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!

Please check out my blogs similar to this one:


My experiences with Social Anxiety

Gossip, rumors and labels are the things that all teenagers have to deal with. Most of the gossip and rumors about people are not even true, and the people spreading them usually don’t know what they are talking about. The labels I get are extremely hurtful as well, such as loner and reject. If you think what you have been going through during your teenage years is bad, try putting yourself in the shoes of someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, Depression and Social Anxiety. In school, people have always given me the nasty labels such as “loner” and “outsider”. People seem to think that I don’t want social interaction with people and that I want to be alone, when that is not true at all. I really do want social interaction with people, but people don’t want social interaction with me because of the labels and gossip people have that spread about me.

My social anxiety started when I was in seventh grade at the Freeport area Junior High School. Everyone in the school grew up from the adorable little kids they were in elementary school to snobbish, immature junior high students. This was the year “social cliques” started to develop and gossip, and it seemed like gossip and rumors spread even more than any cold or flu bug. As soon as a person got detention or suspension, it spread around the entire school. The reason for why this gossip spread around so much is because of how small the junior high really is, it can only fit about 200 students total. Those were also the years that people started to notice that I was different than everybody else, I had odd interests in things like fire drills and school buses, and I did not have the confidence or the skills to reach out to people and talk to them. Because of this, I was one of the most frequent targets of bullying and gossip. When I would try to reach out to people, they would either sit there and ignore me or speak to me rudely and tell me not to sit with them. It seemed like anytime I would try to open up to somebody, they would avoid me and make fun of me for no reason. Most of the social cliques in junior high were only into making crude adult humor jokes and making fun of people that did not act just like them. One particular incident was in eighth grade at our end of the year field trip. If you remember the student name Eric who I mentioned in my other blogs, this was the incident that really triggered my social anxiety when interacting with my peers in school. We went on a cruise on one of the Gateway Clipper fleets in Pittsburgh, and it was a dinner and dance that was held in the evening. Since I didn’t really have a group of friends to sit with, I sat alone. I remember I got up to get my food for the dinner, then I sat down to eat. Right after I sat down I heard Eric say a real nasty comment about me. I heard it loud and clear over the loud music that was playing, and that comment really upset me for the rest of the night. I am not going to mention what he said on here, but it was a very ignorant thing for somebody to say to a person that he was a classmate with. I got so upset by the comment that I couldn’t really focus on eating my food, then I just got up and sat on a chair outside and cried about it. I figured that telling on him would cause him to talk rudely about me even more or he could even start saying rude things directly to me,

My social anxiety worsened when I finished eighth grade and became a freshman in high school. Because I was no longer the highest grade in the school and didn’t really know anybody there, I became so tense and nervous. It was very intimidating for me because everybody was older than  me, and they were all in their own social clique of friends. Most of the upperclassmen were your typical freshman haters, and they all had absolutely no interest in associating with people like me because they were in their own “little group” of friends. I knew that Freeport is a rather small high school, but it seemed a lot bigger to me because it was a new environment with new people. In junior high I had a difficulty understanding who was my friend and who was not. I was “set up” and tricked by people many times. When I started high school it was very difficult for me to move on from those experiences and make a fresh new start. I had this generalization that everybody was bad and that everybody has something against me, which I still do now. I am working on getting rid of it, but it is very difficult for me because of all of my past experiences with people. Many people tend to think that social anxiety and depression is something that you can just “snap out” of, when it is not. People who suffer with it now will suffer with it for the rest of their lives. Yes, there are medications they can take, but they can sometimes worsen their symptoms.

I have gotten help for my symptoms, but social interaction with people is still a very difficult thing for me. I am not one for talking on the phone with people, even when they are close friends. In the rare times that I have called my friends, I feel that they will have something against me and try to avoid me. When I give them invitations over the phone, I tend to fear that they will not want to be around me and make excuses for why they want nothing to do with me. I especially have difficulty dealing with that, being avoided by people really hurts someone that has been through it countless times. I also worry that it might be the wrong time to call and they will get angry at me and avoid me in the future. Yes, I realize the phone etiquette rules, such as don’t call after nine o’clock, and two call attempts during the day is enough.

