Making friends was always hard for me. And not only because I’m trans and rather wanted to play with the boys than the girls. But mostly because I’m autistic. I can’t read body language or facial expressions. When I was pre-school I visited a speech therapist, because I had pronouncing issues of certain letters just like “T”, “D”, “K” and “R”. Sometimes I even stumple over letters, speak too fast, or too silent and I was mutist (Selective mutism (SM) is an anxiety disorder in which a person who is normally capable of speech does not speak in specific situations or to specific people… Resource: Selective mutism-Wikipedia). At the speech therapist we also worked on recognizing facial expressions. I remember how she told my mum she should watch my behaviour because “it isn’t normal”. At this time autism was only known as Kanner autism (non-verbal, often in combination with an intelligence deficit) so it didn’t came up.
My autism made it very difficult to me to befriend people. When I was little I didn’t know how to go to a kid and start a talk. It was not like I was shy to ask. I didn’t know how to ask properly. Even though I watched them interacting with other kids, I couldn’t make up what those kids were doing different than me. It was their body language. Not only that I couldn’t read body language from others, I also don’t know what my body language shows. But it seems to be at least confusing for most people. Still today I notice how I often get weird glances from peoples in the street. And no, I don’t think it’s because of my punk style or cane. Because I do get those glances also when I’m at places where I shouldn’t stick out. But kids, and later teenagers, often told me that I was “arrogant, ignorant, selfish, heartless” etc. I don’t know what they mean. I always try to be a nice person but I always get misread.
Today I still struggle a lot to befriend people. I don’t know how it works. But I’m also a burnt child (idiom). So often I had “friends” who suddenly turned their back on me and never spoke to me again, or who pretended to be my friend only to tell nasty lies behind my back. I was bullied in school. Sometimes even physical. Because of all this, it’s very hard for me to open up to a person, to trust them and to share personal things. I’ve build a wall. I’m tired of getting betrayed and hurt. I don’t know who I can trust and who not.
Another big problem is, that I don’t need much socializing as told here. So friends often took it as “you just don’t want to”. And when I came back asking them how they were doing, I got “Now I’m good enough for you?” People don’t understand. It’s exhausting. Yes, I like to have friends but on the same moment, I don’t want to, because then I have to spend time with them so often. It’s a misery and I feel stuck.
But if I got interested in being someone’s friend, I also can get kinda clingy. As a kid I often was told I was annoying. But all I want is to show, how much I like the person and how much I want to be their friend. Another difficulty for me is, I can’t tell if the person really wants to be my friend if I’m not directly told. So I often keep trying and trying until the person is really pissed at me.
Friendships are fucking complicated for me. But maybe I’m not made for friends…