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Why It’s Great To Have Friends

Yesterday I confided in a friend about a lot of the shit that’s been bothering me. It felt great. I felt a huge weight fly off my chest. And I remembered why I promised myself I’d engage more with the world this year. I’ve been shut in for so long.

Having Asperger’s is hard because you don’t always know who to trust. Plus you have such low self-regard that you’ll take anybody who’ll have you.

The last time I had a tight-knit group of friends was in college. I didn’t choose well. One was dependent on me because she didn’t have the balls to do anything (cook, clean, talk to people) for herself. Another was so bitter about his own problems that he liked to dig into our heads to make us feel as shitty as he did. This person was smarter than all of us, so it was easy for him.

I’ve had a lot of fair-weather friends who ran out on me when I got needy. When my cultivated air of indifference wore off and I started looking desperate, like I actually was. I trusted the wrong people, and something I really, really didn’t want people to know about me ended up all over town.

If you have Asperger’s, there’s a good chance you’ll learn more about people through trial and error than intuition. It’s going to take a long time. But you’ll learn. You might turn into one of those broken people walking around out there like I am.

But it’s better than isolation.

Anything is.

Having friends means you don’t spend so much time focusing on yourself. Interesting things are always happening. The human psyche is so fascinating once you start to see all the contradictions.

Plus, for those better people out there who aren’t trying to pick everybody apart, you get to take care of other people. Making a difference in someone else’s life will satisfy you in a more substantial way than just checking off your personal goals. What goes around comes around too. I’ve always been there for my friends. Whoever they were at the time. And I’m slowly trying to choose people who might be there for me.

I’m alexithymic you guys. It’ll take a long time for me to articulate why other people are important. And I’m not quite old enough yet to legitimately get more satisfaction out of helping other people than by doing things for myself. But I do know that after I walked out of the parking after that hour-long conversation I felt lighter than I have in a long time.

Why It’s Great To Have Friends

Gwendolyn Kansen

Gwen Kansen is a mental health writer in New York. She likes food, karaoke, and smart-but-campy books & TV. She's hoping to capture a little sliver of life on here that might not be the first thing you'd see.

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APA Reference
Kansen, G. (2016). Why It’s Great To Have Friends. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 11, 2020, from


Last updated: 4 May 2016
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