Lifestyle Autism

It’s hard not having friends



I’ve been trying to write this post for a while but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Why is it so hard to write about not having friends? At first I thought that I just wasn’t in tune with my own feelings about it but this morning it hit me hard. I know exactly how I’m feeling. I’ve been lying to myself and the truth is, I’m just ashamed. 

The shame 

It’s not easy to say “I don’t have friends”. I think it’s human nature, us wanting to feel loved and wanting people to think we’re good company. So this morning, I broke the news to myself: “you’re not popular”. You know, I’m prideful and this is hard to admit. In the cyber world, I have over 80,000 followers on Instagram, and people emailing me weekly to thank me for my blog. In reality, if I’m sad or want to grab a beer with someone I have nobody to call. I’m lonely and I’m ashamed of it.  

What’s the saddest thing about not having friends?

I think the hardest part is the constant self-questioning:

What did I do wrong? Am I not good enough to have friends? Why do people cancel play dates so often? Why haven’t I seen her in two months? Am I too harsh for cutting ties with people who talked about me behind my back? Is it because I’m autistic? Am I too self-centered? Am I boring? Awkward? Annoying? Will I ever have a best friend? 

This is what comes to mind if I let myself get bored. 

And when I talk to my therapist about it, she doesn’t have an answer for me. On paper, I’m not doing anything wrong, so why don’t I have any friends? To forget that I’m alone, I just work. I’ve become a workaholic. It keeps my mind busy and I don’t focus on the loneliness.

What sucks even more if that because of all my failed friendships, I’ve convinced myself that it’s probably my fault. I used to be annoyingly sociable but now my self-confidence has sunk to a low plateau. See the problem? You gotta be confident in yourself to make friends. I’ve got to break that cycle somehow. It’s just so hard those times when you try and get emotionally involved in friendships but it ends, one more time. Darn you, people, give me a chance!


An ad in the paper

Maybe I should write a classified ad. Something like this:

“27 year old woman looking for someone to talk photography, play board games, and drink cheap beers with. Bonus points if you like talking about feelings. Double bonus points if you don’t do small talk (or can teach me how to). I’m not complicated. I’m a loyal friend. I believe that everything can be resolved with a good discussion. My only request is that if I’m doing something that bothers you, you talk to me directly. That’s all!”

Any advice on how to make friends?


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  • Reply
    La Shell
    2017-10-22 at 3:13 AM

    Funny I should come across this post today. This year I lost so many friends. So many people who I thought really cared for me. But in one way or another I found out that most people are not genuine. I’m now left without anyone really and I do feel sad. Today I cried alot because I feel exactly the way you do in this post. Ashamed, lonely with alot of self questioning. I don’t know the answer unfortunately but I do hope for some sort of change in the near future. If not, I’ll try my best to accept it and live the best life that I can.

  • Reply
    2017-10-22 at 8:16 PM

    Well this post is dated yesterday and yet there aren’t any comments. Unfortunately I live over the pond in the UK otherwise I would be more than happy to be a friend to you. I know what it is like having no-one to talk to, and it makes a huge difference having someone to simply go for a coffee with, or a beer, and just talk. I have Asperger’s Syndrome as well and spend most of my time alone, so cannot give you advice on how to make friends either because I am so bad at it myself, lol. It is because we are autistic, and people don’t like different do they?

    I don’t think you are too harsh for dropping people that went behind your back. It’s horrible when people do that, having had people do that to me as well, people I thought I could trust to be open and honest with me as I was with them. Loyalty is very important. A long time ago some nurses gave me some very good advice, that when people have a problem with others it is usually the one that is refusing to talk that is causing the problem, or at the very least exacerbating it. They told me to never be that person, that if I have a problem that needs resolving always talk about it with the person concerned. And I have tried to follow that advice ever since. Don’t feel ashamed for being lonely.

  • Reply
    2017-10-23 at 12:15 PM

    I have no advice for you, unfortunately… Because I am in the same situation. I’m very introvert and it’s been always difficult for me to maintain friendaships. Loads of people appreciate me, of course. I’m a good listener, I give good advices, I’m kind of funny. But my interests are different. I crave for meaningful, deep relationships. And this is the problem. It’s all or nothing. But for most people, it does not work this way. I’ve learnt, not so long ago, there are different levels of friendships… I didn’t know that, even though I’m an adult. I thought there was only one kind. So, there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re beautiful, you’re interesting, you’re great, and you’re whole. It scares, you know. Many people accept poor relationships ’cause they don’t want to be alone. Being alone is hard at times, I know. But it takes a strong one to be able to do that. I know it does not help a lot… Maybe we just haven’t found our people yet… But don’t think you’re the problem, it’s not the case.

  • Reply
    2017-10-24 at 8:44 PM

    It took a lot of bravery to write this Eileen. My heart breaks as I read this because I suspect that my Uncle has AS, but he seems unwilling to consider it as a possibility. He also has very few friends, often because he can be extremely rude and condescending to people, but he doesn’t even realize that his behaviour is exceptionally hurtful to those who are making the effort to spend time with him. Eventually it gets exhausting, as much as we want to improve his quality of life.

    I want to hold on to hope that a proper diagnosis might pave the way to somewhat better days, but I guess it will never be easy. I hope you do find that genuine friend soon.

  • Reply
    2017-10-25 at 3:49 AM

    I will be your friend. I can use one. I live in Austin and have a son with autism. I like pretty much all beer, coffee, and peanut butter chocolate everything. I’m into my work as well, but need friends to fill weekends and to escape my reality. I have two kids. Widowed. Still trying to be cool. Likely failing miserably.

  • Reply
    2017-11-11 at 2:57 PM


  • Reply
    2019-10-08 at 1:23 AM

    I’m 26 years old, i know a bit of photography but I’d really learn more about if you teach me. We can play all types of board games. I would like to talk about my feelings to a certain extent.. I’ll even bring the cheap beer. I’m loyal. I don’t care about what you did in your past, I’ll never judge you. I don’t even care if you have 1 eye, i can be your eyes. I’ll learn everything you like doing and do them to so. I’m also a graphic designer so I’m creative. I can cook and bake to if it may be counts. I a drummer… Truth be told… I battled to make friends from the age if 6… As i got older i did make some friends, but when school/college finished i guess the friendship finishes too.. My cousins who are older than me never wanted me around because i was young and they wanted to drink and smoke and be “mature” so i always got left behind. By the time i became of age they were already married And moved on to family things. I don’t make a lot of money, but I’ll never ever ask for a single cent. I will never let you feel like you are not wanted. Even if you just wanted to hang out for an hour I’ll respect your time. I’m not married but it’s okay that’s not for me. But I’m a very good listener. I’ll be upfront about things that upset me. I’m not a Saint I’ve done shameful things in my past. But im not a bad person i don’t blame people for my failures.. But it would be nice to speak to somebody even if it has an expiry date, I’ll understand

  • Reply
    2020-09-23 at 6:58 AM

    Just want to say that if I lived near you I’m sure we would be friends! I love photography and yours is brilliant. As is your writing. I hope you find one or two people you really ‘click’ with. That’s all it takes. That’s when confidence starts to grow again…

  • Reply
    2024-02-15 at 1:51 AM

    My son is 14. He’s autistic and having trouble making friends. His best friend recently left the school district. Online there seem to be little or resources for the highly functioning when it comes to communities. Any suggestions are appreciated.

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