1. Looking Inside the Jar Resource for those withAsperger’s and low social skillsThe Label ControversyToo many people focus on the label and categorize relationships based on acquaintance, friend,boyfriend, girlfriend, friends with benefits. They go into detail on the many different types ofrelationships and trying to fit everyone into their mold. We all do relationships differently and seethings differently so it is important to respect each other’s comfort zones. We cannot fit people intohow we do relationships. There are many different types of friends and interpersonal relationships asthere are people, but we have to understand that not everyone wants relationships done that way. Weget so focused on categories, labels that we do not realize we are putting people in boxes and treatingthem like mathematical equations. Everyone is different and unique and does relationships differently.The reason we focus on labels, is because we are trying to conform people to labels, because we haveour own categories and the duties of each and expect people to line up with it. But that is not howrelationships work. For example, in a canned vegetable factory, the label doesn’t come on the can, untilthe right vegetables are in the can and the can is sealed good. Same with relationships, the label doesnot come on, until you have developed a relationship with them. Its not until you develop arelationship that you can call it whatever you want to. Too often, people tell others, “we’re friends”,but they do not know the main details of the relationship to know, so that’s why they get hung up onthese relationships. To look in the jar to know what the relationship is about, it is important to knowwhat the relationship is based on and the purpose of the relationship in your life. Usually with mostpeople, this comes naturally, but like me who has asperger’s syndromeBasis of RelationshipsRelationships are based on trust and needs. A friend in need is a friend indeed. Too often, people lookat relationships with distorted lense. The Bible makes it very clear that Relationships are based on faithwhich works through love (Galatians 5:6). Jesus said if anyone trusted in him for salvation from sin,they will have eternal life (John 3:15-16). Everything is done by trust in God (Habakkuk 2:4). Godcreated relationships to be that way. We trust others in our lives for specific purposes. For example, wetrust the librarian to check out our books for us because she does that to help us read. We trust ourfriends to be there for us and enjoy life with us, and we trust our family to support us. Now whererelationships differentiate is what they trust. Bonds form based on trust with a certain area. Forexample, boyfriend/girlfriend relationships form because both people trust that each other will be agood match for each other. Both people like each other and love each other personally. We are allcommanded to love everyone and to care for everyone, but when it comes to our friends and family, itspersonal since its purely about each other. Its not just caring out of obligation, its caring because of theperson. Its spending time with them, having fun with them because of them, not because you go toschool with them. We are not always going to trust everyone with a personal relationship, but in life,we will trust people enough to have conversations, to do business with them, to share issues with them.A lot of aspies and people with poor social skills wonder why it is so difficult to talk to people andbuild friendships with people, its because of a level of trust needs to be built. Relationships areestablished on love and trust, and affinity will follow suit. Relationships can be based on anything, butusually, the bedrock of any relationship is love and trust in some fashion (not always romantic love andtrust) and affinity comes when two people come together and form a personal bond. That’s whatseparates a friend from anyone else.
