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Sarah W.

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What can you do if you have a hard time making friends?

I was diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder when I was four years old. This is categorized under the Autism spectrum. It makes socializing very difficult. #friends #socializing

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Hello, Sarah!


Thank you for letting me help you with this!


Let me start by saying that there are thousands of people who also have some form of PDD. According to aspergersmn.org, "there could be 32,250 persons born each year with Asperger’s or PDD/NOS."


Out of the thousands of people who do have PDD, I am sure you are not the only one who is having a hard time making friends. So, do not worry — you are not alone!


A little bit about myself: I am 23 years old, I live outside of Philadelphia, PA, I am a recent college graduate with a degree in Professional Writing and I work for an Architectural Design firm. Some would say that I am not qualified to speak on PDD, for I have no training in either the diagnosis of it or because I don't actually have PDD.


However, you and I are alike because we both have a hard time making friends. Growing up, I couldn't really find a group of friends that truly understood me, but I've learned to know that that's OK!


In no way should you be blaming yourself because of this; the important thing to remember is that you are so incredibly unique, regardless if people truly understand you or not. The fact that you had the courage to open up this conversation proves how dedicated you are to bettering yourself and to forming new relationships. You might not realize it now, but seeking help shows me how strong you really are!


My advice to you would be to try your best to not take things personally!


People are always going to have opinions, for opinions and ideas are the reasons why we are able to even communicate today. Some person found it in their hearts to create CareerVillage, a place where people can go to seek for advice and guidance in times of doubt and confusion. Other people will not always have their best intentions in mind — either through their words or actions — but you should always strive to understand that you can't always change people's perspectives on things, regardless of how hard you try.


As stated, I do not have PDD or any other disorder that can be categorized under the Autism Spectrum. I can't give you clinical advice on how to treat it and I can't tell you different ways to engage in the classroom or in the world because I don't know your medical history enough to advise you on what to do (and even if I did, any doctor who knows you will give better advice and guidance than me anyway).


I can tell you this: there are people in the world that do not look at those with PDD any differently than those who don't; there are people in the world who would love to be your friend — just because you haven't found those people yet, doesn't mean they don't exist; and there are always going to be people who don't truly understand you (believe me, a lot of people don't truly understand me either!)


Yes, you might be having a hard time making friends at the moment. And yes, it might feel lonely at times because no one really gets you.


But you have to understand that it is OK that these people exist! Their existence will help you find those who truly care about you for who you are!


Until you find those friends, please know that you will always have a friend in me and that there are MILLIONS of people who care about you too!


Keep up the good work and remain positive as best as you can!


Sincerely,


Rob

This professional recommends the following next steps:

  • If you are able, take a look at this story CNN posted about someone just like you! Trevor Pacelli, who also has PDD, wrote an article about his struggles and how he overcame them! One of the things he said: "The most dominant challenge for me, as a child and even today, has been making and maintaining friendships." Take a look! https://www.cnn.com/2013/04/02/health/iyw-growing-up-autistic/index.html
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