Survey: Let’s Talk about Relationships

Thank you for all of the thoughtful questions! There are a total of 49–obviously too many to answer in one week. I’ve divided them up by subject, because, you know, autistic and need to categorize everything. I’ll spread the survey out over the next four weeks.

The vote on where to answer was a virtual tie so we’ll do it both ways. You can answer here in the comments or you can answer anonymously at Survey Monkey.

If you answer at Survey Monkey, just fill out the questions that apply/appeal to you and leave the rest blank. I’ll bring the Survey Monkey answers over here and paste them into comments so that everyone can read them.

If you answer here, it might be helpful to number your answers according to the question numbers. So if you’re answering questions 3, 5, 7 and 8, your answers would be numbered 3, 5, 7 and 8. That way we can easily scan down the comments looking for answers to the questions that interest us most.

A few questions were on the long side so I tried to include the essential information here and then added a link back to the original comment for more details.

This week’s topic is . . . relationships–friends, family, significant others, etc. Next week will be work/school and sensory sensitivities. Week three will be general coping strategies and acceptance. Finally, week four will be special skills and fun stuff.

ETA: Although a couple of questions reference diagnosis, this is open to all those who identify as on the spectrum (professionally diagnosed, self-diagnosed  and suspected aspies/autistics/people with autism).

Relationship Questions

  1. Does anyone find that you really long for close friendships?

  2. Does anyone obsess over someone you’ve just met? ( almost like they become your ‘special interest’ )

  3. Is anyone part of an Aspie married couple or long-term partnership?

  1. What stuff have you learned about interacting with other people that you think is important to know but was not obvious to you at first?

  1. How do you cope with parents who care, and are taking care of you (or at least helping you work on taking care of yourself), but don’t *understand* you? Don’t have the conception of how hard it can be to do things, like work on not taking naps when you end up exhausted, or deal with financial stuff, or do job searching, or talk on the telephone? more details here

  1. How has your partner (if you have one) reacted to your late diagnosis and do they now see you as ‘disabled?’

  1. Do you have autistic friends and if so, is it easier to hang with them rather than neurotypical folk?

  1. What about the times that you don’t feel like having physical interactions with anyone? You don’t want hugs, kisses, or even simple touches. I am usually overwhelmed with sensory stuff at that point (auditory, visual, touch, taste, the whole mess) and I have trouble articulating it. Should I wait until I’m not in a crisis and try to describe these things to others in a way they might understand better? more details here

  1. Has anyone been disowned by their family at diagnosis?

  2. If you have children, are they aware of your ASD and how do they feel about it?

97 thoughts on “Survey: Let’s Talk about Relationships”

  1. I’m going to skip the survey because I am NT and married to an Aspie man. I’m really interested in seeing the survey results. He was a late diagnosis (after we were married and our son was born) and I had a really strong response to question #6. I was SO GRATEFUL when it got figured out because almost instantly a lot of the hurt and confusion I had about his reactions to things just vanished.

    I have other family members on the AS, so I wasn’t unfamiliar and once we figured out my husband life was so much easier. In some ways it also refers to #8 – it has taken me awhile to put his sensory things into perspective (as I am a huge fan of casual touch) but we’ve gotten good at talking about it out of the situation.

    1. HI Heather, I’d really love to know your take on NT’s dating Aspies. I’ve been with my boyfriend for 9 months, and I’m just trying to seek some guidance and advise on anything that you might think is important. I really love this man, and I see a strong future for us, therefore I am pretty much open to anything you say.

      Thank you,

      1. Hi Eva (Eve?),

        It is an interesting question in general. For a bit of background, my husband (who is Aspie) is my second and we married in 2007. My first marriage was to an NT, he died in 2002. I am 40 years old.

        In my husband, I have a man who is ROCK SOLID to his word, who is deliberate and intentional about almost everything that he does, and is persistent in ways that I am not. Those things are also true in how he parents our son. This is what I want from my man.

        What makes him those things (instead of stubborn, or rigid) is the way that I interpret him, the changes I consciously made about what it means to be committed / married to somebody, and what I actually need from my most intimate relationship – and all of that has developed over years.

        My expectations have changed a lot as I have focused on what is important to me. Things that have changed:
        ~ I am stronger / more willing to do the things that I love without him there (when they are things that are uncomfortable for him).
        ~ I had to grow a LOT about verbally expressing my emotions because when I pouted and said, “it’s FINE” … I was actively tying together my pissed-off / pouting face with the idea that nothing needs addressing.
        ~ He has become more trusting about identifying places where he is uncomfortable now that it has a framework beyond being strange or wrong. (I LOVE this part, it has made a lot of things easier).
        ~ We divide roles differently than a lot of couples because we each play to our strengths. In reading a book about AS / NT long term relationships (I cannot find the tile right now — sorry, because it is great) there was an in-depth conversation of co-dependence in AS/NT relationships because it is just … different. In NT/NT relationships it would be (negative word) for the wife to be in charge of making sure her modern American man matches when he leaves for work … in my life – I’m the one in the house with those skills and enough interest to check it. It isn’t co-dependence or laziness … it is just the reality of my home.

        I will say, though, that I have changed a LOT about what types of romantic comedy / tv / movies I watch. My husband is never going to be delighted to see me in an airport, he is never going to be a fan of casual touch, and I get jealous sometimes of seeing real and fictional displays like that.

        The biggest question I have for you (and I hope to hear the answer, because the community of NT spouses / partners is not easy for me to find) is — when something falls under the category of things your boyfriend isn’t comfortable (good) with how easy is it to just let it go and REALLY be done with it? Also, are the changes that you make to accommodate him things you can do in the long run?

        Good luck,

        1. I love what you said about tying together your pouting face and saying you’re fine! My partner is NT and I’m learning his facial expressions because he is absolutely dead honest about what he feels. It is so incredibly precious to me. I can recognise about half of his expressions now, because he’s taught me the words that go with them. It’s very personalised, and I can’t extrapolate it to other people, but just the fact that he’s willing to be so honest with me about what he feels has opened up an entire world for me. I can’t even begin to describe how that feels. To look at a person and know what they’re feeling because I recognise the expression. It’s amazing.

        2. Well Heather, I believe that my relationship may differ a bit considering that I am 18 and my boyfriend is 19, but I am more than willing to share.

          He often finds my social outings difficult to understand, which I have to admit is VERY hard to let it go. I have learned to clearly state why I’d like to go out, and compare it to things that he enjoys. This has happened a lot and we seem to compromise on certain things. For example, sometimes he feels more comfortable being with me on an outing, or some times he understands I need some time for myself. Though difficult, he does cope fairly well, but I have recognized that I need to restrict the places that I like to go with friends- such as certain parties or clubs- in order for him to be content.

          This is about the only major problem we struggle with, because he is open to do many things with me. I totally feel fine giving up certain things so that he could have peace of mind.

          1. Just one thought here: if your boyfriend objects to you going out with your friends, even though he’s not expected to come with you, then that has nothing to do with him having Asperger’s.

            1. Well yeah that is probably true then, but my need to be with friends is one he doesn’t quite grasp. This is because he doesn’t feel the need to go anywhere with friends at all. He can be quite content only seeing them every 4 months, and I personally think that has to do with Aspergers. Then again, I am newbie haha.

              1. Also, I don’t have anything better to share because beside him missing social cues, and not being able to think/react/respond quickly; he literally has nothing that I find difficult. He loves to hold my hand, so much so that he even holds my hand while driving. He is always delighted to see me and even finds it appropriate to pick me up and spin me around. He adores when I touch him, especially when I play with his hair. Our biggest problem really is “socializing” and him understanding my need to be without him sometimes, mostly for girl time.

                1. Maybe you could find some articles or comics or funny lists about the difference between introverts and extroverts! It’s not entirely the same thing but it’s comparable enough that maybe it will help him understand that some people feel drained when they don’t spend time enough with other people. I always score introverted on tests because of being autistic (keeping up my social appearance is very draining), but I am actually pretty extroverted. So I can totally understand!

        3. I hope you are able to find or create this NT spouses/partners community. Seems to me acceptance would be well served if those NTs who CHOSE to love us autistics could make your voices heard! Maybe eventually parents would move through the shock of diagnosis faster and in a more positive way.

  2. For anybody else who is reading during relationship week – I am curious about how they have communicated AS stuff to their kids. My son notices when he can’t pull his dad’s attention from his special interest, or how he is uncomfortable with some touch etc….

    So far our son looks pretty NT and I’m not sure how to best communicate the ways in which his dad’s manhood/fatherhood is colored by AS.

    1. When I shared the idea with my then 22-year-old daughter, she found it hard to believe at first and then after learning some more, started listing all the things about me that she thought fit with AS. I think it’s important for kids to know about a diagnosis as soon as you feel they’re ready because AS definitely impacts parenting, potentially in some negative ways. It would be better for a child to know that dad’s brain works a little differently and so he does x, y and z than to think that dad just isn’t interested, affectionate, loving, etc. There are a bunch of good books for kids that talk about AS – maybe a good place to gently introduce the idea? My two cents, of course. I’d love to hear how others have approached this with younger children.

        1. Depending on how old your son is, “All Cats Have Asperger’s Syndrome” is aimed at very young children. It uses simple sentences along with photos of cats to describe AS traits. One drawback is that it talks about “kids with Asperger’s” throughout but if your son is too young to read, you could read it to him as “people” instead.

          If he’s older, “I Love Being My Own Autistic Self” is a good introduction to autism/asperger’s for older children and teens. It has a strong emphasis on acceptance and taking the good with the bad (i.e messages like ASD gives me these strengths, sometimes it makes me feel sad).

          There are quite a few books about ASD geared toward children but these are the two that I most often hear good things about and that I like the message of. It might be a good idea for both you and your husband to take a look at the books first (at the library or bookstore) if possible to be sure the message is one that feels right for you.

    1. I almost went and got your answers right now, but then they wouldn’t be anonymous. When I see a few responses in the queue I’ll bring them over together so that your replies aren’t easily identifiable. 🙂

  3. 1. Yes. Very much so. The only problem is having someone wait on me to be comfortable enough to get that close to them.
    2. I have done that before. Sometimes I even make up a story in my head about what it must be like to be that person if they’re someone I’ve never talked to before (kind of like a stranger on a train scenerio).
    3. I’m dating a NT so I can’t speak for this one.
    4. People do not like it when you tell them all the bad possible scenerios to go with the idealistic ones that they have in their heads. You should wait to see what type of reaction people are wanting from you before you just start spouting off all the “Oh, but did you know this bad/uncomfortable/unfortunate thing could happen?” facts you have in your head. I have a lot of these and I’ve learned most people don’t want to hear them…mostly be accident.
    5. My dad never “understood” me. He still thinks I’m just weird. My mom makes an effort to get to know me better but she is still confused by me quite often. I just make it a point to thoroughly explain why something is or is not okay with me. Sensory stuff, changes in plans, any of that stuff I make sure to explain why I can’t handle them well.
    6. He doesn’t consider me disabled. He says he’s learned that he better not ask my opinion unless he wants an honest one and asks me a million questions about everything to see how I’m seeing things differently than he is but he doesn’t think I’m disabled as far as the Autism stuff goes. He does worry about the Fibro stuff though.
    7. I don’t think I have any Autistic friends so I can’t speak for this one either. I do find it easier to relate to my autistic twitter friends and bloggers though because they “get” me easier.
    8. This was my question so I’ll see what everyone else says. I’m still trying to find coping mechanisms for days like this.
    9. I wasn’t disowned because of my diagnosis. My dad has never really been very involved in my life to begin with so it’s mostly my mom that I’m close to and she’s perfectly okay with me just like I am.
    10. My children aren’t old enough to grasp it yet. Both of my twins are autistic and I know it helps me to parent them better because I understand why things are harder on them or easier for them, etc. I’m taking my daughter soon to see if she falls on the spectrum, too. I’ll update everyone as soon as I know for sure. (I’m expecting her to be ASD as well.)

  4. Thank you so much for doing this! I long to talk about my experience (special interest=Me! but I don’t want to appear egotistical or boring to others – even though I am lol!)
    Q: Does anyone find that you really long for close friendships?
    A: I only long for this when I see other people in relationships. Then I feel sad and excluded. When I am on my own I don’t really think about other people much at all.

    Q: Does anyone obsess over someone you’ve just met? ( almost like they become your ‘special interest’ )
    A: Not real people, but sometimes people I read about, writers, actors etc.

    Q: Is anyone part of an Aspie married couple or long-term partnership?
    A: I have been with my husband for 20 years. He is not coping with my diagnosis so I wonder how much longer we will be together. He used to be the only person I felt I could be myself with, but now that he is freaking about me being autistic I have to pretend with him too.

    Q: What stuff have you learned about interacting with other people that you think is important to know but was not obvious to you at first?
    A: Try and think of things to ask them about themselves when you are in a conversation. Even though it might be boring or not really mean much to you, asking them questions makes it seem like you are interested and makes them feel good too. Also, someone recently pointed out to be that good/kind people are humble people. So if you want to be more acceptable, try to put the other person before yourself. It’s amazing how much it helps interactions.

    Q: How do you cope with parents who care, and are taking care of you (or at least helping you work on taking care of yourself), but don’t *understand* you? Don’t have the conception of how hard it can be to do things, like work on not taking naps when you end up exhausted, or deal with financial stuff, or do job searching, or talk on the telephone?
    A: I ‘pass’ really well because I am gifted with quite a good working brain. No-one realises how much I don’t really cope I think. I am in a state of terror or high anxiety most of the time. As I didn’t get diagnosed till I was in my late 40s I don’t see how I can expect anyone to change how they feel about me or really understand how hard it is for me to cope everyday. Especially my elderly parents. Just one of those things.