I also used to fear being around peers in public places other than school. I have seen my enemies in public places like the mall and the local grocery store before, and I try to avoid talking to them as much as I can. I don’t really have a problem around adults, but its peers that I really get uncomfortable around. When I see other teenagers whispering to their friends, even when they are people I don’t even know, I tend to fear that they are whispering about me, even though that most likely is not true. I still have the tendency to worry about things like this even though a few people in my high school have started rumors about me. When I talk to someone that I consider close friends, I tend to worry and think that they change and all of a sudden have something against me. I realize that change in a person is something that occurs overtime, and it doesn’t happen in just a few days or weeks.

I disagree with a lot of the therapists that work with people with depression and anxiety who think that pushing them to the limit and shoving therapy down their throat will cause them to magically “come out of their shell”. I have mentioned such a person before, and his name was Mike. I don’t think that he is bad at what he does for a living, but I disagree that overwhelming them and trying to change who they are will cause them to learn social skills and get through their depression and Anxiety. I think that his therapy would work for some people, but not for someone with Asperger’s Syndrome and Social Anxiety.

One thing I wish is that people were not so judgmental about me when they first met me, I don’t try to avoid new people when I meet them, I just tense up and get nervous. Because of this people tend to think that I am stuck up and don’t really want to be around them. I have also been around ignorant people who make rude jokes about people with these kind of mental disorders, and that is totally uncalled for. I think the world needs a zero tolerance policy towards that, but unfortunately that is not going to happen. Individuals with these disorders are teased all the time, and it sadly is not going to stop. But when you are around me I will not stand for it. To me, making fun of somebody for something they can’t control is totally inappropriate in any situation. You can bet that I will tell you that I don’t like what you are doing, and that it is uncalled for and needs to stop. I get very angry when I see comedy shows on TV make fun of people like this, even if it is “just a joke”. It is sad that there are ignorant people in this world that do things like this, but unfortunately it happens everywhere. I hope you got some idea of the things I experienced with my Anxiety, and I hope that you will take this into consideration when you see someone who may exhibit some of these behaviors. The next time you think about judging somebody, think about some of the things that this person may be going through. Be helpful to them instead of making fun of them and judging them.

Social Isolation Hurts

The high school years are difficult for anybody. Teens face the difficulty of figuring out who they are, and have to deal with the peer pressure coming from dating, sex, alcohol and drugs. Being a student in high school, I have noticed that parents do not teach their kids respect and understanding others as much as they should. I have been a target of bullying and gossip throughout my entire life. Ever since I was in kindergarten, not a day goes by without having to listen to somebody point and laugh at me, or make a rude and judgmental comment about me. Because of this, I don’t really have that many friends in school. Many times, teenagers act like this because they want to look cool around their friends. They think that friends will accept them better when they make another person look bad for no clear apparent reason.

If you remember on my two blogs titled “do social skills groups help all students on the spectrum”, I mentioned my odd, obsessive interests that changed throughout the years. During my preschool and toddler years, I had a huge interest in fans. When my parents would take me out places and I would see a fan, I would perseverate about it. I remember my mother telling me one day that I would always stop and stare at ceiling fans and refrigerator fans. If you recall from the same blog I mentioned earlier, there was one incident where my mother lost track of me when we were shopping at a grocery store. She was shopping in an aisle that was on the other side of the store and tried to ask me a question but I wasn’t there. She then looked around the entire store for me, and then she saw me staring at the fans inside the refrigerator. My mother also said that when she found me, I was staring at the fans for about 30 minutes.

As I got older, my interests in fans faded away. When I was in third grade, I became fixated with fire drills. Our school was completely remodeled, and we got a new fire alarm system. Ever since the first time I heard the alarm, I would constantly talk about it with around the other students. I didn’t even realize that the students have had enough with me talking about them until they finally said “Derek, stop talking about fire drills already”. My limited interests also caused some bullying when I was in elementary school. During recess when most of the students were running around and playing with their friends, I would always walk around the playground alone. I realized that nobody really liked me, and that they wouldn’t be interested in playing with me during recess anyway. My parents talked to the teachers and explained that they wanted me to join in activities with my peers, but I simply didn’t want to because they didn’t like me. If you remember from my blog about understanding others, there was a student at Computing Workshop with a more severe case of Autism than I have, and he also had Down Syndrome. He used a special computer called a dynavox to communicate. He had a set of beads that his mother gave him to play with, and during free time he would always sit in the corner and twirl them around. He was in his own little world when he was sitting and playing with those beads, and this student’s parents would always complain about his teachers taking the beads away from him as a punishment for not paying attention to the teacher. The teacher would not let him play with the beads during free time, and he didn’t know what to do with himself. The staff members at Computing Workshop also seemed to think that this particular student used playing with the beads as a method of dealing with stress, and when an adult that doesn’t understand his diagnosis takes that away from him, he won’t know what to do with himself. That is when he will start being uncooperative and not listen. I can identify with this student when I think about my experiences during elementary school, I was in my own little world when I would walk alone during recess. I didn’t pay attention to anybody, and nobody payed any attention to me. Because my parents wanted me to “play” with my peers during recess, my teachers would try to force me into doing it. There were times when I would try to resist to throwing a football with another student, or playing on a jump rope, but my teachers would grad me by my shoulder and push me into doing it. Back when I was in elementary school, I didn’t really have the coordination to catch footballs or play jump rope.

