Tips to Make Friends as an Autistic Person

Tips to Make Friends as an Autistic Person

Making friends is generally not easy for the general populace, and this difficulty level increases for you as a neurodiverse person; therefore, learning different tips that can help you make friends as an autistic person will help you reduce the difficulty level.

A helpful tip is to get a grip on reality and expect a friendship attempt to go two ways, either you make a friend, or you don't; being realistic will help you prepare for whatever outcome and prevent you from feeling down if the result turns out not to be what you wanted.

Similarly, you can make friends as an autistic person easily if you consciously tone down your anxiety and try to be yourself in social situations; if you are being concerned about them liking you even before you begin the conversation, you may end up worrying too much and end up not showing them your awesome parts.

And even though it can be difficult for you to initiate conversations, it's not impossible to get used to it when you regularly practice conversation starters; hence, you can become better at introducing small talks if you practice with family and at places where you have people with common interests.

To make friends as an autistic person, you may consider these tips:

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Be Realistic 

Trying to make friends can go two ways for anyone: a rejection or an acceptance, so it's best to be realistic and expect the worst but hope for the best as this sort of mentality can help you to quickly deal with the negative emotions that will arise from a rejection.

Despite the possibility of rejection, you should endeavor to be positive when you want to make friends as an autistic person because a positive spirit is more likely to get you friends than a pessimistic spirit that will be obvious to people and cause them not to want to associate with you.

And if you get rejected, give things time as the rejection may not be about you; the person may be having a sad day or may be offended by another person, which spilled over to your request and caused them to respond without thinking about it.

You should also try to plan before asking someone to be your friend, as making a plan is being realistic about your chances of being friends with them, and that plan may include the best time to approach them, topics you both share an interest in and conversation starters that won't cause an issue.

Control Your Anxiety 

It's absolutely normal to feel anxious when trying to make friends because you are concerned about the reception your poor social skills would get, but if you stay calm and manage the anxiety well, you will be able to make friends as an autistic person easily.

To control your anxiety effectively, you can start by taking deep breaths to ground yourself and help you stop fidgeting; the increased calmness from the deep breaths can also help you gain more confidence as you move to talk to people.

And when your anxiety causes you to have negative thoughts like tripping when trying to talk, spitting out saliva instead of words, sneezing at the wrong moment, or addressing someone wrongly, you should challenge those negative thoughts and think only positively.

Also, you can start with little steps to help you get used to dealing with your anxiety; thus, instead of going full throttle in a new conversation, you can begin by saying a simple "hello" to an acquaintance or ask a store attendant for how to get an item instead of getting it yourself.

Practice Mindfulness

The practice of mindfulness in making friends involves an introspective approach where you gain more self-awareness that will help you realize the best kinds of persons you would relate best with based on your behavior and how to make friends as an autistic person.

To be mindful of yourself, you can try taking a walk around your block, creating an opportunity to listen to distinct sounds in the quiet and the sounds of your body parts and thoughts.

You can similarly employ the bedtime maneuver where you stay mindful of your body parts before you sleep; this method allows you to appreciate your body parts and delve into your thoughts to understand the kind of being you are and how well you relate with others.

Practicing mindfulness can also help you review your day and analyze the events, allowing you to know the social things you did right or wrong, and giving you the chance to note your errors, plan ways to make things better, and create strategies to make more friends.

Initiate Conversations 

To make friends as an autistic person, you need to start conversations with people to create rapport with them and grow the established familiarity into a friendship.

When you pick someone to talk to, initiate the conversation by going toward them and facing them; then wait till they have time to talk to you, especially when they are talking to someone else or busy with a task.

While waiting for them, think of suitable topics to discuss in the conversation by considering the information you have about them; you could talk about an event you both attended, a sport they enjoy watching, or a TV series they may likely follow.

When they decide to talk to you, begin the conversation by saying their name, asking if they are fine, and introducing yourself; afterward, start to talk about your topic of choice and be sure to give them opportunities to also talk in the conversation.

Validate Others

Becoming with people can be easy once you validate their feelings and help them feel that someone listens to them, cares about them, and is receptive to their thoughts.

To make friends as an autistic person, you should validate people's feelings by understanding their unique perspectives on what they are sharing with you and let them know you understand.

Also, you should understand that validating their emotions doesn't mean that you have to agree with them; thus, even if you disagree with their thoughts, you should be able to let them know their thoughts are valid.

Similarly, try to avoid giving unsolicited advice as they may stress them and prevent them from further sharing with joy; instead, you should ask them if they want your advice and if they reject it, respect their decision and just listen.

Conclusion

By learning different tips for how to make friends as an autistic person, you will find it easy to initiate conversations, make new friends, and maintain old relationships.

The essential tips to learn include being realistic, controlling your anxiety, practicing mindfulness, initiating conversations, and validating other people's emotions.

Resources 

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October 7th, 2022

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