Teens with autism can’t always know whether people are being nice, mean or if they are trying to bully them. This is why they must receive the necessary guidance to avoid unpleasant situations with those they meet.
In addition to this, they should also be taught how to recognize when someone is being friendly, and how to reciprocate those actions. When making new friends, you should choose a person willing to be kind.
How to know if someone wants to be your friend?
When people want to be nice, they usually smile and look you in the eye. They may use some phrases to let you know that they enjoy your company.
Phrases such as: “I like going out with you” and “I like talking to you” indicate that they feel comfortable around you. If someone likes spending time with you, they will answer affirmatively when you ask them to do something together. But sometimes they may tell you no if they are busy, not feeling well, or they are simply not willing to go out.
In this case, you could wait for a better time to ask them again to do any activity, either after school or on any other day. If the person doesn’t want to be your friend or hang out with you, it is better not to insist.
How can I know when someone is being mean?
There are kind and mean people everywhere. In time, we can learn to recognize them and know with whom it is better to interact. If you notice any of these signs: they interrupt you when you speak, they don’t include you in their activities, use nicknames to refer to you, or hurt you physically, walk away from them.
On the other hand, if someone laughs when you are close by, they can either be laughing with you or at you. If they laugh at you, they are not being friendly.
How can you tell the difference? People will laugh with you when something funny happens or if you make a joke. On the contrary, if someone laughs at you, it is because they are making fun of the way you look or talk. Mocking other people is never kind or friendly.
What should I do about it?
If someone behaves badly, walk away from him/her immediately. If they try to make fun of you on social media or send you text messages you don’t like, simply don’t respond to any of his/her comments.
Contact an adult you trust and tell them about the incident. It can be a family member, a teacher, or a friend. They will help you decide what to do in these situations. Most of the time, it is best to ignore the people that are trying to mock you and find someone else to start a friendship.
Don’t forget that you are a valuable human being who deserves respect, consideration, and kind treatment. Those who don’t treat you kindly do not deserve your company.
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