Four Important Qualities of A Best Friend (part two)

I wanted to expand on one of my earlier entries titled “Four Important Qualities of A Best Friend”. The qualities I mentioned were honesty, kindness, trustworthiness and sacrifice. Nobody wants to be around someone who is dishonest, unkind, unreliable and lazy. The qualities I mentioned on that blog are just as important as the three I am going to mention on this entry for one main reason, and it is because they all tie in together.These qualities are just as important as the ones I mentioned on my other blog about this topic, and they are in no particular order. I don’t really have that many friends in school, so high school life has been pretty difficult for me. In another one of my other entries I talked about my social anxiety, and how that contributes to why making and keeping friendships is very difficult for me. If I expected these qualities from all of my friends, I would not really have that many. These qualities, and the ones that I mentioned in “part one” are really only expected for close friends.

1.) Humility:

Have you been around a person who always talks about themselves in a conversation? Somebody left a comment on one of my others entries about how they had a friend who had a child that was behind academically. He had a friend that would always complain about how behind their child was, when they would rub it into their face that their child was ahead of his. A definition of humility is the quality of being humble, meaning a person who is not proud or arrogant because they are better than another person, whatever the reason may be. I once had a friend who would rub into my face that his parents would let him get away with things that my parents wouldn’t. He would always tell me that he would get away with looking at bad websites on the internet and watching inappropriate TV shows. I went to his house one day and he offered to watch a movie that was R rated, and I was only in about second or third grade at the time. I told him that I was not allowed to watch an R rated movie without an adult watching it with me. If my parents found out that I was watching that movie, I would have been in trouble. I couldn’t tell you what the name of the movie was, but I do remember it was rated R. I then decided not to hang around this person because he tried to convince me into doing something I wasn’t allowed to do and he would try to rub into my face that he was better than I am because of how different the rules of his house are from mine. He moved shortly after this whole situation, and I decided to lose contact with him. I will repeat myself again, a true friend doesn’t convince you into doing something wrong, or rub into their face about why they think they are better than you. I also can’t stand people that try to rub their religious or political beliefs into my face. Politics and religion are very touchy subjects for many people, and some can be easily offended by the way you say it. People need to learn the phrase “enough is enough”. Parents do not teach that to their kids enough. Kids on the Autistic Spectrum especially don’t understand this because of their lack of social skills.

2.) Uniqueness:

I can’t stand people who don’t want to be friends with me just because I don’t act like a “normal teenager”. The social shunning that I have gotten in high school is the main reason for why people judge me and don’t want to be around me. I have said this before and I will say it again, I don’t ever want to hear from somebody “you should do this because everybody else is doing it”. They judge me because of the fact that I don’t play any sports or that I am not interested in dating. Teenagers often hang out with groups of people with similar interests. These groups are called “cliques”. If you don’t have the same hobby interest as they do, then to them you either don’t exist or are worth absolutely nothing. I think it is good to talk to people who have slightly different personality traits and hobby interests than everybody else in the crowd. It helps to ask them for advice because they can give you a different perspective about the problem. To me, if you constantly avoid somebody because they don’t have the same hobby interests as you might make people think that you are stuck up. It’s good to be different from other people, the people who are different are usually the ones who end up being very successful in life.

3.) Acceptance:

As you already know, I can’t stand “friends” who are judgmental. For example, just because somebody is not like you doesn’t mean they are a bad person. Another thing I can’t stand is when a “friend” doesn’t listen to you when you tell them that whatever they are doing is bothering you. For example, let’s say they are a person who loves to joke around all the time. You laughed along with them until they told a joke that went way too far. You tell them to stop, and they just say “Come on, it was just a joke”. The jokes still continue, until you finally tell them to knock it off. I can say one thing about a situation like this, they are definitely not your friend if they keep doing something you don’t like. A true friend should know when things likes jokes go too far. They should know what gets you pissed off, and they should never do it. Plain and simple. A true friend also does not try to change you, they will love and accept you for the person that you are. They won’t ever push you into doing something you don’t want to do, and they won’t ever try to make you uncomfortable in front of your other friends or their friends. I’ve had “friends” in the past that have done that also, they are obviously not my real friends if they are going to do something like that.

