Charity/well intentioned “friends”

Just a short note about an incident a few weeks ago I thought important and was reminded of when I saw a Facebook post from Autism Women’s Network:

A sweet girl told Dill the other day that she was his BFF! they met like an hour before but she really wanted to make him feel special. She is pretty, Dill was nervous but understood it was a gesture not a sincere offer to exchange info and we talked about it later. I told her when he slunk away that she would need to fight Nick for BFF rights as Dill had been friends with Nick since they were around 4 and they eat lunch together 2-3 times a week.

Please don’t presume or offer acts of charity by befriending anyone you find “special” because it actually hurts if they understand and if they don’t understand and you won’t give them your number or respond to their calls/emails that also hurts….Thanks and sorry for the lecture…Shannon

Here was the post motivating this page:

Well intentioned person who wishes to assist those they perceive to be in need of help. Helpers do not presume competence and have preconceived notions of “normalcy” based on their privilege. This separates them from an ally and often results in “help” being delivered that is inappropriate, infantilizing, and leaves the “helped” feeling further marginalized and “othered”. Be an ally, not a helper.

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