This week’s Guest writer is Annette DeWit

Posted: February 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

Annette is one of the runner up for the writing contest the Manitoba Writer’s Guild and Free Press had. I met her at the award ceremony.

Having Friends                                                                                                        Annette DeWit

It is normal and healthy for people to want to have friends. Sadly, for some of us, making friends seems to be an almost insurmountable obstacle. After all, if you aren’t even sure if you like people, why would anyone else want to like you? Besides, other people aren’t always all that interesting. They make jokes you don’t understand, talk about boring things that don’t matter, say one thing and mean something else entirely different… People are hard. Being alone is safe, and much, much easier. And less tiring.

And in this way we convince ourselves, and so pursue our interests and hobbies; sharing them on the internet in fine anonymity, or with our families, who are used to us and only half listen.

Nobody wants to be alone. Even if a person wants to be left alone, most of the time, no one really wants to be all alone all the time.

I am a thirty year old woman with Aspergers Syndrome. Now, as an adult, I have the privilege of sharing my life with a handful of very good, even a few very close, friends. I would say they didn’t come easily, but mostly, they came purely by accident, on my part at least. I have never set out to deliberately make friends. I don’t know how; I don’t even really understand what constitutes a friend. But I do know what friends are.

I know the friends I have are valuable and indispensible to my life.

As a child, I had a few friends in school, a neighbor/cousin whom I grew up with, and a couple of classmates who shared one interest with me, and tolerated my oddities for the sake of that commonality. Since then, most of those relationships have faded to a sort of distant, “hey, glad we are both still alive,” sort of benign interest, and not much more. That’s okay.

My friends now are those, mostly older than me, who knew and liked my siblings, and knew and tolerated me in the sort of distant way older sibling’s friends view little sisters, amicably, but not with any particularly strong affection most of the time. However they tolerated my oddly adult way of speaking, and endless fountaining of bits of information, and even showed a considerate interest from time to time.

Now, those shared interests and past gentle tolerance have grown into a genuine respect and affection for each other, growing from common interests, rooted in really caring, and embracing the differences previously mildly accepted.

From each of my friends I receive open-handed acceptance and even welcoming of my assorted eccentricities. My friends like me, not in-spite of, or because I am Aspergers, but simply for all of me. The way my mind works is just a character trait, occasionally to be laughed with, sometimes requiring gentle guidance. I love it when they ask me “What do you know about?… Have you seen?… What is there? What have we missed?” or especially, What do you see?” in the sure knowledge that there will be an answer.

I love it that I can bring a unique and colorful new view to their world as well.

My friends know and understand my limits, and challenge me to grow beyond them without scaring me or making me feel pressured. I don’t feel I will lose their respect or love if I fail, or if I can’t try something.

We talk. Not about random gossipy things that mean little and matter less, but about real things, about anything under the sun, and when the conversation gets de-railed, they go with it, and laugh. Wonderfully, we can start back from where we got off track and carry on the original point without any of us losing a beat. It’s like “red1, red2, red3, (-purple/green/orangish,-) red4, … and no-one minds.

I was discussing school and a struggling daughter of my friend with her one day, when a butterfly flew between us.

Me, “Look! Butterfly!”

My friend, laughing so hard she staggered, “Really?!”

Me, “What?” a pause, “For real! It’s right there,” pointing.

She, “Pretty. I honestly didn’t see it at first, sorry”

And we carried on. Later, we laughed a lot. I know I am a bit (read extremely) distractible. Hey, easily amused, never bored. I often joke that I live in a way cooler world than ordinary people. My friends count on me to point out the fascinating bits that they miss. In return, they explain bits that I miss. Especially answering things like “What does that mean? Why did they do that? Is he mad or scared?”

Have you ever watched ‘How to Train Your Dragon’? In the movie, Gobber, the blacksmith guy is explaining to Hiccup, our hero, how to be better accepted by the Viking tribe. He gestures to Hiccup and says something like “You just have to be less, this,” to which Hiccup replies, “You just gestured to all of me!” Gobber answers, “Exactly.”

Much later, and after many trials and adventures, Gobber says to Hiccup, “It turns out we just needed more,” a sweeping gesture, “this.”

Hiccup, “You just gestured to all of me!”

To me, a big part of the movie is Gobber learning to be a good friend. Friends don’t say to each other, you need to be someone else. They say, “YOU are my friend.”

  1. C De Silva says:

    Thanks Adam. I enjoyed her article.

    Lol C

    Sent from my iPad


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