View Full Version : trying to be a friend


reesah
05-08-08, 07:35 AM
so I have friends, and for the first time I am trying to maintain and keep friendships, and work on my life and not just give up.
I was with one friend I'm more close with, she was sad about something and was telling me about it, and I listened then told her maybe something to try to do? and she was miffed, she asked how I felt ad said I should either listen, say nothing; or I could empathize [oh noes!] and tell her how it made me feel, or how I've felt in similar situations.
this was really hard for me, I didn't really feel anything myself but concerned for her well-being [I told her this] and tried to think how I would feel...I don't get too attached to people often so I'd never really be in the position she was, [relationship drama] and so I was pretty lost.
I don't know what to do sometimes! I guess I just needed to talk about this to someone, she didn't really understand, we were both kind of confused. she wasn't angry though after we talked.
if I'm ever like that to anyone here please tell me, it helps me understand better, and if anyone has any insight about this I'd love to hear it. thanks for reading

reesah
05-08-08, 07:39 AM
oh I meant to add, she was miffed because I was trying to fix things/problem-solve, and she wanted something else...:?

Imnapl
05-08-08, 10:24 AM
Reesah, does your friend you know you have Asperger Syndrome?

cashmere
05-08-08, 11:22 AM
so I have friends, and for the first time I am trying to maintain and keep friendships, and work on my life and not just give up.
I was with one friend I'm more close with, she was sad about something and was telling me about it, and I listened then told her maybe something to try to do? and she was miffed, she asked how I felt ad said I should either listen, say nothing; or I could empathize [oh noes!] and tell her how it made me feel, or how I've felt in similar situations.
this was really hard for me, I didn't really feel anything myself but concerned for her well-being [I told her this] and tried to think how I would feel...I don't get too attached to people often so I'd never really be in the position she was, [relationship drama] and so I was pretty lost.
I don't know what to do sometimes! I guess I just needed to talk about this to someone, she didn't really understand, we were both kind of confused. she wasn't angry though after we talked.
if I'm ever like that to anyone here please tell me, it helps me understand better, and if anyone has any insight about this I'd love to hear it. thanks for reading

Reesah its nice to hear your trying to form friendships,and i sincerely wish you the very best of luck while doing so.

The friends i had from many years ago i gave up and became a loner.When i used to party from then on,would operate as a one man band.Meeting the opposite sex was'nt a problem i would use people inside the clubs as props.

The advantage to this was you got to choose who you liked no competition from friends trying to muscle in on the gal who captured your dreams.Other factors were if you did'nt like where you were you could move on.

Sorry back to you,sounds like your friends are lucky to have you to listen to there moans and groans.Listen if your ever feeling a little fed up and want to let off steam just pm me.Schizoids are supposed to have no emotions so don't forget you can hit me with the rolling pin anytime.lols.

Bluerose
05-08-08, 12:41 PM
reesah,

It's tough trying to judge when someone just wants you to listen and when they want you to offer up some advice. I would like to comment on something cashmere said. It's not so much that we lack the emotions, it's just that we don't always express them very well. Being afraid of becoming too open and therfore vunerable we often come across as cold and uncaring. I wouldn't take too personaly what your friend said. She was upset and looking for something, but you are not a mind reader. Perhaps she too has trouble expressing herself. Just being there for someone is never a bad thing.

reesah
05-09-08, 07:41 AM
thanks everyone!no, she's not aspergers or even anything like it. I have aspd, and I think she wanted a more involved emotional response from me- I'm still trying to understand. I prefer to be alone but I'm practicing empathy? and trying to care more. lol sometimes I am not sure why! thanks really everyone for the helpful words

Driver
05-09-08, 08:16 AM
oh I meant to add, she was miffed because I was trying to fix things/problem-solve, and she wanted something else...:?

She didn't want you to solve her problems, she merely wanted you to acknowledge her emotions and share with her the feelings that she was feeling about what she was talking about.

For example, if she was telling you something that was making her sad; reassure her that it's ok to feel sad and then comfort her. Don't try and fix what it is that is making her sad.

busyhermit
05-09-08, 10:04 AM
She didn't want you to solve her problems, she merely wanted you to acknowledge her emotions and share with her the feelings that she was feeling about what she was talking about.

