Friendships and society

Throughout this blog so far I have explored what has inspired me, helped me and the signs that represent dyspraxia. As a child you encounter one set of challenges but as an adult you overcome different obstacles. Growing up the world is very prescribed, you go to school, come home and rely very much on your family. As you start to reach your late teens and you begin to find your way in the world, society and the world around you becomes more blurred and less black and white. I felt once I reached 18, I remember writing this down in a diary that I kept around the time, that I needed to find a purpose in life. I guess most young adults feel the same, leaving school and moving to a new chapter in life is difficult for anyone to deal with but I felt that it was even more significant for me.

I always found it very difficult to trust people and let people in. I literally didn’t have any friends at school. I would spend endless breaks and lunchtimes on my own. I wished that people could be a fly on the wall and understand what it was like to be me. I longed to be included in a group, to fit in, have people to meet up with in town and do normal things that teenagers do. I found that people would take advantage of my good nature so decided to avoid getting too close to people. As my brother moved up to secondary school I would see him with his group of friends and at first I would feel jealous but then I’d be happy for him.

The one thing I didn’t want to do when I started writing this blog was to make it into a rant about how awful my life has been- because it really hasn’t. No one wants to read a rant. I want it to be positive, reflective and educative. I felt that this post needed a bit of background before I continue.

Society is driven by being social beings, the strength and content of our character is all measured by how we respond to others. We as human beings need other peoples company to develop that sense of belonging and achievement. The rise of social media has created a new generation of social beings- we can now develop that interaction and satisfaction of being with others without leaving the comfort of our own home. Maybe some would argue that this ventures into the realm of a different kind of social life, however you are still interacting with others and communicating to form bonds but also judgements of peoples character. As we move through our very fast paced society, I think that we often overlook how people might struggle with this simple social interaction that we are all so driven by.

As an adult I find it a challenge to develop and maintain friendships, most people with dyspraxia find it hard socially. I learned how to make friends at a music summer school when I was 18 and learned more about friendships in India when I was 21. Clearly a lot later than most people in society but I got there eventually. I now I have a very strong friendship group who I do trust and care about.

Dyspraxia can mean that I can be very trusting, will often take things literally and have difficulty interpreting non verbal signals. This presents as a challenge in social situations and can without the right coping strategies leave many people vulnerable to abuse, bullying and being taken advantage of.

I still find it hard socially, even with all the coping strategies in the world I don’t think it will ever be a walk in the park. I often have to push myself to meet up with and keep in touch with friends. when I do go out socially, I find conversation difficult especially in big groups and sometimes I even feel nervous or anxious. I get tired more easily because my brain has to work harder in social situations. Despite all these difficulties I have adopted the attitude to not give up because my friends mean the world to me and I really value their friendship, understanding and patience. I believe that it is so important to value and recognise what you have, despite how long it’s taken you to get there, rather than wish to be somewhere else.

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