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34 year old trying to move out of my comfort zone

Aspie_Sam
Community Member

Hi all,

First time posting. A bit about me. I'm a 34-year-old man with high-functioning Asperger's syndrome. When looked at from the outside, my life would seem pretty good. A nice job with a decent salary, maybe not the role I want but with a pathway to it, a decent studio apartment in a wealthy suburb, a loyal dog to keep me company, and loving parents. Unfortunately, I have a lot of social anxieties.

 

I have one close-ish group of friends who I text with on a regular basis and might see once a month if that and other individuals that I would catch up with at most twice a year. I've never been in a relationship, there were a couple of people that were close but I just couldn't seem to make the next step before I eventually lost contact for one reason or another (them moving overseas, me changing jobs, etc.). My weekend plans usually consist of my parents taking me and my dog to a park (I don't have a driver's licence) and then myself just playing video games or other non-social things around the home(on the plus side, building up a sweet collection of lego sets). I have a meetup that I go to on Thursday nights but I tend to focus on the activity rather than the other people.

 

Because of all this, I feel that I don't look forward to the weekend the way others do as I don't really get any social interaction, and then it's back to work again. I want to be able to stop this cycle but I feel so comfortable with it. I seem to have a counterargument for every possible opportunity. I'm sure there are others on here that have been in similar situations, how did you deal with it?

3 Replies 3

Sophie_M
Moderator
Moderator
Dear Aspie_Sam,

We are pleased that you have joined our helpful and supportive community. Thank you for finding the internal courage to post about living with Asperger's ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).

We understand that ASD is actually a communications disorder. For many on the Asperger's end of ASD, it is often experienced as an inability to read and interpret nonverbal (facial and body) communication, whilst understanding verbal communication literally. The inability to naturally and 'automatically' pick up on social skills can easily lead to social isolation.

When we self isolate because our inability to respond appropriately to social stimuli brings us loneliness, we can eventually lose the ability to feel comfortable in our isolation. However, it is also possible that we are completely comfortable living in isolation, but we start becoming confused because other people tell us we are not supposed to be comfortable in isolation.

The question you might want to ask yourself is: am I happy and comfortable in my self-chosen isolation, or am I feeling distressed because I am primarily alone?

Your answer should be your guide to the question: Where to from here? In other words, what will be your chosen next steps?

Welcome to our wonderful community. Please feel free to post whenever you choose.

Warm regards,

Sophie M.
 

Juliet_84
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Aspie_Sam,

Firstly, congratulations for where you have gotten yourself in life thus far, you have a lot of great things going on!! As someone who used to struggle with crippling social anxieties, I know how hard it can be to “break through” and establish the closeness that you want in friendships/relationships etc. But I moved to a new city a few years ago and realized that if I wanted things to change, I needed to do things differently and “fake it til I made it” essentially. And now I have put myself in so many awkward/uncomfortable situations that I am so much better at being confident and making friends. I once read a quote that said “be the change that you want” and that really stuck with me. So I try and think of the type of friend I want and then be that person to people. It’s hard at times but other times I’m so glad I did it. Make an effort at your next meet up to focus on thee people rather than the activity, or make a promise that you will talk to at least two people etc. Take the dog for a walk around the block and say hello to some of your neighbors instead of going to the dog park with your parents etc. Just make small changes but make an effort to be “more open”, once people can sense that, you’ll find that a lot more people are open in return. 

P12
Community Member

Hi Aspie_Sam,

 

When I read your post I feel unsure about your exact desire, and, as alluded to by the first respondent, I think you might have similar uncertainty. "I want to be able to stop this cycle but I feel so comfortable with it."  Which is more important to you? 

 

I believe independence and interdependence are largely opposite ideals. You can gradually work towards both. You might want to think of them as opposing political parties. Long term neither will win and they will eternally compete against each other. Some people will believe in one rather than the other, and will from time to time be able to make achievements, but never eternally. Other people will change from one to the other. 

 

I believe independence is a higher aspiration than interdependence. (Unless you classify a relationship with God or nature as an aspect of interdependence.) For me in my life I have achieved greater satisfaction from God and the natural world than from other humans.

 

I also suggest trying an exposure stepladder. Perhaps create a list of some activities or achievements you have a remote interest in or would like to be able to achieve, roughly rank them from easy to difficult then one-by-one cross items off your list.