Tag Archives: a vibrant social life

A Circle of Friends

Many TV series, books and movies feature cute and fun everyday dramas of a circle of friends. For example TV series like Beverly Hill 90210, Friends, Ally, and The Big Bang Theory.

 

 
I’m not sure how realistically they portray how it works, but a circle of friends seems like a common expectation for a normal social life. For me, that expectation has caused a lot of agony in the past which still lurk somewhere in the fringes, saying your life is not good enough.

 
What a Circle of Friends Is

My understanding of a circle of friends is a group of friends who all know each other well and typically have known each other for a long time; so they are a bit like a sort of family but not usually family. They are usually within the same age range and socio-economic segment. They hang out together often, maybe almost every day, in regular rendezvous locations such as a specific sofa set-up in a cafe or shared flat. They have shared habits, rituals and history together and know what to expect from each other.

A circle of friends typically comprises 3 to 8 members, who may not all go perfectly well along. Just like in a family, members have to be tolerant of each other across even seemingly incompatible differences and find diplomatic ways to cope with incompatibilities. Contained friction is OK (and fictive contained friction tends to be hilarious). Open serious conflicts and exclusions are not OK, since that would tear apart the group.

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Thanks / A Social Life

Yesterday, I wrote a post about the ability to relate and my hate of interruptions. I don’t know if the connection was clear to anyone but myself. Interruptions is a major downside of relating with people.

Today, I woke up noting how incredible lucky I am to be able to have good relationships, and uneasy that I may not be giving those who are most important to me as high priority as they deserve.

My husband doesn’t like when I stay up late, and I came to bed around 4 am having totally screwed my evening routines (I was not happy about that either). But in the morning he said “I hope you had a good time”. He had been friendly all evening while I didn’t want to be talked to, and I didn’t come to bed on time. Still, he is happy that I had a good time.

We live only 2 adults and 2 dogs here in this house (no kids), but the vibe is lively and playful and vocal. My husband talks, cheers, cracks up laughing and plays silly games with the dogs throughout the days whenever he takes breaks from his desk work. The house resounds with his antics. He jokes with the dogs in his native language. He rambles enthusiastically about his hobbies or purchases or newest plans. He is the most everyday-enthusiastic person I know, and also smart, caring and trustworthy. And talkative.

Besides joking and talking, socialising is a tactile sport in this place. We like hugs and play-fights, and so do the dogs …. our living room can be a bit of a dojo. Live together is fun some of the time every day.

Of course there is nothing with big parties or lots of friends or things like that, but everyday is very social in own way. It is in the subtleties, the joking, the movie quotes, the playful human-canine subculture we have build up together, unique to our family… Just like any family and any other social group has its own unique culture. Even though we are not many and we rarely have visitors, this is a very social home.

Much more interactive than, for example, the home I grew up in; and I am a much more socially attentive person now compared to when I grew up. I must have had the potential to develop the ability to relate, but it wasn’t really activated. I interacted, but it didn’t occur to me that others each have their own perspective.

It feels good to belong. I’m an insider here in this home. I have social authority. We all do. I’m part of a “We”. I feel like saying “Thank you God”. Life sure has its worries – employment and finances for example -, but I’m in it, not drifting aimlessly around in my own remote Universe. That is pretty good.

 
Aspergers

I have used and still use this blog as a base for learning about Asperger’s Syndrome. I’ve been reading aspie blogs and roaming aspie corners of the blogosphere for several years, while avoided to write directly about it myself.

The reason for my interest is that aspergers is an extremely useful lens to zoom in on what it means to be social, and what is wrong when it doesn’t work – and understand my own lifelong social difficulties (as well as other aspects).

It has also given a nice reassuring feeling that “there are other aliens out there”. People with a history of not belonging anywhere, not fitting in. Different from me but fellow aliens, often with some strikingly similar tendencies in their life histories. And some persons who I have never met but consider long term friends and trust more than most people I know offline.

I would like to thank to all you guys who share your thoughts & life experiences and makes it easier to understand life*.

Recently I gave my blog a make-over and improved its navigation structure. I revised tags & categories, and tagged posts that are relevant for aspies with “asperger’s syndrome” and “aspie”, so they can be navigated via those labels in the topic cloud. For example, the posts about non-verbal communication, social difficulties and dealing with sensory overload are relevant for asperger’s syndrome, even though they don’t mention the word at all. That change made asperger’s syndrome suddenly appear as a major topic in the cloud.

The change isn’t just practical, it is also an acknowledgement that while this is not directly a blog about aspergers, it is highly likely a blog with aspergers. It has been a slow, cautious process … from initially claiming “I don’t have aspergers” in response to readers’ assumptions, over feeling flattered in an awkward way when I saw my blog rolled by aspie blogs, to saying OK, that is the core topic… even if it isn’t mentioned much.

Right now, I see the irony that learning about Aspergers and acknowledging its relevance, has made me much more social; it has definitely improved my social understanding a lot. Right now, I am confident that I have social authority and relevance, and that my limitations are acceptable, as long as I do my best and try to be as responsive to feedback as possible. I mainly feel different rather than faulty. And it feels good:-)

Today I’m also thinking that the social gap – how most people seem more socially oriented than me – isn’t so much about the ability to relate, at least not any more. Maybe what is left of it is more of a difference in motivation, priorities, and interests – combined with limitations in sensory processing, multi-tasking skills, social stamina, executive function and other factors that are not directly a failure to develop the ability to relate**. That is very good too.

 
Artwork of dog-like alien monster

 


* I also want to thank persons outside of the Internet, but prefer to do that in person.
** My emphasis