• Few or No Friends

I don’t seem to care about friendships. Should I?

Published: December 11, 2013 | Last Updated: December 11, 2013 By | 9 Replies Continue Reading
A young woman with Asperger’s syndrome asks whether she should care about friendships.



I am slightly worried because I don’t seem to care about friendships that much, and am largely apathetic to popularity and fashion trends, etc.

I have Asperger’s syndrome and despite having a good sense of humour and being able to make people laugh I never seem to be able to keep female or male friends. I am more emotionally connected to my mum and to my games/ collected chemicals/ books than to any human friend, despite meeting many that shared interests with me.

I mistrust both males and females due to the fact that girls are generally bitchy, false and phallocentric and lads are only interested in getting into your pants. Or they are gay/ bisexual and talk about stereotypically ‘feminine’ things, which I cannot relate to.

I am also a devout Christian, which I think puts people off Most of the time I don’t even bother to try to make new friends because most people are interchangeable and they all say the same things anyway. I have been socially rejected so much, at high school, at college and at in my university flat that I have ceased to care at all about other people outside my family and, as aforementioned, have more affection for inanimate objects. What can I do about this? Apathy has taken over.

Signed, Elizabeth


Hi Elizabeth,

One of the questions I had reading your email is: Are you happier having acquaintances rather than friends? Do you feel that your life is lacking without close friends?

It sounds to me like you’ve created a life for yourself filled with family and interests, which is a very positive thing. You don’t mention feeling lonely and I wonder if you seek friendships out of a sense of “should” more than a desire to connect socially. If this is the case, try to ease up on yourself and what you think you ought to do to be fulfilled.

That said, most people enjoy having friends to enhance their lives. You identify trust as a roadblock. Lots of times people with trust issues don’t trust that they will be “okay” if a relationship is imperfect or if another person falls short of their expectations. If you feel this way, since you can’t change anyone but yourself, perhaps you can find a way to manage your expectations.

People aren’t interchangeable, but if we stereotype them, saying “everyone is like this or like that,” they are less likely to seem like unique individuals. Just as you wouldn’t want to be thought of as “all people with Asperger’s…”, everyone wants to be seen as more than a label. Asperger’s presents unique challenges, but that is just one aspect of who you are as a person.

Why not try to challenge yourself to have lunch or study with someone once a week, and while you’re with that person, try to steer your thoughts to that person’s positive qualities. If you find yourself judging or becoming overly critical, try to shift your mind back to something funny or kind that he or she said. Most friendships begin as acquaintances, so this approach should be helpful. If you go slowly, focusing on the person’s positive qualities will be easier.

Good luck.

Signed, Amy

*Amy Feld, PhD, MSW has trained and worked as a child psychologist.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this or any other post is intended to substitute for medical, psychiatric or clinical diagnosis/treatment. Rather, all posts are written as the type of advice that one friend might give to another.

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Category: HAVING NO FRIENDS, Social skills and friendship

Comments (9)

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  1. Heather G says:

    I’m wondering if the original writer, Elizabeth, might feel frustrated about the response she got. After all, she started with a logical, straightforward question, a question that was not even addressed in the reply, the question of “does it matter that I don’t care about having friends?”
    I don’t have Aspergers, but I’m sympathetic to Aspies as my own IQ earned me an IEP in school and I can sometimes see the world through a very intellectualized reference point as well. The other thing I see Elizabeth demonstrating in her letter is a huge fear of rejection – from past experience, and in her defensive tact of lumping all people into the same generic categories.
    At any rate, I would personally say to you, Amy, if you’re reading this – that a fair answer to the question, “Does it matter if I don’t care about having friends” from a very logical point of reference is that – yes, it matters. It matters because having social connections accomplish things in our lives that can only be accomplished through networking with others – relevant to yourself, it may be helpful to know that humans tend to be more accepting of people that are found in groups with other humans, and they also view them as more attractive. Having friends to hang out with will give you opportunties to go out and do things that your family might not be interested in doing, it will open up opportunities to meet the few other people in the world that you might get along with, it will improve your emotional state and your health (see studies about how relationships are linked to better mental, emotional, and physical health.) I know a lot of people in the world can seem mundane and trivial, but there are people out there you will enjoy – and you might find that with effort, people you thought were bland and had nothing to offer are hiding some more interesting and intriguing sides of themselves under the pleasantries and will reveal those sides once you get to know them.
    Additionally, the biggest thing to face is that your Mom and the rest of the family will likely not be there for you forever. People form relationships with other people and those relationships become almost like family relationships over time – it is good to have formed some close, important, long term relationships years and years ahead of the time when you might lose your parents, as those people will be there to help you face that time – emotionally, financially, and socially. Friendships are really hard to make – I understand that – but throwing in the towel on others is really throwing in the towel on yourself. Don’t do that – you’re worth having friends, even if 1000 people out there treat you like crap and you think they are uninteresting, the 2 or 3 you find along the way that you really get along with will be worth it.