My coordination with catching a ball and participating in team sports have gotten better over the years. The majority of kids in high school should know that making fun of someone because they aren’t gifted at sports, or for any other reason is not acceptable. You have one of those arrogant jerks in every crowd, and the best thing to do is to ignore them. I still do have coordination issues now, and I have been around people who do not understand my Aspergers and that don’t have the patience to cooperate with me. I had to deal with one of those people recently in my electronics class at Lenape Tech. We were putting together a windmill that is going to power the greenhouse that belongs to Lenape’s Natural Resources shop. I can’t remember exactly what we were doing, but it was one of those activities that required strong hand/eye coordination, which is also required for playing most team sports. I didn’t quite understand what we were doing, and the teacher was not in the classroom at the time. We were working in groups, and a student very inappropriately lashed out and had a fit with me. He said something like “God fucking dammit Derek, I can’t believe you don’t know how to do this. You are so stupid, damn junior”. Yes, I realize this student didn’t understand my lack of coordination, but there was no excuse for him to lash out at me like that. After the whole incident, I walked away and asked if I could work with another student or have the teacher give me an alternate task to complete for the day. I should not have to deal with somebody that is going to treat me so rudely.

Because of all the social isolation I have been through throughout the years, I still have a difficulty trusting people. When I meet a new person, I have the tendency to think that they are going to try to make fun of me. It’s hard for anyone to get out of thinking that, especially for people like me. If you remember me mentioning how Mike, my old therapist would try to shove social skills down my throat. From my perspective, he seemed to think that depression and anxiety are things that you can just “snap out” of right away. When he would push me to the limit by putting me in social situations where I felt very uncomfortable, I would resist to it. I don’t like it when people put me on the spot, especially when it’s in a group of peers that I don’t know very well. It has always been difficult for me to deal with people like Mike who are “in your face” about things. If you are one of those kind of people, I will try my best to avoid being around you. It will take time for me to develop social skills that I am going to need for life, and hopefully they will help me deal with all of the rude people that I will have to be around. Those kind of people are everywhere you look, and you have to try your best to avoid them. If people are not willing to get to know me as a friend, then it is their loss, not mine. I have no need to worry about people that want nothing to do with me, they are the ones with the social skills problems, not me.

I am willing to be friends with any person who will accept me for who I am, and that will not try to change anything about me. I am beginning to have a better understanding of who are my real friends and who are not. If you are trying to trick me into believing that you are trying to be nice to me when you are really not, I will eventually find out. It hurts to be rejected by people, and it also hurts to be “set up” by them. I don’t really care if I don’t have a whole bunch of friend to talk to, one or two is enough. As I have said before, “quality is better than quantity”. If I do ever lose a close friend, than I will move on and try to find someone else to be friends with. It’s not my problem if you want to be friends with me, it’s yours. Forget about all of the people that want nothing to do with me, I’ve got other things to worry about. Graduation is coming up next year, and these people won’t mean a god damn thing to me.

Before I go, this is a message to all teens and young adults. Always remember to stay true to yourself, and don’t ever change. I have had to deal with countless people that have rubbed it into my face that they want me to be like they are, when I don’t want to do that. There will be people in life that act that way, and the only thing you should do is to just sit there and ignore them. My “social status” with my peers in high school doesn’t mean anything to me. I hope you enjoyed this, and that you will take all of this advice, and share it with anyone who may need it in the future.