4.) Forgiveness:

Have you ever had a friend that has held a grudge against you for something that was not a big deal, or something you didn’t say or  do at all? A true best friend will forgive you for the mistakes you have made, even the big ones. I can relate to that very well. I once had a friend who I have talked to online and in school for a few months. School eventually let out, and he became busy with his summer job. One night I was text messaging one of my other friends, and I sent it to him by a mistake. It was about thirty minutes past midnight, and it woke him up. The next morning he called me and started throwing a fit at me about it. I explained to him that I didn’t mean to do it, and he just said “whatever”, hung up on me and refused to talk to me. About a week after that, I tried talking to him again and he just told me to “fuck off”. I guess our “friendship” was over after that whole incident. He held a grudge against me for something that was a “little deal” and made a “big deal” about it. That shows just how immature my peers really are. Life is about making mistakes, and people are supposed to learn from them. I guess the only thing I learned from that “friendship” was make sure you send your text messages to the correct person on your contact list. There are obviously better people to be friends with than this kid. A true friend also sticks with you through the good and the bad times. I’ve gone to a few of my friends for a few of my problems, and they then try to avoid me. What kind of a true friend is that? Yes, there maybe is the chance that they haven’t been through a situation like that, but it still makes no sense to avoid the person. I have been ignored by people before, and it is not a good feeling. In school it seems like the only people that ever try to talk to me are the ones who want to make fun of me and bring me down.

I am happy about the fact that I don’t have tons of friends, to keep me happy I only need one or two friends. Quality is better than quantity. Even though I don’t get to see my good friend Aaron that much, I am happy he is going to school to learn skills for what he wants to do. I am really hopeful that he will have a job he will enjoy going to in the future, and that he will remember that his friendship made an impact on my life. When breaks come around, hopefully we will have some time to spend with each other. We don’t have all of the same hobby interests, and I don’t agree with everything he says, but he is still my friend.

Like I said at the beginning, if I expected all of these qualities from every single one of my friends, I probably wouldn’t have them. These qualities are really only important for close friends. You definitely should not consider being good friends with me if you don’t posses these qualities. Friends are what make living your daily life easier. Thank you for reading this and I will be back to write again next weekend!

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Aspergers Syndrome and Change

Have you ever had to do something that you really didn’t want to do? Have you tried to do everything you could to avoid doing it? In most cases, one thing that is impossible to avoid is change. Everybody has to deal with it in some point of their lives and you also may have tried everything you could to avoid it. This is a very common trait for children and adolescents with Aspergers Syndrome, even a small change in their daily routine can cause depression or even a total meltdown. For example, lets say you and a friend planned to get together for the weekend, when at the last minute your mother says no.  Most neurotypical teens would hurry up and get the job done, while one with Asperger’s Syndrome would have a total meltdown. Of course, it depends on their personality, but something as simple as that could cause a person on the spectrum to have a total meltdown.

I just gave you a general example of what can cause meltdowns, but social skills groups need to teach aspie children to cope with change appropriately, if they deal with the situation inappropriately, they could end up getting in severe trouble in school, or even ruin their chances of getting a job. The most recent change that I had to go through was moving from Freeport Area Senior High school to the Lenape Vo Tech school in Ford City PA. Right off the bat, the first thing that really worried me was the feeling of not knowing what to expect. All sophomores from Freeport have the opportunity to come to Lenape their junior and senior year, but I don’t particularly want to talk to most of those people because I already know them. I wanted Lenape to be a fresh start for me, I wanted to forget about my negative experiences at Freeport and meet new people. The thing that stresses me out about Lenape now is that it is still “cliquish”, just like your typical high school. Most of the people from Lenape seem to only want to associate the people they already know from their home schools, they really don’t seem interested in meeting new people. It’s hard to meet new people when they are not interested in meeting new people. One common trait in kids with Aspergers Syndrome is that they take longer to adapt to major changes than a nuerotypical teen. Social skills are natural for neurotypicals, and they are able to go and make friends right away. One thing I wish secondary schools would do is assign special needs students and aide or a responsible upperclassman to help them find their classes and get their bearings. This would especially help middle school special need students who are just trying to get use to having more than just one teacher, and helping them get their way around the school. Back to the Lenape story, I had no difficulty finding my classrooms, but it was just meeting the new people that I had a problem with, and their being uninterested in getting to know me. Another change that has been really hard to deal with is the long bus ride. My bus has to pick me up at 6:10 in the morning, and the homeroom tardy bell doesn’t ring until 7:48. I usually don’t get back home until around 4:00 in the afternoon, so my bus ride is over an hour long both ways! There really isn’t anything they can do about that, because it is the only bus that picks us up around our area. I know that complaining about the situation will not help, so the better thing to do is to just deal with it. I really hope that things turn around, and I hope that the people will be more open than they have been. There are a few changes about Lenape that are inevitable, such as the long bus ride, so my best advice for you is to just deal with it. Complaining doesn’t make any type of change better, it will only make it worse. Yes I do grumble about getting up at 5:15 in the morning sometimes, but I am at least going to a place better than Freeport.

