Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Real world friends

I mentioned my friend (a) to another friend (b). (b) seemed interested, but then gave me the eye roll when she realized that (a) was an “online” friend (as opposed to the “real” kind). This amused me slightly more than it annoyed and frustrated me. The thought of explaining my friendship with (a) to (b) crossed my mind, but was dismissed as defensive-sounding and likely-to-not-be-understood-anyway. In the minds of persons like (b), people who consider their online acquaintances “friends” are a little bit …off. Na├»ve at best, more likely pathetic, unable to maintain “real world” friendships.

I have another friend, (c), who falls right in the middle. She’s not in the suspect “imaginary” category of online friends. I did first speak to her through email, but we’ve since spent time together in the world accepted as real. We continue to conduct the bulk of our relationship through email, meeting up maybe every couple of months just for the heck of it. Type (b) friends accept my friendship with (c) as the real thing because I can mention, once in a while, a meeting for coffee or playing toy cars with (c)’s children.

(c) is not autistic, but she understands autism very, very well. She is someone I would consider a “cousin” and not at all put off by my pacing, repeating things or drawing squares as we talk. That stuff isn’t at all what my relationship with (c) is about, though. It’s all about what happens in the emails. That’s where we really talk. (b) understands that in theory, at least.

While the relationship with (c) makes some sense to (b) and the other B’s in my life, attempting to explain (a) would be futile. (a) is like me. We talk in a language that makes sense only within the context of this particular friendship. I’ve never revealed my innermost thoughts and darkest secrets directly to (a), but I’m sure enough that she knows them. Nothing surprises her. Because we “get” each other at this level, there isn’t a need to dredge through the details of what I’ve done, where I’ve been, the whole history thing people do in the process of “getting to know” each other.

When I speak from scripts, she expands them to include more. Whether this “more” means scripts of her own or something beyond that doesn’t matter. The inner workings of my mind and soul are revealed to me in new ways when we talk. I am more “me” with her than I am with (b) or even (c) and I come away from these meetings energized, not drained. This is friendship and it is real and it is autistic. Thank you, (a), for being a part of my life.

4 comments:

  1. I have "a" friends and a couple of "c" friends.

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  2. I have a few 'a's in my life too. I don't care what the 'b's think of those friendships. My online friends are very special and dear to me.

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  3. Recoil a few years back, and "pen pals weren't 'real' pals". ;-)

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  4. I have met friends online who I later met in person. One such friend is a much better friend than most acquaintances I bump into on a regular bases.

    lol "bump into" ...we occasionally ricochet. xD

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