2. Building Affinity, Love and TrustRelationships are all about fulfilling our social needs and the best way to build trust with people is tounderstand them, listen to them, and care for them. Too often, aspies tend to think on themselves sothey have serious trouble with empathy, but its not as hard as they make it out to be. Be there for them,make them feel welcome. Human’s basic needs are love, affection and belongingness. Make them feelsafe, be kind to them, be genuinely interested in them. Show them you care about them, and you likethem by showing affection and making connections with them. Be interested in what they areinterested in, respect their interests, goals and hobbies and show appreciate for them. There is adifference in loving someone, and loving someone. Let me elaborate, when I say I love someone, I careabout them and want whats best for them, but when I say I love someone, I genuinely care about thatperson, attach myself to that person, and serve that person. Personal relationships are nearly impossibleto describe because it’s a wonderful feeling. The ones I have are great because me and them talk, careabout each other and spend time with each other because of our love for each other. Its real because wedo not just do it out of obligation, we do it out of sincere love and affection for each other.The best way to win people’s trust is to show them they belong by accepting them for who they are andshowing them you understand them and care about them. People attach themselves to other people thatthey know will fill their needs of belongingness. Second, showing them you are interested in themshows them affection and that attracts people. That’s why it is easy to make friends in chess clubbecause of similar interests. Show them you are into them by wanting to spend time with them, havefun with them, etc. This is the prerequisite to having a close friendship with someone. Show them youwant to spend time with them if you are interested in them. Lastly, show them you love them by caringabout them and being there for them. Believe the best for them, push them forward in life. Show thisall throughout the relationship process. It is important to be a friend by showing others how much youlove them, like them, and trust them. You will not be everyone’s friend, but still, be cool, be a friend topeople and be relaxed. People like it when you are positive, happy and relaxed, so be cool for everyoneand love everyone. Now do not be creepy, take things one step at a time. Building trust takes time andit is important that you let the relationship grow at its pace. Still, show love and interest for people. It’seasy to make friends by being on the receiving end, when they are doing it, but sometimes, it isimportant if you do the inviting. That way, there is reciprocation.For any personal relationship, from super casual friend to girlfriend, it is important to have affinity, orhaving a liking for each other so a bond can form. It takes time, but show interest in someone byshowing them you like them and want to be with them in life. Without affinity, it is impossible to havea personal relationship, because affinity holds the relationship together. If you do not love them, thenthey will not like you, and the trust is demonished. Spend time with them, respect them. Show themrespect so they will know they are valued, accepted, loved. Do what Jesus would do, love othersunconditionally, show others they are valued, accepted and loved.Go with the FlowBefore you label someone a friend, coworker, etc, make sure there is reciprocation on both sides. Imnot saying we should give and expect in return, but we should make sure the other person is being afriend as well. Relationships take two people being similar to each other. Both people need to be doingthe same thing for a bond to work. You cannot have one person being a friend while the other persononly is being a coworker. Both hearts have to be in gear. In Nikolai Curtis’s famous poem, Lawda-Mod Erie, he says, “her heart was small, my heart was grand” to signify how much he liked this girl,but she didn’t like him back as much. Hearts need to be on the same page or you will be miserable.Now we will like our friends more, but if they just want to be casual friends, then just be casual friendswith them. Love does not behave unseemly so we need to respect other’s boundaries when we are a
3. friend to them. Do not make them uncomfortable. If you walk into a group and people don’t seeminterested, then respect their wishes. Its their loss. Make sure the other person is doing the same as youare doing. Sometimes, people are nice to other people and are into others, but they are only being nice,they aren’t interested in friendship with the other person. Friendship goes both ways. Now there areother typologies of friends, such as a mentor, sponsor, helper, accountability partner, but its not areciprocated relationship. They care about you, but they do not want a friendship with you. Those aregreat to have right now. Now family is stronger than friendship, as blood is thicker than water, andthey are there for you no matter what and blood relationships are permanent relationships that you cannever lose. Your personal relationship with them may change, you may not like them, but they arethere for you. Also, make sure if you have business and educational relationships that both willreciprocate, or else, don’t be their project partner. Do not trust people that will not do the job. Some ofmy friends, I will never have as project partners. Some of my distant family, will never be my friendsas long as they remain distant. Just go with the flow and just talk to others. Relationship does not haveto be friends for people to love you, but only trust people with a friendship if they are willing to go. Awarning sign to look out for is if you are interested in them and they accept that, but they do not showit back. It means they just are not looking for friendship. Do not mistake those for friendships. Theylove you, but they just do not want a friendship. Relationships come and go so it is important to keepup with the