Recently, at work, somebody innocently said to me, "you must have a group of girlfriends from school?"
I assume this is a very normal question to ask. But my body froze. I laughed nervously and shouted, "YES! OF COURSE I DO… SO MANY!"
Then, for the first time in my hospitality life, I ran towards a customer eager to take an order.
To this day, I’ve never had a typical group of ‘girlfriends’ that I meet up with once a month, or the traditional female ‘girlfriends’ others have had since high school.
Watch: Best Friends Translated. Post continues below.
It's always made me feel so lonely and isolated.
I just don’t think I’ve ever fitted in. While I've never had trouble making friends, and in fact make deep connections easily, the idea of a group of girl pals has always eluded me.
I now famously state, "I have no friends" — but that's not really true. I just don’t have enough to throw a big party (I reckon I could pull off a pretty effective Zoom meeting though!).
I have about five people I would proudly say I can, and do, rely on fully and they on me. I think it's realistic to say that’s enough to meaningfully take on.
I’m not great in-group settings.
I’m loud, I start detailing intense facts about astrology birth chart readings, and I imagine it's an emotionally draining experience for everyone involved.
Some of these social skills (and my lack thereof) are a symptom of my autism.
Some feedback I received once was, "Harriet is the type of friend where you won’t receive back what you give", which was painful to hear from somebody who I had loved dearly.
The value that friendships put on the need for weekly events that simply cannot be missed — Monday night yoga, Friday night dinner, and other countless financial commitments — don’t mix with my bank account, my neurodiversity or me.
Also, all my free time isn’t indicative of my availability. Instead, I commit to friendships in other meaningful ways.