“You know, eighty-five percent of all homeless rickshaw businesses fail within the first three months.”

I’m having a day.  I have a lot on my mind of late.  I feel the need to express some vulnerabilities and flaws.  (Please, don’t hurt me for it.)  I talked on the phone with the woman who was my buddy in basic training earlier.  She explained I’ve hurt her feelings because the only time we communicate is when she contacts me.  I felt like crying, but I didn’t.  She said she wants us to be close again.  This is confusing to me.  I didn’t know we stopped.

I have no idea what took place between us to lessen the bond.  I love her dearly.  I have all along.  She’s a beautiful person.  Plus, she significantly improved my Sesame Street-level Spanish.  She survived basic training with me.  It’s one of the tightest bonds I’ve ever formed with a non-family member.  I didn’t know it mattered who initiated contact.  How can time weaken a friendship?  I don’t understand.  It’s like saying, I love you when I’m standing near you, but when I’m far away, my feelings change.

I told her I was confused, but I also apologized and asked her to tell me the rules.  (It’s an inside joke.)  She laughed and said she needs me to contact her once a month for no reason.  I’m relieved to know.  She said it’s not a universal rule, which frustrates the crap out of me, but at least I know what data to collect.  I told her she can count on it.  I’m going to contact her twice a month to make up for the fact I’m clearly using my calendar.  (I’m an optimist.)

It will take a while for my heart to stop aching over this.  I don’t know how to explain why I suck at being a friend.  I only have hints to work with.  I feel like I spend my entire life walking on eggshells.  They feel more like landmines.  It’s not for lack of effort on my part.  It seems like what I intuit is often wrong.  From there, I usually end up overcorrecting, which makes it worse.  By the time I find the golden zone, most people have decided to cut their losses and move on.

People are like art.  Each a universe of information and potential.  As with art, interpretation is everything.   The closer you observe, the more you get in return.  If it’s music, close observation entails repetitive listening with intense focus.  With people, you have to worry about observing too carefully or too often.  Most people feel vulnerable when scrutinized.  My working rule is to allow others to decide when they’re open to it.  (I devour what’s shared consensually and no further.)

The problem lies in the fact people usually express their discomfort in secret code.  I say secret code because the hints given vary widely from person to person.  (Aside from outright proclaiming, “Hey! Take a picture, it last’s longer!”)  All my data is from past failures:  I ask too many questions.  That’s a big one.  I ask weird questions.  Questions nobody ever asked them before, and they don’t have an answer already loaded, which is apparently annoying.

What I understand, is that people don’t really want to be as present in the company of others as is currently in vogue, but prefer popping in and out at will.  (I’m working on this, too.)  “Keep it light.”  “Don’t be so deep.”  “You’re too intense.”  “Relax.”  I hear it a lot.  I’m trying.  It’s counterintuitive and exceedingly counterproductive to my goal of understanding and relating to others.   I know it’s possible.  Other people do it all the time.  I just have to decipher the secret code.  (This is why I use a smartphone as an external hard drive for my meat brain.)

I need a computer to mostly fail at being a good friend.  Oofda.  I’m grateful I have a smartphone to help turn always fail into mostly fail.  I’m making progress.  I just hope the singularity occurs soon.  I’m going to need a lot more time at this rate.  I’m off to play my violin to some cows.  I need to spend some time with creatures I understand for a while.  Then I’m going to design an electronic drum kit for my foster brother who has cerebral palsy.  In exchange, he gave me his old Tama Cobra 600 single bass pedal!  He’s also going to show me why the way I set up my kit is apparently wrong, and give me other tips.  (He’s an excellent drummer.)  🙃

7 thoughts on ““You know, eighty-five percent of all homeless rickshaw businesses fail within the first three months.”

  • Things like this happen, especially if you’re on the spectrum. Today I had a friend tell me that when she asks when she can come visit me and I reply ‘any time’ it gives her the impression I don’t want to see her because I’m not offering a specific date. I had no idea.

  • I have been told similar things on different occasions. Like I am a bad friend or I keep too much distance. Truth be told people in my life I love dearly I just can’t constantly be around people or in contact. Especially when I have to deal with life like school when I was a child/teen/youg adult or work and dealt with people on a day to day basis. I would spend all the energy I had and had nothing left over for people after. It wasn’t anything personal but like after a long day/ week of work or school I couldn’t bare the thought of hanging out with friends or even a phone call. When I am socially exhausted my more annoying aspie traits come out and I become a really angry person or aggravated. Instead of people getting thing awful impression of me I’d rather shut the world out and recover. I also think because of being on the spectrum and knowing I was different I would always second guess myself in social situations or calling up friends so I wouldn’t take the initiative. Like so and so said she would call me but never did so I would assume they didn’t want to hang out with me to find out later that they just forgot to call or got hung up doing something for an extra hour longer and really did want to talk or hang out. Then there is just the obvious lack of communication skills I have where at times things come out way differently than I mean them. xD So I definitely feel your struggle and I too feel awful long after being told things like I am a bad friend. Hope you can get over it soon, you are not a bad friend at all! And I find it much easier myself when a friend explains to me what they want me to do. If they want me to call them everyday, once a week or whatever I will do it but I am a person who needs to be told specific directions cause I hate assuming or guessing. Lol

  • Thanks, xaspierudegirlx. It helps to know I’m not alone in my struggles. I juggle my energy levels, too. It terrifies me when I run out unexpectedly. I’m the Queen of Wrong Assumptions. 😂😂😂 They’re like a sometimes irresistible trap. I slipped in a fresh cow offering earlier so I cried it out in the shower. I’m just glad I didn’t lose my friend over this. Thanks for your words, they’re helpful. 💜

  • This only just crossed my radar, but I wanted to respond as best I could. Quite simply, there isn’t a rule, just individual expectations. Some people can go years without chatting but when they do, it’s still just as familiar and comfortable as ever, others find that when contact decreases or stops the way they engage within that relationship changes ( that doesn’t always mean that the way they feel about the person changes though.)

    I can’t offer you a clear explanation of the whys but often t is down to the individual and how secure they feel about themselves and in their perceptions of relationships on the whole. Neurotypicals tend to have a greater concept and consciousness of time passing too, which isn’t helpful for those of you who don’t.

    People measure “closeness” in so many different ways that’s it’s almost totally subjective. For me not needing regular contact with somebody without it detracting from the quality of relationship shows strength and faith in a friendship, others might see it as a lack of input/thought or whatever?

    You aren’t getting this wrong, and not being able to decipher it isn’t necessarily just about the differences in neurotypical behaviours either… This centres around individual needs, in this instance a friend came along and told you what they need. Try not to take it personally X

      • Good, I’m glad. Just to be clear, you don’t suck at being a friend, relationships bend and shape over time, to accommodate for each others differences. When I read this post it didn’t strike me that you hurt or disappointed your friend in any way at all, she really did seem to be just telling you what she needs in a matter of fact way. That’s her way of bending and shaping for you – understanding that you need her to be clear and not waste time with confusing hints, or set you up to fail with unspoken expectations. That’s a fairly secure kind of relationship if you were to ask me 🙂

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