Why Did People Avoid Me?

Everybody in the world needs at least one close friend. We all need that friend who will stick up for you when somebody is mistreating you and that will always be there in time of need, whatever it may be. In life, I have never really had that one person that I could consider a “true friend”. I have been through a real sad and depressing time in high school and I have never understood why people didn’t want to be friends with me. There have been days where I have come home crying because I didn’t have friends. As a result of that, I became severely depressed and anxious. If you remember my blog titled “Honesty Is Different Than Diplomacy” it talked about the word “tact”. A definition of the word “tact” simply is “a keen sense of what to say or do without giving offense; skill in dealing with difficult people and situations”. The word “diplomacy” simply meant “tact and skill in dealing with people”. Many children with Asperger’s want to make friends, but they don’t have the understanding of what is appropriate and what is not appropriate when trying to establish any kind of social relationship with someone. I wanted to write about some of the experiences I’ve had with people and I wanted to write about some of the things I have done with friends in the past that have caused them to not want to be around me. I hope that after reading this, people realize the things I have done, and that you won’t make those same mistakes.

I’m sure people have dealt with that one friend who treats you like you’re an unpaid servant. This friend is always bossy, and they want things to go their way. If things don’t go their way, they get very angry and uncooperative. In my opinion, these are the most difficult people to deal with. For example, you and a few friends decide to go to a movie, but one person wants to go see a different movie. That one friend argues and argues with you until everybody gives in and see’s the movie the friend wants to see. Nobody enjoys the movie because they are so irritated with the friend that argued and argued with them. As another example, at the Computing Workshop summer camp we went on a field trip, and at the time we ate at the LaRoche College cafeteria for lunch everyday. The group wanted to find a fast restaurant in town so we could get back in time for the afternoon class periods to start. We had a student that did not want to do that, so instead of going with the flow and doing what everybody else wanted to do he decided to throw his water bottle on the floor, swear and throw a temper tantrum at everybody. We eventually decided to give in and hurry back to the cafeteria before they closed it for the day. We luckily made it back on time, we had only twenty minutes to eat our lunch, and we could have had plenty of time to eat if we found somewhere to eat in Pittsburgh. The fact is, when you are out with a group of people, and you don’t want to do something everybody else wants to do, you sometimes have to just suck it up and do what they want to do. We never took this student on any field trips for the rest of the summer because of his behavior.

One thing that I have caught myself doing, which has also caused friends to not want to be around me is expecting too much from them. On an Autism forum website a few weeks ago, a teenager was complaining about a friend ignoring his messages. He mentioned that he had a friend in school that he would text message a lot, but he would become frustrated about his friends not replying to every single text message he would send. In the post, his tone sounded very demanding. It pretty much sounded like “I expect my friends to reply to me when I text message them, I don’t care if it takes them a few hours to text me back, I just want them to reply”. If this person wants to keep his friend, he should not make demands like that. Doing so can make the friend feel like you are a burden to be around. Nobody wants to be around someone who acts like a burden. I agree that it is upsetting when friends don’t keep in touch as often as you would like them to, but sometimes they just don’t have the time to do it. I used to get very upset about this and feel that every time a friend does not answer messages that they have something against me. I try to be cool when I am around my friends, because if I act pushy they will definitely start avoiding me.

This brings me to my next topic, which is jealousy. You may think it is stupid to write about, but I have dealt with people who are jealous of me for many reasons. These were the people who tried to convince me they were trying to be my friend when they really weren’t. I am good at making PowerPoint presentations, and I have done many school projects with the program in the past. Most of the PowerPoint projects I have done in school are group projects, and I was usually the one that was in charge of doing the PowerPoint presentation. People realized my ability to do PowerPoint presentations like that, and they would take advantage of me and make me do most of the work. When the teacher was not around, most of my group members would sit and socialize with their friends instead of helping me work on the project. When the teacher would come in the classroom, they would sit there and pretend to do be working. When I would add a slide background they didn’t like, or a font they didn’t like they would rudely tell me how much they didn’t like it and to change it to something else. I talked to the teacher about it the next day, and he gave the group members the typical “do your work” lecture. They were pretty angry that I complained to the teacher about how rude they have been to me, they then proceeded to yelling at me and telling me what to do throughout the project. After that, I had enough and asked the teacher to give me an alternate independent assignment. I got full credit for the assignment, and I never had to work with those people again. Another funny thing about this was that they asked me to sit with them at lunch one day, and I simply said “no”. They then asked me “But we thought you were our friend”. It was obvious they were not my friend because of how they took advantage of me, and they knew how disrespectfully they treated me.

