I think I’m going to start giving this out to my friends.
How to nurture a friendship with me, your friendly neighborhood autistic.
1. Remember that my brain works differently, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work at all, and it doesn’t mean I’m not human.
2. Remember that I find you as difficult to understand as you find me.
3. Vaccines didn’t cause my autism.
4. You are not a little autistic, unless you are actually autistic. You claiming to be what I am, isn’t showing empathy. It’s brushing under the rug the things I deal with.
5. Don’t hug me unless you know for 100% certainty that I’m okay with physical contact from you.
6. If I’m not talking, it’s not personal, I might’ve just reached my social engagement limit for the day.
7. Yes, certain sounds really do bother me as badly as I act like they do.
8. I’m not throwing a temper tantrum. I am having a meltdown because I have gotten so much input, my brain can no longer process anything.
9. I would love to talk about my special interests and obsessions with you.
10. Don’t promise me you’re going to do something then not do it.
And most importantly, remember that I’m an actual person with feelings and emotions. I might not always understand them, but I have them. I need friends just as much as a neurotypical does. It’s just a little (or a lot) harder for me to find, make and keep them.
I need friendships which are reciprocal with people who are patient and understanding.