With over 60 people, the February 2022 webinar was particularly well attended. And understandably so – with a discussion autism and friendships.
Four panellists reflected on their personal experiences, developing friendships and how differences with friends have been resolved. These were lived experiences, conflicts, therapy, counselling and resolutions. In their responses, many audience members said they related to these experiences – suggesting the tone and topicality of the subject of autism and friendships.
Recurring discussion points were friendships and school, the anxiety of making new friends, pretending to be somebody that are you not and worries about being manipulated.
From the lively and thoughtful contributions, I’d like to pick out four pieces of advice:
- Consider the quality of your friendships, rather than quantity.
- Accept that some friendships naturally come to an end.
- When you meet people for the first time, you might want to have a list of topics.
- Be aware of mate crime: where people befriend you for financial gain.
Nick Stone, Autism Hub peer support facilitator & ALAG member, 2 February 2022