I Only Pester You Because I Like You
A Note to the Neurotypical Friends of Neurodivergents
My friends are the real deal. They are there with me when I am so overwhelmed by my emotions that I cannot form words. When I am covered in snot and tears because life came at me fast and I didn’t respond well. My friends are there to pick me up, wash my face, and some of them have food at the ready for those long talk-it-out-sessions. These friends are also the people who shout the loudest when I triumph. They turn out loud and proud (and with Pom-Poms if they are available) to cheer me on when I reach heights that I only dreamed of before.
My squad of friends goes through it with me and they are there for me. That’s why I love letting them know I care. Sometimes, like Elvira in Animaniacs, my love is a bit too tough.
It’s not on purpose. I promise. Neurodivergents like me often get really excited to love on the people who love us. We want to talk to you, via phone, DMs, texts, emails, or spamming memes on your Facebook page. It comes off as clingy, oversharing, neurosis…but it’s just how we attach to our people.
I am that friend who will text “whatcha doin?” if I hadn’t heard from you in a few hours to a few days. Some of my friends get a good morning text, while others get a once-a-week phone download of the craziness that I’ve been up to. Others remain in constant conversation with me all damn day. We have a group chat(s) and the convo goes on and on, one chat goes across two or three time zones. So it feels like the conversation keeps going around the clock.
I have cultivated these friend groups over the years as a result of some very unfortunate relationships. I didn’t get my diagnosis until I was in my mid30s. So I was battling my own brain for years unable to understand that I was trying to control the symptoms of a condition. Symptoms and not vices, behaviors, or flaws that I could fix by hard work and something about bootstraps. It was a lose-lose situation and oftentimes, I lost friends.
Now, I have different people so that one person is NOT bearing the brunt of my “madness”—I mean that in the Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter vibe. I’m a lot. It’s a lot to take in, and a lot for one person to handle. So I spread the wealth of ME! My friend in the Middle East can chat with me in the middle of the night after my East Coast friends have called it quits. I have friends to love to text and their thumbs got me when I need that rant mode. Others are ready to pick up the phone for a good old fashion tea-spilling session.
But I am the friend in the Spongebob TikTok Challenge who is NOT Squidward.
I recently welcomed a new friend into my circle who is VERY neurotypical. These days, I warn these new people about me. I. AM. A. LOT. For this new person, I rolled out the standard explanation of my neurodivergence, which I call the neurodivergent disclaimer. New Friend thought such a thing was odd and seemed to just “meh” over the disclaimer.
It only took a month before I had to remind them that they accepted the neurodivergent disclaimer and no takebacks. Sometimes, I really feel sorry for the rational, practical, neurotypicals in my squad. I love y’all and I need you to know that I only pester you because I love you.
You are the people who keep me tethered to the ground when the dreams get so big that I need help keeping my feet planted. Every time you say “you know that other people see that as disturbing behavior, right?” and just “What?” it teaches me how to interact outside my shiny circles. And I know that I am teaching you. I noticed how you can hang with my smartassery a little longer these days before asking “What the hell are you saying?”
I advise every neurodivergent person to go find your people. Build yourself a squad. My friends are my lifebuoys in a sea of unbending neurotypical nonsense. They see me, they get me, and I love them for it. Even if that love is sometimes a little too much.
Stay shiny my friends.