While dating on the spectrum may be a juicier topic, the issue of platonic friendships is probably more important. Maslow was wrong about the degree to which sex is important to mental health but friendship is very important. Yet, sadly, friendship is more complex than just making friends. Friendship is the most important type of social relationship people have since while each friendship, individually, imparts less social capital than a romantic relationship, one may have many friends and, in our culture, one may only have a single romantic partner. While, ideally, issues of social politics shouldn’t factor into friendship and who can be friends with who, we live in a society where adolescence lasts forever and high school never ends.
In my life, there have been many potential friendships that could have been made had the individual not been pressured by the mores of their clique against it. Being Asperger’s, I am predisposed to not match with lots of people and that means in the typical clique, I won’t be compatible with most people in the clique. So, since that happens in the majority of cliques then that significantly reduces my ability to make friends and the size of my friend group. My social skills are highly developed enough that I can swimmingly converse with most people but friendship-making has a lot to do with shared or complimenting personality traits and there are, usually, a token few in every clique I could be friends with based on that alone but cliques invariably only allow for intra-clique or, at least, intra-league friendships.
This has been exacerbated in my life since, as may be found elsewhere on this website, my tastes are bourgeois, classic, and basic-white-girl and so many of the personality matches I have made have been with girls above my league. Now, I never tried to date any of these girls but we would get off to fun starts and find we wanted to be friends but then her clique would subtly force her to choose between me and them. If the girl chose me, just as a platonic friend, her clique would abandon her. So, eventually the potential friendship would end in ghosting by the girl. Or otherwise trying to distance themselves from me. Even in more hipster and less suburban-type cliques, the same phenomenon occurred but was gentler.
Many might say that anyone who rejects me for their clique isn’t good enough anyway but the problem is both that that mode of thought doesn’t challenge an unfair and unjust clique system and if unchallenged then the number of potential friends for people with neurological conditions are greatly reduced. And it’s not like the absconding individuals in my life were all Regina Georges, they weren’t, and it would be better for them too if they had the ability to have whichever friends they wanted to without being held hostage by their clique. It’s a vicious and petty system which exists in all the subcultures, even if it is more brutish and less discrete in the subcultures that I have more often tried to make and almost made friends in.
So, sociologically, there is a huge, untapped, source of friends for people with neurological conditions that isn’t being utilized because of a nearly universal social psychological law that cliques have where if an individual doesn’t befriend people from the ingroup then they will be disowned by that clique and left with much less social capital and far fewer friends. It needs to be dispelled that the overwhelming reason higher-functioning aspies lack many friends is because they lack social skills. It’s tragic, even after we get social skills, our personalities are still different and we have to contend with a society so tribalistic and jealous that even though people want to be friends with us and we click, the metaphorical spirit of Regina George intervenes to forbid it.
4 thoughts on “Platonic Friendships: The Asperger’s Guide to Fraternal Love”
This is a brilliant explanation of why we struggle so much when it comes to socialisation.
Thanks! I’m trying my my best to rep our people!
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I tried for many years by writing books about the autistic experience but now I just write articles about it as it only seems to resonate within the autistic community.
I have pretty bad ADHD and one my rules of writing is it has to appeal to me. If I, with my short attention span, can get through my draft then other people can get through it. A lot of people write informational pieces and the pieces are interesting to people willing to read something where they’re interested in the content regardless of the style. To reach beyond one’s own community or identity one has to heavily focus on style. Everybody has a degree of ADHD when it comes to things that they’re not interested in so to draw them in one must make the rhetoric juicier and tastier.