    Q: How has your partner (if you have one) reacted to your late diagnosis and do they now see you as ‘disabled?’
    A: Yes. Reacted badly. Wants to try and understand but I think he is freaking about the fact that I am really not ‘normal.’ Before it was a kind of a joke and I think he thought that I was just being deliberately weird or difficult sometimes. Now that he realises that it is an actual disability I think that he is struggling.

    Q: Do you have autistic friends and if so, is it easier to hang with them rather than neurotypical folk?
    A: No, wish I had. Probably wouldn’t be much different, I don’t know, but it would be nice to know some Aspies in real life. Is why these blogs mean so much to me.

    Q: What about the times that you don’t feel like having physical interactions with anyone? You don’t want hugs, kisses, or even simple touches.
    A: I tend to lash out or even just find something ‘normal’ to be cross about because it has never been acceptable in the past for me to explain what is really going on and when you get cross people leave you alone. The hardest thing for me is looking at people, but since my diagnosis I indulge myself in that one and I don’t force myself to look at people so much any more.

    Q: Has anyone been disowned by their family at diagnosis?
    A: When I first broached the subject one family member got into a terrible rage about something else I had done and didn’t speak to me for nearly two years. I don’t know if the autism thing had anything to do with that. Once I got my formal diagnosis she started to interact with me again, so who knows?

    Q: If you have children, are they aware of your ASD and how do they feel about it?
    A: My daughter was the first person to suggest I was autistic as she worked with autistic adults. I don’t know how she feels about it. She is kind, but it has altered our relationship now and it feels like I have lost something of being a Mother around her. Makes me sad actually.

  5. My own answers:

    1. I go back and forth on this. I’ve had close friendships in the past, but it was always something that just happened (rather than something I consciously sought/built). I think I like the idea of close friendships more than the reality, which can at times seems like a lot of work. Also, people seem to expect a consistency in relationships that I find hard to maintain.

    2. I’ve done this and then felt kind of embarrassed when that initial feeling passed. I guess because it feels inappropriate?

    3. My guy is NT.

    4. People have specific goals for conversations/interactions. They say/ask things not to get a factual response but to steer your opinions in a certain way or effect a specific outcome. I’m still trying to process this concept.

    5. This is a hard question to answer. My parents have been generally very supportive of me but also had high expectations that I don’t think I fulfilled in the way they . . . expected.

    6. I don’t think he sees me as disabled. Occasionally, he says something like “you’re really autistic right?” as if it still hasn’t quite sunk in. Sometimes he gets a little overprotective, but given my history of managing to get into all sorts of strange predicaments, that’s not totally unwarranted. Mostly he’s more understanding of things that in the past would have frustrated or annoyed him.

    7. I only have autistic online friends. I find they “get” certain things in a way that neurotypical friends don’t necessarily so that makes it easier to talk about some things.

    8. My husband and I have talked *a lot* about this. He knows now that if I don’t want to be touched, it has nothing to do with how I feel about him and everything to do with me being overloaded. I would definitely say talk about it when you’re not in a crisis and maybe come up with a shorthand way (a phrase or word) that will let your bf know that you’re not in a place where touching is comfortable. That way you don’t have to re-explain anything when you’re overloaded. This seems to be an especially hard thing for the NT partner to deal with.

    9. Er, haven’t shared the information with family beyond my husband and daughter yet.

    10. My daughter is an adult and has been very supportive of my diagnosis/discovery process (she shares my blog with her friends!). But there are also times when our relationship is made more difficult because of the way I process stuff or relate to her. We have an explanation for that now and she knows I’m working on things that I feel could be better but there are still rough spots. Because she’s NT, my logical explanations for miscommunication or not being especially compassionate or whatever are the kind of thing that she can understand logically but isn’t very satisfying emotionally, I think.

  6. 1. Yes, but only in a very, very small quantity (3 at the most).
    2. Yes, but this has faded with age.
    3. My husband is an NT, we’ve been married for 12 years, 2 kids. We’re in it for the long haul 🙂
    4. Sincerity. I’ve often thought that the key to social acceptance was a measure of insincerity generously sloshed around in daily interactions – but I’ve found that since I’m unable to do too much “pretending” a lot of people react really well to my true, sincere feelings about stuff, however awkward. Not everyone, but enough people find it refreshing and real.
    5. I would never disclose anything about ASD to my mother. We are estranged, in part, because she refused to accept that my brain didn’t work like hers and to this day insists I suffer from all kinds of mental illnesses and instability.
    6. I don’t have a dx, but I did discuss possibly having ASD with my husband and it helped our relationship and life together enormously. I provided him with information and I think he suddenly “got” a lot of where I was coming from and how I thought, particularly because I am not good with describing my feelings and such – I don’t think he considers me disabled.
    7. I don’t have any autistic friends in the “real world,” just online, where ALL my friends are on the spectrum.
    8. I think discussing how you feel when you don’t want to be touched etc. at a better time is necessary. If I have a hard time getting my feelings out verbally, I write them down in a letter and hand it to my husband. It’s still hard for both him and the kids to accept that sometimes I need to be alone in a way they don’t understand, but it gets easier if they understand the basics of how you are feeling.
    9. I’m not dx’ed, and I haven’t shared feeling that I’m on the spectrum with my mom or anyone outside my husband.
    10. My children are still small…and I’m a coward. I actually don’t know at this point what I will do.

  7. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: Absolutely yes, and I have been lucky enough develop such a close friendship with a former work colleague.

    Q3: No someone I’ve just met, but it does apply to people I become close to, to the extent that I suffered from separation anxiety for a couple of weeks when one person moved away – I couldn’t stop thinking about them or worrying that they might have come to harm.

    Q4: My wife of 10 years is NT.

    Q8: This has caused problems with some people who misinterpret my reaction and take offence. I’ve found that some folks appreciate the explanation later on and try to understand; those that won’t listen aren’t worth knowing.

  8. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: Yes! Occasionally they do happen, too! At uni, I’ve found someone who is allistic as far as I know but just sort of “gets it”, which is so nice.

    Q2: Honestly, I’m not entirely sure I know how to answer this one. I can certainly identify with it.

    Q3: Occasionally, although it doesn’t last very long. Having said that, a while back I became huuuuuuugely obsessed with a FICTIONAL CHARACTER. Oops!

    Q4: Yes!! My boyfriend and I have been together for 4 years now. We’re both aspie, and we met at a youth club for teens with various disabilities.

    Q5: I know this can be difficult after years of feeling alienated, but don’t assume a new person isn’t going to like you!!

    Q6: I was diagnosed pretty early on, so I can’t really answer this.

    Q7: I have quite a few autistic friends, including my boyfriend. I think it can be easier to interact with them than with NT people because they understand; having said that, though, I know plenty of understanding NT people. In particular, I was pleasantly surprised by how many people at uni didn’t judge me for being autistic.

    Q8: I would say so, yeah. When I’m at that stage, you really won’t get much info out of me (other than the old cliche of “I’M FINE I’M FINE I’M FINE”) so I tend to try and explain this sort of thing either after it happens, or if I think there’s a risk it might happen.

    Q9: Personally, my family have been really supportive.

    Q10: I don’t have children and I don’t think I want children, but if I do ever have children then I won’t hide it from them. Autism isn’t something to be ashamed of.

  9. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: yes

    Q3: yes

    Q4: no

    Q5: eye contact, tolerating small talk, not to take everything literally

    Q7: yes

    Q8: unfortunately no one seems to understand that. Its pretty much a no no to reject interactions I have learned

    Q9: not yet, but I fear that

    Q10: n/a

  10. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: We always need people to relate to us and be companions. Just because it is difficult doesn’t mean we don’t want it.

    Q2: That is question of the year. Sometimes I shut them out and listen to music when they are being insensitive to my issues. Or I play my instrument. Sometimes I try to reason with them but the words get stuck in my brain and don’t come out right. Dad generally ignores me. Mom and I have come a long way from resentment to understanding, although her understanding isn’t perfect it has come a long way.

    Q3: There have been times in the past that I have done that. I view my obsessive boy chasing actions cringe-worthy now. But, being more realistic these days I am put off by my past actions because it reminds me too much of those trolls on the love and dating forum at wrong planet. (Insert snicker here)

    Q4: I am in a long-term relationship of 11 1/2 years. I am still trying to find my independence so we don’t live together yet and we met quite young so that is also why. But it is not impossible. I met him on a field trip and from the moment he met me he understood not to expect normal out of me because he himself isn’t nt in his own way (bipolar/adhd)

    Q5: I can’t just sum up just one thing. Usually when I first meet people I will sit there for 5 minutes and just observe the way they are as people to gain perspective on how they interact and operate as people. This has helped me cater communication style in a way that they would understand and how i find people more relateable. Obviously there are times I will miss detail, only to get upset when it becomes obvious to me later when I am overly sensitive I think in a way to compensate for what I miss.

    Q6: As I knew my hun, as time went by, he picked up more and more on what my deficits are, what works for me, what my issues are and so on. I cannot generally relate to this question, as I met my bf at the same time frame as I was getting my as diagnosis. Generally though I have been very open with him about everything, as he has with me about his struggles.

    Q7: Yes, although most of my spectrum friends I met through the internets. But I have met other spectrum folk in person and I find it much easier to communicate with them than nt folk. I always feel like nt folk are judging me and especially the bigger the group is, the harder of a time I have with following along the conversation.

    Q8: I usually articulate that I don’t feel like being touched, and there have been times that he is sensitive enough to pick up on something before I tell it to him. He looks for the signs: stimming, hands to the ears, blank glassy expression, or just stopping and standing like a statue. I “have him trained” to where if he notices, he takes my hand and leads me out of the environment if I am with bf. Usually for someone to know me, I try to tell them about my sensory issues before a crisis. The people who know me best know the key words “I did not sleep good last night” usually means I am going to have sensory issues. Likewise, bf knows when I am pms’ing I have no interest in being touched. When I get the grouchy attitude he usually figures out I am pms’ing before I do and infers that to not wanting to be touched.

    Q9: Thankfully not. Only thing I have gotten is ignorance from various family members, an aunt who thinks that AS means “I talk too much” and a sister who is quick to judge because she didnt pay attention to the issues that I had since she moved out of the house first and didnt see some of my struggles.

    Q10: I have one birthdaughter (placed for adoption at birth, I know the family). She is nonverbal autistic. I do not know if she knows or how she feels about it. I do have nieces and nephews though. They are between the ages of 3 and 13. They have tempered an understanding that aunty is not normal because she has AS and her brain clocks out after 4 hours of heavy play and some days she gets overwhelmed. Kids are usually more tolerant than the adults in my family are, however, I am not parenting them, so that is different.

  11. Well, I don’t consider myself neurotypical, but at this time I’m not diagnosed yet:
    1. Does anyone find that you really long for close friendships?
    I wasn’t actually aware of this until I started noticing that many people were able to maintain close friendships since their formative years.
    2. Does anyone obsess over someone you’ve just met? ( almost like they become your ‘special interest’ )
    No, but I’ve obsessed over celebrities, bands, musicians, etc.
    3. Is anyone part of an Aspie married couple or long-term partnership?
    4. What stuff have you learned about interacting with other people that you think is important to know but was not obvious to you at first?
    Learned a lot about myself. For me, my input works great (after a lot of hard work and being aware of people), but my output is pretty inconsistent (will say something weird or take what someone said at face value).
    5. How do you cope with parents who care, and are taking care of you (or at least helping you work on taking care of yourself), but don’t *understand* you? Don’t have the conception of how hard it can be to do things, like work on not taking naps when you end up exhausted, or deal with financial stuff, or do job searching, or talk on the telephone?
    I was lucky to have a lot of support, but I’m not sure my family really understood how I dealt with new situations. In a new city, I’d obsess over the map and talk about it for with family to both calm my nerves and plan out all the details, like computer programming for the brain (the irony? I’m not good at computer programming). My family doesn’t think it’s weird, but I think the act of obsessing over it for a long period of time (without always talking about the obsession) might not be a neurotypical behavior.
    6. How has your partner (if you have one) reacted to your late diagnosis and do they now see you as ‘disabled?’
    N/A, but I told a close friend and he was surprised. There’s a huge negative stereotype of autistics as people who can’t function at all, but as we know, it’s not always the case!
    7. Do you have autistic friends and if so, is it easier to hang with them rather than neurotypical folk?
    Found the online community. Regardless of whether or not my behaviors would be considered “severe,” I was able to relate to the autistic community so much more.
    8. What about the times that you don’t feel like having physical interactions with anyone? You don’t want hugs, kisses, or even simple touches. I am usually overwhelmed with sensory stuff at that point (auditory, visual, touch, taste, the whole mess) and I have trouble articulating it. Should I wait until I’m not in a crisis and try to describe these things to others in a way they might understand better?
    N/A. I’m not sure my sensitivity to touch is very severe, but I’m super sensitive to sounds…especially that of more than 3 people talking loudly at the same time. Even hearing the sound of 2 people talking can be a little frustrating.
    9. Has anyone been disowned by their family at diagnosis? N/A
    10. If you have children, are they aware of your ASD and how do they feel about it? N/A

    1. To clarify about #4: After much careful observation (and some tears at times!), I think I’m able to pick up on people’s expressions well, which is why I described myself as having a decent enough input. (Still take things literally sometimes though.) But knowing what a person is feeling doesn’t mean I am aware as to how to respond to it. When I was younger, a classmate of mine had gotten hurt during play, but I just kind of stood there and looked really concerned (I hope that’s how I looked, anyway). I guess most people would at least say, “Are you okay?” But that wasn’t something I learned til afterward.

  12. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: that is worded strangely. crave close friendships. have close friendships. crave to develop them deeper constantly

    Q2: carefully . with meltdowns . over time . more and more . we are all autistic

    Q3: yes

    Q4: new relationship . 6 months.