I am not trying to blame everything on other people, I have caught myself being jealous of people many times. Some of the people who I have gotten jealous of were my close friends. One or two of them do have girlfriends, and there have been times where it seemed like they were spending more time with the girl and her friends instead of with me. I started becoming extremely angry and jealous when I would hang around them. The anger then turned into sadness, I can remember asking myself “why are they spending more time with the girl and her friends instead of with me?” I asked my counselor and my parents about it, and they both told me to talk to them. I did exactly what they told me, but I said it in a tone of voice that was not appropriate or friendly. I made the mistake of saying incredibly rude and inappropriate things about their girlfriends. They then proceeded to walking away from me, and that was the last time I ever heard from them. Going back to my blog about Honesty, I was honest, but I said it in a crude and inappropriate way that caused me to lose my good friends. The words “tact” and “diplomacy” never existed in my world then. I could have changed the way I talked to my friends about the situation, I could have politely and sincerely told them my feelings, and that I am upset that they never spent time with me. I don’t think I should have been that jealous of them in the first place, if they spent more time with me instead of their girlfriends, their girlfriends would be jealous and upset. I should have waited a few days, then talked to them in private about it. I didn’t do that either. As soon as I found out they were dating the girls and hanging out with their friends, I got angry and overreacted to the situation. Like I said, I said some things about their girlfriends that were pretty mean and inappropriate, but I am not going to talk about it on here. Just because a friend gets into a relationship with somebody doesn’t always mean they are going to drift away from you and forget about you. They still liked me, but I just had trouble dealing with the change. I should have just accepted the change and stayed friends with them.

To sum things up, I now understand why many people avoided me in the past. Every mistake I make will help me become a better person, because I learn not to do it again. I learned not to treat a friend like an unpaid employee, expect to much from them, or be jealous of them. I realize that will cause people to avoid me and not like me. If I didn’t get the opportunity to meet my friend Aaron, I probably would not be the person I am now. I would still be the depressed, unhappy person that John Elder Robison was as he described in his book. Hopefully all the school work he is doing right now will pay off and give him a job he will like. I am proud of him for that. Anybody enjoys seeing their good friend succeed. I will learn more social skills as I grow older, and they will hopefully make me become a very successful person. Hopefully after reading this, you will not make the mistakes I made. Life is about making mistakes and learning from them. I thank you for reading this, and I will be back to write next week!


“Everybody Makes Mistakes, It Doesn’t Have to Ruin Your Day” and “People are Responsible for Their Own Behaviors”

Have you ever been so frustrated that you can’t do something right? Have you wanted to give up? Have you ever held a grudge against somebody because of something they did wrong? Both of these rules are in Temple Grandin’s book titled “Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships. I wanted to incorporate both of these rules into one blog, because they tie in together. First off, the old saying goes “Life Is About Making Mistakes”, I remember the many times that I have gotten frustrated about not being able to do something right, or because of the mistakes that other people have made when they are around me. One of the simple facts of life is that you need to learn from the mistakes you have made, and other peoples behavior is beyond your control. The thing about this is that you need to learn how to forgive both yourself and other for the mistake was made, and sometimes it is not easy. This is true regardless of your relationship with the person.