For example, if she was telling you something that was making her sad; reassure her that it's ok to feel sad and then comfort her. Don't try and fix what it is that is making her sad.


Yeah, that's what I was thinking, too. Sometimes people just want to talk to someone when they feel bad - to help them work through it in their own mind and not feel alone. In that situation, most people are not looking for advice or ideas from you - just a friendly ear.

I'm pretty baffled at how to have friends, too. But I just know that when I used to share my feelings with my husband about something bad that happened - he would always have advice "you should have done this or that" or "you shouldn't let that bother you". So instead of making me feel better, I felt like he was criticizing me - saying that it's my own fault I feel bad!! So I'd feel even worse, and eventually just quit sharing with him.

What I really wanted to hear was "man, that's too bad - I'm sorry that happened - you're right, that really stunk - I'd be upset, too"..... stuff like that. Just to know that he hears and understands my pain and feels for me.

Hope that helps a little. Like I said, I'm no good at friendships either, so I relate. I always end up saying or doing the wrong thing, or not doing the right things...whatever. Right now I just avoid friendships because it's so much easier and comfortable that way.

reesah
05-26-08, 08:25 PM
I've avoided having really close friends for my whole life and I'm trying to change that now. I am trying to do some things now to have a better life and this is one of them

Thanks you guys for the help, I talked with her and just told her I didn't know what to do. She knows about my diagnosis and she said she understood it was an "empathy thing" then she said when someone tells you problems like a friend, to ask "Do you want me to offer you advice or help, or just to listen?"

That way I know exactly what the person wants at the time, and I can decide if I want to listen and help or not. She said if I don't think I can handle listening without wanting to fix things that was ok too, just let her know.

So, when a friend tells you about their problems, you can just ask them if they need help or just someone to listen. Then you can tell them "no" if you don't think you can give them what they need.

This helped me a lot and you guys were right about what was going on, thanks

Retromancer
05-26-08, 08:48 PM
Interestingly I have been in the past the "problem solver" -- often I have simply said "so who do you want wacked?".

Recently though after I was dismissed from last job I found my self talking to a female friend about it -- actually it is a ongoing conversation with us... While she is focused on me getting another job -- submitting resumes etc. -- I am talking about the unfairness of it all, cursing my former "compassionate non-profit" employer. It's a wee bit of role reversal...:)

reesah
05-26-08, 08:53 PM
that must be strange! haha

Retromancer
05-26-08, 09:41 PM
I'm actually glad my friend is there to bring me into the present -- where I need to be.

Retromancer
05-26-08, 09:57 PM
I am consciously trying to do this too. It isn't easy but it's worth it.

I have had too many people pass through my life...

so I have friends, and for the first time I am trying to maintain and keep friendships, and work on my life and not just give up.

Prusilusken
05-26-08, 10:08 PM
Hey reesah...
Just wanted to tell you, that what you experienced with your friend is actually frighteningly normal. It's not just for us with BBS (Broken Brain Syndrome ;)).
A LOT of people have tried what you write about.

Normally, it's the women needing to "load off" (like your friend did) and their male partners (friends, SOs, fathers, brothers) who are not really empathizing, but try everything in their power to fix things and the woman blows up in their face, hehe...

Sometimes, it's the other way around.

Completely normal, the subject frequently occurs in magazines and TVseries.

So relax - you can actually feel normal for once! :D

What's so cool about your situation in particular is, that you decide to "treat" your way out of it. Because you have the ASPD, you are aware that your empathy and social skills are something you should be aware of and work on, and you will be concentrated on actually getting better at it - as opposed to many "normal" people, who would just think: "Heeeey...what happened here..? - And then move on to make the same mistake again.
You actually have a head start on this, the way I see it.

It sounds like you have a good friend to practice on.

Oh - And you ARE a good friend for making the effort to be one.

That, in fact is the definition of a friend in my world.

reesah
05-26-08, 10:44 PM
Hey reesah...
Just wanted to tell you, that what you experienced with your friend is actually frighteningly normal. It's not just for us with BBS (Broken Brain Syndrome ;)).
A LOT of people have tried what you write about.