    Q5: interact with them on terms of belief

    Q6: sometimes it is difficult . we are both on the spectrum . at times one has to mentally separate the autism from the person without separating the autistic from our identities

    Q7: sometimes sometimes not . friends are friends . closest friends atm are on the spectrum but thats not necessarily because its easier so much as we are in each others circles more

    Q8: there is never a time when i don’t want hugs kisses or simple touches from my partner . with friends and family they understand and say okay not today . my partner knows that if i’m overwhelmed . a hug will solve everything

    Q9: no

    Q10: no children . if i did it would be shared knowledge . just as my attraction to my partner would be shared knowledge

  13. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: I have two very close friends. Unfortunately they both live in different states. I miss them a lot and I am lonely. We keep in constant touch through the computer, text messaging, and an occasional long distance phone call. I don’t have anyone I would call friends where I live, only acquaintances. I wish I had one friend that I could do things with. That all I wish for my children. We moved to a new town last summer and they each had one special friend at their old school. Now neither has anyone. One special friend would do wonders for each of them and for me.

    Q2: My parents drive me crazy. AS a child I didn’t behave or respond to my parents the way they wanted me to. I was left alone and ignored, because of that. Rules are rules, and I was always the responsible sibling, so I was a handy babysitter for them. I was diagnosed when I was 36 years old. One of the reasons I started blogging was in an attempt to explain to my family and my husband who I was and what the world is like for me. It has helped, but my mother still doesn’t know how to talk to me and she tends to forget that I am not the person she assumed I was.

    Q3: No, but I did once when I was in high school. I new boy moved in across the street and for a time I was obsessed with him. Luckily I realized what was going on and was able to stop myself.

    Q4: My husband is an NT and I am an Apsie. We have been together for nearly 15 years and have been married for over 13 years. It has not been easy. We didn’t know I was autistic until after both our children were diagnosed.

    Q5: This is a hard one. I grew up not knowing I was autistic. I always watched people and mimicked their behavior, because social skills didn’t come naturally to me. I wasn’t even aware that I was mimicking people until I was out of college. I am always learning. I guess I would have to say that it is important to accept people’s opinions/behaviors/choices if even if you don’t understand them or don’t agree with them. Simply acknowledging acceptance openly makes a huge difference to a lot of people.

    Q6: When I was officially diagnosed my husband said, “It all makes sense now.” It took him quite awhile to fully come to terms with it, however. He still had these expectations about how I was supposed to be and I wasn’t that way at all. He had to really work on letting go of those expectations. He was able to accept our son’s diagnosis right away. It took him three years to accept our daughter’s diagnoses (she has several co-existing conditions).

    Q7: My two close friends are quirky like me. They have never been diagnosed, but I am pretty sure one is autistic. The other one has at least a shadow effect. Yes, I find it easier to be around people who are more like me. Communication is easier. Social skills are easier. Things flow better. I don’t feel so exhausted afterward. I feel energized and we can talk for hours.

    Q8: Yes, wait until you are calmer before you try to explain things. When you are overwhelmed you can’t think straight. Everything is jumbled. I write if I am not able to communicate what is going on in my head. I seem to be able to articulate better in written form over verbal form.

    Q9: Not disowned, just a refusal to accept that autism is in the family. Quite a number of my family members won’t even talk about it.

    Q10: Both my children are autistic, so me being autistic is no big deal. They were both diagnosed before I was. We don’t use the word “disability” in our house. I tell them that we are just wired differently. It was a relief to get the diagnoses. We all learned that we weren’t crazy and we were not broken, just wired differently.

  14. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: As a kid I longed to find someone who was like me, that I could ‘belong’ with. Now I mostly just have friends because they’re there.

    Q2: I tell them that I appreciate the advice (even if I don’t), but I’ll only take it if I think it’s actually going to help. I think about the pros and cons and if something won’t work for me, I won’t do it. This was nearly impossible when I lived with my parents, and ended up forcing myself to do things that really cost too much.

    Q3: Not usually, but when I first met my boyfiend, I quickly became completely obsessed with him and wanted to know everything about him. I’m still just as obsessed.

    Q4: I’m pretty sure both my boyfriend of almost 5 years and I are aspies. The relationship is thriving and we are totally committed.

    Q5: -People don’t always say what they mean/mean what they say.
    -People often have pretty rigid ideas of what normal is and judge you according to that.
    -People often value niceness, friendliness, and sociability more than intelligence and creativity.
    -People usually find their own lives/others’ lives more interesting to talk about than specific external topics (like technology, art, nature, etc.)

    Q6: My partner has been extremely supportive in learning about asperger’s and using the knowledge to benefit our lives. It’s been a huge help. In fact, we think he might be an aspie as well since he shares so many traits.

    Q7: I do not have any autistic friends, but I think they would be easier to be with.

    Q8: I don’t think you should make yourself endure touch that you cannot handle. Tell the person in the moment, and then clarify later when you’re calm. Explain that it’s not them, it’s a sensory issue. If they make a problem over that, then the relationship probably isn’t going to go well, and distance might be the best option.

    Q9: I haven’t told my father yet, because I fear a bad reaction. He wouldn’t disown me, but would likely either not believe me or tell me it’s a problem that needs fixing.

    Q10: I don’t have children, and have decided to be childfree.

  15. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: Yes. I have very few friends, but the ones I do have I am very close to.

    Q2: I find it very difficult to get them to understand the issues that I face. This actually extends to my siblings as well. I think the things that aren’t obvious to them, maybe some of the sensory issues for example, are much harder for them to accept/believe.

    Q3: As much as I would love to say no, I can’t. I definitely have done this, am doing it, but then after over a year I guess I’ve no longer just met her. Now she is my best friend. 🙂

    Q4: No. I am single. Always have been. Probably always will be. 😦

    Q5: That you can disagree and get passed it. That I don’t always have to do things the NT way, some people are prepared to meet in the middle. I am very much still learning these things. Only really had friends for about 4 years.

    Q7: My only autistic friends are twitter friends.

    Q8: I think so, or at least this is what I try to do. I don’t really do contact at all. I am practising but there is only really a couple of people I am comfortable hugging and just one who I would consider kissing properly.

    Q9: No, but the legitimacy of my diagnosis and the extent of my symptoms have been questioned by a sibling. It has been made clear to me by that sibling that they do not believe it is true and that even if it is, I should suck it up and carry on going.

  16. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: yes. really close friendships are awesome. I have a few.

    Q2: I wish I knew. I also wish I had the words to explain to mum why responding to “X is wrong, it hurts cos of Y” by saying “but maybe they don’t mean it like that, they probably think X is helpful”. no. I’m not so emotionally dense that I think they’re maliciously Xing, but they are Xing and it feels like shit. sometimes mum is Xing. fuck X.

    Q3: yesyesyes.

    Q4: no, but my 1st (only) relationship lasted over 4 years which is long by teen standards.

    Q5: NT time is not continuous. it comes in discrete chunks of 5 minutes.

    the really awesome humans accept any personal head mess as real head mess, even the stuff that sounds like a crappy excuse. I need to put this one into practise more so I don’t end up having damp explosions of head mess over stuff I “couldn’t” talk about.

    “tea” is stimming for NTs.

    “good intentions” are not good enough.

    Q7: yes. I think it’s important to have ND friends (even if they’re not speciffically Autistic). I have 4 friends I’m comfortable talking about anything with, all ND queers like me.

    Q8: it sounds like the asker wants advice. yes, make every effort to explain if you really trust that person, but I’ve known NTs who weaponise that information so be careful. I know, that’s not helpful to anyone.

    Q9: I wasn’t, but I was still a child (11)

  17. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: I do, but I believe the people around me don’t believe it.

    Q3: I’ve done it in the past, but not during my marriage.

    Q4: I am an Aspie married to another Aspie.

    Q5: Non-Aspies like pop culture too much. I have learned to tolerate that without publicly gagging.

    Q6: My husband and I were both dxed in our 20s.

    Q7: My friends may not fall on the spectrum officially, but all of them have some aspie characteristics to some degree, so I guess it is easier for me.

    Q8: I would.

    Q9: Not me or my husband

  18. Q1 Close Friendships?
    I… it would really depend on the definition of “close friendship”, I think. I have two friends that I consider “close / best” friends, both met via internet and our writing; one is allistic, the other aspie. The allistic friend and I have met in person a few times (we live on different continents) and I find that even if we haven’t communicated with each other in a while, we’re comfortable in each other’s presence and fit as well as we ever did. The aspie friend and I have not yet met in person (though I’m hoping we will), but we communicate quite often by Google Chat, and we’ve shared our lives with each other and been support for each other. I have a semi-close friendship here in the town / city I live in, another autistic… but I can’t tolerate the presence of others on even a daily basis sometimes. We meet generally once or twice a week at most. If close friendships mean meeting often in person, no, I definitely don’t long for / crave close friendships. But over the internet, I tend to.

    Q2 Obsess over people?
    Nope. I used to want to spend a lot of time with my “friend” of the moment (or year, actually – my friendships went by grade level in school, and I only had one friend at a time until I was 14 / 15), so much so that my mother spoke to me about not smothering them, but I don’t know if that would qualify as obsessing over them. And I haven’t done that since I was about 10 / 11 / 12 or thereabouts. And I don’t tend to obsess over people, not even the actors who play my favourite characters. *shrugs* I obsess over shows, books, my writing, fanfic, my other creative pursuits, and my cat.

    Q3 Aspie long-term partnership
    Nope. Aside from being asexual (which doesn’t necessarily impede you from having a romantic relationship), it costs me a *lot* of energy to interact with people in person (or on the phone). It costs me less to interact with other ASDers (see my answer to Q7), but I still can’t tolerate sustained interactions with them for more than a few hours at a time, per day. I figured a long time ago that it wouldn’t be fair to ask someone to have that kind of relationship unless I knew they were looking for precisely the same thing.

    Q4 Interacting with other people
    It drains me. Seriously.
    I can interact with one or two people at a time without it taking *too* much energy; in cases like that I can intellectually analyse body language quickly enough to participate. In larger groups? Not so much.
    I have a very low tolerance for people on more than a one-to-one basis.
    If I’m not in sensory overload or near it, I can go to a coffee shop by myself and read or write, and that suffices for social interaction. I’m around it, but I don’t have to *participate* in it, and that makes a difference. (I miss that.)
    Uhh… it’s best to look towards a person’s left, according to HR people? It indicates sincerity and honesty, somehow. I don’t know why, that’s just what people say, apparently. *shrugs* Learned that in a “getting a job” workshop.

    Q5 Parents
    Well, this is my question, and my problem of the moment. I’m really looking forward to other people’s answers to see if there’s a way that I can deal with it other than what I’m doing, which is really just… I don’t know. My mind’s in a tumble about this.

    Q6 Partner – sees you as disabled?

    Q7 Other autistic friends
    As I mentioned in my answer to Q1, one of my best friends (via the internet) is autistic, though she’s not officially diagnosed. She and I have been friends since… about Christmas 2001, I think, when she asked me to beta a story of hers. And I’ve got an ASD friend here in town that I made shortly after I moved here in Aug. 2011, and yes, we seem to understand each other better than I did with most of my allistic friends (the allistic friend mentioned in Q1 is an exception to that). It helps that we share a lot of the same symptoms, if not to the same degrees. And I’ve been getting along pretty well with the people I’ve met here in the blogging community since I found it in January. 🙂

    Q8 Physical interactions
    Actually, I’m touch-seeking. (In fact, I’m feeling exceedingly deprived of snuggles and deep pressure hugs at the moment….) I *always* want hugs. Kisses – meh. Can take ’em or leave ’em. But I always want hugs. Friends, family – I just like hugs. Massage too! Sound, sight, taste and smell, on the other hand – those are what I get overloaded with.

    Q9 Disowned by family
    Nope – my family encouraged me to try to get a diagnosis. We’ve known for a while I was ASD, but it took until last March to get it officially confirmed. And as I’ve researched and found out more about it, it’s explained so much more of my life than I originally realized.

    Q10 Telling children
    Um… never going to have children. *Ever.* Children scream. They squeal. They want constant interaction. Occasional babysitting of my nieces and nephew I can manage, but I’d be driven to overload and insanity very quickly with a child of my own. Decided when I was 11 that I wouldn’t make a good mother – I’m too found of my solitary pursuits and presence – and so would never have kids, because it wouldn’t be fair to them.

    😉 tagAught

    1. I read online somewhere (so it may or may not be true), that people look left when they are remembering things and to the right when they are imagining things. So, whether it’s true or not, if the person you are talking to this believes this, then they will think you are accurately recounting a true story if you look left, and that you are making things up or embellishing things if you look right. Supposed to be a left-brain right-brain thing, which makes me think it’s just pop psychology, not real science, but if enough people believe that it is true, and it doesn’t cost you anything to look to the left when it’s important, you might as well!

  19. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: Yes. Definitely. I moved interstate nearly 2 years ago & have a young son. I’ve found it much harder to make friends since I became a Mum. Yet I crave deep & meaningful friendships. When I meet new people I find I can’t get past the social chit chat with them. I wish I could find friends I could open up to. I’m quite lonely.

    Q3: Yes, this happened when I was first interested in my now husband. I chased him & asked him out. I think he was a bit freaked out by how full on I was & took 2 months to finally agree to go out with me because he didn’t want to rush into things. We were already good friends prior to this. I just realised one day that he was the man for me & I became obsessed with him. I was the same with previous boyfriends too. My parents always said it was wrong for the girl to do the chasing but I figured if you want something you have to go out & get it yourself. I wasn’t going to wait around until a guy decided he wanted to go out with me. It was boring & torture.

    Q4: Yes. I’m married to an NT man. He’s very understanding of me even more so since my diagnosis. We get on really well too. I try to be understanding of him too. We have a good friendship base to our relationship and that’s really helped our marriage.

