At Chewigem, we love seeing how our community can form bonds of friendship between people from all walks of life. This got me thinking about Friendship and what this truly means.
As an adult on the spectrum myself, I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs with friendships. I’ve always been good at making friends but often make friends with the wrong people. I also fall out of friendships just as easily.
When I was in school, it felt like I had friends purely because I didn’t want to be seen as a ‘loner’ or ‘weird’. So I tried everything that I could to make and keep friends. I only really had success with this once I had reached college at the age of 16.
Since leaving, I realised how school had made me feel pressured into having friends and being social. This is because being on my own was deemed pathetic or weird.
Now, with all of my college friends now in University and me working from home, I rarely get the chance to meet new people and form new friendships. I never thought that this would have so much of an effect on me. I’ve always preferred my own company, but I’ve realised how important friendship is in life. Whether that’s online or in your everyday life.
Suddenly, I had this amazing realisation that I am in control of who I am friends with! I realised that I don’t need to be friends with just anyone. This happened in school because I didn’t want to be ‘the person with no friends’. Now I can form healthy friendships that are on my terms and that I can be happy with.
So this got me thinking even more… what does friendship mean to me? I’ve had so many unhealthy friendships without even realising. One example: having to be a different person to have friends and people using me for their own gain. Now I want to know what makes a real friend.
I asked the Chewigem Sensory Support Facebook Page what they thought about friendship and what does being a friend means.
I had loads of great responses, most of which mentioned acceptance, honesty and feeling happy when you see or think of this person.
Heather said that, to her, a friend is ‘Someone who you get excited about seeing’ and Barbara mentioned that a friend ‘accepts you for you’ and doesn’t try to change you to fit in with them
I think these are really huge and fundamental aspects of friendship but I also really enjoyed hearing about all of the little things that make a friend to our Chewigem community.
Naemi thinks you should be able to ‘ask your bestie things that are embarrassing for you and get an answer’ and Nicola said ‘Somebody that gets you may not be in touch for a few weeks at a time but that’s not because you don’t want to’
To me, friendship is having people around you that make you feel supported. They can’t always understand what you’re going through or your point of view but they listen. The friendships I have that have remained since leaving school and the ones that I have formed after school are of huge value to me. I think the main lesson that I have taken away from this whole journey of friendship is that friendship should be on your terms. Don’t be forced into a friendship or feel pressured to be friends with people. Once it’s something you’re passionate and honest about finding, true friendships will form.
The Sensory Support Page community is such a brilliant place to ask questions and have a chat to like-minded people so I would urge you to come on over and join if you haven’t already!
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