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iggy

Friendships, acquaintances...

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iggy

So, this has always gone straight over my head really, but I was wondering about others input. As far as in concerned, once I have met someone then they are an acquaintance. The real confusion comes in once they have got to know me better - because there must be a point that they become a friend, presumably.

Some people, such as people at school are very difficult to put into either of these boxes. In school, I see some people on a regular basis, exchange "hi's" and will generally sit nearby, eat with then and if necessary do group work, and none of them have ever been negative towards me, the opposite in fact. However, I'm not sure they are "friends" as such, because I never see them outside of school, which is what I do sometimes with my small number of people I'm sure are friends.

So, what are your thoughts? Is there a boundary or guideline for telling how friendly someone is, whether you are barely acquaintances, or actually best friends?

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Nesf

This is something that no one has an answer for, and there's no set definition for what defines a friend. Probably a friend would be someone who you hang out with outside of school and whose company you seek outside as well as within school, who you feel comfortable enough with to share your opinions and problems, and with whom you have a mutual understanding and common interests. That would be my definition, others might say mutual empathy and an emotional bond.

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Sofi

I understand completely! I struggle with this a lot too. I have no idea when you start to consider someone a 'friend' - it seems a lot of NT people just know when to call someone a friend and it might be a different points for different people. One person might consider people friends much earlier than another person does... if that makes sense

 

I can't seem to know if I am mutually friends with someone without a verbal agreement of "Are we friends?", "Yes", "Okay". Then, it's definitely established. I would hate to use the word 'friend' about someone if they didn't consider me one back... that'd be awkward? But, I'm aware asking "Are we friends?" is a bit odd, most people don't do it. With others on the spectrum though, I find they might understand more and I feel okay to maybe ask them that?

 

For me, I wouldn't start to consider someone a friend until we'd had plenty of conversations and shared things about each other and enjoyed all of the conversations and find it easy to talk to them. Maybe have interests in common, but it's not essential, as long as you respect each other and enjoy time spent together... Nowadays, this time can be online primarily. It's easier for me that way anyway.

 

I think I've made the mistake of considering people much closer friends than they really are, and I end up getting hurt when I realise they aren't as good  a friend as I thought! So, now, I try to hold back at first and gain mutual trust etc. A friend has got to show care for you and will make time for you and help you out and vice versa. 

 

People who you just say "Hi" to school and sometimes sit with at school... I don't know if I would use the word 'friend' for that. That would probably just be acquaintance. The friends who you do things with outside of school etc. those sound more like actual friends! 

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iggy
This is something that no one has an answer for, and there's no set definition for what defines a friend. Probably a friend would be someone who you hang out with outside of school and whose company you seek outside as well as within school, who you feel comfortable enough with to share your opinions and problems, and with whom you have a mutual understanding and common interests. That would be my definition, others might say mutual empathy and an emotional bond.
I see, interesting! I suppose seeing people outside of 1 particular situation is a good place to start when deciding what the friendship actually is. I rarely share many opinions in person, it's my nature to sit and agree with whoever is leading the conversation, and I'm not one for telling people problems very often either, but I think I understand your point here!
I understand completely! I struggle with this a lot too. I have no idea when you start to consider someone a 'friend' - it seems a lot of NT people just know when to call someone a friend and it might be a different points for different people. One person might consider people friends much earlier than another person does... if that makes sense

 

I can't seem to know if I am mutually friends with someone without a verbal agreement of "Are we friends?", "Yes", "Okay". Then, it's definitely established. I would hate to use the word 'friend' about someone if they didn't consider me one back... that'd be awkward? But, I'm aware asking "Are we friends?" is a bit odd, most people don't do it. With others on the spectrum though, I find they might understand more and I feel okay to maybe ask them that?

 

For me, I wouldn't start to consider someone a friend until we'd had plenty of conversations and shared things about each other and enjoyed all of the conversations and find it easy to talk to them. Maybe have interests in common, but it's not essential, as long as you respect each other and enjoy time spent together... Nowadays, this time can be online primarily. It's easier for me that way anyway.

