But you have friends! I’ve seen you with people…

Yesterday, I went to a LAN party with a coworker and some guys he introduced me to. For those that don’t know, this is where a group of gamer geeks bring their computers, plug them all together, order pizza, and play games all day. While we were plugging our computers together, I managed to lose my network cable. I looked all over our host’s living room, and then I realized it was wrapped around my left hand. Pretty funny, huh? Yes, even I laughed, but I do have a serious point to make with this. I was unaware that it was wrapped around my left hand because the nerves that would have told me that are disconnected from my spinal cord. This is the problem I have with relationships. It isn’t that there are no people in my life; it’s that I’m disconnected from them.

In my first post, I listed the main characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV. One of those characteristics was “marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction.” Think for a moment about how your friends communicate love to you. When I discuss this with people, they invariably list a number of non-verbal behaviors. For me, this creates a situation much like yesterday when I was looking for my network cable. There is a disconnect that prevents me from receiving the information I need.

How can I get the information I need? Mostly verbally. For those that are familiar with Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages, mine are Quality Time and Words of Affirmation. For those that aren’t familiar with the love languages, I feel loved when others choose to spend time with me engaging in my interests and when others tell me they love and appreciate me. Even with the former, though, it is important to me that they express to me verbally that they are interested and enjoying it. I know that other aspies may have different love languages. After all, if you’ve met one aspie, you’ve met one aspie. I encourage you to make an effort to get to know an aspie better and help them discover what makes them feel loved and appreciated. You will bless them greatly, and you just may find that it goes both ways.

P.S. For those of you who are my friends, please remember the disconnect the next time you see me looking for a friend. Just like my network cable, you could be right next to me and I wouldn’t know. Speak up so I know you are there, or better yet, just give me a hug.

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6 Comments

Filed under About Asperger's Syndrome, Communication, Relationships

6 responses to “But you have friends! I’ve seen you with people…

  1. Melissa

    I see that as the same for me, but it is like connecting to the internet via wireless. Sometimes it says, “successfully connected”, “try another network”, “view other available networks”, “disconnected”, “reconnect and try again”, etc. That is how I feel with my family and many people. It doesn’t necessarily bother me. However, I do wish my family would listen and try to understand me. They didn’t even bother asking how the evaluation went or what the diagnosis was. I even tried to hand them information on it and they refused it.

  2. I cannot not say this. If you have met one aspie, you have met one aspie.

  3. Gloria Smith

    Hello there friend. You are a great friend. I love you and appreciate your friend ship. Very much!!! You are such an inspiration to me daily. Thank you for sharing all of this! I know it can’t be easy to share but I for one appreciate it greatly.

  4. Kristen

    Wow, what a great analogy! I’ve said it before and will say it again, you have quite a way with words. Thank you for being willing to be so transparent in order to help others understand and learn. You have never ceased to amaze me.

  5. Kristen

    If I could offer one piece of advice in regards to being your friend, it would be this: Listen, acknowledge and assist. If you think Carlyle is angry about something, it’s most likely pain talking. If he can’t let a subject go in regards to something that happened, he’s still hurting from it. He needs those around him to listen, relate, acknowledge the hurt and offer assistance to ensure similar things don’t happen again. If a situation has not been resolved and communicated to him in such a way that he can see, it’s not been resolved and therefore he cannot move on until it has.
    I have spent MANY years reminding Carlyle that there are people that care and love him as well as many that just may never get it. He knows this, he doesn’t need that reminder. What he does need are friends that will walk along side him, listen and help as he moves forward.

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