I wrote recently about how we need to diversify, The Boy and me, and we need to find some new friends. My mom sent me a link to an article on adult friendship recently, which is long, but has a few good insights, even if I didn’t see eye to eye with the author on every point. And the very real truth here is that it’s difficult for kiddos on the spectrum to make friends, and it’s difficult for their parents, too.
In the article, they say that sociologists consider three “ingredients” necessary to form close friendships: “proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other.” And as adults, we just don’t have those ingredients readily available, at least not as much as we do as when we are in school. In fact, I can’t even think of a setting like the one described above, except for some of the autism society events, like Friends and Fun, where kiddos and siblings come together on one Saturday a month to celebrate anyone who has a birthday that month. Who attends is really a crapshoot each month, as anyone with a kiddo on the spectrum can understand – some days whatever you had planned just ain’t happenin’. But we are able to talk about things we’re going through that neurotypical families just don’t understand, and it’s absolutely OK for your kiddo to stim and script to his heart’s content because everyone there gets it.
The article also mentions that we don’t make the time to maintain and cultivate the types of friendships that are healthy and enjoyable, and that in general, we need to do more of that. So maybe The Boy and I should just plan on going to Friends and Fun every month and make it part of our routine. I’d say it very well could be our best shot at diversifying, and getting some more eggs in some more baskets.