Running a Friendship: Aspie Style

From the 2015 Matt Damon movie “The Martian”, it is a picture and movie that represent the dryness and distance which I and other aspies feel in society.

While this is about platonic friendships, I’ll begin with something less than platonic: flirting. Flirting has been explained to me as attempting to romantically or sexually woo a partner without them realizing it, usually with a stranger.  It seems dishonest because it is and I would never do it. It represents the deceit with which interpersonal relations are usually conducted. There is a lot of drama and social politics between people that just doesn’t translate across the neurological barrier. If I wanted to date a girl, I wouldn’t tell her, I’d keep her friendzoned, and move on but if I intended to date her then I’d be honest. There is no inuendo or duplicity or strong emotions. It isn’t a game or a competition. Friendship with me is pretty simple, clean, and dry. We get food often, we talk about things, we help one another out if we can, do projects or activities together, and engage in reciprocity or small acts of kindness and geniality at a higher and deeper rate than we do toward the general public. All that is required for forgiveness of a transgression is a simple apology or sufficient time. Everyone is allowed to be pissed or pouty sometimes and a single angry text or email isn’t enough to ruin my friendship with someone and if the friendship does end, it should do so without ghosting and with good terms and honesty.

Neurotypicals live in the noisy world of chemical thrashing to the point they feel like their life is a soap opera. They read social situations and try to navigate the complex politics of the world and complain about toxic people. Friendship with me is how one would design a friendship if one used logic and wasn’t organic about cultivating it. Friendships for me are intentional and not natural. The guidelines I described above were, more or less, designed deliberately and were designed in order to make relationships satisfying, happy, and devoid of drama. The beautiful thing about having the oxytocin deficit that I do and not naturally bonding with people is that all of my relationships are intelligently designed. When they don’t work out, it’s not my fault because I adhered to basic friendship guidelines and they followed the spontaneity of their passions. Then, after they don’t work out, they hold lifelong grudges and I don’t do that to them and I futilely attempt to establish, at least, neutral terms.

Which is all not to say that I derive no neurochemical satisfaction, myself, from socializing. I do. Yet, the primary chemical driving my socialization is not oxytocin or dopamine but serotonin. I don’t form heartfelt bonds with people, I’ve never had a crush, and insofar as I would like to write love sonnets to pretty girls, it isn’t because I actually have an eternal love for them but just that I like pretending to because I’m a timeless romantic. The background to this website is a frame from the “Love Story” music video and I definitely like the gushy and chivalric vibe but, in the end, the closest thing I have had to a real crush on a girl is associating traumatic memories with them for various reasons. I need serotonin to remain psychologically healthy and satisfied with life so friendship is important but I never have a strong loyalty to anyone. At least, on a deep emotional level. Which has the advantage that it is easy for me to put ethics and civic responsibility above friendship. So, if you’re corrupt or malevolent, I’m not going to cover your ass just because I may like you.

Yet, it should be clear that there is no feeling of sentimentality when I am friendly with people in the way people usually feel it. That comes from oxytocin. For me, it’s like warm MDMA or light LSD, both serotonin drugs but I never feel protective or defensive of another person. If you insult my mother, I’ll insult her with you, sarcastically. I have no honor to defend if you call me a whore or something akin to that. A reason I forgive so easily is, in part, because I don’t get insulted or offended except on the rare occasions I do and then it isn’t in the same way neurotypicals do. Usually, the only type of anger I feel is frustration although I feign anger to get people’s attention to get things done.  Which sums up to mean that the bonds that do exist are more conscious bonds of shared values, shared interests, mutual needs, and an uplifting emotional effect rather than a subconscious natural bond. There are other elements but those are the usual ones.

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