I have Aspergers Syndrome and Social Anxiety so it's not surprising that I have trouble making friends. I started secondary school with other kids I knew from primary school, went to college with people I knew from school and then went to university with people I knew from college so I was never totally on my own till I was 18. The other students I knew in my first year at uni gradually moved on, left, or made new friends themselves so by the time I was in my second year I didn't really know anyone.

Right now I'm in my final year and have no friends IRL. Sometimes it's a relief, as maintaining friendships was always an even bigger problem than making them; when I was in college I'd try and go to the cinema with people I was "friends" with but found it too much. It was difficult to keep up with (just going out now and then would give me a headache, whereas most of the people I was trying to be friends with would be going out regularly and enjoying it) and I never knew why I found it so exhausting until I was diagnosed with Aspergers.

Online I can talk to people and get on fairly well with people. Conversations are much easier when they're written and even an extra couple of seconds between reading what is said and forming a response can make a huge difference; in person there is always the pressure to reply. Communicating online allows you to understand what's being said properly, without having the othe person right there in front of you, expecting you to reply immediately.

Communicating with people face-to-face is much harder. It's like having a conversation with someone in a language you're familiar with but not fluent in. For example, when I'm talking to another student in a seminar, I have to take in what's being said, understand it myself (translate it) work out what I want to say back and then vocalise it in some way which makes sense and doesn't give away that I'm completely lost. And on top of all that, you're expected to do it instantaneously. Talking online gives you that extra few seconds to "translate" what the other person has said, without any pressure or anxiety; conversations with someone in person always move too fast though. It kind of reminds me of my French exams in school: I did well on the written and oral exams because I had time to prepare and only had to say what I was comfortable with, whereas in the listening tests I did badlly because the conversations would move so fast that you didn't have time to take it all in.

That's why I find it difficult to make friends offline. I come across as either incredibly shy to the point of being boring, or just a bit thick (in which case also boring). Maybe if I met people with similar interests I'd manage it, but most people my age seem completely different to me at this age and a lot of the time I'm actually happier doing my own thing - it's just difficult to go places when there's no one to go with. I can't go everywhere on my own

Kwozimodo Kwozimodo
1 Response Feb 24, 2010

Hey Lone Ranger,<br />
I want you to know that you sound like one hell of a fun and beautiful person! I had similiar issues growing up and now at 43 I can honestly say it is easier at times to just be alone BUT I need others around who treat me with the respect and love I deserve .It took alot of years to realize that and some people can be mean and they suck.Don't put to much pressure on yourself the friends will come and go.You just remember you have gifts that others don't and that you are special and loved more than you may realize.Also you can think that people see you as you see yourself but most of the time they have a way different opinion and most people are to wrapped up thinking the same thing about themselves.Take care and go have fun,<br />