relationship. Some people who used to be strong friends may just be casual friends, or evenacquaintances.To be or not to be.A friendship is a personal relationship based on mutual affection for each other and people have towant that relationship with you for it to happen. Things may be ripe, but people have to want it.Sometimes people just don’t want a relationship with you right now and that is okay. Sometimespeople do not want to be coworkers, project partners. Even in friendship, sometimes, people do notwant to talk, they do not feel like hanging out and that is because they may be going throughsomething. Just give people space and let things flow. Do not be clingy, let your heart be a revolvingdoor. Just let relationships come in and come out. If they want to delete you, let them. Relationshipsare based on free will so let them come as they go. I understand dealing with mass rejection is hard soif people do not seem interested, then let them be. Do not let it cripple who you are. You cannot force arelationship. Have this philosophy, as long as you care about me, love me, and like me, I will do thesame back with you. This is not being manipulative, just a way of respecting people’s boundaries. Noteveryone everyday will be fourth of July where everyone will celebrate. Friends will let you down, butits during the rough times that the story of your relationship gets better. So just be yourself and serveothers. Just let the relationship be what it is. I have a friend who just considers me a friend because shedoes not have a problem with me. When she sees me, she hugs me, she talks to me. Its weird I knowand it doesn’t sit well with how I do relationships, but I allow it. A good philosophy to use is peoplecan be what they want with me, but I have my boundaries. Just be there to serve others, and loveothers. Do not harass others and try to push things, if it is this way, it is and move on.A new way of looking at thingsLooking inside of the jar instead of the label helps us go about relationships better. Relationships arenot about labels, they are about needs being met. A lot of people tell me, “we-re friends”, but its whatthe friendship is about that matters. So when looking for relationships, look for people that will meetyour needs of belongingness, affection and love. Look for the librarian that will check out your bookswith a smile. Look for the doctor that will do the best work for you. Look for the job that will do youthe most good. Look for the friends that you can hang out with and spend time with. Look for thegroup that you can feel connected. Look for the friends that you feel connected with. When going
4. about relationships, evaluate how they will be in your life. Let people be who they are and see fromthere how they will be. Be friendly to others and others may open up to you and be friendly back. Thedeeper the friendship, the more involved you will be with each other and the more complicated theconnection will be. But people can connect in different ways. So see how someone fits in your life andgo from there. Instead of seeing people as “friends, acquaintances” to see if they will match the jobdescription, just see if people will care about you, if people will love you, if people will understandyou, if people want to associate with you. See how that person is in your life and how that person is inyour life. Each type of relationship people come up with has a standard trust to it, so for example, ifsomeone said we were school friends, he trusted me as someone he talked to in school. If someone sawme as a project partner for work, he or she saw me as an asset for a project partner.Let me give you some pointers on what to look for in some types of relationship:1. Coworker-Look for someone who will help you work to your potential.2. Mentor-Look for someone who will help you be the best you can be, without the pressures of anormal friendship.3. Pastor-Look for someone that will help you succeed in life4. Sponsor-Look for someone who can help me go through step study5. Friend-Look for someone who will like you and love you and will spend time with you (connect &share)6. Acquaintance-Look for someone who will be cool with you7. Girlfriend/Wife-Look for someone who you truly like and love and want to spend the rest of yourdays with. Someone that gets you and you can have fun with.8. Best Friend/Close Friend-Look for someone that gets you and you can have so much fun with andthat you can share your problems with.ConclusionThere are many different types of friends, which all of them are based on like, love and trust. There aremany different types of professional relationships, due to different needs being met. Not all of myfriendships are the same. But seeing things in the jar and not just the label helps change perspective.Some people will say, “well I see friendship different than you so I will not be with you, but I careabout you”, but only choose friends that do care about you, want to spend time with you and be therewith you. Choose friends that you can spend time with, enjoy life with, etc. One person said, Nick, Ipray for you every night, I do love you, but I could not do anything for her because she did not want anormal personal relationship with me, so she did not talk to me, spend time with me, etc. She wantedto help me, but she could not do what was necessary for that to happen. She helped all her otherfriends, and talked to them, but she didn’t do that with me. If she did talk to me, and spend time withme, then I could develop a close personal relationship with them. Make sure to set boundaries so therelationships you have will be meaningful.Best way to set boundaries to avoid collision with relational philosophies:
5. Only Talk to People if:1. They respect you2. They will talk to you back3. They like you, are interested in youOnly be friends with people that:1. Care about you2. Respect you3. like you, are interested in you4. Will not back talk you behind your back5. Want to spend time with you, associate with youOnly share problems and intimate details if:1. This person is a friend, and2. This person wants to do the same back.