Normally, it's the women needing to "load off" (like your friend did) and their male partners (friends, SOs, fathers, brothers) who are not really empathizing, but try everything in their power to fix things and the woman blows up in their face, hehe...

Sometimes, it's the other way around.

Completely normal, the subject frequently occurs in magazines and TVseries.

So relax - you can actually feel normal for once! :D

haha normal except I'm a chick, so I'm not supposed to be so clueless! I've gotten a lot of startle reactions from people who think I don't act likie a girl enough...guess it's all part of it



What's so cool about your situation in particular is, that you decide to "treat" your way out of it. Because you have the ASPD, you are aware that your empathy and social skills are something you should be aware of and work on, and you will be concentrated on actually getting better at it - as opposed to many "normal" people, who would just think: "Heeeey...what happened here..? - And then move on to make the same mistake again.
You actually have a head start on this, the way I see it.

I always felt like people were living in some mysterious world where they have like ESP or something. I don't get it, how the hell are you supposed to even know how other people feel, and why does it matter so much? I'm trying to learn why and how...most days I am just confused by it but I try.

I was told it's rare for sociopaths to have any kind of normal relationships and that rehabilitation and therapy and meds and everything are pretty useless. I'd read that before I ever got checked out or diagnosed and it was one of the reasons I never bothered to try to get help.

The dr I saw said there's not much that works. Like it's pretty incurable and untreatable. I don't know what exactly I am doing but I think trying to hang onto people instead of just tossing them and moving on, is a good way to start




It sounds like you have a good friend to practice on.

Oh - And you ARE a good friend for making the effort to be one.

That, in fact is the definition of a friend in my world.

My friend is really cool, I like her a lot. I have a small handful now outside of work. It's different to say the least. I'm finding it worth the effort for sure!

Thanks for your kind words

Prusilusken
05-27-08, 04:10 PM
Ah, you're a chick - fair enough!!

Still - you're just acting like any man I know, and a lot of chicks are like that too, haha...

I seem to have the empathything down, though - or that's what I'm told.
My friends are not aware that I overreact internally a lot of the time.
I tend to take it all in, which makes it easy for me to help and listen and know when to do what. But it can sometimes take a great toll on me. I'd never tell people, though. I don't want them to stop telling me ;)

About you diagnosis and the treatment options.
It's "funny".
My aunt is a therapist, and she sometimes works with sociopaths.
She says that she's sick of hearing that nothing can be done, because more that one of her sociopathic clients are actually doing an amazing job.

You don't all of a sudden "sprout empathy" but many of you are able to take objective directions and "train yourselves" to function socially on a whole other plane than non sociopaths. And though you will always be sociopathic, you WILL be able to create a better life for yourself and feel benefits from it and make yourself happier.
And a lot of the time, what will make you happy will actually make people around you happy too.

Sometimes it must be very difficult to tell when other people will benefit (or at least not notice) from you doing something to make you happy and when you might hurt their feelings instead, since it's not always to do with logic, but my aunt says that most sociopaths will be able to become really good at telling the difference if they keep training.

And some of the sociopaths that she has as clients feel that they have benefitted a lot from the training personally. But it can be very difficult to stick to it.

I'm rooting for you here. :)

reesah
06-04-08, 05:56 AM
Thank you for the positive words, it really does help, I've re-read your post a couple times when I am feeling like it's hard

Bluerose
06-04-08, 08:06 AM
reesah,

You're trying that's the main thing. You might need to grow a thicker skin but don't give up trying.

Prusilusken
06-04-08, 10:13 AM
I'm very glad to hear that my reply is of use to you, reesah!
Just keep hanging in there. You're obviously a smart person and that will make it even more probable for you to make something of it all.
After all: You're making a concious effort to be a good friend and that is so much more than a lot of "normal" people are.

I've taken the liberty to discuss your thread with my aunt and she says that you seem to be doing VERY well, especially for your age. Most sociopaths will never even reach the place you're in now in their whole life.

My aunt tells me to tell you: "Nice work!"
And sincerely cyberpad you on the shoulder!