    Q5: To think about what you are to say before you say it & think how you would feel if someone said it to you. If you wouldn’t like it or get upset about it then don’t say it. I used to have no tact & thought it was a good thing to just whatever I was thinking. People got offended a lot. Now I try to think then speak. I tend to err on the side of not saying anything that I think might be a bit offensive rather than say it. I think I’ve become a bit too like that now & need to find balance.

    Q6: He’s very understanding & accepting. He says it makes a lot of sense & is happy for me that I now finally understand myself better.

    Q8: My husband is very understanding of this. He waits for me to initiate physical contact. It’s harder with my two year old son who doesn’t understand this. He’ll climb on me or want to hug me regardless. I struggle with this when I’m overwhelmed & sensory overloaded. I just have to cope somehow. I often don’t but I do my best.

    Q10: My son is 2, so a bit young to understand. I will tell him when he’s a bit older. He’s already aware that I don’t cope well with parenting.

  20. Q1. Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted a super close friendship. In high school I had plenty of them ( one at a time of course) I mean best friends doing everything together. Now I’m married in my early 40 ‘s with a young son. I can’t seem to connect with the moms in the park. My closest friend of 20 years moved out of the city. I come see her as often as I can. I feel like I always get strange looks from people I’m doing small talk with. I may say inappropriate things or just give to much information. I get so lonely sometimes . I love my husband & son but you can’t have a ‘girls night’ with them. In trying to find a new girl friend in my neighbourhood … Well I think I looked too keen or desperate . This works into my next question:

    Q2. Obsessing over someone you just met: a big Yes. We met at my sons school . She is new here from overseas. ( perfect then she must be looking for a new friend) . We agree to meet for drinks on a patio. And we’ll I’m pretty sure I told her my whole life story in that evening . I had lots to drink as I always do when around social gatherings or meeting new people. We became Facebook friends. I started noticing she was making many friends in her area/ street. I started ‘Facebook stalking her’ and talking about everything she’s doing with my husband & best friend. Soon I felt I was loosing her, I had to do something . So I had her & her family over for dinner. At first I thought it went well. Then ( as usual) I started going over the evening in my head. I’ve now decided she is avoiding me. I was in tears ‘ watching her ‘ on FB going out with other people all the time. So I did what I new I had to do…. I ‘unfriended’ her from Facebook . I’ve deleted my FB profile. Then opened it back up again . I don’t want to be completely isolated. So I’ve decided to stick with my long time friends. It’s to hard on me & my emotions trying to make ‘new’ friends.

    Q3. This is the big one . Since my son was diagnosed 2 years ago. I recognized my husbands traits . Fully Aspergers. Then reading ‘musings’ blogs… I started thinking maybe me too. Three Aspie online tests & the ‘female Aspie traits’ by Rudy Simone and here I am thinking ‘Aspie Family’!!!!

    I’ve run out of time ill answer the rest of the Questions later…..

  21. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: I think the NT perception is of someone that doesn’t want close relationships but that’s not true. Issues are around my trust levels and understanding as well as what I communicate outwardly. I really loath being vulnerable which also acts as a barrier. Exterior of ice, interior of fire (been watching too much Game of Thrones probably for that particular metaphor). Its the intensity of attachment which bothers me.

    Q2: Communication has become better with having a diagnosis (that was when I was 39) and they have learnt to give space to me when I need it and not push unless they feel I need it. That is a reasonable adjustment. They understand some things and not others but I could say that about myself and my contradictions (being aware is not the same as understanding).

    Coping is having space.

    Q4: Would 18 months count as long-term? That’s the longest relationship I’ve had.

    Q5: Lots but can’t process that question right now.

    Q7: Yes and no.

  22. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: No. It is too invasive.

    Q4: Yes but we will not live together because we need our space. I was married but found the presence of another person who wanted constant interaction, very stifling.

    Q5: What they say is not necessarily what they mean. Be careful.

    Q6: No. He was attracted to me because I am different.

    Q7: Yes. They do not expect to be together a lot. They are happy to meet on the net and very occaisionally in real life.

    Q8: They think you are emotionally deformed if you do not like hugs. Some people just never believe it. I think try to explain when you are calm but don’t be disappointed if they are disbelieving.

    Q10: My son is Autistic too. He found it liberating to know why we were alike and so different from the rest of the people we knew. My daughers liked the explanation for difference but other than that, it is not an issue. I am the same person with or without a dx.

  23. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: Yes.

    Q2: I’m married, but my father is paying more than half our family’s bills. It’s hard to deal with sometimes–I don’t think my father can decide whether I’m being difficult or I’m mentally retarded or something.

    Q3: No.

    Q4: No.

    Q5: I’ve learned to be a lot more open with people about my disabilities, including autism. I’ve had to learn not to let people treat me like crap out of desperation to fit in.

    Q6: My husband has gotten more understanding of the difficulties I have.

    Q7: Only on facebook.

    Q8: It’s good to explain things while you’re calm, I suppose.

    Q9: No, but I’ve had trouble getting people to believe I’m autistic.

    Q10: Yes, they’ve known since they were little. I have one teenager who is more ‘NT’ than the rest and she sometimes treats me like I’m stupid, but maybe that’s just being 13. 🙂

  24. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: yes

    Q2: they don’t

    Q3: yes

    Q4: no

    Q5: decent people make interaction easy but are rare.

    Q6: I’ve never been in a relationship with anyone who cared about me at all… although they always said “I love you”

    Q7: I don’t have any friends

    Q8: Can’t answer that as I have no interaction.

    Q9: No they understood, father even admitted they were responsible for causing me harm… not tome of course.but all my life they blamed me. Where neglectful, harmful and abusive.

    Q10: She understands it a little but sometimes cannot stand to hear me even talk.

  25. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: Sort of. I’ve got 2-3 friends who “get” that I’m different and work around it. I’d like closer relationships with family.

    Q2: I avoided one as best I could and the other was tolerant enough to deal with.

    Q3: At times. I usually think there’s more than there really is.

    Q4: I’m the wife, but my husband has some Aspie traits.

    Q5: Rehearse, don’t just “wing it”, question motives, don’t over-share.

    Q6: He said it fit with what he observed. He really does see me as “differently abled”, like being able to hone in on things in huge detail.

    Q7: DOn-line, and yes, it’s a big relief.

    Q8: I’ve discussed it when I’m calm, and he may or may not remember when I’m in crisis.

    Q9: I didn’t have much family left at that point (later in life dx). Some family has stopped interacting with me, and I’m not sure why.

    Q10: One is, and he’s fine with it, and can see it. The other puts down anything odd to ADHD. I will probably tell her at some point.

  26. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: Yes, but I am scared to initiate them because I know from experience that my understanding of personal boundaries is different from other people’s, and I have in the past suffered due to not understanding how relationships should progress and what is “acceptable” conversation.

    Q3: Yes, if I really like the person and would like to be friends with them.

    Q4: My partner shows some traits but we don’t think they are autistic.

    Q5: When it comes to emotionally-charged topics, people don’t always like directness even if they say they do.

    Q6: We are still learning. I think sometimes my partner thinks I’m using it as an excuse.

    Q7: My close friend is autistic and I find communicating with him almost effortless, which is very unusual for me because although I crave social contact, it is very difficult for me in practice.

    Q8: It’s really hard and people take it personally. Maybe you could say “I’m really struggling right now, I just need a moment alone. I’ll be back when I’m ready, you’ve not done anything wrong, I just don’t feel my best”. Would typing or writing a note work better? I know this might be too long to articulate, but it’s a template at least. I’ve previously escaped to the bathroom or backyard.

  27. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: I do sometimes. Especially when I watch shows like the L Word or Between Women and it’s really weird for me how often people are talking on the phone and often they see each other and just hang out and I think it would be cool to have friends like that but then you look at all the drama and everyone sleeping with everyone else and I don’t think I could really handle it in real life.

    With groups of friends, if I try to join one, I usually find myself on the edge of the group, being only halfway included and not really knowing how to include myself like the others do, or how to jump in in a conversation where everyone’s talking at once. People like me, but I don’t really connect well except one on one.

    I have a significant other right now, though, and that’s enough interraction for me.

    Q3: Sometimes! I meet someone and decide they’re going to be my New Best Friend, especially if I haven’t had one for a while, and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.

    Q5: If you read lips, most people feel like you’re making eye contact with them.

    If someone tells you how helpful they are being to you and how grateful you should be of them, that’s a warning sign. Think about their actions and how much utility they are actually providing for you. Usually, people are who really helpful won’t be constantly saying “look how much I’m helping you”. They only say they’re being helpful when they’re not actually helping, because otherwise you could tell from their actions without them having to say anything. You are the one that gets to judge whether someone is helping you or not. If they think they are helping and are really just messing up your routines and making more work for you, it’s okay to tell them to stop helping. If they refuse to stop helping, that’s a problem.

    Of course, if they actually are being helpful and you are truly happy with what they’ve done for you, the may be prompting you to say “thank you” or let them know that you’re happy about what they did.

    But generally, adults do not say “I am being helpful” because they know that it’s up to you to decide whether the help was actual help or whether it was just a nuisance.

    When a child say “I am being helpful,” though, it’s usually best to agree with them, even if they’re using the wrong sponge to clean up their spill. They’re trying, and that’s good to encourage.

    Q8: I usually just snap. But I am trying to work on saying “this is too much right now” if there is someone to say it to.

    Or I’ll try to offer a compromise. I’m usually okay with touching someone else when I don’t want to be touched, and that works okay with my partner, if my partner wants interaction and i don’t want to be touched.

    If I can’t do words, I just shrink back from the touch and my partner doesn’t push it.

  28. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: I want friends, but I prefer they don’t demand much of me. I’m uncertain about the difference between “friend” and “close friend”. I tend to feel that either a person is a friend, or (s)he isn’t.

    Q2: I try to educate them about the most important dos and don’ts.

    Q3: Yes. Often for practical purposes (when it’s people I expect to interact with frequently in the future). For example, I got a new landlord 3 weeks ago (I rent the ground floor apartment, she lives on the 2nd floor). It’s important for me to learn about her and her routines/habits. Knowing her routine(s) makes me feel more relaxed about sounds and such in the house. It’s also important for me to know what type of person she is, since I expect her to become aware of my Asperger traits after a while (no visitors, rarely leaves the house, etc). I can relax more if I know she is tolerant and generally a nice person (and she seems to be).

    Q5: Complex and seemingly inexplicable behavior doesn’t necessarily mean the explanation is complicated. People are generally quite consistent and predictable, even if their intents and thoughts are often clouded in circumstantial noise.

    Q8: Yes. I’ve found that people close to me can be educated on such matters, a little bit at a time. It works best when I am calm and able to articulate my thoughts. For example, I taught my Mother that when I’m stressed it’s much, much easier for me to communicate if she doesn’t interrupt me while I’m talking.

  29. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: I have friendships that I would define as close, but then again, I don’t let them see the real me. Allowing someone to know me that intimately produces anxiety.

    Q5: I don’t have to have all the answers. It is ok to keep my mouth shut and not be “the smart one”

    Q6: He does not see me as disabled. There has been some relief to have a “label”. It is still hard and we are still working through many issues, but it has helped for him to have “lower” expectations of me. (That sounds terrible, I know, but it has helped tremendously!)

    Q7: My closest friend is probably an Aspie. It is much easier to hang out with her than other people, yes.

    Q8: Yes, I think explaining it in non-crisis mode would be helpful. I also try to be more self-aware before I go into sensory overload and explain that I just need to be alone for awhile.

    Q10: I have 3 boys; two show Aspie tendencies. They do not know about ASD. However, we do talk about feelings, meltdowns, and other things. I think it helps that I can relate to them and help explain their actions better to my husband (NT).

  30. Q1: More like a requirement I begrudgingly fill, and to that extent, I feel I have been exploited on occasion. People seem to lean on me endlessly when they need me, but when they don’t I am “too quirky”. I generally don’t feel comfortable asking of others because I don’t like feeling that I owe someone something. My 2 closest friends seem to have distanced me somewhat since coming out Autistic, possibly because I tell them my society and ways trample on my rights. =P
    Q2:Yes! I akwardly chased a girl for 4 years in high school, and failed utterly. Then I chased an older woman through my college years and failed at that too. Then I took a break and played MMOs for about 7 straight years. Somehow, I acquired some game in those years and managed to actually date my next obsession, I think I became a lot more subtle about it. She was impressed with my astute knowledge of every detail of her life, and I never forgot her birthday(or her work schedule, or if she wore that outfit 3 tuesdays ago)
    Q3: No. I don’t believe I have dated anyone on the spectrum.
    Q4: People will not follow the patterns and routines that you want them to, so there is no point in getting stressed over it. I also learned some things like eye contact 101, how to stomach small talk etc. Also, to try not to obsess over anyone, and if you do try to keep it to yourself.
    Q5: I live alone and prefer to. Health issues and other circumstances have forced me to return to a living situation with my family twice in the past 7 years, and that doesn’t go well. They do not understand me at all and just tend to think I am a voluntary jerk. Ironic that I meet disapproval and criticism for lack of social skills when I am the one that can hold down a job and does not abuse painkillers to cope with daily life.
    Q6: Someone I was romantically involved with briefly and had remained good friends with me has been put off by my self diagnosis. I was gaslight by her initially when I told her I suspected autism. She likes to read, so when I suggested “Loud Hands”, she said she would get around to it when she finished her fantasy series and all her young adult vampire books. When I proudly linked my flash blog entries, she advised me strongly against getting involved. I linked her RNDS and she hasn’t spoken to me since.
    Q7: Not that I know of, I had a bipolar friend years back and the moodiness didn’t put me off as much as it seemed to other people.
    Q8: That was a problem when I was a kid but not so much now (because I live on my own….well I have roommates, but they don’t give me hugs and kisses).
    Q9: I don’t know how thats going to go. I intend to share it soon. I expect gaslighting not disownment.
    Q10: No kids!