 

I think I've made the mistake of considering people much closer friends than they really are, and I end up getting hurt when I realise they aren't as good  a friend as I thought! So, now, I try to hold back at first and gain mutual trust etc. A friend has got to show care for you and will make time for you and help you out and vice versa. 

 

People who you just say "Hi" to school and sometimes sit with at school... I don't know if I would use the word 'friend' for that. That would probably just be acquaintance. The friends who you do things with outside of school etc. those sound more like actual friends! 

I've thought people just seem to know as well, and wondered how they do it (hence the post....going round in circles whoops), but I understand what you mean when you say some people judge friendships on a different level to others, like when people are described as "clingy" because they believe they are best friends with someone but its not really like that.

Asking if you are now friends should be mandatory, everything would be easier that way really. To be honest, I'm quite happy with just a couple of friends, I just like to know where I stand which can get sort of complicated after a while. I don't know anyone in real life even suspected to be on the spectrum, but just from online interaction I can say that it "clicks" more easily (although that could be because its typing as well).

Sorry about your experiences getting hurt with people you thought we're your friends, must be hard...

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Bruce

Ha, so I'm not the only one who struggles with this - not seen much about it in forums before, though! I think a lot of people would just mean anybody they get on with fairly well is a 'friend' but obviously just how well they have to get on with them is a very subjective & vague part. No idea, personally

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Nesf
I see, interesting! I suppose seeing people outside of 1 particular situation is a good place to start when deciding what the friendship actually is. I rarely share many opinions in person, it's my nature to sit and agree with whoever is leading the conversation, and I'm not one for telling people problems very often either, but I think I understand your point here!

 

A friend would be a person you enjoy such a level of comfort with that you feel comfortable sharing your problems and talking about some more personal or emotional issues. There have been very few people in my life that I've ever felt like this with, it takes a really long time before I can trust anyone enough to feel really comfortable with.

 

As I hinted at before, a NT definition of friendship would be different to that of someone on the spectrum.

 

NT: strong emotional bond, mutual empathy, intimacy, sharing.

 

Autism spectrum: mutual respect and understanding, feeling comfortable, trusting, emotionally undemanding companionship.

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StormCrow

I think they become a friend when you both meet at two ifferent places.

 

like if you talk /know them from school, then during the weekend you go over to their house to do stuff.

 

the people that I considered friends started a band in high school, so we talked in school then Friday night was our practice night, then went to do shows on some weekends or a Friday night.

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Willow

I used to struggle with this at school - I think I'd think they were my friends, but in reality - I've not spoken to them in years now, so I guess they were just acquaintances. Nowadays I don't really come into contact with people in real life - but I struggle even more with online friends, because I get so many comments and what not from people, I never know when they cross the line over to friend, unless it's someone who I am talking a lot to, or about more personal things - on their part, because I'm very open online already. It's hard. :( 

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iggy
I used to struggle with this at school - I think I'd think they were my friends, but in reality - I've not spoken to them in years now, so I guess they were just acquaintances. Nowadays I don't really come into contact with people in real life - but I struggle even more with online friends, because I get so many comments and what not from people, I never know when they cross the line over to friend, unless it's someone who I am talking a lot to, or about more personal things - on their part, because I'm very open online already. It's hard. :( 

I can imagine by interacting with so many people on a regular basis that it would be very confusing who is a friend, who is becoming a friend and who is just an acquaintance.

Perhaps your other friends were friends with you while you were in school, but after they lost touch with you in a regular environment (at school) then they became less so until the point where you were not even really acquaintances anymore?

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Willow
Perhaps your other friends were friends with you while you were in school, but after they lost touch with you in a regular environment (at school) then they became less so until the point where you were not even really acquaintances anymore?

Maybe - I found they forgot me very quickly, as I left school all of a sudden. I'm not too fussed, I am okay without them.

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