*Lise pads reesah on shoulder* ;)

zoomman
06-04-08, 10:40 AM
Prusilusken is right, it is a common communication issue between men and women, common enough that it was the focus of the pop-psych book, Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus. In general, we men communicate to fix (says the book) and women communicate to, um, well frankly I forget. ha.

I spent the first four decades of my life with ADHD and an absolute loss of what people were talking about so often. Like many adhd kids, what I witnessed wasn't what others saw, and I didnt' learn the subtle cues people use. I saw em, just didn't know what to make of them.

So, when I read the Men are from Mars... book, I developed a sort of short hand set of rules for dealing with people, especially people I don't know real well:


1 Assume that whoever is speaking just wants someone to listen and not do more than listen.

2. To encourage them to talk, to show I'm listening, I have practiced saying things like "yes," "uh-huh," and occasionally asking how something made them feel or how they reacted to something.

3. If I really feel I have some advice, or think maybe they would like some but can't be sure, I'll ask them. "Would you like advice? Or do you just want a friendly ear." I learned this from an adhd friend of mine, and it works amazingly well. People have so far seemed happy to tell me, and I respect their response.


These three things have worked amazingly well for me over the years. I mention them because, well maybe they might be useful for others.

(PS. Since I have adhd, I often forget even these simple rules and find myself spewing out advice or a story ... when I catch myself, I stop and say something like "or maybe I should shut up and let you talk now. I'm sorry. Please, continue." It's a bit over the top, but that seems to put people at ease and they laugh)

Great topic.

reesah
06-05-08, 05:42 AM
Thank you so much and hugs to Lise :D

haha bluerose sometimes I think it's that my skin is SO thick...most things do not bother me much. I surely don't get as upset by what people do or how they fell. Most interpersonal things don't interest me...this is hard to say...but I can try to be a friend and I can sit and listen...if my friend talks about how someone said something and she felt hurt, I just...don't really care. Really. And what's more, why does she care? Really.

A lot of this makes no sense to me. But I can let her talk and I can just listen and say "that must have been hard" or something that lets her know I heard what she said. I'm good at giving advice.


I mean I care about HER, just not about...well I don't get why she'd be upset about some things, like someone saying something negative about her, really who cares, what peple say or feel about me or about her...or anyone? I wouldn't even care if someone saidsomething about me, so it's hard for me to know what she wants from me when she talks...I guess to care about how she feels?

It's weird to me but I am trying. I do not like it when she is unhappy. She is definitely my friend and I like to help her when I can. If listening to her helps then I try to do it!


zoomman those are good tips, I will try it

ginnal
12-12-08, 03:13 PM
oh I meant to add, she was miffed because I was trying to fix things/problem-solve, and she wanted something else...:?

Very often when people tell you things its because they want someone to listen to them.

That's it.
Just listen.

reesah
12-15-08, 06:00 PM
my friend this thread was about is breakin up with someone. She came over and she talked and I just said things like "I understand" and "Then what?"

I just asked her really simple questions, she seemed happier this time than the last time she wanted to talk to me. Thanks guys, because that is what she wanted I think was just for me to listen.

Driver
12-15-08, 08:50 PM
my friend this thread was about is breakin up with someone. She came over and she talked and I just said things like "I understand" and "Then what?"

I just asked her really simple questions, she seemed happier this time than the last time she wanted to talk to me. Thanks guys, because that is what she wanted I think was just for me to listen.

Congrats on your successful outcome. :)

Now, out of curiosity, how did you feel about it?

Bluerose
12-16-08, 01:29 PM
reesah,

Yeah, good question. How are you now?

reesah
12-23-08, 06:02 AM
it was kind of boring. I didn't understand some of what she was sad about. I mean I don't know why she was sad. I feel like if I need advice now I can ask her to talk to me, though, and that if I need some conversation we are a little closer. also like she knows I will try to be a good friend to her even if it confuses me some.

sarek
12-23-08, 06:14 AM
Reesah, I think you're doing just fine.

darkprince1711
12-23-08, 11:32 AM
I think your problem is also the problem of people who want to be a friendship, you have to try very much to build and maintain and friendship, training to understand other people is the best way to do that, maybe It's rather difficult but not impossible