      1. To “stomach” something is a metaphor for “tolerate”. I don’t understand the history of that metaphor so much but it’s commonly used and seems catchy.

      2. oh! thanks, that makes sense now. I had thought it was like breathing from your belly while talking or something silly like that.

  31. Reblogged this on tagAught and commented:
    “Take a Test Tuesday” is now “Survey Tuesday” over at Musing’s blog; survey questions are from other ASDers, and the goal is to build more of a knowledge base and exchange info to help others. Fun, and useful!

  32. Q1: I like to have one or two close friends. I can’t ever have too many friends from the same source though because I can’t balance them and one or both end up feeling neglected.
    Q2: I met a nice guy at a spelling bee… Being kind of shy around new people, I didn’t ask if he wanted to stay in contact. I perseverated over the stupidity of this decision for weeks because it felt like we really clicked.
    Q3: Erm, 14, so… No. Maybe (probably not) later.
    Q4: Not correcting them, not overdoing it on touching (poking is my preferred contact), not invading their personal space, not trying to be controlling, balance between too much and too little contact… All of which are still challenging for me.
    Q5: I’m 14, but my mother still reminds me to shower, brush teeth, brush hair, get dressed, change clothes, etc. I refuse to talk on the telephone if it isn’t completely necessary.
    Q6: I don’t have a partner.
    Q7: I have an autistic friend, but he’s so mild I couldn’t tell until my mother told me (and I’ve known him practically since birth) and it’s not really easier because both of us will get offended but neither of us is really good at small talk or anything… So it’s generally awkward.
    Q8: Completely. Yes. By this point, I’m just staring off at nowhere, walking around to try and avoid people, not talking, not looking at people. Usually after ten to fifteen minutes I’ve unwound enough to rejoin society. And it literally feels like that – like I’m being wound and tightened inside because of the tension. I had a really long day yesterday, and I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open, but also couldn’t fall asleep because I was so wound up.
    Q9: I’m not diagnosed and probably not severe enough to be diagnosed.
    Q10: I don’t have any kids, but if/when I do, I’ll probably tell them something like that to explain why their mother is so weird sometimes.

  33. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: Yes. I have major trust issues and cannot deal with “casual acquaintances”.

    Q2: I didn’t get on with my dad, so didn’t really cope with that at all. I just kind of froze him out and ignored him. My mom is on the spectrum too it is believed so she understands me good.

    Q3: YES!! So much. Pretty much all my friends I have had a period of obsession. As I accept that they’re sticking around, I can tone it down. Sometimes they don’t stick around and that hurts a lot.

    Q4: Nope.

    Q5: When it is done right, and you’re comfortable with it, it can feel so good and make you so happy. Particularly if it goes well.

    Q7: I don’t have any diagnosed austistic or aspie friends. But the vast majority (if not all) of my friends have some form of disability or mental health problems, so they can relate. I don’t have any neurotypical “normal” friends.

    Q8: I will usually just squeak and shy away, and then say “no touchie” like from the Emperor’s New Groove. I find no touchie makes it humourous enough that they don’t mind but they still understand okay no physical interactions today.

    Q9: Nope. Although my dad did call me a mental retard and then walked out a month later. I think that was marital issues rather than me though. I think.

  34. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: Yes and no. I HAVE several very close friendships, but those friends have lived far away from me for years. So I long to be with the friends I already have, more than longing for new friends. What I would like, more than just having more friends, is an improved ability to discern who is and is not really my friends. I often can’t tell, so consequently I just assume “not” and go about my business.

    Q2: Wasn’t an issue for me growing up, as none of us were aware that I was autistic/Aspie. I was in my twenties when public stories about Asperger’s began to circulate in the mass media. My brother is more HFA than Aspie, didn’t speak until he was nearly three and then started with complete sentences, but no one ever thought of autism with him, either. Some doctors suspected retardation, but never autism.

    Q3: Yes, that has happened to me SEVERAL times. Ruined a couple of promising relationships in my teens. Most recently it happened with a woman I’d known in high school but recently connected with via Facebook. Not pretty at ALL.

    Q4: I am in the middle of a divorce, after almost seventeen years of marriage and nineteen years as a couple. A lot of our issues do relate to my Aspie nature. I spent many years trying to NOT be the way I am, with (obviously) poor results.

    At this point I don’t know that I’d feel comfortable asking anyone but another Aspie to enter a long-term thing with me.

    Q5: 1) That telling people to stop being so emotional and trying them to focus on “the facts” will NOT work and will only make the problem with them worse; 2) you need to tell people how YOU perceive their words (e.g. very literally, at face value), so that (hopefully) they can take that into account when talking with you; 3) When conversations become unpredictable, you have to fight the urge to get rigid with the other person, fixating on what is “wrong” with the interaction…this can lead you to be confrontational when no fight is needed or warranted.

    Q6: For the most part, no. It does get spoken of in those terms sometimes when we’re fighting. I think she’s basically exhausted by it all.

    Q7: To my knowledge, no. Ironically, my brother is also on the spectrum, but he wants almost no contact with ANYONE other than his wife. So we don’t do any “autistic bonding”, so to speak.

    Q8: I have this issue with my son, who is also on the spectrum. When he wants physical contact, he wants it very INTENSELY, bear hugs, clinging, sniffing, etc. I can’t always deal with that, and it winds up looking like I’m rejecting HIM, when it’s the strong stimulus I’m shying away from. It’s a real issue. The other kids understand how to hug on me (not suddenly, not too intensely, etc), but it pains me to need my son to understand any limits to how he can get affection from me.

    Q9: No. It seems to be fairly prevalent in my family, though not everyone agrees that that’s the case. Out of six kids, my brother and I are both on the spectrum, and I suspect that my oldest sister may be (it’s hard to say, since we’re all also “gifties.”). My mother is very probably a fellow Aspie, without diagnosis (let’s just say Temple Grandin makes me think of my mom a LOT).

    Q10: Two of my four kids are on the spectrum, my daughter less “severely” so than my son. They all know about my ASD. To the extent that they can understand what it means (which is subtle, obviously) they’re totally accepting.

  35. Ok I’m back
    Q4. I’ve started realizing I’m over thinking every interaction with friends & acquaintances. This causes to much stress. It would help to quit trying to analyze so much .
    Q5. The only diagnosis so far is for my son. ( and I’m doing everything I can to help him ) I told my mom I think I am a female Aspie ( it’s a bit different than males ). She said I’m a hypochondriac & that I was a normal kid ( just extremely shy) . So no support there.
    Q6. My husband agrees with my self-diagnosis and that he is most likely an Aspie as well. We both think his father is Aspie .
    Q7. No I don’t think I have any Aspie friends in person.
    Q8. I get very annoyed when my husband touches me when I’m not in any mood for it like I’m focused in doing something else. I also have a hyper sense of smell; when i was pregnant it was insane.I have a hard time communicating some senses / moods to my husband.
    Q9. My mom is taking my self-diagnosis very personally. She thinks I’m making it up in my head.
    Q10. My son is still to young.

  36. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: I did in the past. I have learnt how to establish close friendships now. Just a few because I could not maintain more. This is very rewarding and is definately the cause of the longing because I now find it satisfied by these relationships and the REALNESS of them and being a part of someone elses life.

    Q3: No, I would not say so. But some people, I want to know how they are the way they are so I will be very curious and wonder about this a lot and ask them questions how they achieved certain things. Especially if they are very intelligent, beautiful AND socially competent. That always fascinates me.

  37. 1) Of course. But finding them in FTF interactions, instead of online, is iffy at best. Most people seem to become friends over food. If you’ve got food allergies and can’t eat out with them, things either go downhill or never get started in the first place.

    2) I’ve obsessed over a new fandom or reading interest, lots of times. A RL person – no. About as close as I’ve ever come is one instance of “darn, he’s cute” in early college. But said he had a girlfriend already, so my brain never got beyond “he’s pretty to watch with the Nerf Swords”. Never happened since.

    3) Nope. Not married. Not going to be. Asexual. The very thought is… meep.

    4) When someone asks “How are you,” they don’t really want to know.
    When someone says “Hi,” it’s best to say hi back – even if you can’t recognize them. (I have a hard time recognizing people outside of a familiar context. If I meet someone from work at the grocery store, I don’t know who they are.)
    Someone who touches your arm is probably trying to be friendly. Probably. Giving them a dirty look or trying to scrub your skin raw to get rid of the touch is not taken well by others.

    5) Mostly by trying to gently bring it up once in a while, and trying not to get disappointed when they actively Do Not Want to hear it. The most crushing statement can be, “It’s like you want to be disabled.” …Um, no.

    6) No partner, not officially diagnosed. Family refuses to believe it.

    7) Autistic online friends, and yes, they’re definitely easier to hang with in chat, etc. (One’s already commented here.) If it takes a minute or two to think through the right answer, it’s not as frustrating.

    8) Ooof, those are bad times. I have good days and bad days, relatively, handling sensory stuff; the best I’ve usually been able to manage is “I need some peace and quiet”, and then disappearing for a while. That seems to be the least offensive way to handle it.

    9) N/A.

    10) No kids, not planning on having any, ever. That said, if I ever ended up responsible for kids, I’d tell them. “There are sometimes that unless you are _bleeding to death,_ I need quiet.” Dunno how they’d react to that….

  38. Q1. Yes, because as I see it there are only 3 friendship options:

    1. Close friendship
    2. Acquaintanceship
    3. Solitude.

    Option 1 and 3 allows one to feel home, feel understood and acknowledged without needing to pay a lot of attention, relax, switch in and out of socialising as needed, trust, know which boundaries apply and be able to predict what will happen. Solitude and close friendship have a lot in common!

    Option 2 tends to be stressing, require intense social attention (when socialising), present a high risk of mishaps and misunderstandings, risks of let downs, risk of not liking the other person, risk of not being liked, unpredictability – Basically high effort, high risk, and little return! (why does anyone like to make new friends?;-)

    I do long for close friends in the sense: I long to have someone around whom I’m so familiar with that I know and like their habits, don’t need to ‘put a mask on’, don’t need to be constantly social, can relax without fear of being misunderstood.

    My husband and dogs already meet that need though, so I am not sure if it is fair to say ‘long for’. However, if I omit them from my ‘close friends’ circle (because, do family and animals count?) then I am not sure if I have any close friends at all. I also don’t know how to move a relationship from acquaintanceship to friendship. I think my definition of close friendship is different from most peoples’. I don’t equate close friendship with intense social interaction, but I know there is an ‘intensive socialising’ phase between acquaintanceship and friendship (and to close friendship). – which I don’t like … So, I probably unintentionally reject people who want to move from acquaintanceship to friendship.

    I also don’t usually like to visit people in their homes, that is awkward. Or have guests (with few exceptions). So it is not so simple…

    Friendships/relationships is a very interesting topic.

    (and I will try to answer the rest of the questions shorter)

    Q2. No. I am rarely much interested in people I just met/know briefly.

    Q3. No.

    Q4. That it is essential to show a genuine interest in other people and listen genuinely, even if it requires intense use of mind tricks like e.g. imagination (e.g. imagine a scene and visualise the content of their words into an interesting context. or visually extrapolate their life story from bits they have told and put what they say in context) and/or a fictive scientific approach (study behaviours, visualise interesting intonations, update one’s internal social database or general knowledge database, et.c. et.c.).

    Q5. My parents are far away. I don’t think they understand me much, especially not my mother. My coping strategy in that regard is to minimise interaction and expose minimal personal information. I try to frame personal information I do give as a ‘short story with a clear point’ and minimal opening to expand the conversation or misunderstand what I mean.

    Q6. I don’t have an official diagnosis as such, but my psychologist (who is an ASD specialist) told me that he has not doubt that I have Asperger’s. I told that to my husband, and he asked what the risk is, if we have kids, that they will have similar problems to what I have and have had. He has said for years that I have ‘some sort of disability’ or ‘condition’ in regard to noise sensitivity and socially, before there was ever any mentioning of Asperger’s. We have not discussed the topic further.

    Q7. No. There is an 11-year old boy with Asperger’s in my Church (but I don’t think he knows that – I know it from another source. Besides having figured it long time before that, it is quite obvious). He is definitely harder to talk with than the average person. But I like him, and I like when he occasionally come and hang out with me when I sit on the bench outside Church:-)

    Q8. I don’t have that problem. I don’t like hugs, kisses, and that kind of intrusive physical approaches with strangers and acquaintances (they are awkward). However, apart from that I am a very tactile person in general – I like touch, I like to touch things, I often imagine touch when I don’t have it, I love pressure and weight sensations, and I like hugs and physical contact with someone I am used to. Even if I’m saturated with physical contact then I am still usually quite tolerant to it.

    For persons who have that sort of problems I would recommend to explain it to everybody they know in advance or after a crisis so family, friends, acquaintances et.c don’t take sensory overload personal and feel rejected. Because some would.

    Q9. Not applicable, but no I am sure that would not happen.

    Q10. Not applicable.

  39. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: I go through times where I do very much. But I am not interested in spending time with people who make me feel like I need to be something that I’m not. The cost of pretending is too great and makes me feel badly about myself. Generally I am happy alone though.

    Q3: I can absolutely relate to this! Most of my special interests as a teenager were people in my life. It used to make me feel like something was “wrong” with me as I had never heard of such a thing. I felt ashamed to talk about it and only as an adult can I make sense of it.

    Q4: No my partner is NT.

    Q5: That people share different amounts of information about themselves, and being too open about yourself in some interactions (even if what you are saying is just the truth) can put people off. I am still very bad at knowing how much to share, causing me to either be way too open or way too closed.

