Friendships and other relationships

Making and sustaining positive relationships is not always easy.  There are books written by people with AS that can help and some websites too.  If you have problems in making and keeping friends there are some key things you can do and some questions you can ask yourself.

In the early weeks it helps if you take part in socialising activities which can be as basic as saying ‘hello’ to people on your corridor, asking questions about them and the course they are doing, asking where to find things, suggesting you look for bus stops together, finding the washing machines and shops and going to meals at about the same time as each other.  Also leaving your door open when you are not busy can be used as a signal that you are interested in speaking.  However, for this to develop into a long term friendship more is needed.  Important points are:

  • Listen to what others say so you can begin to work out what they are interested in.  People do not want to only listen to you, they like to have a turn talking about their own interests and expect ‘friends’ to ask about their interests, feelings and work. 
  • Return kindnesses; if you like people helping you, it is important to help them when they need it.  However, everybody should make sure that their work gets done on time too.  Helping others should not make you miss deadlines and no one should expect you to help them if you are working.  (Dire emergencies excepted!)
  • A sense of humour is a tricky aspect of friendships.  It is a cultural thing and people can find different things funny.  It is unpredictable.  However, if you share a sense of humour with someone it certainly helps.  If you do not, then polite laughter and pretending to understand might be useful.  When you know people well enough it usually helps if you explain about your AS.
  • Working together on a task, in a society, or doing sports is often easier for people with AS.  Social ‘chit chat’ is confusing for many and extremely irritating for some people with AS.  So being with people where this sort of conversation is not needed can be much easier.  Joining one or two activity or interest based groups can help give your non-working time some structure and company.


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