Having friends, i.e. people that I can relate to and do stuff with, has always been very important to me. They’re a significant part of what I enjoy in life. Making those friends, on the other hand, has been quite a challenge. As a person with Asperger’s Syndrome, it has been more difficult for me than for most people to become friends with others. Particularly without them initiating interaction.
Earlier in my life, this was largely due to my lack of certain social skills and (at least in the past) elevated levels of anxiety when around unfamiliar people. For example, during my junior high and high school years, if I wanted to hang out with someone I was friends with, I would more often than not rely on them to initiate such interaction. Especially if that friend was a girl. Initiating interaction with others, whether in person, over the phone, etc., was quite nerve racking for me as an Aspie (i.e. someone with Asperger’s Syndrome).
Things have improved as I’ve gotten older. I’ve gotten better at calling/sending a message to my friends via some other electronic medium when I want to hang out, talk, or whatever. I also don’t get as anxious (if I get anxious at all) when doing such things. I’ve also learned that I can’t simply rely on my friends to contact me if I want to hang out. That said, it’s still quite difficult for me to initiate hanging out with and/or even conversing with people I know who’re female in real time (i.e. talking on the phone and in person), since I still get somewhat anxious about doing so.
Having friends has had a great impact on my life. Although it’s been a challenge for me to make (and in many cases keep) friends, I’m glad I have the friends that I do.
***2015 Update: It’s not as difficult for me to initiate conversation with women in real time as it used to be (especially with women I’m friends with), though it’s still a little more difficult than initiating conversation with men. Same goes for hanging out with people, i.e. it’s easier for me to ask people if they’d like to hang out, though it’s still a little more difficult to ask women than men.***