Another change that probably has upset me more than anything in the past is friendships ending. This is especially sad when you have been friends with this person for a very long time. Like I mentioned in my blog about dating, they may get a boyfriend or a girlfriend and act like they are their number one priority in life, they just simply don’t want to talk to you anymore. When they start rejecting phone calls, ignoring emails and text messages, and avoiding social time with you is when it becomes time to end the friendship. A situation similar to this happened when I started junior high, I had a friend that I hung out with all the time, named Jason. During elementary school, we would always go to each-others houses, go out and do things together, and talk during lunch time at school. We went to places like the zoo, walks down the trail, and when it was still open, we would go to the Freeport Community  Pool together. This all changed when junior high came around, he started hanging out with different people, and completely forgot about me. He would start rejecting phone calls, and avoid social time with me, he would make excuses like “sorry, I’m to busy”, or “I just don’t feel like being social today”. I didn’t know how to deal with it at the time, so I just sat there and would cry about it. This wasn’t the only thing that upset me, but the fact that I didn’t fit in with anyone in the first place contributed to my depression and loneliness. I talked to my parents about the whole situation, and they told me to just move on. As I mentioned in my blog about dating, I would maybe attempt to “break the ice” and talk to the person about your feelings, if they talk to you rudely, then I would move on and find someone else to be friends with, it may be hard to find a new friend, especially if you are on the spectrum, but there are other people out there. My friend Aaron from Computing Workshop just started college this year, and he is attending college not to far from where I live, so I hopefully will be able to see him on occasions that he is free. I understand that he is not able to talk to me every single day of the week, because he will be extremely busy, but I know that he is still my friend. If anything happened to our friendship, I would feel even worse than I did when I ended my friendship with Jason. But, I am pretty sure that won’t happen.

As I said in the beginning, change is one of the inevitable things in life.  If I could go back in time, I wish I could  go back and deal with it differently. Using what I know now, I could have changed the way I dealt with it. I hope you found this informative, and I hope that you will use this to help a child on the spectrum in the future.

How can an Aspergers Teen know who their real friends are?

You probably have learned from experiences in my other blogs that my high school years have been a nightmare for me. I was isolated ever since I was in the junior high, I was teased verbally, but I was never physically bullied by anyone. I’m guessing that was because I was taller then everybody else in school, and they thought that I would try to do something to get revenge back at them. During my years at Freeport High School, I was verbally harassed and isolated so much that I didn’t really have that many friends in school. I didn’t really have the skills of making and keeping friends, and because I was bullied so much, I didn’t really have the confidence to reach out to people. When someone would say something to me in the hallway, regardless of whether they were being friendly or mean, I would just walk by and ignore them. I tended to generalize about people, and think that all of them were going to try to do something that would embarrass me, or cause me to be verbally harassed even more. That contributed to my depression and social anxiety quite a bit. I also had trouble understanding who my real friends were, and who my real friends weren’t. In the second paragraph, I will mention a guy named Eric, who I thought was my friend, but turned out not to be.   In the third paragraph, I am going to mention Aaron, who I talked about in my last blog entry.

