Why Are We Always the Ones Who Have to Bend?

Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection, via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons.
Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection, via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons.

It seems like to be friends with people, I have to conform to what they want to do. Most people I meet like hockey and camping. If they want to be friends with me, they invite me to go to hockey games or on camping trips with them. I loathe both activities, so I decline. Then they tell me I need to learn to go outside of my comfort zone. Let me tell you something: No, I do not. I grew up in a family that went camping. It’s not like it’s something I’ve never tried. For most of my life, I wasn’t allowed (either by my parents, by others, or by myself) to have a comfort zone. It’s a matter of personal growth that I allow myself to have one now and that I am able to say no to the things I don’t want to do. Besides, those people go camping because they like camping. But I’m supposed to go in spite of disliking it? That’s not even logical.

And why am I always the one who needs to go outside of my comfort zone? If I invite them to one of my husband’s physics lectures, or to come over and watch a documentary on Scandinavian music or culture with me, they’re going to decline (or they’re going to say yes and then back out later or just not show up — something I wouldn’t do, I might add). Why? Because they don’t like that kind of thing. I get that. But why are they allowed to say no to things they don’t like and I’m not? Just because my likes and dislikes are less typical?

Also, I’m starting to notice that when we Aspies (yes, I’m putting myself in that category even though I haven’t had an official diagnosis) have a negative social or interpersonal experience, we always assume it’s our fault. We assume it’s because we don’t communicate well. And often that might be the case. But neurotypicals are not always right about everything. They are capable of error. Some of them are even inconsiderate, insensitive dicks. I don’t think they should be absolved of all responsibility to try to get along with us. Communication is a two-way street, even between Aspies and neurotypicals. If we’re the ones having to bend all the time, no wonder we get so tired.

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4 thoughts on “Why Are We Always the Ones Who Have to Bend?

  1. Okay, young lady just stop that there! Stop apologizing for not having an official diagnosis! I’m sure you know yourself well enough and have known yourself long enough to know that you know that you have Asperger’s so please stop apologizing. Ok, rant over. 🙂 As for all the other stuff, I’m sure me or my Wife would rather go to a physics lecture than go to hockey and to be honest your true friends will always find a common ground. Your true friends will just want your company alone. You don’t have to have the same likes and dislikes to be a friend to someone. You shouldn’t have to bend for others, otherwise one day you’ll bend too much and risk breaking. Ned.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree with you about true friends. I do have true, long-time friends with whom this is not an issue at all. (I don’t live near them anymore though.) It has been an issue with the new people I’ve met in the last 10 years though. Camping and hockey are such pervasive parts of Canadian culture, it’s hard to get away from it, and if you don’t already have any kind of foundation built with someone, it’s like you either participate in that stuff or get left behind. And since we’ve lived in 4 cities in 10 years, we’re always the new people. We both want to be settled more than anything in this world, and maybe things would be different if we were, but my husband, despite his PhD and two masters degrees, has never been able to land a permanent position anywhere, either inside or outside of academia. The work ends up running out and we have to go wherever he can find more.

      The reason I keep apologizing for not having a diagnosis is because I’m concerned that some who have been diagnosed might think I’m being a bit presumptuous, as if trying to claim membership in a club to which I don’t really belong. It’s in my nature to be scrupulously honest about things, so I always want to clarify where I’m coming from, lest anyone think I’m being deliberately misleading or deceptive.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. i’m only jesting about having to apologize and I understand your reasoning. I’m just sorry you fell/or have been made to feel the need to do so. I’m really sorry your husband hasn’t found permanent work, especially in his chosen field. I’m not exactly doing the work that I would do as my first choice but at least it pays the bills and allows me to write in the meantime. Good luck to both you and hubby, Ned.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is one of the reasons why I have so much trouble making friends in the first place… at least, I did in Chicago. I admit I haven’t tried too hard yet here. In Chicago most of the people I met enjoyed things like going to bars, sporting events, pub crawls, wine tastings… well, most of the things involved drinking. I mean, I do drink sometimes, but it is definitely not one of my primary sources of entertainment! I’d much rather do some sort of activity, or learn something, or make something, or help someone. And maybe once in a while I might find someone who wants to do those things, but most of the time they are too busy at their sporting events and pub crawls and what-have-you.

    Liked by 1 person

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