    Q6: It was a very difficult time after my diagnosis, and still, 2 and 1/2 years later it is a very touchy subject. Mostly she feels that my ASD affects everything in our life. Even though I didn’t change after diagnosis, having all the little things pointed out has made her feel like she can’t get away from it- the “quirks” became a constant reminder. It has been terrible and my self esteem has been very badly affected.

    Q7: I don’t have any, but I very much would like people in my life who “get” me and make me feel that I am ok as I am.

    Q8: I am not good at dealing with this. It often makes my partner angry if I (instinctively) pull away. But I don’t often have the words to explain what is going on. Mostly I try to physically put myself at a distance when I know that I can’t handle it.

    Q9: No, but my mother is quite skeptical of the situation. She this that I am “just like her”, that I just have anxiety. Actually ASD is from my dad’s side. I think it is very hard for her to look back and think that she missed it in my growing up.

    Q10: No children, though I don’t intend to keep it a secret at all.

  40. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: Yes, but I never manage to sustain them. I make too many mistakes.

    Q2: Not applicable, I’m afraid.

    Q3: No. I have to get to know someone before I can do that, and if it happens I try and stop doing it because it feels wrong, as if I am hijacking a part of the other person against their will.

    Q4: No

    Q5: It’s worth looking at people’s faces as they talk. There’s a lot of information there, even if it takes practice to work out what it is.

    Q7: No. I don’t know any autistic people where I live. I met up with someone from another state who I’d found online, but he was of the ‘you’re a female autie so we must have sex!’ persuasion, so it didn’t work out.

    Q8: This is really hard. Most of the people I know use ‘autistic’ as a pejorative, so I wouldn’t go there. Of the collegues who know I’m autistic, saying this would result in them replying that ‘normal people feel like that sometimes, too’ and minimising my distress.

    Q9: Yes. I am ‘vile and appalling’, apparently.

  41. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: Yes, I don’t care for having a lot of friends or an active social life. However, I strongly desire someone to trust, to help me cope with my problems, to generally feel a closeness to someone.

    Q2: I’d like to just calmly explain how I think about the task at hand, but it just ends up sounding like an excuse. I don’t have any advice to give, sorry

    Q3: Yes, a few times. I don’t like to describe it as obsessive, but honestly can be at times. Since I desire a close friendship/relationship with someone so strongly, I think I become overly focused on a specific person. Next thing I know, I’m camping out in their front yard. Okay, only that last part is a joke.

    Q4: No

    Q5: I’ve had several epiphanies about relationships in my mid-teens to early twenties, many that are obvious to other people. I can’t just wait for someone to try to interact with me, because that doesn’t show an interest in other people, especial since I give off poor signals apparently (I come off as a bit cold and anti-social, although I am very friendly). You have to show an interest in people and their day-to-day lives, not just what they have to say that is interesting. I kind of have to fake an interest in someone’s life to eventually get to the point where I honestly am interested in their lives. Smile and make eye contact, took a while to practice that. NT’s seem to perceive where someone is looking as where their attention and interest is, and I think smiles just seem more trusting. I try to move my hands and try to change up my speaking pace, pitch, and volume to avoid coming cross as robotic and uninteresting. I’m in my early twenties and am just starting to figure some of this stuff out, so I can’t wait to see other feedback

    Q7: I don’t personally know anyone diagnosed, but I find it much easier to be around someone who has similar qualities to me.

    Q8: If someone wants to know but you can’t describe it in the moment, just wait until you can.

  42. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: I’ve noticed that in the past few years I have, but when I was younger, I didn’t. I don’t know if this is due to me changing as I got older, or if it’s because I had my first close friends in high school, and I haven’t made any friends in 3 years of college, aside from the 9 people I went to India with.

    Q2: I was lucky enough to have a dad who understands/accepts way more than my mother does, so when I really need my space/peace, my dad will try to keep her away from me as much as possible. When my dad’s not there, it’s much harder. I’ll try to explain to my mother and it’ll be OK for a little bit, but then she’ll forget and it starts over again. I’ve ended up just avoiding her as much as possible. Probably not the best way to deal with the issue, but it’s what gets me the best and most consistent results.

    Q7: I’ve known a few autistic people and it’s… different. I feel like I can connect with either autistic or allistic people, but I connect in different ways and at different speeds. I don’t know exactly how to describe how it’s different, but I have noticed a faster connection (days to weeks instead of months to years) with the two autistic people I’ve gotten to know than with the multiple allistics.

    Also interesting to me is the comments from allistics. There was one autistic guy in high school who I got to know, and we were having a conversation or an argument at one point. I don’t remember what it was about, but I do remember enjoying its flow. And an allistic friend who was there was convinced that I liked the guy, even after I told her she was wrong.

  43. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: Yes

    Q2: Not well. Often with frustration tears and yelling

    Q3: YES

    Q4: You mean both of us are? I’m in a long term (3.5+ years) relationship with a neurodiverse non autistic guy (ADD).

    Q6: My diagnosis occured weeks before meeting him. So he was fully aware before we were together. He does because I identify as such.

    Q7: Yes and yes.

    Q9: No

  44. Anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: Yes, definitely, but then when I get into a conversation with someone I get so uncomfortable that I just want to get away. I used to have very close friends when I was in high school, but now as an adult I really don’t have any friends, and I don’t have any idea how to go about making friends.

    Q2: That’s kind of a tough question for me. This question definitely describes my situation, but I don’t know that I really have any particular coping strategies. I just avoid conversations and things most of the time, which is probably not the best method.

    Q3: I guess I’ve done this on rare occasions, but the interest usually fades pretty quickly.

    Q5: If you need to maintain polite conversation, you don’t always need to say anything important or interesting. For example, if you end up making small talk with someone about the weather, it’s not because they’re all that interested in the weather; it’s just to have something to say for its own sake.

  45. Anonymous answers:

    Q1: Sometimes I do feel lonley and long for connection. On the other hand, forming friendships is difficult, and as much as I care for my friends, being with then quickly gets emotionally draining.

    Q2: I generally tell mine not to worry, and that if I’m alone a lot of the time, it’s because I need to be because people are exhausting. Which is very true, though it does leave out the part where I want friends but have difficulty making them.

    Q3: Frequently. I refer to it as a “squish” (word used by aromantic people to describe a platonic crush)

    Q4: no, or at least, not yet

    Q5: Good friends will try to accomodate your needs if you explain them (people who don’t are not good friends). Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

    Q6: No partner, but of they friends I’ve told, the only difference is that they’re much more accomadating of my sensory needs, which is great!

    Q7: I have one, an I connect with them like no one I’ve ever met. It’s easier by orders of magnitude!

    Q8: I tend to retreat physically. Find some reason to sneak off, then hole up in my bedroom, or the bathroom, or somewhere away from other people. If I think the other person will understand, I’ll tell them why I’m doing it, but otherwise I tend to make up excuses of just leave without saying anything at all. I don’t know if that’s really a method you’d want to emulate, though.

    Q9: I’m not professionally dx-ed, but the one time I brought it up to my mom, she said very casually that my parents had suspected me as autistic since childhood. I guess since I was speaking they didn’t care enough to have me evaluated. They seem not to care much at all.

  46. anonymous answers:

    Q1: No

    Q3: Rarely, but its happened before

    Q4: I am

    Q5: People are mostly not thinking what I’m thinking

    Q6: I ve not told my wife yet….wrong timing as 1. Still waiting for an assessment due in may 2. We re expecting a baby in may.

    Q7: I do not have autistic friends… Though there’s one I suspect is AS but is in denial.

    Q8: I’m not sure how to go about this as well.

    Q10: They are unaware of it…my daughters only 3

  47. Anonymous answers:

    Q1: I think it is important to me to have at least two very close friends.

    Q2: This is a complicated question because my parents do not know that I am autistic and they do not know about my close relationships.

    Q3: It has happened to me before, although I don’t like it. When I had a fascination with my high school biology teacher and wanted to infodump to him about science after school, people thought I had a teacher-crush and I got in trouble for it.

    Q4: I am in a longterm partnership with another autistic person. We celebrated our first anniversary in December and have lived together for several months. He and I live with his other partner, who is also autistic and a friend of mine.

    Q5: Check in with people to make sure you’re not intruding on their personal space or crossing boundaries you shouldn’t be.

    Q6: My partner is also autistic and we are both pursuing diagnosis!

    Q7: DYes and yes!

    Q8: I usually am blunt about this.

    Q9: I’m not yet diagnosed and my family doesn’t know I’m pursuing diagnosis. I’m not worried about being disowned as much as not believed.

  48. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yeah 😦 I get really lonely. I have one friend, but I don’t really know how to be friends with people properly. I want the kind of friendships you see on TV, with dinner parties and things.

    Q2: My mum has done really well to try and understand me, so I don’t have this issue really.

    Q3: I’ve very nearly had this happen with someone who I was planning on going on a date with (from a dating site) but then he pulled out at the last minute and I was gutted.

    Q4: My partner is also suspected Aspie, although we are both self-diagnosed. I was telling him for years that I thought he was Aspie, I only discovered I was (probably) this year.

    Q5: I don’t really know how to answer this questions

    Q6: My partner thinks it’s hilarious, because I spent so much time diagnosing him. He’s very supportive otherwise.

    Q7: I don’t have any autistic friends, outside of my partner. My only friend ‘away from keyboard’ has Bipolar

    Q8: I have never known how to explain this without upsetting people. I get so overwhelmed at times that I cannot stand my partner touching me, but I don’t know how to tell him without him taking offense, so I normally just shut up and deal with it. 😦

    Q9: No, thankfully, although my father doesn’t know. He will poo-hoo it for sure.

    Q10: I have two children. My 9 year old son is Aspie, and we have briefly talked about Mum having it too. My 5 year old daughter hasn’t been told directly. My partner and I talk openly about it infront of the kids so they probably figured it out.

  49. anonymous answers:

    Q3: Yes

    Q4: Yes. Been married to my partner for six years

    Q6: He has have a hard time dealing with anything mental or behavioral as an illness or disorder. He comes from Scandanavian stock that says to handle things yourself, and it can be a challenge to get him to understand this is bigger than me.

    Q7: No I don’t have autistic friends at this point. Try to meet some at the autism support group when I can attend. They do seem to understand me better.

    Q8: I think you probably should describe them to folks, because if you meltdown because you’re overloaded, then people will understand.

    Q9: No, I haven’t.

  50. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Whenever I become friend with someone, I tend to break up mentally if I learn that we won’t be able to speak to each other ever. But if it’s something like a six months without texting, it’s fine because friendship doesn’t disappear with time… at least for me.

    Q2: I never managed to «cope» with my parents or friends. I love them, there precious for me, but in the end they usually put me in situations where my difference and sensibilities are way too clear. Mostly, I just shut up about it and try to act normal (say nothing, don’t act weirdly, put don’t earphones, no psychology/biology talk) with them, mostly with my parents. I feel like they don’t care about understanding me, or rather that they find my explanations boring…

    Q5: Not hurting people. Others seems to be more sensitive to pain than me, thus when I’m just greeting them, I end up hurting them… Plus, when speaking with colleague at school or work, stay in the generals topic and avoids exposing your «Aspie side» if you’re not sure what is the other person opinion about mental «disorders». Avoid a lot of awkward situations…

    Q6: I’v been trying to explain to him that I wasn’t like everyone, that mostly, kicking me in a unknown place, with new people, new situation, no schedule, hugging me and forcing me to be sociable was near a perfect death context…. We ended up breaking because of my overload for social life.

    Q8: As for me, I tend to simply say that I hate physical contact. With friends it’s okay, they knew me for a while so for them it’s just «me». But when it’s with others, if its the significant one, it might be better to tell him/her when you feel its okay, than making yourself suffer without the person aware of your suffering

  51. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I like the idea of having a close friend (non-sexual), but instead have had relationships where my partner has been my best friend. I am lucky in that I also have a couple of close friends whom I see every 1-2 months, which is enough for me. I also really like the idea of a sister, but I haven’t one.

    Q2: My father is dead, my mother doesn’t know about my diagnosis, as I don’t want any difficulties. She is a little dependent on me so I can’t risk

    Q3: Embarrassed to admit it, but yes definitely. I always search the internet for as much info as possible.

    Q4: My partner is 1/2 & 1/2, he has a number of strong Aspie traits (routines, super obsessive interests).

    Q5: They don’t really see you unless they think you have something to offer them. Most people don’t listen or remember things you said, unless it was really obviously strange/offensive/public.

    Q6: No, it has explained a lot to both of us. He always thought I was more intelligent and had some stronger abilities than him, as well as being socially difficult. This has just confirmed and explained. When he thinks about it he is impressed at how well I’ve managed.
    We wouldn’t tell his parents though, they’d definitely see it as a limiting thing/disability.

    Q7: No autistic friends that I know of, but some 1/2 & 1/2 friends with whom we laugh about their and my apsie traits.

    Q8: I’ve always been clear about much of this – and I often use humour to present it – I say I have a huge personal space, no touching from people I don’t know and especially not at work. At home I react strongly about asking to be left alone.

    Q9: Only my partner knows – and several friends.

    Q10: No children, never wanted them as knew our family had issues didn’t see how I could be a role model for anyone either.

  52. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Not certain. I think because I have a social network nine of childhood friends or make new friends easily ppl think I have close friends, but I don’t feel like I do.

    Q2: Lucky I have parents who just accept me as I am– we come from a small town so family tends to be more accepting. I don’t think it helps that my family may say I’m find everyone else has the problem- other than telling them recently I may be on the autism spectrum, their acting non challant about it and saying that I’m an incredible person helps me keep my self esteem up.

    Q3: I can do that. Secretly I try to keep it secret, I don’t want to freak them or anyone out.

