I've changed jobs a few times and I know the drill…everyone says they want to keep in touch but you all drift apart anyway. Lots of people I know are still friends with people from old jobs so I know it's just me…or more accurately people with Asperger's Syndrome.

I've always liked the people I worked with in my previous job and liked spending time with them. Or so I thought. Now that I've changed jobs and don't have to spend time with them and will only have to go to things I'm invited to…I have a strange feeling coming over me. Almost like a weight off my shoulder. Not a big weight, not a boulder…more like a few handfuls of sand. I'm subconsciously coming to terms with the fact that I probably won't ever see any of them ever again and it's actually a strange relief of sorts.

So does part of my brain force me to believe I am friends with these people because I have to be? Because I work with them? Or do I do my best to be friends but I don't recognise the mental effort it takes, so now I don't have to be friends with them I can avoid having to make that effort? Sure I lose the friends, but my life is easier.

The other aspect to this is one of paranoia I guess. Not being able to read people's motives or genuine feelings very well I don't know if they also are only friends-by-proximity too. Do they only pretend to be friends with me because they have to? Because they work with me? I don't know to be honest, and I'm not sure I want to contact these people to say "hey you want to go for a drink tonight?" only to be met with ums and ahs and excuses.

I just feel like as the days drift on I'm getting more and more used to the fact that that part of my life is now over and I'll probably never return to it. And not only that, but for the rest of my life I might never really find a genuine, stay-with-me friend. For many reasons - not just because I find it hard to know what is involved in maintaining a friendship, but now I also realise I have a fear of committing myself to something that is not reciprocated. A fear that as I don't know who is a genuine friend I could end up feeling humiliated.

1 comment:

Wild Animal said...

this makes sense, and mirrors my experience through life.

i had friends in primary school and middle school, lost touch with most of them, made new ones in high school, lost them as soon as i went to uni. made zero friends at uni which was a really traumatic experience for me, dropped out and made friends in a social activist group. this was different i told myself - the other friendships were just accidents of schooling. these were 'real' friends that would last.

They didn't. I moved, started working, made new friends, left after 12 years, kept in touch with a couple for a few months then, new friends at new work, another job, friendships faded, current job, no friends and it's staying that way.

Well, there's one guy. we worked together a few years ago. He's a bit like me, keeps to himself, doesn't do small talk. We've worked a few feet apart from each other for the last two years. i know he's married but i don't know his wife's name. i know he had cats but i don't know if he has kids. i just spent two weeks off work with cracked ribs. first day back, we said hello at the beginning, worked pretty much in silence and then said goodbye at the end.

It's not 'normal' is it? but i'd have to say he's the nearest thing I have to a friend these days!

and yeah, the lifting of weight that comes from not having to see them again..

as i was saying somewhere else tonight, i find it easier (not easy) to have online friendships rather than the other kind.

BTW do you know what's happening with Matt? I commented on his blog some time ago but all seems quiet?