Q: My son spends a lot of time by himself. He doesn’t have friends to call or to invite him out. He loves hiking, painting, music, action movies, playing basketball and more! He has a lot of interests, but no one to share them with outside of our family. When I ask, he says he wants to make friends—and I think he doesn’t know how. Our neighbor’s college-age son, who has stayed in touch, says he would like to help my son get out and meet people. I’m not exactly sure how he can help. Does The Arc have any resources or suggestions?
A: It sounds like your son has a lot to offer as a friend, and it’s wonderful that he already has someone who wants to help! You could share our Creating Connections workbook with your son and the neighbor’s son as a place to start. The workbook will help your son identify his strengths and interests, think about his current relationships, develop an action plan for how and where to meet potential friends, and define what a good and bad friend looks like. The neighbor’s son, if he’s interested, could be his “community connector.” He can support your son in building meaningful relationships and helping others see and appreciate who your son is as a person and friend. The workbook will also guide the neighbor’s son to ask your son about his preferences, what kind of support he needs and what boundaries he wants to have with friends. Download the Creating Connections Workbook here