Friendships Can Be Bleeping Hard!
Friendship struggles are real! How does being neurodivergent or specifically autistic impact friendships? Common themes of being misunderstood in spite having good intentions, and allowing others to see you in ways that are not how you see yourself. I talk about navigating breakups, not being able to do repair after a rupture, and using these painful experiences to clarify your values and what you want in your friendships. I also talk about coping strategies, support and self-care.
Some common struggles in friendships if you’re neurodivergent:
- Friendship struggles, relationships, friendships are hard
- Struggling with communication and self-expression
- Feeling misunderstood or not accepted by others
- Difficulty with maintaining friendships over time
- Struggling with boundaries and expressing needs
- Feeling pressure to conform to societal expectations or norms
- Struggling with self-doubt or imposter syndrome in social situations
- Difficulty with finding supportive and inclusive communities
- Difficulty with social cues and nonverbal communication
- Sensory sensitivities that can make certain social situations overwhelming or uncomfortable
- Difficulty with small talk or maintaining conversations on topics that are not of interest
- Difficulty with understanding and navigating social hierarchies or power dynamics
- Difficulty with understanding and expressing emotions in a way that is easily understood by others
Tips for cultivating resilience and adaptability in the face of friendship struggles: –
- Acknowledge and validate your emotions: It’s okay to feel hurt, disappointed, or angry when a friendship goes through a rough patch.
- Take time to process your emotions and give yourself permission to feel them without judgment.
- Practice self-compassion: Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer a friend who is going through a tough time. Remember that you are doing the best you can with the resources you have. –
- Seek support: Reach out to other friends, family members, or a therapist or coach for support and perspective. Talking through your feelings with someone you trust can help you gain clarity and feel less alone. –
- Practice forgiveness: Forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning hurtful behavior or pretending everything is okay. It means letting go of resentment and choosing to focus on healing and growth instead.
- Set boundaries: If a friendship is consistently causing you stress or pain, it may be time to set boundaries or even end the friendship. Remember that you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. –
- Cultivate gratitude: Focus on the positive aspects of your life and relationships, even in the midst of struggles. Gratitude can help shift your perspective and increase your resilience.
Common misconceptions about personal growth and how to reframe our expectations:
- Personal growth is a linear process with a clear endpoint –
- Personal growth means always being happy and positive –
- Personal growth is a solitary journey that doesn’t involve others –
- Personal growth is a one-size-fits-all process
Reframing expectations: –
- Personal growth is a lifelong journey with ups and downs, setbacks and progress –
- Personal growth involves a range of emotions, including discomfort and pain, that can lead to greater self-awareness and resilience –
- Personal growth involves connecting with others, seeking support, and learning from different perspectives –
- Personal growth is a unique process that looks different for everyone, and involves finding what works best for you and your individual needs
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 autistic 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
HSP Online Course–https://unapologeticallysensitive.com/hsp-online-groups/
Online HSP Course Materials (no group included) https://patriciayounglcsw.com/product-category/hsp-classes/
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Music– Gravel Dance by Andy Robinson www.andyrobinson.com