One of the most perplexing things for me about having NLD is trying to navigate the subtleties of making friends. The question of whether someone is being friendly versus trying to be my friend is something I’ve struggled with my whole life and it’s only gotten harder as the world develops a more casual, laid-back attitude toward each other, so I thought I’d write about it in order put it into words, (which is something us NLDers need), in order to help myself work through it and find some similarities between my already established friendships.
I’ve always been a shy person by nature, so making friends has always been a slow process. One of my earliest memories I have is when my mom took me to work at her school with her one day and instead of talking to any of the kids, I buried my nose in a book with it so close to my face I couldn’t even read it. I wasn’t interested in reading it, just hiding from the 25-30 strange kids that treated me like I was something to see at the zoo. Yeah, they probably meant well, but the whole experience having them right in my face and so close was overwhelming.
It was a lot easier a year later when I met my best friend for the first time, and he just wanted to play with me. I’ve always been more of a “doing things” person, I think because there was less to figure out. The laundry list of questions in my head only makes the process slower: Why are you smiling? Is it because of me, or are you just a happy person? Is that a real smile, or are you hiding some other emotion underneath the surface? When you call me buddy or sweetie, is that supposed to specific to me, or do you say that to everyone? Why can’t you just use my name? Why are you touching me? Is that supposed to indicate some level of comfort, or is that just naturally how you are? If you’re consistent, I could probably figure it out, but I hope I’m not disappointing you by making you wait because you want to be friends with me now. I’m told that there are different tiers of friendship, so now I’m more confused and I don’t have the energy to figure it out, so please tell me.
People throw that word around too much. Friends. If you tell me about your troubled past, does that make us friends, or did you just need someone to vent to? Are we going to hang out? Friendship is two ways and I know that I can make that decision too, but it’s going to be a long time for me to feel comfortable enough to do anything with you, so if that’s what you want now, you should probably speak up. Hopefully you’ll understand that’s what I expect of our friendship.
This is my third post. I’d like to say that’s a good thing and I’m figuring it out, but writing this one left me more confused than ever. I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters and a new job, so 2019 should be fun.Share your own story