How do you know you are "friends" with someone?

HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
I've never been good at recognizing that I'm finally "friends" with someone. I've actually upset people who've considered me one because I couldn't tell that we were friends yet. I have just learned to not assume because that's also upset people before, so I don't just consider people my friend until they somehow explicitly tell me we are. I can even go months while talking to someone relatively often and still not "get" that we're not really acquaintances anymore. I often have to ask them and people either find that amusing or insulting/weird.

How do you personally figure out that you're "friends" with someone?

Comments

  • I never have. 😟
  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    I never have. 😟
    At least I know I'm not alone in this, then. I've felt weird about the fact I haven't figured this out even at 20 y.o., but I guess it is just one of the mysteries that comes with having autism. 😔
  • Statest16Statest16 Citizen, Mentor
    Only time can tell if one is a real friend.Something will come along that tests the friendship and fake friends will fold up and the good ones will stand bye.


  • Statest16 said:
    Only time can tell if one is a real friend.Something will come along that tests the friendship and fake friends will fold up and the good ones will stand bye.


    That's pretty much it. Having been raised in an abusive family and dealing with CPTSD I don't have an efficient a$$hole detector and have been duped by many an abuser throughout my life. Choosing the correct environment with people with common principles and values helps. I am a very bad judge of character and it doesn't seem to be "fixable" as I only identify abuse when it is extreme. I am now fortunate to have good people in my life who I have met on my spiritual journey but otherwise I have   mistaken foe for friend mostly  throughout my life including ex husband and most family. I discovered my true friends during an extreme crisis when they literally kept me alive, sane and fed. They are still here in my life though I often believe I don't really deserve them.
  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    Teach51 said:
    That's pretty much it. Having been raised in an abusive family and dealing with CPTSD I don't have an efficient a$$hole detector and have been duped by many an abuser throughout my life. Choosing the correct environment with people with common principles and values helps. I am a very bad judge of character and it doesn't seem to be "fixable" as I only identify abuse when it is extreme. I am now fortunate to have good people in my life who I have met on my spiritual journey but otherwise I have   mistaken foe for friend mostly  throughout my life including ex husband and most family. I discovered my true friends during an extreme crisis when they literally kept me alive, sane and fed. They are still here in my life though I often believe I don't really deserve them.
    I'm not really good at detecting abusive people, either. That might partly be why I'm not sure when I'm actually "friends" with someone because I'm a bit on guard about making new friends in general. I'm very worried I'm going to let more bad people into my life and I don't want to do that.
  • Lost_DragonLost_Dragon Citizen, Member
    edited September 22
    Sometimes I connect with someone rather quickly, whereas other times it can take months for a friendship to develop.

    I'll admit that I'm not always sure how to define it myself and how I view friendships as a young adult VS how I did as a teenager is significantly different. When I was a teenager, I used to think that I had to prove myself worthy of someone's time. Even now it feels odd when people just want to hang out with me just because they want to and enjoy my company. I almost expect someone to turn around and say "Ha, just kidding, we don't actually want you here, you're only here as a joke". 

    For me, a friendship is when someone communicates semi-regularly, the conversation goes beyond small-talk and they take steps to or are receptive to the idea of spending time together when you suggest it. However, a person might act like they want to hang out when they really have no intentions of doing so out of politeness, which is annoying. 
  • I think of friendship as having four foundations:

    1) Companionship (enjoying each other's company -- this entails both liking each other hand having things you enjoy doing together or talking about together)

    2) Emotional sharing / openness / intimacy.  Emotional support, sympathy, mutual understanding and acceptance, especially of traits that are not usually shown to other people.

    3) Doing favors for each other.

    4) Comradeship: An emotional bond formed by facing common challenges together. (Extreme example: war buddies. More common example: Teammates on a sports team. Another example: Political activists working closely together for a common goal.)

    A friendship does not necessarily need to have all four of these foundations, but it should probably have at least three of them.

    IMO the essence of friendship is genuine mutual caring about each other's well-being.  The above-listed foundations of friendship all help to foster this mutual caring.
  • I like how you have sorted some characteristics of friendship., Mona
  • I thought I had a friend when I was at prep school. One of the very,very few friends I've had. We lost contact when I went from prep to public school.

    I found him years later on Twitter, and posted a tweet to him. He blocked me.
  • verityverity Administrator, Citizen
    I would add to Mona's list the reciprocation is the key to maintaining relationships and a good sign of friendship. This is a bit more than favours as people do that for various reasons. Obviously if they don't wish to reciprocate this is less likely to be a friendship, however some are taught to reciprocate out of politeness. It is more reciprocation out of the blue, or more tailored or spontaneous reciprocation thsi can be a sign of friendship.

    Friendships do need to be maintained, it is not simply something that "is". In my view I would be more focused on this that the status of the friendship, as generally going slow on any type of worthwhile relationship isn't a bad idea. You don't always have to know status minute by minute as long as both are getting soemthign out of it.

