Neurodivergence & Autism: Navigating Challenges in Relationships
We explore the challenges of maintaining friendships for people who are neurodivergent (AuDHD, autistic, HSP etc.) We emphasize the importance of emotional intelligence, empathy, active listening, open communication, patience, setting boundaries, and forgiveness in building and maintaining meaningful relationships.
Jen Perry, MSEd, MA, LPC
- An autism diagnosis means that sometimes one may have challenges in maintaining friendships –
- Some people may struggle with making friends, while others may struggle with maintaining relationships (or people may struggle with both).
- Experiencing feelings of hurt, disappointment, and exclusion in relationships is not uncommon –
- It can be painful to navigate situations where you feel left out or excluded
- Having a strong sense of justice and fairness, can make it harder to deal with exclusion in groups or relationships–
- Despite these challenges, it is possible to navigate friendships with emotional intelligence and empathy.
Navigating the challenges of friendship in daily life can be difficult, but there are ways to approach it with emotional intelligence and empathy. Here are some tips: –
- Practice active listening: Listen to your friends and try to understand their perspective. This can help you build stronger relationships and avoid misunderstandings.
- Communicate openly and honestly: Be honest with your friends about your feelings and needs. This can help you avoid conflicts and build trust.
- Show empathy: Try to understand your friends’ emotions and be supportive. This can help you build deeper connections and show that you care.
- Be patient: Friendships take time and effort to maintain.
- Be patient and understanding when your friends are going through difficult times.
- Set boundaries: It’s important to set boundaries in friendships to protect your emotional well-being. Communicate your boundaries clearly and respectfully.
- Practice forgiveness: No one is perfect, and conflicts can arise in friendships.
- Practice forgiveness and try to move past conflicts with empathy and understanding.
- Most important: Be sure that your relationships are reciprocal, and that the other person is also utilizing these skills.
Patricia was a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, but is now exclusively providing coaching. She knows what it’s like to feel like an outcast, misfit, and truthteller. Learning about the trait of being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), then learning she is AuDHD (autistic and ADHD) with a PDA profile, helped Patricia rewrite her history with a deeper understanding, appreciation, and a sense of self-compassion. She created the podcast Unapologetically Sensitive to help other neurodivergent folks know that they aren’t alone, and that having a brain that is wired differently comes with amazing gifts, and some challenges. Patricia works online globally working individually with people, and she teaches Online Courses for HSPs that focus on understanding what it means to be an HSP, self-care, self-compassion, boundaries, perfectionism, mindfulness, communication, and creating a lifestyle that honors you
Jen Perry, MSEd, MA, LPC has been a psychotherapist for 20 years. She specializes in helping Highly Sensitive People thrive in love, work, and parenting Highly Sensitive Children. Jen is passionate about using mindfulness and compassion-based approaches to ameliorate human suffering.
Jen’s website: https://heartfulnessconsulting.com/
HSP Online Course–https://unapologeticallysensitive.com/hsp-online-groups/
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