I have learned how to be friendly, and maintain a social calendar that is limited ONLY by my own personal requirement for “quiet time.” I’ve cracked the code on making friends, having fun, living the life.
Or so it seems.
Because I’m really still alone.
It’s easy to have friends when you learn to suppress some of your behaviors. Don’t talk about XYZ with this group. Don’t stim around that group. Don’t frown around most people. Don’t this. Don’t that.
Don’t look at this lunch as a social, fun time for you: look at it as work; you’re networking with the people you work with so they will help you out on the job later when you need them. You’re not shopping with the ladies from church so you can get what you want, but rather, you are shopping with them because for some reason (you still don’t understand) this makes them like you and accept you. Each of these things carry a social dimension that you’re missing, and though you don’t know WHY it works, you know that your life is easier and people help you more when you do these things with the people from job, church, community.
Smile, make small talk, ask about their mothers. Find something to compliment a person you don’t know and make it a challenge: what percentage of strangers at this gathering can you get talking for more than 2 minutes? A social checklist runs in your head, governing every interaction, and reminding you that when you get home you must log the details of your conversation, so that you will remember to ask after so-and-so’s mother and query you-know-who about their sponge hobby next time you meet.
You don’t REALLY watch movies with friends because if they get to talking, you go into sensory overload and can’t process their conversations or the speech from the movie. If you get mad, they get frustrated. So you learn how to control the meltdowns that go along with sensory overload, and go to their house to "watch movies” knowing full well you’re not going to understand anything. You know you will slip out for an extended bathroom break, or go outside to “talk” on your cell phone. But somehow they like you better when you spend time with them, and besides, you can always watch the movie later, by yourself.
When you go shopping with your “friends” you know better than to try and REALLY shop. You want to do it your way, which never seems to be their way. No one else wants to circle the mall 3 times visiting 47 stores to save $2.46 on a specific sweater. No one else wants to try on every article in the store to see if it will fit/flatter you. They just grab and go, but you’re just then getting warmed up. So you smile, and look, but you don’t really shop. You enjoy having friends, but sometimes feel alone.
But at the end of your day, all alone in your room, you realize that you are still alone. And you can go shopping for yourself, and go to dinner with yourself, and watch the shows you want to watch. But there’s no one there to watch them with. Because the minute you want to start doing YOUR stuff YOUR way, those people that filled up your social calendar melt away. Your way is too intense, too demanding, too precise, too full of minutiae, too calculating, too MUCH.
You are so unique. Will you always be alone?