I can remember when I was in either third or fourth grade, I had severe troubles with Math. Those were the years we were starting to cover all of the aspects of multiplication and division. When I would study my multiplication and division facts, I had absolutely no problem with them, but when it came to the long division and multi-step multiplication, I never seemed to be able to learn the concepts. When I would sit at my desk and do my homework, I got so frustrated about the fact that I couldn’t do the problems, that I would just go into a meltdown. My fourth grade teacher, Mr. Gaillot would give us these practice workbook pages for homework every night, and they contained about 25-30 problems total. That is quite a few math problems for an elementary student to have to do for homework, and especially for a student that is having difficulties learning the concepts. Teachers think that giving their students an abundant amount of problems to do for homework every single night will help a learning support student learn the concepts even better, when it will overwhelm them even more. There were nights that I wouldn’t even do the assignment. Mr. Gaillot had a policy where if you didn’t do your homework, you were given a homework slip that was to be signed by your parents, and you had to stay in for recess for the day. This policy was started after a few students that slacked off and did not do their homework, and I was one of those students. Back then, I dreaded it when he would do that, but now I realize that he did this because he really cared about all of his students and wanted them to try their hardest and succeed. Gaillot has also been the coach of Freeport’s football team for many years, and he mentioned one of his students that played on his team when I was in his fourth grade class. He was talking about how the student decided to drop out of high school because of failing grades. This student obviously was too afraid to ask for help, and thought that he was hopeless. I felt the same way back when I was in elementary school, I excelled in all of my classes, except for math. From fourth grade on, I always struggled in that class. I probably always will be frustrated with math, and I will try my best to take the initiative to ask someone for help when I need it. I made the mistake of not asking for help when I needed it, and refusing to do the assignment all-together. You absolutely have to ask if you need it, because if you don’t, you won’t do the assignment correctly and you will get a failing grade. Down the road, if you refuse to do something that you don’t understand on the job, you could end up being fired, plain and simple. Dr. Grandin mentions that you will have to deal with a bad boss at least once in your life, and that there are two types of “bad bosses”. These types of bosses are jerks who all the employees hate, and bosses who are nice to neurotypicals and don’t like aspies. Back to the point, you have to tell your boss that you need help, because they won’t realize it if you don’t. If they give you a hard time about asking for help, then you can talk to their boss about it. There is no need to deal with a person like that.

Now, I want you to put yourself in this kind of situation. You and a group of friends are out at a local restaurant. Your friend asks you to buy a few alcoholic drinks, and you are hesitant at first. You then give in and order one, and drink it. One of your friends is pushing the limit and going way too far, and they start acting totally out of their character. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, that same person makes a nasty, derogatory comment about you. How do you react to it? Do you ignore them? Do you express your anger and throw a punch at them? Those are the two most common decisions people will make in a situation similar to this, but there are other options. If you throw a punch at the person, somebody could get hurt or killed. If you ignore them, the problem could escalate even more. About a week passes after the incident, and you hold a grudge against the person that made the derogatory comment about you. Now let’s imagine another thing about this situation, this person also happens to be your best friends girlfriend. There are many ways to approach a situation like this, you could hate your friend for dating this girl, and hate the girl for the nasty comment she made about you, or you could talk to your friend about the situation. I would most definitely recommend talking to your friend about the situation. You have a voice, so use it and tell your friend your feelings about the situation. But, do use caution about your tone of voice and the words you use. Always approach them in a confident, but polite way. Talking to them rudely will most likely jeopardize your friendship with the person completely. And don’t ever say anything derogatory about their girlfriend either, that is another thing that can cause you to loose your friendship with them. If the friend is rude to you, then I would most move on and find another person to be friends with. If he wants to date the girl that made a nasty comment about you, then that is his decision. I have said it before, and I will say it again, if someone doesn’t want to be your friend, it is their problem, not yours. I would just forgive the person, move on and find another person to be friends with. There are better people to be friends with than this jerk, so why should you worry about them? You are better of without them anyway.

As I talked about in the first or second paragraph, life is about making mistakes. People will learn from mistakes, and they hopefully won’t make them again. I have learned from my mistakes of not doing my homework, and I will never do it again. Your friends should also learn from the mistakes that they have made. If you want to be my friend, it’s okay if you make a mistake now and then. If you are really my friend than I will forgive you, but it may take time to do it. However, if my friend makes a bad decision, they better be willing to listen to me about my feelings. I am an honest person when I am around my friends, and I will tell you like it is when you are doing something that could get you into trouble in the future. The person probably doesn’t realize that their behavior is going to cause that to happen, so you need to be honest and tell them like it is. But remember to do it in a respectable manner, they will turn away from you if you don’t.

I really hope you liked this blog, and that you will take this advice in the future.