Female Friendships and Autism

**This post comes with a trigger warning for suicidal ideation.**

I could have made this gender non-specific and blogged about friendship in general. However, the issue is that being a woman who, in the words of Elle Woods “is not completely unfortunate looking” male-female friendship is sometimes complicated. Let’s put it this way – I have more gay friends than straight male friends. Oh don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of male acquaintances but they’re not people I could or would want to confide in. Besides, they are all keeping a respectful distance.

So for friends I’m pretty much limited to other women. But I don’t understand neurotypical women at all. I really struggle to relate to them and I don’t have any idea how to befriend them.

When I worked at the same firm as my husband, he once had a conversation with a male colleague about me. The other guy mentioned something about “Kate and all her female friends” and my husband who had (probably unknowingly) been my best friend for a year or two by that point, pointed out that he couldn’t tell who my friends were, that I seemed pleasant enough with the other women I worked with and that they were all polite enough in response, but as far as he could tell I never spent time with them outside of work. My husband told the other man that I didn’t seem to have any friends.

The only “hen do” I have ever been to was my own, a meal after work with some colleagues – organised by my bridesmaid as I didn’t dare try to organise one, assuming that no one would come.

There’s more, but I’m starting to cry now so I’ll stop here.

For a very, very long time I internalised events like these as proof of my own unlikeability. That I was burden to everyone around me and should hurry up and off myself. But it’s not true. Not really. I did have colleagues who came to my last minute “hen do”. They did try to befriend me. If anything, all this is proof of my autism.

My younger brother identifies as an Aspie – when I told him I had figured out that I have autism he had his own lightbulb moment. He has some anxiety that he masks really well, but overall he has pretty good health – mental and physical. It helps that he’s a computer programmer who works with lots of men that aren’t going to be weird with him because he’s the gender they’re attracted to. He doesn’t have to discuss his emotions to make friends. He has many more friends than I do. He always has.

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