My social network is quite big but there are only a very small number of people who I would call my friends. This is because when I met these people, the only mutual motivation we had, was that we liked each other’s company and wanted to carry on seeing each other. There was a natural spark between us.
This is in comparison to the people I’ve known through education and work. My initial reason for being around those people is that we were doing the same course or worked for the same company. If we had a spark, it came after the first link we had which was that mutual work project.
A mutual project is a really strong way to support my attempts at friendships initially. That’s why I have sometimes advised in my work that a helpful way for an autistic person to make friends might be through a particular setting, such as an art club or through swimming lessons. That common interest is an ice-breaker and makes socialising so much easier because you can talk about what you are doing.