“Fitting In” is Often Tied to Looking and Sounding Like You “Fit In”

I have been through hell during high school, I have had countless rumors spread about me, been labeled, pushed around and made fun of throughout my whole entire life. Because of this, I was lonely, sad, depressed and people often talked about how I “didn’t fit in with the crowd”. The title of this blog is actually a “rule” from the book “The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships” by Dr. Temple Grandin and Shaun Barron. I can relate to this very well for many reasons. My blog titled “Should An Asperger’s Teen Try To Be Normal”? talked about how annoyed I am with people who try to make me act like somebody I’m not. I simply am not like everybody else, I’m not your typical absent minded teenager, I am unique in my way, and I am not going to listen to anybody tell me how I should live my life. Dr. Grandin’s book mentioned how people are always judged by what they look like, how they act around other people, and how they dress. My Asperger’s has made it very difficult to learn social skills and to make and keep friendships. This is also definitely the number one reason why I have always dreaded my high school life. People always judge me because of how quiet I am in school and about how I tend to be negative about things when my day is not going well.

Many people with Aspegers, especially children and adolescents don’t understand that first impressions are lasting impressions. Middle school and high school years are when parents need to start teaching their kids this rule, if they don’t, they will be susceptible to teasing and bullying, which can lead to depression and they could end up not caring about the first impressions they make on people. As I have mentioned in my last blogs, students with ASD need to learn how to stand up to bullies, but they also need to learn the behaviors that may cause them to be bullied by others. If your child shows up at school dressed in worn out clothes, with bad breath and body odor, and messed up hair, they will be a target! There are no questions to ask about that! A few years back, I went to a wedding for a couple that went to my church, and there was a man there who showed up in old worn out blue jeans, shaggy, messed up hair, and a nasty combination of bad breath and body odor. This man sat at two tables behind me, and I could smell him from there. Another thing I noticed is that during the reception, people tried to move to a different table so they didn’t have to put up with the smell coming from this man. This person could be a really cool person inside, but people don’t want to be around them because of the fact that they have bad breath and body odor. This may seem offensive to some people, but hygiene is something that you need to teach your child to practice if they want to be accepted in society. I will repeat myself again, first impressions are lasting impressions. I had a teacher a few years back who reeked of tobacco breath, and one day I stayed after class to talk to her about missing absent work, and she really smelled awful. When I talked to her, I only answered with one word responses when she would talk to me and I answered them as fast as I possibly could. If you really want people to judge you, that is definitely one way to do it.

If you recall from my other blog titled “what turns me off”, I mentioned the four personality traits that really turn me off when I am around other people, and these personality traits were self centered people, easily distracted people, pessimistic people, and touchy feely people. If you are any of these people, you need to find some way to change it. People will not want to be around if you show any of these characteristics in front of them. A quote from Dr. Grandin’s book states “People who are polite and cheerful will have an easier time getting along in the world. That may not seem fair, but people like people who are generally happy”. The fact is, nobody wants to be around a pessimist, which is somebody who always looks at the negative side of any situation. I am not trying to make these kind of people look bad, I have caught myself being pessimistic in difficult situations, especially when they are about friends. For example, when a friend rejects me for an invitation, I automatically assume that they have something against me and that they are trying to avoid me. Sometime people use that “I’m busy” excuse because they would rather not spend time with you. I know that by personal experience, I have had “friends” that have avoided me in the past, and for some reason I still thought of them as friends. I then gave up on them and decided to find new people to be friends with. When another person doesn’t want to be friends with me, I tend to feel that “everybody has something against me. ” That is just the common reaction when I’m around someone who wants to be stuck up and have absolutely nothing to do with me. Like I have said many times before, if someone doesn’t want to be my friend, it is their problem, not mine. Aside from being pessimistic, I tend to be judgmental as well. When I meet a new person and I notice the people they hang around, I tend to get a generalization that they will be rude to me and try to do something that may upset me. Because of the many tormentors I have been around, I tend to think that about other people. I am trying my best to work on that, but it is going to take me a long time to get over thinking that. When I first saw Aaron four summers ago when I started going to Computing Workshop, I thought that he and I wouldn’t get along because of the way he looked. He was an athletic male, and looked very confident. Most of the athletic people that I have had to be around are very arrogant and rude people, and tend to pick on people that are not like they are. They need to learn that that is unacceptable. Making fun of somebody is not a way to go through life. Aaron may be athletic and confident, but he is very friendly, caring and laid back. It is not in his character to do something like that. This brings me to my next point, if you want to be accepted by people, always be yourself. It is not considered cool to act like somebody you’re not. People may not notice that you are doing it right away, but they will eventually. When other people make fun of you for the kind of person that you are, that means that they have something wrong with themselves. I have learned not to get upset about people like that. I am who I am, and I am not going to change that for any reason whatsoever.