    Q4: No, haven’t been successful in relationship. Might be oaky now- dating an artist who is kind “out there” he recognizes my “oddness” but that made me interesting to him– although it’s still difficult we can end up feeling distant from eachother– when I told him I had ADHD he felt he could be like that then recently when I found out I might have asperger’s he could identify too. Might work if he’s able to relate.

    Q5: Saying good bye is very important. And I’f you want to strike up a conversation with a female, it’s fairly simple you can just compliment her on her shoes or compliment some material possession of hers– Although I found this out just a year ago and a man told me this trick. I still don’t get the woman chit chat and how they end up sharing photos of their family friends and vacations with each other but it seems important in office chit chat or just getting to know others.

    Q6: They don’t see it as disabled…. I’m not sure if I have come to terms with it as a disability myself– but know that when it comes to human resource departments they pay attention when someone says they have a suspected disability and are being targeted as a bulky victim.

    Q7: No, the ones I’ve met online I think are cool. I may meet one in person finally so well see how that goes. I’m aware of some of their possible shortcomings already so I think I can adapt and be a decent friend.

    Q8: Good question. I think it might be better to find some calm and explain it as soon as possible.. Maybe some kind of script for this situaiptions. I haven’t developed one yet but do find myself in similar situations. Barking at people or responding with anxious tone I know doesn’t work for most ppl though.

    Q9: No.

    Q10: No children. But as a teacher, my students I don’t think could understand, they haven’t even realized or have their parents come to terms and understand their diagnosis of autism.

  53. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes

    Q2: Frustrated for them and at myself for not being able to talk to them 😦 they are not educated and are from a culture (asain) that keeps mental health issues behind closed door, so its just a case of ignoring me when I act up and pretending it dosnt exist 😦

    Q3: YES!! My current obsession is with a long term female friend, its been 6 years since I met her but this obssesion has only started last week

    Q5: Even if you don’t look someone in the eye, face them. I tend to talk to the air around people

    Q7: YES!! My closest friend is like myself an undiagnosed aspie, and while she’s very easy to be around I find that my ‘social rules’ are meaningless when we interact, good in the sense I can be myself but bad as it means there is some unpredictability involved

    Q8: Yes that’s what I do

    Q10: I have a 2year old who has very complex health needs, he is also blind which makes me feel more at ease as there is no eye contact involved, there’s a lot of overlapp between his VI behaviour and my aspie behivour. I do however find it impossiable to understand his tantrums…

  54. Q 1. No

    Q 2. Yes

    Q 3. Yes

    Q 4. Tell people more than I think is necessary, which entails hard work for me finding what to say, because other people will understand better and there’ll be less trouble.

    Q 5. N/A

    Q 6. A positive reaction, yes but my partner is also ‘disabled’. We both see it as negative AND positive.

    Q 7. Yes, one, and yes, absolutely.

    Q 8. I have to wait until articulate, and recommend this as I can’t talk very well when overwhelmed, and it’d make the situation even more messy.

    Q 9. No.

    Q 10. My children can understand me better now, and it has allowed for a way to get through difficulties since they know what stresses are likely to cause me trouble. They’re o.k. with who I am, mostly.

  55. anonymous answers:

    Q1: No, I like having relationships that are close (by my standards) but these would not be close by NT standards.

    Q2: I have always been self sufficient as an adult. I don’t this I was too much of a problem as a child though I think my parents worried about me and still do. The worry is about my most easily identifiable trait which is lack of sociability.

    Q3: When I was much younger. She became my life partner.

    Q4: Yes, 25 years with an NT partner.

    Q5: I have learned to almost look them in the eye. I think they wonder if I do or don’t. I pay more attention to aspects of physical contact which I missed for most of my life.

    Q6: I haven’t actually told her that I think I am an Aspie but we have discussed all the traits and issues associated with them as well as accommodations to be made. She accepts me as different with positive traits as well as annoying ones. I don’t think she sees me as disabled.

    Q7: I have some that I suspect. They are so easy to be with. We get on a topic of mutual interest and discuss it. Computers and all associated topics provide the usual subject matter.

    Q8: I seem to be in a social group that is highly hug, kiss and touch oriented. This is a result of being with my NT partner. I really don’t like it. Prior to being with her I didn’t even like being touched by family. That must have been hurtful to my mother. My partner has helped by understand how important it is to NTs so I live with it.

    Q9: I have never shared my suspicions about myself except with my partner and then indirectly (see 6).

    Q10: They are not. I am basically estranged from my daughter due to my behaviors over the years and my lack of ability to connect on any useful level. Now that I am more aware perhaps the future will be better.

  56. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Maybe. I don’t care for superficial friendships very much; those friendships I do have, I have or want to it be a close friendship.

    Q7: Most of my close friends are autistic in some way. They are generally much easier to talk to (conversations tend to be about interesting things) and to get along with.

    Q8: I generally don’t like being touched. I have one or two friends I will let hug me briefly, but other than that noone may touch me. Unless there’s a genuine practical reason, when I don’t mind it at all.

  57. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I do, I am rather sentimental about my friends.

    Q2: My mum likes to think she has be all sussed out but 80% of the time she gets it totally wrong. In her mind I’m some selfish, ungrateful little bitch when in my mind I’m really NOT.

    Q3: Loads of times in the past! It’s rather embarrassing.

    Q4: Used to be. My first boyfriend (now best friend) has traits and he knows it but doesn’t really believe in labels.

    Q5: STFU they are not interested in your hobbies anymore!
    Also keep in contact with people because before you know it months have passed and you’ve seen NOONE.

    Q7: I do and usually they are easier, but if their interests differ too much from mine it can be hard to have a good enough conversation with them.

    Q8: I’ll just go a bit stiff but that’s probably not very good advice. Maybe you should say when you hang out with people that you’re not a huggy person? They’ll get the hint eventually.

    Q9: Nah.

  58. Yes, I really long for close friendships?

    Yes, It’s probably called obsessing

    I was married 22 years, then had a 7 year cohabit, and am trying again

    Some of what I’ve learned: I speak in strange syntax at times and have odd ways of expressing ideas

    N/A re parents

    Partner is relieved to learn why I have a difficulty expressing emotions, looking askance, raging without seeming provocation.

    I just found one person

    I don’t have these issues of sensory overload

    Son doesn’t want much to do with me, but probably not due AS. Haven’t told him. Daughter seems skeptical of diagnosis.

  59. anonymous answers:

    Q1: not a lot, but sometimes (especially when I was 10-16) I wanted just one person I could trust and confide in and hang out with when I was lonely.

    Q2: it’s trying. me and mom used to not get along at all. math was incredibly frustrating for me but came easy to my mom. she would try to help but I would freak out, get angry or frustrated and hit myself, screaming “help me!” or “I can’t do it!” and she would sometimes yell at me or clap her hands close to my face. this was obviously incredibly stressful (though at the time neither of us knew of my diagnoses) but she didn’t know how to react and thought I was just throwing a tantrum. she learned over the years what worked and what doesn’t with me though and now she understands me better than anyone. my dad often wants to talk when I don’t want to communicate at all with anyone and tries to reach out but often does it at the wrong times which stresses me out and makes me irritable. I don’t understand how he could know me for so many years, know that for years there are certain times that I don’t like to talk and still attempt to make contact with me. we are figuring it out though and getting better since my diagnoses.

    Q3: I rarely am super interested in specific people but when I am I do get very interested. I’ve never obsessed or been clingy though (perhaps because of past bad experiences? I’m not sure.)

    Q4: I’m not married or planning on it but me and my boyfriend are very serious right now. I am very in love with him but I also realize that things happen and people change and we may not be together forever. he doesn’t see why we can’t be. I would love to stay with him for a very long time, I just know the reality of it. also he is a neurotypical and I have aspergers/high functioning autism. I’ve learned how to deal with it and cover for it extremely well but it still causes problems especially when I’m anxious or can’t communicate.

    Q5: people like to talk about themselves but know it isn’t polite. it’s hard for me to talk about myself because I know I talk too much and give too many details, people will lose interest or I will overshare. but because they are polite I find it difficult to balance conversations. it’s also hard with new people or acquaintances to ask them about themselves out of politeness when I’m not interested in them or don’t know how to find something interesting about them. I hate asking boring idle questions but it seems to be the only way to make people talk about themselves.

    Q6: originally he sort of scoffed at me, said their was no way I was autistic, I was being paranoid. then he asked it I was professionally diagnosed. however, he did some reading and was astounded at the similarities and no longer has any doubt. he also firmly believes that I can function quite fine and shouldn’t be treated as anything other than a normal human being but he is relieved that now he knows how to deal with some of my anxiety and coping issues.

    Q7: no, I’ve never been close or even really acquainted with another autistic.

    Q8: family gatherings are hard because I like touching but only certain people, in certain ways, at certain times. because of the size and spread of ages at larger family gatherings (such as holidays) it is overwhelming to my senses which further puts me on edge about touch. I have a lot of trouble communicating when I’m very anxious or overwhelmed and it’s much easier for me to clam up and stay quiet or remove myself from the situation. I can explain better later.

    Q9: no.

  60. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Sometimes.

    Q2: It’s annoying, but it feels alright since they do care. But as you said, they don’t always understand. My mothers disproving looks and comments are disheartening, she tend to tell me that I’m just slightly an Aspie, that it was just barely that I got the diagnosis and that I should remember that. I feel as though she is disregarding my actual issues.

    Q3: I have in my past. My ex boyfriend was an special interest, I obsessed so much over him that I made myself believe that I loved him. It took me half a year to realize that no, I didn’t. Nowadays I’m very cautious about people. I know I can obsess over them and if I do I’ll end up ruining myself and my relationship to them.

    Q4: I’m now in a very long distance relationship (a little over 7200 km). I’m in Sweden and he’s from Seattle. I’m also doing my best not to obsess, it’s difficult but it’s working. He’s also an aspie.

    Q5: 1. If you don’t want attention among people, saying “hello” when you first meet someone is less eye catching than avoiding them.
    2. When people talk to you they want confirmation from you that you are listening to them,

    Q6: I found my partner via an aspie dating site (Wrong planet’s Aspie Affection). He has undiagnosed AS and I’ve got an AS diagnosis. It helps so much that he have similar problems as me and it feels awesome that we talk about it and such things.

    Q7: He’s my friend as well. And currently I don’t have any other friends. The other AS people I’ve met before in other situations weren’t easier to talk to. It depends on the individual, having AS as the only common thing is not helping, except for perhaps some minor understandings in behavior.

    Q8: I tell my mother that I’m exhausted and I don’t want nor can I take having any contact with people right now.

    Q9: No.

  61. anonymous answers:

    Q1: yes

    Q2: they thought I was a gifted kid

    Q3: oh yes…

    Q4: yes

    Q5: Empathy is basic. I didnt see it that way I only see life through my perception not other’s

    Q6: he is ok

    Q7: I can’t tell

    Q8: I dont want my kids hugging me and telling me how much they love me but I force myself to be loving and return love once I am not overwhelmed

    Q9: not yet but probably

    Q10: I have children but I just realized what I am so I have not told them yet

  62. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I don’t know if I would say I long for friendships in particular because I have no problem with feeling a really close personal connection with someone and never talking to them again. I long for that connection with people, no matter how it comes.

    Q2: I have never really had a problem with that because even though my parents didn’t understand me a lot of times, they were accepting of who I was and trusted what I said I was thinking or feeling instead of jumping to conclusions.

    Q3: From time to time I will do this, but it doesn’t last very long at all.

    Q4: I think that my boyfriend is probably an Aspie. He hasn’t sought counsel because he doesn’t have big difficulties like I do.

    Q5: Definitely sharing too much personal information. It freaks people out sometimes. Also, knowing if a guy is into you. That has gotten me into trouble later when I realize and then have to break the news to him. Something like leading on, but unintentional.

    Q6: He was really happy about the diagnosis because I was. Someone knows you for as long as that and they have pretty much know already, there just isn’t a name for it.

    Q7: I am not sure, but I definitely suspect it with more than one of my good friends. I find it really difficult to spend one on one time with neurotypical folks because I never know what’s okay to talk about.

    Q8: You should write it down when you are feeling overwhelmed! Try it. Do it in private while it’s happening and then reveal it to people afterwards. Its so easy to remember when you wrote it down.

    Q9: No. My family doesn’t really like the whole idea of being “labeled”, so they won’t really say that I have ASD.

  63. anonymous answers:

    Q2: Drives me up the wall. I try really hard not to Hate her, but mostly I do. She is ADHD restless, constantly on the move, making noise when I am in need of peace and quiet. Her idea of Helping is asking questions which just increase my stress ’cause I can’t answer them. My father has more autistic traits, and he likes being alone in his sports cave and doesn’t care that I don’t sit and talk nonsense about food.

    Q3: definitely- about opposite sex partners I hope to date, I can lose sleep just wondering, that can definitely be borderline obsessive, but it doesn’t last long. Usually they are infinitely less interesting then I imagine them to be 🙂 and I get bored quickly.

    Q4: I wish!

    My “boyfriend” and I have been dating for nearly a year. We never talk on the phone, he emails me about once a month. He comes to visit less than 2 hours a month. I still love him, and I Love that he never gets in my way. .but I wonder what this relationships means to him. It’s So unusual.

    Q5: Well, I don’t show up as autistic because one on one I do well. I am interested in people. I am naturally quiet. People who like to talk a lot gravitate to me as a friend. I never yell. I don’t get upset easily about things they said, didn’t say, did or didn’t do. . I am a good “listener” because I don’t interrupt. Frequently I’m not actually listening, mostly I’m just day dreaming while they’re talking, but it helps them and it makes them feel happier, which makes me feel happier. I care immensely about other people in pain (as long as they are not swearing or yelling) and can be a good listner.

