People stuff is tricky and I inevitably get it wrong. Most often at my own expense.
I get too close, not close enough, say the wrong thing, not say anything at all and, most importantly, I overthink it all.
I thought I had it all figured out in my work relationships, but I forgot that I have issues with abandonment and bad attachment. When people leave, I take it personally, even though I know it’s not; when they’re not around, I feel lost.
Also, because building relationships is such intense and conscious work for me, those relationships matter to me, despite my best intentions at keeping it casual. For other people, this stuff seems easy and non-intentional, and not as important. They seem able to move in and out of these casual work relationships with ease, while I have to construct each one with care and strategy and so when one dissolves, it hurts.
I have to keep reminding myself not to get too close to people, don’t tell them too much, because telling people stuff creates a bond, at least for me. This is why I prefer to write out all my feelings and experiences – keeping things out in the open, available to whoever stumbles across this blog, keeps it all anonymous and at arm’s length.
If I were to talk to someone about anything real, it would make it way too personal. This is why most of my relationships are so shallow. I complain about this, but the truth is that I’m scared of being discarded, as I have been so many times before. It seems so easy for people to discard me, no matter what deep truths I’ve shared with them, or how vulnerable I’ve been. I hear that these things are good for building friendships and for building resilience in ourselves, but they’ve brought me nothing but pain.
So I got too close. I shared my daily troubles with someone at work, as you do. We gossiped, we vented, we got along, or so I thought. And then things fell apart. There was drama and the person resigned. Nothing to do with me. They had issues they needed to deal with, but the fallout was that I was dropped like a hot potato. I said some things, which maybe I shouldn’t have, but my autistic brain saw them as relevant information and now I feel stupid and abandoned once more.
Lesson learnt. Don’t get too close. Trust your instincts. Keep things casual. Don’t get involved.
For an autistic person, I’m pretty damn good at the people stuff. I know how to build relationships. I do it slowly, but effectively. I can get along with just about anyone. This is huge for the girl who was shunned and taunted on the playground because she couldn’t keep a secret.
I can keep secrets now. But I don’t know how to keep friends.
Also published on Medium.