All my life, I’ve felt different, like I just don’t quite belong in any group that I’m a part of. Trying to fit in has led to me to trouble. I’ve drank heavily, smoked weed, even gone to jail for setting off a bottle bomb, all in the pursuit of acceptance, approval, and appreciation.

When I met Greg and Taylor, I thought that I had finally found a group that I could be myself in. They seemed to accept me, ****-ups included.

But as time went on, I started to notice that something wasn’t quite right. I felt more like a third wheel, tagging along because I had edged myself into their lives, than a true member of the group. It always felt like it was Greg and Taylor, Greg and Taylor...and Sam. It seemed like the two of them would do the minimum amount necessary to make sure I wasn’t “butt hurt” or upset, but they seemed truly passionate toward each other.

I was considering that maybe it was a result of my actions, not their behavior, that I was unhappy. Maybe I was acting in a way that pushed their friendship with each other closer together while my friendship to each of them stagnated.

Clicking around the Internet, I came across the possibility of Asperger’s Syndrome. I began to research more and more about the syndrome and came across a symptoms list that I matched extensively. I self-diagnosed it, but I wondered if that was really what was upsetting me. I wanted a professional diagnosis.

I began working with a psychologist and telling him my story. He quickly concluded that indeed it was likely I had Asperger’s syndrome. In theory, I had planned on being relieved when I got the diagnosis, because it explained why I am the way I am. In practice, I actually felt depressed. I felt like if a condition was holding me back, it would be even more difficult to overcome my obstacles, learn to function in a social world, and improve my friendships with Taylor and Greg.

Ultimately, I want to be accepted as equal (or at least close to it) within my relationships and especially with my best friends Greg and Taylor. No one wants to “get picked last” for the dodgeball team. I don’t need to be picked first every time, but on a recent trip to Mexico, I felt like it was really near every time that I was disfavored. No one wanted to sit with me on the bus, zip-line with me, or share a bed with me. In everyday life, I’m considered awkward and dumb. No one sits on the same side of the table as me or rides with me when we’re driving two cars. I feel left out because I often don’t notice things happening to talk about later or understand references. In short, I am different. I want to relate to others at an NT level. I want to share moments with Taylor and Greg just like they share with each other. I want them to want to hang out with me and talk to me, not do it just because they’re trying to avoid upsetting me.

As time wore on from the Mexico trip, Greg told me about just how much the possibility of me being upset affected our relationship. I had noticed that we often weren’t able to hold a conversation with each other and I pondered why. He informed me that he felt like he was walking on egg shells around me and thought about everything he said in order to choose the phrasing least likely to upset me. Sometimes, that meant saying nothing at all, effectively killing our conversation.

That revelation shocked me. I knew that my friends made some small concessions to keep me happy, and I generally appreciated them. But I never realized how deeply it ran. On the one hand, it was humbling to learn that Greg put so much effort into the relationship; way more than I had known. On the other hand, I felt shame that it had gotten to the point where he felt like he had to do that.

One day I was talking with another friend, Lynnette, who knows all three of us. She said something that stuck with me. “So often groups of three friends don’t work out long-term,” she explained. “Someone normally feels left out. It seems like you’ve accepted and embraced the role you have in the group.”

As I thought about that conversation later, it really upset me because I do feel left out and don’t want to accept that role.

Unfortunately, I began to accept the realization that my expectation in these friendships is not realistic. Taylor summed it up when I asked him why Greg could sit on his bed with him and I couldn’t. “You’re too awkward.” I asked what I could do to work on becoming less awkward. “Be born again,” he said.

Regardless of how much I learn and grow, I have damaged these friendships irreparably. I’ve always grasped at the fact that they’re still my friends even after all the mistakes I’ve made and I’ve counted myself thankful and grateful that they’re still there for me. But these events illuminated that even though they’re still there, a huge amount of damage has been done. I can’t undo it. I’ll never be accepted as anything more than I am right now. I don’t truly fit into this group of the three of us because their relationship is so much different than mine.

empoweredh22 empoweredh22
26-30, M
1 Response Aug 16, 2014

Do these people have autism? I've found that people with autism are best off in groups of other autistic people because "normal" people become the stupid idiots they accuse us of being of and be nasty to us. A lot of autistic people have gone far in life, like Mozart, Lincoln, Newton and lots more.