I think that pretty much sums up everything this rule means, I shouldn’t have to tell you anymore about it. I highly recommend you read “Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships”, Temple and Shaun did an amazing job giving you their perspectives of life with Autism.

Please refer to some of the previous blogs that I mentioned on here for more information about me:

Have you ever been dumped by a friend?

The teenage years are supposed to be the “best years of your life”, right? If you recall from my first entry about my experiences in high school, the high school years have been the most miserable time for me. I spent most of my junior high and high school years being ignored, teased and labeled. People really don’t understand how it feels to be ignored and labeled so much. Because of all the labeling and teasing people have given me throughout the years, it has made it very difficult to find that one true friend that wouldn’t ever bring me down and accept me for the kind of person that I am. In elementary school, people really didn’t seem to notice that I was “different” than everybody else. My parents would make arrangements with my friends parents to get together. When the middle school years came along, people started to avoid me and notice that I was different than everybody else. All of the people that I was friends with in elementary school seemed to “forget” about me. Social cliques started to develop, and I was the person that didn’t really fit in with anybody.

If you remember from my blog about ending friendships, I was friends with a kid named Jason in elementary school. During the weekends, we would always go to each others houses, sit and talk to each other during recess and lunchtime and talk on the phone when we had nothing else to do. Junior high then came along, and the social cliques started to develop. The students seemed to start noticing that I was different than everybody else was, which contributed to why they started talking to me rudely and making fun of me behind my back. The first thing I noticed right off the bat when I would talk to him was that he started hanging out with the people that would always label me and spread rumors about me. There were times that I notice when his new friends were around me, they would start making fun of me and spreading rumors about me when I was in the same room as he was. He never really stood up for me when they did it either, he just sat there and ignored the whole thing. The second thing that I noticed happening was when I would try to have a converstaion with him, he would try to keep it as short as he possibly could. When I would ask him questions, he would answer me with only one or two word responses. At first I thought that maybe he was just in a bad mood and didn’t really feel like talking to me, then I started to realize that maybe he wasn’t that interested in being friends with me. I spent the rest of my junior high school years asking the same question “Why would he ignore me and hang out with the students that made fun of me and labeled me?”

As I have mentioned before, people sometimes just don’t show that interest in being friends with you anymore, even when you have been friends with them for a long time. People change, and sometimes it’s for the worse. Since I am no longer at Freeport, I don’t see this person as often as I used to. When I do see this person, I think about how we used to be friends in elementary school and how we would always talk on the phone when we had nothing better to do. I’m glad I don’t have to see this person anymore, because anytime I do the memories of how he dumped me come back and haunt me.

Because of I’ve been set up by friends in the past, I find it very difficult to trust people. When I meet a new person, I tend to worry and think that they might have something against me and try to avoid me, or they might try to make fun of me and make me feel bad about myself. I am happy that I have friends like Aaron from my Computing Workshop summer camp, but I do wish that we had more time to spend with each other. Because of the labeling, teasing and loneliness that I have experienced in high school, I am very exited about graduating. On my I Google page, I have a countdown until the possible date for my high school graduation in 2011. One thing that I have learned from past friendships is that if they don’t want to be my friend, that it is their problem, not mine. That’s the attitude that I will always have with someone that wants nothing to do with me.It may take time to get over a lost friendship, but I will get over it eventually. I wish that people would have that same attitude as me, because it makes no sense to mope about a friendship that ended a long time ago. I will most likely never see these people again after I graduate from high school, so why the hell should I even bother worrying about them? Even though Aaron is busy, I am certain that he is still my good friend. One or two close friends is all I really need, someone left a comment on one of my other blogs that stated “quality is better than quantity”.

I really can’t come up with anything else to say about this, I hope you liked it and I should be back to write again next week!

Resolving Conflicts with friends

If you recall from my blog about ending friendships with someone, it talked about four questions you should ask yourself before ending the friendship. Chances are, if you consider someone a close friend, you have a better chance of getting into a conflict  than you would with a casual friend. For example, you see your friend at school and you invite them to go to your house on Saturday. Your friend has their own car, and he decided to drive himself to your house. Sunday afternoon comes, you cleaned up your bedroom and are waiting for them to arrive. About ten minutes pass, and you realize that he lives on the other side of town, which is a pretty long drive. Twenty more minutes pass, and still no sign of him. You finally decide to call his cell phone and see what the deal was, and he doesn’t answer. You were just stood up by one of your friends.