  2. carol says:

    Hello, I had the experience of being an paraeducator with a boy with Aspergers for almost 4 years. I know now that is a pretty common feeling about friendships. He will graduate from high school this May. I meet him in 6th grade and he helped me to learn of his challenges with this syndrome. To make a very wonderful story short, I think he is going to graduate, leaving high school with many, many people who would call him a friend. He may not use that term, but he does it his own way. In my heart, I feel his best friends are his family members who are there for him and made the effort early on when there was not much known about Aspergers. I feel he does friendships on his own terms and for me I think its the way we all need to do them. The students who have been given the gift of knowing him, learning about his challenges, will go out into to the world with the ability to meet other young adults with Aspergers or other personality challenges (we all have them) and be more open to knowing them and becoming friends. I of course as his paraeducator have continued to have healthy bounderies with him. I like to know how he’s doing in his life, but do not hang out with him or his family. He is well-known at his high school and because he ventured out to interact with classmates and the teaching staff, he is respected as a human being who may not be like everyone else, but he is uniquely himself. Isn’t that the goal in life, to meet people who care about you for this reason; they want you to be yourself. We have all kinds of connections if we are lucky. Some people are advisors, some people are supporters, some people who we can play with and have fun, some people with whom we count on to be there for us, others we just say high to as we pass by each other in life.

    • Irene says:

      Thanks for sharing your very thoughtful comments!
      Best, Irene

    • Amy Feld says:

      Great comments about different types of relationships that help us feel fulfilled.

    • Alberta says:

      The description of your student is amazing and that you got to experience this firsthand – and the last sentence and they types of connections is interesting as well. Thank you for such a great post.

      • Carol says:

        Alberta, I am retired now, but I worked with Special Education students for over 20 years. This was a new assignment for me and as it turned out, the most interesting student and the one I will never forget. He had so much courage to get out of bed every day and come to school. This is how it is for any of us who are “different” in other people’s eyes. Thank goodness students are no longer segregated from others and we are all beginning to see we are more alike than different. The point being we are all human beings. Be proud of who you are and find those students and staff who are safe and outstanding human beings because of they already know this at a young age. I once read that if a person didn’t experience anxiety in life, they won’t experience freedom. Stepping up and finding who and what you want to find when you feel freedom from judgments (another human trait we all have), will allow to find out what is important to you in your life. This boy taught me what courage really is. Be brave, be yourself. Carol

        • Anonymous says:

          The reason my recent loss of a close friend is so devastating is because I thought that she was the first person in my life who actually “got” my deep-seated concerns about my possible Autism Spectrum Disorder. I have known D. through Facebook, Skype, and telephone. We had formed as close a friendship as one can forge in cyberspace. D. and I shared intimate issues. We also shared joys. Though I disliked how D. seemed to act like I was “lesser than” her and rarely admitted her faults, I hesitated to share with D. when my feelings were hurt. One evening, when I shared that in Facebook Chat, the chat turned ugly, and I found that D. had unfriended me on Facebook the following morning. D. showed up on Skype and filled my Skype page with vitriolic, snarky barbs. I saw that she did not “get ” me when she, an adult survivor of severe child abuse, bitterly accused me of “triggering” her when I made a gracious comment that was meant to encourage her. Because of my possible ASD, I have never been able to make or keep friends. D. had a wide circle of friends and I’m sure that she’s not losing any sleep over me. On my end, I’m devastated.

          • Tony says:

            D. has a narcissistic personality. In that case people will treat you as if you are beneath them, and will “use” you until they have no more use for you. This can be when you tell them they are wrong or behaving badly, or expect to be treated as an equal in your relationship with them.
            Narcissists have deep self-esteem issues that they subconsciously feel they can only resolve by being dominant and striking out viciously whenever their deep vulnerability is touched at. So when you hinted at her having flaws, doing something wrong, her own sense of vulnerability had her taking revenge on you for making her feel that vulnerability.
            Narcissists tend to be capable only of relationships that are toxic, in that they cannot handle true equality in them. She will most likely not change, and would not stop behaving this way.
            I have had a “friend” who constantly made remarks or jokes that put me down. Whenever i made a joke (mild one) at his expense he became noticeably agitated and struck back. At one time he did this by referencing an incredibly painful period in my life. I couldn’t understand his hypocrisy that he could dish it but not take it. At one time i criticized him for something and the manner in which he (semi-publicly) put me down had broken any sense of trust and friendship i had for him. I allowed this “friendship” to bleed out and die.
            You have to recognize what you get out of this friendship, and if you are not seen as inferior. You should not allow yourself to be “used” by anyone. It is painful once you realize that something you’ve cherished is not what you thought it was, or is broken, but ask yourself if you can ever get it back or fix it, or if this person would never take responsibility.

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