Hi, I’m Craig Kendall, the author of The Asperger’s Syndrome Survival Guide. In today’s issue we will discuss…
Asperger’s Syndrome –
Tips for Finding Friends on the Internet
This is the latest in a series of “Friendship Academy” newsletters written by a young adult woman with Asperger’s.
Asperger’s Syndrome – Find Meaningful Friendships on the Internet
In Part 1 we talked about how the Internet can be a great place for people with Asperger’s Syndrome to find friends.
Here are some tips on where to look on the internet and some of the, “do’s and don’ts” with the goal of finding quality people to become friends with.
Asperger’s Syndrome – “General” Chat Rooms May Not be the Best Place to Look
Instead, look for autism or Asperger’s Syndrome specific websites, or websites centering on specific interests that you have.
Find a message board or chat room specific to that site and start posting.
After a while you will notice other peoples’ messages that may sound interesting to you. Maybe they share some of your interests or you might like their writing style and what they have to say.
You can respond to those people on the message board or chat room and if you feel comfortable you can usually send a private message directly to them.
Asperger’s Syndrome – I Never Befriend Anyone who will Not Write in Complete Sentences
I understand that shorthand is very popular, but with this simple practice I found that my conversation mates were all intelligent, articulate people that I genuinely enjoyed talking to. I noticed the people who couldn’t even be bothered to write a full sentence rarely had anything meaningful to say.
When I was a kid on the internet, a good many conversations started with the other person asking “ASL.” Rather than wanting to communicate with me in American Sign Language, they wanted to know my Age, my Sex (gender), and Location, and they wanted to know it now. Talk about bad social skills!
I never continued a friendship after being asked this question, at least in that format. I wanted a meaningful friendship, and someone who only cared about those 3 things and couldn’t be bothered to ask me them coherently never seemed to fall into that category.
Asperger’s Syndrome – Be Careful who you send your Picture to
Don’t just send it to anyone who asks.
The first few years I was online, I would get frustrated with anyone, male or female, who wanted to see my picture before they’d even started chatting with me. I wanted a friendship based on words, not superficial things like what I looked like.
Besides, you don’t really know who is on the other end of the computer, so better to err on the side of caution and use your best judgment before exchanging pictures.
Asperger’s Syndrome – Don’t Believe Everything Everyone Says
Realize that there are just as many creeps on the Internet as there are in real life.
But, if you can weed out the bad ones and find the good ones the Internet can be an enormous help boosting your social life and connections.
Asperger’s Syndrome – Remember to Be Safe
Don’t give out any personal information, such as address or phone number or full name, until you know the person well and are very comfortable doing so.
When on the internet you just have to know where to look and remember to be safe. The Internet can be a wonderful resource for friends and social connections, and for support for health conditions like Asperger’s Syndrome.
For many more tactics to improve social skills for teens and adults see the books by Craig Kendall, Thriving in Adulthood with Asperger’s Syndrome and Asperger’s Syndrome Guide to Teens and Young Adults.