    Q6: My mother says I’m not Autistic. She sees Sheldon on Big Bang as Autistic. They got something wrong with them. Aspgers people, they are seriosly impaired. I have friends. I can respond mostly appropriately in social situations, so she can’t accept me as being autistic – though she is learning how a large part of our issues have to deal with my sensory processing deficiencies, and my failures relate to poor Executive Function

    Q8: I always have trouble articulating that. Go to my bedroom and slam the door. easiest way to say don’t bother me. I can’t say it verbally when I’m stressed out like that, I can’t think straight at all, can’t communicate verbally.

  64. 1. Does anyone find that you really long for close friendships?

    Not as much as in the past. I’ve been burned by quick, intense connections with people who turn out to be very unsafe. I’ve gone to the ER as a result of one such “relationship.” Never again, I hope. My best friend now is someone who doesn’t really “get” me emotionally, who’s overall good with me but who moves to completely different rhythms in life, and we hang out about once a week, and I need that, at least one person who sees me regularly and who I am not romantically/sexually involved with. But I still do feel the missing piece of not having similar ways of looking at the world and responding to it emotionally.

    2. Does anyone obsess over someone you’ve just met? ( almost like they become your ‘special interest’ )

    Yes, it can happen, although I do whatever it takes to avoid acting on it (e.g. I stop myself from contacting them too much, invading their privacy via internet searches or any other way). Generally I identify this as a romantic crush, or at least the most intense times are romantic crushes. It can be so bad that I can barely do anything but fight the obsession for a week or longer. I hope I’ve outgrown it and that it never happens again–some respondents here have, some haven’t.

    4. What stuff have you learned about interacting with other people that you think is important to know but was not obvious to you at first?

    Not everyone’s a good person or even wants to be a good person. Boundaries are really important and might not come naturally, but if you don’t learn them, both respecting others’ (it’s a prerequisite for good person-dom) and knowing your own should be respected, you’ll keep getting hurt.

    Most people (or at least a very large percentage) feel like they’re socially defective or weird in some way. There are entire cliques where everyone feels like everyone else is good friends and they’re the only one who’s left out or doesn’t quite fit in. I used to observe people who interacted normally with others and were accepted as some sort of unreachable, perfect beings who were so far above me there was no reason for me to talk to them (and, conversely, no need to see when they feel weak or don’t want to talk or need help), but in reality they’re normal people with social difficulties just like the rest of us. I still haven’t quite gotten over seeing “well-rounded” people as too high above me and loners or those with obvious difficulties as people I’m allowed to try talking to, and both those things trouble me, though. (The latter feels a lot like how predators sometimes target the weak–I’m horrified to think that I’m “targeting” potential friends based on similar criteria.)

    5. How do you cope with parents who care, and are taking care of you (or at least helping you work on taking care of yourself), but don’t *understand* you? Don’t have the conception of how hard it can be to do things, like work on not taking naps when you end up exhausted, or deal with financial stuff, or do job searching, or talk on the telephone? more details here

    This is no longer applicable, but, err, have a massive meltdown where I lose the ability to even think in language but am still aware of how WRONG things are and how afraid I am of what society does to psychologically disabled people so I just scream since I have no other way of expressing that? That happened only once, when my mother told me I could move when I was catatonic and attempted to physically force me to move, and after that she didn’t doubt me like that again.

    7. Do you have autistic friends and if so, is it easier to hang with them rather than neurotypical folk?

    I’d say about half those people from #2 (apparently Q3 on the survey) were autistic. I didn’t get close to any of them. My favorite Facebook friends (so, usually people I met in real life but don’t hang out much with) have all been autistics who post a lot about social justice. They’re the ones who allowed me to take pride in my identity.

    I don’t think that, in a world where more neurotypes had been described, “autistic” would be the best word for me, since I’m fairly fluent in most neurotypical body language, for example. That’s made it hard for me to connect with some people who I was really drawn to but who would look away from me–in NT language that means “go away,” and I’ve never learned a script for asking someone whether their body language means what the typical message is or not. We’re kind of socialized AGAINST meta-communication for some reason. Presumably to give people with high skills in NT body language more privilege over neurodivergents and those with sensory impairments.

    The NTs also get an “easy to hang with” point because I often am socially passive and rely on NTs/extraverts to put forth more effort. This isn’t mostly because I’m introverted or uninterested in social interaction, more because I’m really uncertain of my ability to do it correctly and have considerable social anxiety.

    Autistics and those with significant traits get a lot of points because we often have common interests and (ideally) don’t impose as many societal expectations on each other. I think we also try helping each other out when we see someone struggling with overload, difficulty socializing, or anxiety. I know I once made friends with someone because I was socially anxious, unable to eat, and pacing around/stimming at a social event where I didn’t know anyone, and he was the main established member of the group to talk to me–turns out he’s autistic. I meet a lot of people on the spectrum in activist and geek circles. I wish I knew how to communicate “I want to be friends” to someone who doesn’t understand NT body language (given that my social anxiety/selective mutism means I often literally can’t say those words).

    8. What about the times that you don’t feel like having physical interactions with anyone? You don’t want hugs, kisses, or even simple touches. I am usually overwhelmed with sensory stuff at that point (auditory, visual, touch, taste, the whole mess) and I have trouble articulating it. Should I wait until I’m not in a crisis and try to describe these things to others in a way they might understand better? more details here

    I went on a first date with someone Monday night. At the end of the date, he suggested a hug. I knew I could tolerate it but also knew that the sensation was unlikely to be pleasant. I hemmed and hawed and hesitated and eventually he said, “That was just a suggestion, it wasn’t a demand,” and since then he is STILL INTERESTED IN ME. And he very much doesn’t have sensory issues himself. My skin was crawling at that point, from tiredness/anxiety, and I told him that (though not sure I mentioned the anxiety).

    I’ve been so traumatized by having my boundaries violated in sexual/romantic relationships that by now if I’m not unable to speak/move, people are going to know when they touch me if I don’t want it, either from me pulling away or saying something abrupt. I think more and more people are aware that not everyone can tolerate touch at all times, and we need to keep educating until it’s a universal social norm that people’s needs should be respected in that area (that means asking if someone’s okay with being touched and having “no” be an acceptable answer). If I had a choice (i.e. could speak), I would definitely communicate if I didn’t want to be touched while in the crisis, because otherwise people who don’t know that will touch me and that is just NONONO. Wayyy more important than them potentially being bewildered or irritated at my response. But if a given person WANTS to wait until they’re more articulate, then why not? Someone above suggested writing it down during the crisis and giving the letter later, which seemed like a great idea to me if writing’s possible at the time.

  65. anonymous answers:

    Q1: No, it’s the opposite, they think I don’t want relationships at all, even when I do want them.

    Q2: It’s frustrating, because they think they are helping you but instead they make you feel more anxious by constant expectations.

    Q3: Oh dear god, I thought I had issues with this.

    Q4: I’m in love with an aspie, and truth be told, it started as what they call a “crush”, I became obsessed with him, sometimes wondering if I really liked him or just the idea I made in my head about him. He’s also an aspie, so it made things easier for me since we both have weak social skills(awkward silences are no longer awkward, not calling for a week and not getting worked up thinking if we hate each other)

    Q5: As sarcastic as people make it sound, what I really lacked was body language, even a friend suggested I should make some research and learn a bit from it since I act like I do not notice people’s feelings through actions.

    Q6: I don’t have a partner but rather a friend that suggested I might have some autistic traits that I first took as him being rude or a joke, but later when reading about the topic and with professional help made it a lot easier for me to understand. He says I’m not weird, and I think he doesn’t see me as a ‘disabled’ person, what he always says that I am a peculiar person and that’s what makes it fun to be around me.

    Q7: Yes, my current “love interest” and when I’m with him it’s a lot easier when I tried to date a NT friend, because I felt like he was always rushing to get something of me rather be affection or action and with my aspie friend I feel at calm, he knows I have a hard time expressing myself so he waits until I’m ready, we both understand the times we need space from everyone. I sometimes may stress that he doesn’t text, or call as much as I would want, but then I realize that I don’t do it either.

    Q8: I remember one day I had a crisis but it was too late for me to cool down and I couldn’t explain to my friends that I wanted space, and not touching or them hugging me and they took it as a simple matter and kept smothering me until I reacted, leaving them like “Woah, you need to relax a bit” “are you on your period or something?” “are you mad at us?” “did something bad happened?” and all I wanted was to have some space.

    Q9: My mom knows I have autistic traits but still refuses to acknowledge my diagnosis.

    Q10: I don’t have children

  66. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes

    Q2: Frustrating, but I wouldn’t want it any other way as they mean well and support me and give me space to try and work things out in the world.

    Q3: Yes, unfortunately. Everyone notices this except for me usually when it happens.

    Q4: No sorry.

    Q5: Having a script to say. Smiling. Saying thankyou and please often.

    Q6: Don’r have a partner. Parents treat me a little more distantly. Not quite sure what to do with me. Brother thinks it’s attention seeking. Other brother doesn’t quite get it but is supportive (he is higher functioning Aspie than me. Undiagnosed.)

    Q7: Unfortunately I don’t. One Aspie friend I met through Uni and we do group projects together because we understand the sensory issues and fatigue and think similarly enough. We don’t need to feel like we’re under inspection all the time and have to explain ourselves when we do weird Aspie things.

    Q8: Yes

    Q9: Not at this point.

  67. Hope it’s okay that I reply to this a full eighteen months later… I guess I haven’t made it through all the archives yet 🙂

    1. I longed for close friendships, also a romantic partner, for someone who really understands me, my whole life. I finally have five people in my life who definitely fit that bill, but if I widen the loop a bit I could include maybe another four more. When I take a step back, I think that’s a huge achievement, that’s amazing, but still I’m not quite satisfied. I’m in a new city now and it’s just me and my husband and I can’t decide if I’m truly lonely for a friend, or if I feel like I *should* want a friend and a social life here. It feels like I won’t be properly integrated into the city if I don’t have at least one friend, and I think that’s what bothers me the most. I get attached to places, and people are part of a place, so I should probably develop a relationship with a person or two. Also, I don’t want people at home, and my neighbors here, to think I’m ‘weird’ that I can’t make friends. I feel pressure to pass and when I was busy passing I acted very sociable. I suppose I would like someone to go exercising with sometimes and to just hang out with and talk. I was very good friends with my next door neighbor at home and that was just one of the easiest, nicest friendships I’ve ever had. I’d like that again. I feel like if I could just accept my autism and that side of my nature that is introverted I would find that sense of peace and belonging I’ve been looking for my entire life and which I hoped people would provide for me.

    2. I’m so glad other people seem to do this too. I have obsessed over every single person I am now close to and plenty that I am no longer involved with at all. I try to keep it to myself now, and not talk anyone else’s ear off about this really interesting new person I’ve met, because I don’t want to look like a fool if nothing becomes of the burgeoning friendship. I also try to act very very cool with the person initially, let them make plenty of moves because I’m aware I can come across as intense. I do love watching a friendship, and relationship, develop though. They’re kind of a special interest – how people interact and decide they like each other enough to want to hang out all the time. I don’t really understand it – that’s why it’s an interest I think.

    3. When I was exploring the possibility of being ASD my husband identified some traits of his that would fall on the spectrum. Whether or not he is on the spectrum, it has made me see him and our relationship a bit differently. It’s helped me to keep an open mind, and be more compassionate, especially when we’re trying to communicate with one another (we have *very* different styles).

    4. Not to give away too much information about myself too soon. This is not just for me, but for the other person as well. To find a balance between being nice/helpful (people love that) and ingratiating, and not to leave myself open to being taken advantage of (huge personal fear). I don’t know if this applies, but I’ve learned that a lot of people can’t seem to tell if someone’s putting on an act or not. They always seem shocked that, say, a very jolly person suffers from depression, or a very assertive person might secretly be crippled by insecurities. Perhaps because of all the acts I’ve put on for so many years, I tend to just assume people are not usually exactly how they present themselves, at least not until you get to know them better.

    5. N/A

    6. I think he’s forgotten already! We’re unusual people anyway, or so we think. It only mattered when it came to our communication styles and my self-diagnosis has really helped us move forward with that.

    7. I have always gathered around me self-confessed ‘oddballs’. It was a point of ‘banter’ in my family, that I always liked to do things differently and that included the people I dated and the friends I made. I don’t think any one of my friends is ASD, but they definitely don’t think or act like a lot of other people I know. And they are extremely easy to be around. If they weren’t I couldn’t be friends with them. I would like to know more ASD people FTF. My friends accept my oddities, but I think an ASD person (at least going by what I experience here) could understand some things about me intuitively and that could be very nice to have a friend like that.

    8. Oh god, this hurts. I crave touch, but on terms that even I don’t always understand. My husband knows that it’s not personal, but it still can’t be easy. I have physically pushed him away sometimes, because I just can’t stand having anyone touch me and I didn’t realize how strongly I felt until he touched me. This is the one thing that I would change, in a heartbeat.

    9. I won’t be telling my family until I’ve been professionally diagnosed, because they will need that to believe me, especially my mother, who I suspect will take it personally. I might not even tell anyone but one brother. Because it’s not like they really know me anyway. I don’t interact with them enough anymore for it to even be that relevant. Part of me loves to imagine throwing the cat amongst the pigeons and telling them I think my deceased Dad was ASD or else had a whole bunch of crucial traits. That would not go down well at all!

    10. My husband and I have decided to remain child-less. Another poster put it very well: they cry, they squeal, they require a lot of attention… It’s my idea of hell. It just wouldn’t be fair to the child to have me as its mother. I get very curious as to what a child borne of me and my husband would look like (we like to think he/she would be very cute as we are a mixed-race couple and also he’s very good looking 🙂 ) but curiosity does not make a good basis for a life-long commitment.

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