There could be many different reasons for why this may have happened, first off, he could have been busy with other commitments, and he just forgot about your social plans for the weekend. I have been in many situations where people have forgotten about plans because they had too much on their mind. One example was last year, when I attended Freeport, I had asked one of the neighborhood girls if they were willing to give me a ride to school. The time came for her to pick me up, and she just drove right on past my driveway and left. I had another neighbor who usually drove me in, but he was sick and couldn’t go to school that days. I think that if she really didn’t want to give me a ride, she would have made an lame excuse about why she couldn’t do it. She has driven me once or twice before, so my final guess was that she was in a hurry and forgot about it. I just moved on and forgot about the whole situation because I don’t feel that getting angry about the whole situation would have made it any better. If I did get angry about the whole situation, she would probably avoid even saying hi to me when I would pass her on the street or in the school hallway.

Situations like the one with my neighbor are things you could just move on and forget about. These things happen sometimes, and it is really no use to even think about it. However, being stood up by one of your friends is something you should talk about with the person. Ending the friendship may be an easier resolution to the problem, but sometimes you should challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone. If you want to keep this person as a friend, this is really the only thing you can do. If you are somebody that wants to enjoy life, than you need to have at least one or two friends to talk to. Here are five tips for you when resolving a conflict with your friend.

1.) Be honest:

As I said before, honesty is one of the most important qualities in a friendship right? In my opinion, this is the first step towards resolving a conflict with a friend. Remember to tell the person what the problem is, and your feelings about the whole situation. Your friend won’t know how you feel unless you tell them. Your friend can’t read your mind. When your friend is doing something that annoys you, don’t just sit there and let it slide. If you do, their behavior could continue to a point where you don’t want to be around them anymore.

2.) Be Respectful:

Yes, it is very important to be honest and tell you friend like it is, but it is also important to do so in a respectful , and age appropriate manner. It is very hard to do this especially for people like me, because their behavior is bothering me. If you are arrogant and rude about the situation, this person could do these behaviors even more, just to purposely make you feel upset. I was once friends with someone in elementary school who kept on calling me by a nickname that I didn’t like, and I reacted by screaming at him on the playground during recess. As soon as my screaming was heard, a teacher came by and made stay in for recess for an entire week. Not only was this rude, inappropriate and uncalled for, it also made that “friend” call me that name even more. My behavior caused him to become a bully, not a friend.

3.) Allow time to forgive the person

It takes time to forgive a friend or a loved one when they do something that really upsets you. Even if they listen to you and give you a sincere apology, you still may not forgive a person entirely.  One of the things that I recommend you do after you talk to them is keep contact with the person at a minimum for at least two or three days. Just like repairing a totaled car, it takes time to repair a friendship after a conflict is resolved. Another thing that people often don’t understand is that it may take that person a longer time to want to be friends with you then when you want to be friends with them. In other words, everybody is different, it may take one person longer to do something than another person.

4.) Don’t be judgmental:

One of the major social turnoffs in any relationship, whether it be and acquaintance, friend, or loved one is people who are judgmental. Unfortunately, there are many people like that in this world. For example, I once had a friend who was having a casual conversation with one of the trouble makers in our school, and I started to worry and think that they were going to start hanging out with them and acting like them. When he was done talking to the person, I walked over to him and asked why he was talking to him. He then said to me “Calm down Derek, I’m just asking him if he got something completed that was part of our English project”. I then understood why he was talking to him. I tend to be judgmental when I’m around a person, and I am trying to work on that. For example, just because a person wants to go to a bar and drink a few beers every now and then doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a bad person. If the person is levelheaded and knows when they are crossing the line, than don’t really worry about the person. However, if this behavior is becoming obsessive, than I would try to talk to the person about their behavior, and the consequences that could happen if they keep it up.

5.) Keep trying

Sometimes, repetition helps a friend learn that what they are doing is upsetting you. I would occasionally send the friend an email, phone call or text message just to let them know that you still care about them. Even if they don’t respond to you every time, I still recommend that you keep doing it on occasions. However, if they are rude to you about it, then I would recommend avoiding contact with them and finding another person to be friends with. As I have said many times before, you can’t MAKE someone be friends with you and it’s their problem if they don’t want to be your friend, not yours.

