Concerned friend

Discuss getting a diagnosis, educational help & electronic devices and apps for autism.

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Kat87
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:10 pm

Concerned friend

Postby Kat87 » Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:38 pm

Hello Everyone,

I have a dear friend who I have been roommates with for two years now. It took me a long time to build her trust and become her friend (we met at work). I enjoy very much living with her and she is a great friend. I have always known her to shy away from social gatherings. She tells me she is an introvert. However, I think it is more than just that. I fully accept the richness of personalities and diversity of how people choose to express themselves. However, I do also know that sometimes behaviors can be quite detrimental and prevent us fully enjoying our lives. Although my friend is happy, I think she needs help. She has never been in a relationship and chooses not to seek out companionship. Which is fine, if she expressed passion or desire in anything, her career, volunteer work, etc. But she doesn't. She has a hard time expressing her opinions and is always concerned about pleasing others (if you ask her a yes and no question, her answer is often, yes and no and then she gives reson ing for both without coming to any conclusion). She has a very hard time understanding other people's emotions and often doesn't recognize the signs when some one is upset. This is something she has confessed to me and is something that I have seen. At work a few people commented that she was robotic, almost like she just says/does what she thinks she's supposed to. She told me she has grade school friends, but other than a gathering they plan once or twice a year, she doesn't ever talk to them or spend time with them. She chooses always to spend time with her mom. When she wants to go out shopping, she doesn't ask me, she asks her mom. Other then her mom, she doesn't reach out to anyone. She lives her life extremely passively. She went to the college her singling went to, her family got her the job and her car and also manages her money (she's 28 years old). The only thing she has done on her own was to move in with me. She has slowly been opening up to me (after several years) and I know she has interests that have nothing to do with her current job. I've pushed her to at least ask for a raise and she wouldn't (her supervisor even asked me if she wanted to continue working there because she was qualified for a raise but hadn't said anything about wanting one). I feel like she's going to lead a very lonely life if she doesn't get help. Do you think this is autism? Should I try to talk to her about it? Her older brother is severely autistic which she told me about. Has she just gotten very good at hiding it? I have introverted friends who still enjoy life, have relationships, and are active sand expressive, so I don't think that is it.

swalton
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:25 am

Re: Concerned friend

Postby swalton » Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:53 am

It's very kind of you to be concerned about your friend. Here are my thoughts.

She may have Asperger's, a form of high functioning autism. People with Asperger's are able to function independently with support. This could be why her family handles her finances and set up a job for her. They are also 'quirky'. You said she has interests that are outside of her job. When you think about it, most people, with or without autism, have a variety of interests. People with Asperger's have interests that may seem obsessive to us, but are part of who they are.

I have worked with children on the autism spectrum in public schools for 15 years. I love my Asperger's kids. They are funny, unique and downright honest! And they are quirky. Not always interested in social interaction. It seems like whatever is going on in their heads is more than enough for them. And while there are certain situations where they need to be socially competent, there are times when it's okay not to be. The one thing I never try to do is to push them into being something they are not. Our opinions that people need to hang out with friends, make plans with people and show desire to be around people don't necessarily apply to someone with Asperger's Syndrome.

It sounds like your friend may have Asperger's; it also sounds like her family is supporting her so she can live independently. Can you ask her family about any special needs she has? If not, I wouldn't worry about it. Continue to listen when she opens up, especially if she asks for help with something. I wouldn't try to change her, though. She is probably happy with things the way they are. Enjoy her for who she is, be thankful for what she is accomplishing and continue to support her.
SWalton
www.autism-learning-support.com

Kat87
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:10 pm

Re: Concerned friend

Postby Kat87 » Wed Nov 25, 2015 10:33 pm

Thank you. I read recently that autism/asperger syndrom presents differently in females then males and is harder to diagnose. We were watching tv recently and one of the characters had asperger syndrome. She spoke up and said, that's what my brother has. I asked her a few questions about her brother but didn't ask if she had ever been diagnosed. I have met her brother once and he wasn't able to make eye contact with me and couldn't return my hello. She is better at comunicating than her brother, but I wonder if she has built up her own coping mechanisms. I wonder if she brought it up because she was trying to see my reaction. I have encouraged her to take a little more ownership over life. I'll try to be supportive and not too pushy.

swalton
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:25 am

Re: Concerned friend

Postby swalton » Thu Nov 26, 2015 7:00 pm

That sounds great. What a good friend she has in you!
Asperber's is also what is called a 'spectrum' disorder meaning that, for lack of a better example, people will be somewhere on a scale. Say '1' is lower functioning Asperger's and '10' is high-functioning. Your friend's brother may be a '2' and while your friend may be a '9'. We don't actually label people with autism this way...it's just for an easy example.
She may not ever have been diagnosed. And in my mind, it may not matter too much at this point for her. She is coping and has support. And that's great. Some of the most interesting kids I have worked with had Asperger's. They're honest to a fault, but can also be hilarious. Enjoy!
SWalton
www.autism-learning-support.com


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