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Old 11-25-2021, 04:09 AM   #1
InkyTinks
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Default Do we need friends to be considered 'normal'?

I have Autism, Selective Mutism and Social Anxiety so making new friends face-to-face is very challenging as some social situations are so overwhelming it shuts me down and I can't speak.

I used to have a few deaf friends cos I was taught sign but my issues were more due to the autism and sound & language processing than a hearing loss (of volume.. ie not being able to hear sound at all).


I had no understanding of this back then I've only found out these last few years about auditory processing disorder with the pandemic too and not being able to see people I've just lost contact and connection with the deaf friend.


My siblings partner is nice and fun! but due to pandemic only really socialised at my siblings house which is where I grew up so feel comfortable enough to speak there.


I know if they split I probably wouldn't see her again (none of the past partners have kept in touch) but I treat her as my 'new bestie' cos its convenient... it makes me seem more normal that I can say I have a friend and I get to see both sibling and friend at same time which cuts down amount of social visits I have to do cos they aren't seperate people who don't know each other!


I keep reading about how social contact is important but what if its more stressful than anything else? how is it more beneficial to your MH if you get overwhelmed in public places and struggle to relate to people?...what if just playing video games gives me the same enjoyment a 'normal person' would get from meeting a friend for a cuppa weekly or daily?


Is there anyone else who really genuinely struggles with friendships or any expectation of relationship other than a very simple platonic one from people who don't expect too much of you?
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Old 11-25-2021, 05:07 AM   #2
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Default Re: Do we need friends to be considered 'normal'?

I can relate. In my case itís getting a little bit better, as Iím in recovery from CPTSD, but I have always struggled with forming and maintaining relationships, mostly because I feel like Iím bugging the other person when I initiate conversations. It is difficult, for anyone who deep down wants connection but finds it overwhelming or confusing for any reason.
I think at some point, at least to an extent, you need to decide what you want, and what actually works for you and disregard other peopleís expectations if you canít meet them. I think society finds people who donít have friends Ďweirdí but being Ďseen así normal (which thereís no definition for, anyway!) and actually being Ďnormalí I find are two different things. A person who doesnít have friends can still be kind, generous etc, and a person with lots of friends can be a monster hiding in plain sight. Itís really not as black and white as some people might want you to believe
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Old 11-25-2021, 07:38 AM   #3
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Default Re: Do we need friends to be considered 'normal'?

Hi

Thanks for answering.


I think I have a view of 'normal' because I was constantly told as a child to copy other children (because they were normal and my behaviour wasn't due to the autism ie stimming due to anxiety)

So I've grown up knowing I'm 'not normal' and people can see that and always made fun of me.

eg whatever music I liked as a teen was laughed at..so I learned to like what was popular and keep my real favourite things a secret so I fit with normal.


I'm in my 50's so my early childhood was the 70's and 80's so not as much was known about Autism, particularly in girls.


Still when I meet someone new I'm trying to fit in with what I was told was 'normal' if I feel they maybe someone who may make fun of me if they knew I had autism.


Physical disabilities are much more accepted by the general public.
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Old 11-28-2021, 04:44 AM   #4
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Default Re: Do we need friends to be considered 'normal'?

If you don't get lonely, friendships might not be something you need. I find it vaxxing to be amongst other people, too. I mainly do it because if I don't, my anxiety keeps growing until it is genuinly very difficult to leave the house at all. I like my friends in an off-hand sort of way. I can appreciate they are awesome, but it means very little to me. I mirror them to a point, but if I mirrored them all the way, I'd completly loose myself and get perpetually confused. I think as adults, we don't have to accomodate other people or their opinions when it comes to us leading our lives. If our life is fullfilling as it is, with whatever we are doing, why would we have to accommodate them if all it does is overwhelmes us or doesn't contribute to our happiness? Makes zero sense to me.

I mean of course, by all means, keep in touch with the people who love you, but the opinions of the rest is irrelevant even to themselves. I sometimes think people judge what they don't know simply to have something to think about, but it's not like they care to put any deeper thought into the matter, so why should you?
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Old 11-29-2021, 03:28 AM   #5
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Default Re: Do we need friends to be considered 'normal'?

"NORMAL" is a dirty word.
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Old 11-29-2021, 04:11 AM   #6
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Default Re: Do we need friends to be considered 'normal'?

In a pluralistic world, there is no such thing as normal anymore. The statistical "normal curve" is dynamic, ever-changing, loopy (pun intended), skewed with varied rates of kurtosis, etc.

And sometimes the "abnormal" people become rock stars, genius scientists, etc. So "abnormal" isn't always "bad" either.

There are many people with limited friendships, including those who are elderly, those who are disabled, those who struggle with mobility, those who are bedbound, those who are homebound, those who are sensitive to light, those who are sensitive to the cold, those who have major physical deformities, those who struggle with social anxiety, those who struggle with agoraphobia, etc.

I think we each find our own niche in life, and sometimes it is hard finding commonality with others. Some people move just to find a way to fit into a group if it's not provided locally. Others find their tribe online.

Some people work so much for a living that they rarely have time for friends, hanging out, or even family. Some of those people might not even care whether they "fit in" or are seen as "normal" or not.

What matters is how you feel. It's not about labels of "normality." Rather, it's about whether or not you want friendships, and how many you can handle. Friendships are relationships, and relationships take energy, and sometimes we're limited on energy. Friendships typically include more than mere acquaintances you see from time to time; they take actual give-and-take, communication, effort, understanding, etc. If you truly want more friends, you can ask your therapist or even others to help. Sometimes the process of asking for help will, in and of itself, create a friendship between you and the person helping you.

If you're okay without friends, than that's cool, too.

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