So part of the developing self-worth is treating myself like my best friend. This is all well and good if you have a template for a best friend but I am not sure I do. Is that unusual at nearly fifty years old? I suspect by this time in life, a lot of people would say their partner is their best friend but I could be controversial here, but I am not clear that is a good thing. To me this hints at your partner knowing everything about you, the whole no secrets thing, but I think most people have things that go on in their mind that they wouldn’t want anybody to know though since my filter isn’t good on this perhaps I am not the best person to comment on secrets. Whether it is my autistic traits or not, I am sometimes told I provide too much information. I’m getting side-tracked again. I think there are things that you might tell your best friend that you wouldn’t want to tell your partner.

Looking back over the years, I would say that I have had best friends up until the time I went to college at sixteen when I would say the number of good friends I had increased and I became, at least loosely, part of a group. It is from this time forward that I would say no one person could be defined as best. So perhaps it is better to look at the attributes that make a good friend.

First and foremost perhaps is that a good friend is someone that provides something by just being near me. Is it comfort, reassurance or just knowing that I belong to a group? I am not sure. Certainly being part of even a noncommunicative group can provide a way of lessening loneliness though equally being in a group can also highlight the loneliness of your life. It seems to me that this is a reason not to define oneself by a group, it isn’t taking responsibility for my emotions. I have felt terrible loneliness because I haven’t felt wanted or needed and rather than reaching out to people and explaining that, I have taken the path that can spiral down into suicide. If my friend was in such pain I would want to spot it and talk to them about how they feel, or at least be available to support them if they asked for it.

I am beginning to see the similarities between the group I belonged to at sixteen and some of the ones I belong to now. With my cycling friends, we will talk about how are lives are going, the challenges we are facing. Our focus will mainly be on friends, family and our health. I will often be a listener rather than a contributor in this group. I struggle to tell people what I have done often because I can’t remember. I won’t discuss decisions I am trying to make and I don’t tend to mention my health unless asked. I guess I just don’t feel my story is worth being told even though I do like to hear what my friends are dealing with. Looks like an opportunity to reverse that unworthiness assumption then. Perhaps a bit of preparation before I go cycling might help.

Friends also do things together. They celebrate things when things go well and support each other when things take a turn for the worse. I was amazed at the number of people that came to the 15th anniversary of my liver transplant, it was mind blowing to realise that so many people had gathered in one place to celebrate my life. I have tried to be there for my friends when they are struggling. I am not sure I have given them to same opportunity. I think that is a shame and rather sad.

I am feeling the need to list all my friends and look at how I treat them. I have a feeling that I don’t appreciate them enough. I don’t make enough effort to support them. I don’t do enough to help them support me. But I am talking about my friends here, or am I talking about myself? I suspect the statements may be interchangeable. You know, I am autistic and this is probably always going to be a struggle but that is okay, struggle is where I will learn things. If I can look at my friends and see what I can do better perhaps I will also learn what I can do for myself.