I’ve never made friends easily. Maybe it’s a spectrummy trait, but I’ve always been somewhat socially awkward, not sure what to say, or when to say it in a conversation. I don’t read others’ cues all that well, and it’s always been tricky. My friends over the years have been much like me, not completely socially adept, and never the popular ones, and I like it that way.
The Man makes friends easily, or so I surmise, because he seems to know everyone within a 100 mile radius. Part of that is growing up here, part of it is having several successful businesses in the area, so that people either went to school with him, bought a mattress from him, bought some blinds from him, or had him fix their sink/closet/screen door/roof. We often can’t get out of the grocery store on a weeknight without stopping to talk to two or three people. And part of his day is structured around breaks at the convenience store and the hardware store so that he can shoot the breeze with some folks.
But, we don’t hang out with other couples. We don’t “entertain”. When we watch HGTV and these young couples are adamant they need space for that, he and I just look at each other uncomprehendingly. We barely use our dining table for us, let alone needing space for other people. As an entity, we are not very social.
The Boy has friends at school, and there is one family with a few kids that he feels comfortable going to hang out with outside of school. Otherwise, he enjoys hanging out in his room with his electronics, or walking around the yard. He enjoys being by himself, obviously.
We like it this way.
However… People need friends.
Being social to the point of doing stuff with other people is difficult, I think, for all three of us. And just because something is difficult, doesn’t mean it’s not necessary.
There are other children at school that I think The Boy would like to hang out with, but either the families have not shown much interest, or I’m not sure how to contact them. And we don’t often attend the autism society chapter’s functions because many times they are on Saturdays, when we do family stuff.
When I left my job, the one person I considered a friend there pretty much fell off the face of the earth. I tried for awhile, but when it wasn’t reciprocated, I stopped trying. Everyone I work with now is in a different place in life than I am, i.e. just quit college… And those in the area I do call friends are soooo, so busy.
It’s a difficult thing. Between homework battles, trying to get dinner on the table, paying bills, looking for more meaningful work, and enjoying each other as a family, I feel like there isn’t much time anyway. But I also increasingly feel like we’re more and more isolated, and we need to do something about it.
Even if it isn’t comfortable.