Lastly, if resolving the conflict doesn’t work out I would let it go and move on with life. Worrying about the conflict can make it even worse. There are other people in the world to be friends with, and it makes no sense to worry about them. I have to say that this is one of the hardest and longest blogs that I have written, because it is something that I am still learning about. I hope you found it informative, and I will be back to write again soon!

Asperger’s Syndrome and Depression

Doctors and Psychiatrists have discovered that there is a high risk of depression and anxiety in kids with Aspergers Syndrome, especially in their teenage and young adult years. Teenagers with the disorder usually deal with the stress of not fitting in with the crowd. Individuals with the disorder have the difficulty dealing with change, as I have mentioned before. The change from living in the house to moving to college on their own can cause some depression and anxiety as well. Because of their odd, and limited interests, they don’t understand how to appropriately interact with other people, especially peers. Because of the fact that they don’t know how to interact with other people and stand up for themselves, they can be susceptible to verbal, physical and cyber bullying. Dealing with situations like this are the most common causes of depression and anxiety in people with Aspergers Syndrome. Because many teens and young adults with this disorder don’t know how to handle these situations appropriately, they could get into behaviors such as drugs or alcohol. This can most likely worsen their depression and anxiety and cause them to even resort to more extreme behaviors, even suicide. Depression in individuals with Aspergers Syndrome is very common, suicide however is not, but it still could happen if nothing is done about the symptoms. I never have and never will think about doing something as extreme as that, but if I didn’t get the help I needed for my symptoms, I most likely could have. I am going to talk about some of the experiences that caused my depression, a few of them I have mentioned before.

In my very first blog, I mentioned how high school was an even worse experience than junior high was. The Freeport Senior High school is larger than the junior high is, but not by much. The first reason the transition from middle school to high school was miserable for me was because it had more people than the junior high did. Yes, I realize that its not as big as places like Butler or Fox Chapel, but it was pretty crowded. Another thing that really caused me to be depressed was that I we were the youngest grade in the school, and I was picked on more than most of the people than my grade because I was shy. As I have mentioned many times before, people would often take advantage of me and try to convince me that they were trying to be my friend, when they really were not. They seemed to realize that I had a difficulty understanding when people were trying to be friendly to me versus trying to make fun of me. Because of this, I did not “fit in” with the people at my school. I didn’t really have anyone to sit with at lunch or hang out with after school or on weekends. People tended to avoid letting me sit with them, and they would often make excuses like “More people are going to sit there, you are going to have to move”. They were your typical snobby, stuck up high school student. That was one of the things that really contributed to my loneliness, depression and anxiety. This, however could have been prevented if I put myself out there more, letting all of the arrogant jerks get to me really contributed to why I was so depressed and lonely when I attended Freeport. With the exception of a few individuals, students at Lenape Tech have enough sense to realize that teasing someone is uncalled for, because they are going into technical fields that involve working with people.

Aside from depression, I also had problems with anxiety in school, and I still do now. Anytime I would get put into social situations, I would always tense up and fear that they would try to do something mean to me. I would prevent that from happening by  simply ignoring the person when they would speak to me. This was because of all the teasing and bullying I got in past years, and I still tense up when I am around new people. When you are teased and picked on by people, it’s real hard for a person to come out of their shell and open up to somebody. I opened up to my friend Aaron B at Computing Workshop real easy because it is a safe environment for me, this program is supposed to help students on the spectrum with their academic and social goals. I know that if they do try to harass me or any of the students in the program in any way, they are automatically removed. That is not true in most public high schools, they usually get that same old “don’t do that again” lecture, which usually doesn’t do anything. As I have mentioned before, many schools tend to blame the victim instead of the bully. Because I would tense up and ignore people when they would see me in the hallway, they tended to judge and label me. I got labeled loner and reject by most people.

The main reason for why I got labeled by people was because they didn’t understand me. Who were they to judge someone without understanding why? I have learned that most people my age have similar feelings of not belonging. Even the popular kids feel insecure about some things, and making fun of somebody makes them feel less insecure about themselves. I feel that having only one or two close friends is enough for me, I don’t want to be “normal” or “popular”. Even though Aaron doesn’t have the time to spend with me, I am still very glad to have him as a friend. One or two friends is really all I need. Popularity doesn’t really matter after high school is over with, so why should I get all depressed about it? I’ve learned that people who think something is wrong with me, means that something is wrong with them. I hope that you all found this informative and inspiring, and I will be back to write again soon!

My blog about my high school experiences: