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Compassion and Support are Verbs

I've struggled with friendship my entire life. Once I found out I'm autistic, I thought that was the crux of the struggles, but I've since realized it's beyond that.


I have a very specific idea of what friends are. I have a very specific idea of what compassion and support are, and they are actionable. Maybe it's because I've always been so independent, but I feel cared for when people show me. Words mean nothing. "I support you" while doing literally nothing to actually support isn't... support.


One thing I've worked really hard to do is communicate my needs. In the past when these things would arise, I could blame myself for not adequately expressing what I needed... but that's not the case anymore. I'm very clear about what compassion and support means to me. I have no problem asking for what I need - which isn't a lot.


And I have no problem walking away if that's being ignored.


The number of times I've had someone say "let me know what I can do" and then I do... and they don't do it. They don't even try. Then come back and ask again as a segue to get support for themselves. Like, I'm not going to keep telling you what I need. If I'm actively listening to you and providing what you need and you can't do the same for me, we aren't friends regardless of what you want to call it. That's me providing you services when you need it, period.


The number of times I've reached out to people to see if they're okay, how I can be there for them and then actually do that - and not get anywhere near the same reciprocity is wild. And the best part? Usually when I finally stop trying because it's clear I'm essentially being used, it gets turned around on me like I'm the bad friend. My reaction to your inaction is not abuse. And I don't owe you a GD thing. Figure it out yourself - it's not my job to spell it out for you.


If you've make it clear the crux of our relationship is that I provide to you and you only check in on me when you need something, we don't have a relationship. If I am open and honest about how I feel and you give me a one or two word response and then launch into a tirade about your life that I'm expected to coddle, get f*cked.


If it's not reciprocal, I don't have the energy for it. And here's the thing - not everyone has to be friends. We naturally mesh better with some than others; some understand our inherent needs better than others; and some want to and can fulfill those needs for us even when they differ from their own.


Those are friends.


Stay regulated,

Shauna







4 Comments


I had to stop in the middle to take a break from reading and have a cry. I would like to someday not feel so bitter about all my ex-friends, but today is not that day. 💜

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Shauna
Shauna
Jul 13, 2023
Replying to

🥺🥺🫂❤️‍🩹 exactly this

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joon
joon
Jul 13, 2023

thank you so much for saying this 😮‍💨. i wish it wasn't so relatable. and i wish it wasn't the case at all.

i love you forever, you are the air to my fire.

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Shauna
Shauna
Jul 13, 2023
Replying to

I wish this weren’t the case, too. I love you forever, 🌬️🔥.

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