Eric and I were in the same homeroom together ever since we started junior high. He was in my homeroom since we were in the junior high, and we also went to the same gym together. In eighth grade, he would repeatedly talk about me in front of his friends, he would call me names like f***in retard, and just say tons of other horrible things about me. During freshman year, I had a my space account and he added me as a friend, I accepted, because at the time I assumed that he matured some and grew out of the whole gossip thing. I would chat with him on aim, and he seemed like he was being friendly to me, and not making fun of me. A few months passed by, and I sent him a message asking if he wanted to hang out that weekend. He replied saying something like “I’ll see, maybe.” I sent him a message a few days reminding him about it, and he said “No I can’t, I’m too busy.” A few weeks passed, then I asked him if he wanted to hang out again, then he answered with a flat “no.” After that, I would try to instant message him, and he would either ignore me, or tell me he didn’t want to talk. A month passed, and it was the start of summer going into my sophomore year in high school. I sent him a text message the next morning asking him how we was doing, then he snapped at me and said “you woke me up at twelve forty five last night”. I asked him what he was talking about, then he said that I text messaged him in the middle of the night and it woke him up. I looked in my sent messages, and it said that it was to him. I realized that I meant to send it to somebody else, but I accidentally sent it to him. I told him that I sent it to the wrong contact, and he just said “whatever”, then ignored me. I got angry about it, and started sending nasty messages to him. That obviously wouldn’t make him interested in being my friend, which he wasn’t interested in it when I first started talking to him. It was obvious that he didn’t want to be my friend in the first place, and I shouldn’t have escalated the situation by sending rude comments to him on his phone and his Myspace.

Aaron and I, however went to my summer computer camp program, Computing Workshop. As I mentioned in my last blog, he was a real laid back, and shy type of a guy. I worked with him periodically during the first two summers I was in the workshop, but I never really got to know him. During our summer 2008 program, I got to hang out with him and have some social time with him during the camp. I sat next to him on the couch, and I noticed him pull out his phone. He showed some of the pictures and the ringtones he had on it, then I asked him if I could have his number. He gave it to me, then I gave him my number. I remember after he gave me his cell phone number, he very nicely said “you can call me anytime you want to talk to me.” Going back to Eric, I asked him if I could have his cell phone number, and he made an excuse that said something like “I can’t give you my phone number because I get prank called a lot.” I thought he was joking around at the time, than I later realized that he was trying to avoid me. When I asked him if he wanted to hang out, he would give me answers like “too busy, sorry” or even just a flat “no”. Aaron, on the other hand promised me that we would be able to hang out, and he would explain to me why he didn’t have time to do it. He would not give me general answers like Eric did. This past summer, we did get a chance to hang out. We would go out and buy ice cream, and he also invited me to his house. That was something that nobody has done in a long time, and I am very happy for that.

I have a better understanding now of who is my friend and who is not my friend.  I am better off without people like Eric anyway, so why should I even worry about him? Since I’m not going to Freeport this year, I won’t have to see him in the first place. Like I have said in almost all of my other blogs, I won’t let mean people get to me and bring me down. I won’t let them interfere with what I go to the Lenape VO Tech school for, which is getting training for a job I will enjoy in the future. Also, Eric wasn’t interested in being my friend, so he obviously didn’t appreciate me for the person I really am. What kind of a friend wouldn’t appreciate you for who you are? A quote from Arnold H. Glasgow states that “A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.” A true friend goes out of their way to help you, and does not use other commitments as an excuse to not help you. Aaron is not able to spend time with me all three hundred sixty five days of the year, because he lives about thirty minutes from me. When he tells me that he’s not able to spend time with me, he does a good job explaining why he is busy. After that, I would suggest that you ask them what other day they are going to be available. But remember, if you are in dire need of help with something, be sure to explain that to them. Also, if they say something like “too busy, sorry”, they are obviously not a true friend. A true friend never makes excuses like that.

One more tip to remember, everybody is different. Not every person in the world is going to be your true friend. You might show interests in being their friend, but they won’t show it back to you. If they don’t show interest in being your friend, don’t take it personally, it’s their loss. Best friends are rare, you will only find them once or twice in life. And again, make sure that this person accepts you for who you are. I hope you find this blog informative, and I hope that you will show it to someone who may have trouble making friends in the future.