About Friendship

As I have admitted, people and relationships are my kryptonite, so the only way I have been able to understand people (individuals, that is) is through observation followed by interaction. It’s like I’m taking on the role of the famed anthropologist, Jane Goodall, and I am quietly surveilling these highly advanced primates in their natural environment so that I can find a place where I fit in amongst them.

I imagine that to neurotypicals, my methods appear quite clinical and sterile. To me, however, they feel organic and natural, but if I am being completely honest, it is as tiring and frustrating as it sounds. I have learned that you can’t put people in a box, even when you think you have them figured out. And you most certainly can’t cluster people together and classify their character or mannerisms en masse.

In reality, we are agents of chaos simultaneously spreading seeds of order and anarchy everywhere we go. From the smallest living organism to the most powerful among us, every breath we take alters the world around us. Chaos. That’s what finding a friend feels like to me.

For the most part, we don’t wear our motivations on our faces for others to see, so trying to determine what someone is going to do from one minute to the next is an exercise in futility. Even when we do take a moment to truly look at a person to understand them, it’s rare we get it right. People are far deeper than the reflection on the surface of their lives.

I have failed to understand people more times than I care to admit. And when a friend lies or withholds their true thoughts and emotions, it completely sabotages everything they have built over time. It is a powerful poison and I have yet to find an antidote. All the ones I’ve tried thus far have fallen short of their stated strength. Nothing I can do will ever overcome another’s dishonesty. It’s like I’ve been snakebit, but the serpent is the one who has to take the anti-venom.

Obviously, I am still working through some issues. Not just with the months-old breakup, but with the loss of other friends. I look back and see people who valued my friendship during their most turbulent times, then when they came out the other side, I was no longer useful to them. They were standing on their own two feet again; confident in their renewed hope. When the ones who abandoned them returned, I was cast aside.

Who are these people? How can they treat someone that way? Do they not see the person I am beyond what I can do for them?

I have no need for these kinds of people in my life. These aren’t friends. They were friendly, but they were never my friends.

Or am I just being jaded? It’s hard to keep the flame of hope alive when it’s constantly getting doused by others. Sometimes by their own bodily fluids. That’s not a metaphor. I have been spat upon by multiple people whom I thought were my friends.

I have no idea why I keep attracting these kinds of people to my life. Perhaps my naivety makes me more accepting of others than they deserve. Or maybe it makes me see something in them that I wish they saw in me. Who knows? I surely don’t.

By the way, I have been continuing to speak with a counsellor about my assumed Asperger’s Syndrome, and he agrees that I am firmly on the spectrum. To what degree, however, is yet to be determined. He also said that I am “moderately-severely” depressed, which was news to me. Ironically, me not feeling like I was depressed was a big factor in helping him determine that I have ASD.

That aside, I will state for the record that I have no ill will or intentions toward anyone (including myself). I only wish to understand. That is the only way I know how to move forward from where I am to where I want to be.

What does friendship mean to you? That’s not a rhetorical question. I’m looking for genuine feedback on this, so feel free to comment anonymously.

As ever, if my pain helps just one person, then it was worth it. Please learn from my experience. Seek professional help when life’s struggles overwhelm you.

Thank you for your time.

Published by Paul Jason Wilhelm

I want to live out the Truth of God's Word and inspire others to do the same through the publication of stories and articles that will ignite Faith, Hope, & Love.

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