Updated: Apr 15
I'm exploring how to build quality friendships.
Making friends is so hard for me and at the moment feels impossible. I do want friends. Being on the Autism Spectrum makes it hard for me to do. I'm exploring how to make friends in hopes of learning and building friendships that will work for me and be quality friendships.
EXPLORING different friendship methods and ideas:
I intend on going through a year of exploring different ways of making friends and evaluating the pros and cons of each method.
I am currently finding satisfaction in writing and receiving letters from pen pals. I have both email and snail mail pen pals. Both are good to receive as far as having some sort of connection with another human. I like the speed of the email and we tend to connect once a week which is just right for me.
Snail Mail through the post office costs more and takes more time but sending and receiving letters this way is very satisfying to me. I enjoy writing the letters and making them special.
I also have pen pals who are the same religion as me. So our connections and exchanges are very spiritual and positive. I greatly, GREATLY appreciate that extra spirituality.
HOW DID I GET THE PEN PALS?
I put a post in a facebook group that is affiliated with my church. this group focuses on supporting those with disabilities. I inquired if anyone would like to be my pen pal and people responded by either exchanging emails or addresses. These individuals are aware of me being on the Spectrum and some of them are also on the Spectrum. So, they are keenly aware of and share my same struggles.
However, pen pals is not a normal friendship even though it helps lesson loneliness, isolation, and disconnect. I'm grateful for trying it and will keep it a part of my life. But learning how to make a quality friendship, socialize, and communicate is still my goal and the exploring of it will continue.
Suggestions for getting a pen pal for yourself?
*Try a group affiliated with your interests and/or religion.
*Look online for groups who focus on finding a pen pal and wanting pen pals.
*You will want pen pals who actively and frequently write. You need to be equally active in writing.
NOTES: MOST if not all of my struggles with making friends and communicating is due to my Autism and Social Anxiety. I'm working on using tools and strategies for managing Autism and Anxiety. I do not take medication but use mindfulness tools.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Autism Recover Program (this program takes many years and is focused on physical nutrition and gut health).
Building Social Communication skills
Building Active Listening Skills
Increasing and understanding Emotions and Emotional EQ.
NICABM is a website with courses for Psychologists, but anyone can register and take their courses. They are all online and you just view the videos. Nothing more to it. It is super easy but these videos have helped me grasp and understand myself and support myself through difficult things. https://www.nicabm.com/
As I use these tools I will also blog about what I think as I experience them. So far the Vida App has been a great tool in daily support for Anxiety. I'm reading a book on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which is also a great asset. The book is called, "Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 weeks".
VIDA LINK: https://www.vida.com/
COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY Book link: https://www.amazon.com/Cognitive-Behavioral-Therapy-Made-Simple/dp/1939754852/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=2ERA13GRUG1L7&dchild=1&keywords=retrain+your+brain+cognitive+behavioral+therapy+in+7+weeks&qid=1595953158&sprefix=Retrain+your+b%2Caps%2C201&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFJVlBXNDM5MDA1VUMmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTAxNjA1NjgxVlBLTDQ1WUwxTjM4JmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTAwNzQ4ODEyRVMyMjdMV0hRTkpXJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE LINK: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002ROKQNS/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
NATURAL AUTISM RECOVERY PROGRAM: https://naturallyrecoveringautism.com/
I am not affiliated with any of these programs other than I'm currently using them for my own self help and finding them useful. That is why I'm sharing them.
UPDATE: I stopped with the Pen pals. It was not a good connection for me after all. It is also too expensive to do the snail mail in a pen pal situation. I am finding joy with face book groups that meet my needs. It's not perfect or much but it has been a good source to feed some of my connection to others need and doesn't require forced socializing that I can't do. It's on my time in the manner that is suited for me. I am finding that my best connections are with other Autistics and that is where I feel at home and understood for the most part. I am able to have some connection with non-autistics if my alternative communication methods are respected and accepted. That has made a huge difference in my being able to be heard and share my ideas with in a group.
Also the NATURAL AUTISM RECOVERY PROGRAM ended up not being a good fit for me. It is mostly because I have already been trained in what they are sharing. I have certification in The Body Code and have had lots of education along natural healing methods. The area that was a good focus from that was healing the gut. But, I felt the program offered was far too expensive and really promoted lots of extra spending on all the natural remedies. I couldn't get out of my year contract with them so basically I paid for a useless to me program for an entire year. It was about $100 per month. I felt abused and used as an Autistic vs being helped. There are good books out there on Gut Health that isn't going to cost a minimum of $100. And a person can pay for their own Body Code certification or a certification in another healing modality for the Cost of the Natural Autism Recovery Program which doesn't certify you for anything. I do not recommend Natural Autism Recovery Program for those reasons.