(Featured image description: Five people are sitting round a desk in a classroom talking. There are notebooks and pens on the table.)
In this post I’m going to discuss something I had noticed in my time in Japan from a social perspective. This won’t tread the ground I discussed previously but I will talk about how other people perceive someone’s interest in socialising. This will focus on a Western cultural perspective.
To give some background information, I was in Japan for two whole semesters. In these semesters my social stances towards making friends were very different. In the first term I was very eager to make friends and went about trying to forge the connections by talking to people, going to clubs and more. People said hello to me when we saw each other in the halls. In other words, I had some success in forging the connections and establishing myself. I had been able to be socially present but it eventually came at the cost of an autistic burnout because I had acted neurotypical for too long.
Yet in my second term, the opposite happened. I wasn’t able to forge connections with other people and kept away from clubs and other social activities. I also eventually dropped the friendships I had forged with other students from the first term whom were still on campus for the second term. This is because I couldn’t maintain them as well as handle everything else I had to deal with. Hence, I was mostly ignored in halls and even in the classroom myself during some social activities. I had however managed to compose myself better and not enter another autistic burnout – in part due to mainly communicating over the internet rather than in person.
It’s worth noting I had been hit by the onset of the trauma from a traumatic incident and had to back away from socialising in general. This is so I could process my thoughts and learn how to cope so I didn’t harm other people due to being volatile. By the time I had recovered from this the semester was coming to an end and I didn’t see the point in trying to make friends at that point. No other student at my uni knew this. Either way what I had noticed first-hand was this important lesson.
If you’re not perceived to be taking an interest in others in a way that is subconsciously approved by the majority people won’t take an interest in you.
I think that is an important thing that many people have come to learn over the years especially autistic, mentally ill and other disabled people who don’t/aren’t able to communicate in the way that the majority approves of. This especially applies when said “approved ways of communicating” are vague and there are double standards and cultural differences to take note of as well. It isn’t fair and that means those with anxiety, poor social skills and/or members of marginalised groups are more likely to lose out and it’s sad.
For me, how best to counteract this leads to a question of trying to find a balance between socialising to make friends and advance my social standing in the community or to be by myself and talk to few people. Finding such a balance is important as once this is found I can use it to greatly improve my life chances (and maybe others too).
From my own experience, this is something I am slowly learning as the years go by and I experience life. This happens by making and losing friends through various approaches to socialisation. This also includes alongside not socialising at all which includes letting certain friendships go as they no longer become healthy and/or sustainable. I have successfully managed to make friends whom I still keep in touch with over the years so I must be doing something right.
However, much of the hows and the whys of this “something” elude me. This is something I will need to learn sooner rather than later so I can achieve a fulfilling career and possibly a relationship (should I ever go down that route). The right people will understand this. Hence it is important to keep going and let the right people find their way into your lives.
That’s all for today.
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