    There are different type of friendship some can be more context related, and that might be the preferred mode for both parties.

    I think sometime people focus too much on what the other person is offering them, and what signs there are rather then ensuring the relationship is mutual.
  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen
    Im not sure if I have ever been truly friends with people in daily life, as I am.
    Before I knew I was Autistic I had friendships, but they were based on me behaving as a neurotypical friend and spending an unrealistic amount of time thinking about how to be a friend to the person.
    I feel that the friendships Ive found online are quite meaningful and I think that is the benchmark for me, if the person has similar values then perhaps it is easier to know if it is a reciprocial relationship.

  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    For me, a friendship is when someone communicates semi-regularly, the conversation goes beyond small-talk and they take steps to or are receptive to the idea of spending time together when you suggest it. However, a person might act like they want to hang out when they really have no intentions of doing so out of politeness, which is annoying. 
    I think those are good parameters for friendship. I'll probably go with that from now on. Also, I agree that it's annoying when people do that, I rather people be honest with me about not wanting to spend time together.
  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    I think of friendship as having four foundations:

    1) Companionship (enjoying each other's company -- this entails both liking each other hand having things you enjoy doing together or talking about together)

    2) Emotional sharing / openness / intimacy.  Emotional support, sympathy, mutual understanding and acceptance, especially of traits that are not usually shown to other people.

    3) Doing favors for each other.

    4) Comradeship: An emotional bond formed by facing common challenges together. (Extreme example: war buddies. More common example: Teammates on a sports team. Another example: Political activists working closely together for a common goal.)

    A friendship does not necessarily need to have all four of these foundations, but it should probably have at least three of them.

    IMO the essence of friendship is genuine mutual caring about each other's well-being.  The above-listed foundations of friendship all help to foster this mutual caring.
    This is a good list, thank you!
  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    I thought I had a friend when I was at prep school. One of the very,very few friends I've had. We lost contact when I went from prep to public school.

    I found him years later on Twitter, and posted a tweet to him. He blocked me.
    I've had people I used to talk to in school ignore me IRL if I even just say "hi" to them. Very rude.
  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    verity said:
    I would add to Mona's list the reciprocation is the key to maintaining relationships and a good sign of friendship. This is a bit more than favours as people do that for various reasons. Obviously if they don't wish to reciprocate this is less likely to be a friendship, however some are taught to reciprocate out of politeness. It is more reciprocation out of the blue, or more tailored or spontaneous reciprocation thsi can be a sign of friendship.

    Friendships do need to be maintained, it is not simply something that "is". In my view I would be more focused on this that the status of the friendship, as generally going slow on any type of worthwhile relationship isn't a bad idea. You don't always have to know status minute by minute as long as both are getting soemthign out of it.

    There are different type of friendship some can be more context related, and that might be the preferred mode for both parties.

    I think sometime people focus too much on what the other person is offering them, and what signs there are rather then ensuring the relationship is mutual.
    I agree that reciprocation is a very important aspect of friendship. I always find it easier to think of someone as a "friend" if they occasionally go out of their way to talk to me, spend time with me, etc. VS me just talking to and doing those things to them. While I've certainly had proper friends that just aren't comfortable reaching out, it's still nice if someone does that and it makes things seem a lot more mutual.
  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    Amity said:
    Im not sure if I have ever been truly friends with people in daily life, as I am.
    Before I knew I was Autistic I had friendships, but they were based on me behaving as a neurotypical friend and spending an unrealistic amount of time thinking about how to be a friend to the person.
    I feel that the friendships Ive found online are quite meaningful and I think that is the benchmark for me, if the person has similar values then perhaps it is easier to know if it is a reciprocial relationship.

    I think I've had some "true friends", but it's never really been an allistic person. No matter how "understanding" an allistic person is I still need to mask to a degree with them and it prevents me from feeling truly comfortable towards them.

    I do have someone I'd consider a "true friend" who is also an online friend + my only current proper one. He's ND (he has dyspraxia, I think?) and we relate a lot + I find our friendship very fulfilling. I know some people don't consider online friendships as "real" ones, but I beg to differ. lol
  • Re:  reciprocation.  I would say there needs to be SOME reciprocation, but don't insist on fifty-fifty.  Some people have extreme difficulty reaching out to other people, for whatever reason, yet genuinely appreciate it when others reach out to them.  (Different possible reasons why someone might have difficulty reaching out might include extreme social anxiety and executive functioning issues, among other possibilities.)
  • HylianHylian Citizen, Mentor
    Re:  reciprocation.  I would say there needs to be SOME reciprocation, but don't insist on fifty-fifty.  Some people have extreme difficulty reaching out to other people, for whatever reason, yet genuinely appreciate it when others reach out to them.  (Different possible reasons why someone might have difficulty reaching out might include extreme social anxiety and executive functioning issues, among other possibilities.)
    Definitely. I personally am probably not that great at equal reciprocation when I first meet people, due to social anxiety.
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