4 reasons why people on the autistic spectrum feel lonely at times

From my own experiences of being on the autistic spectrum, as well as talking to others on the spectrum, it is clear that people on the autistic spectrum can sometimes feel lonely. This is an aspect of autism that is overlooked a lot. In this blog post, I will discuss this topic further.

Making friendships is a challenge for some people on the autistic spectrum

For a good number of people on the autistic spectrum, making meaningful friendships can be challenging. One reason is because there are lots of small yet important things you need to be able to navigate when it comes to making meaningful friendships and having quality social interactions. Examples of these small yet important things in friendships include not talking about the same topic all the time, being careful not to be over empathetic, and interpreting facial expressions. People on the autistic spectrum can struggle to navigate these small yet important things, which makes it significantly harder to make meaningful friendships. This is no one’s fault, but not having a good number of meaningful friendships can lead to people on autistic spectrum feeling lonely.

Most people cannot relate to some of the challenges people on the autistic spectrum face

Certain challenges that people on the autistic spectrum face, such as autism masking, autism burnout and executive dysfunction are specific to the autistic spectrum and diagnoses similar to autism.  Therefore, people that are either not on the autism spectrum or diagnosed with something similar to autism (such as ADHD) would not be able to relate to these challenges. I have found from personal experience that this makes it harder to open up to other people. It is often easier to open up about a certain challenge to someone that can somewhat relate from their own personal experiences. If you cannot relate to a particular challenge from your own experiences, then it is generally harder for you to provide support to someone else going through that challenge. This can lead to loneliness, as it can lead to someone on the spectrum feeling like they have to deal with some of the challenges they are facing on their own if others can’t relate. However, I have written a blog post here that talks about how you can be a good friend to someone on the autistic spectrum if you cannot relate to them.

Navigating a neurotypical world is difficult for a lot of people on the spectrum

I have mentioned a few times in previous blog posts that one of the biggest and most common challenges faced by people on the autistic spectrum is navigating a neurotypical world. The reality is that for a good number of people on the autistic spectrum face daily challenges in navigating a world that isn’t always accommodating for their differences. Lots of people on the spectrum feel under a lot of pressure to meet expectations of a neurotypical society, and this pressure can be very overwhelming. This creates loneliness and isolation because it can make some autistic people feel that society won’t embrace their differences and accept them for who they truly are.

There are still misconceptions and stigma when it comes to the autistic spectrum

This point is every similar to the paragraph above. Although there has been more focus on autism awareness and some focus on autism acceptance recently, there is still a lot of misconceptions and stigma when it comes to the autistic spectrum. For example, the terms “high-functioning” and “low-functioning” are still being used to describe individuals on the autistic spectrum, even though these terms are extremely misleading. The fact that there are still misconceptions and stigma means that people on the autistic spectrum feel that they have no choice but to mask their true selves in front of society. Constantly having to mask because of the misconceptions and stigma can lead to the feeling of losing a sense of identity. Therefore, it can feel very lonely and isolating having to constantly hide their true selves in front of society, just because there are still misconceptions and stigma that exists.

18 thoughts on “4 reasons why people on the autistic spectrum feel lonely at times

  1. Hi Niraj, I cannot begin to imagine how you feel. My son is on the spectrum, he has told me before that what he finds most difficult is showing interest in another person’s conversation topic. I tell him, he needs to keep working on it, and quite honestly speaking, even people without intellectual disabilities have a hard time.

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  2. Hello there, I agree with your post content. I have a fried who is autistic and he took a long time before telling me, and when he did I tanked him for trusting me. Since then he opened up about his condition and we had meaningful conversations about hoe it affected his relationships with others. He told me some of the stuff you wrote here. It’s thanks to posts like this and research online that I learnt how to talk to him to make him feel at ease and not at all under pressure!

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  3. Niraj, thank you for inviting me to read your blog posts. My daughter is autistic. We love each other very much and we try very hard to understand one another, but sometimes, she doesn’t have the words. These posts are so insightful. Keep up the great work!

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  4. I really enjoyed this post. I often feel lonely at work. A challenge I find in addition to what you wrote is that I cannot cope with two many events at once. At work I am either working or not. I cannot keep up with being sociable and doing my job. I cannot switch between work mode and then trying to socially interact. This means I am hyper focused on my work. Though I want to socially mix, I cannot cope with both. This means at lunch times, I don’t get asked to ever go with my colleagues for food. That lunch time is when I can relax and actually focus on interacting in a way which brings meaningful interactions into my life.

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  5. Hi Niraj! I really enjoyed reading this post. I appreciate your authenticity and these insights you shared with us. I will have to have a proper look through your blog, as I’m sure there is plenty of great content in here. Cheers!

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