People need people to thrive. Numerous studies in the last decade point to social networks as a critical variable for longevity, and for general functionality and thriving.
As both a teacher and a parent, I see articles and videos about special needs kids, and to teach your kids to be kind and to be friends with them.
Kindness is reasonable. Getting to know someone who seems different than you is reasonable. But if you get to know someone a little and really just don’t care for them, are you going to be friends with them because they’re different?
As we get older, we don’t generally spend social time with people we don’t like (unless maybe we’re related to them). It seems we don’t even spend time with people we do like! I don’t know anyone (that I know of) who is friends with someone they don’t like just to provide a friend.
It’s not limited to special needs people. We have an epidemic of loneliness and isolation right now, causing or feeding record numbers of people with depression.
Where is the balance? Whose responsibility is it to be the social network for people who don’t have one?
We, collectively, can’t even agree on helping people who need money, which is (or seems like it should be) less complicated than helping with social-emotional support.
What do you think? Whose responsibility is it to provide the village, now that villages are gone?