Autism effects every aspect of their life. Autism isn’t a program running on a mental computer. Autism is the operating system.
Autism education is deeply needed. There is so much the world doesn’t know about Autism, and that information gap has likely caused your friend a lot of pain. Seizing every opportunity to close that gap could be their way to make the world a safer, kinder place.
They might not know their personality outside of Autism. Sometimes when people have spent so long changing themselves to avoid conflict, they genuinely don’t know much about what they like, want, or think, because they’ve always been discouraged from expressing it.
Autism can be a special interest. Autistics obsessively learn about, think about, and enjoy being around specific topics. On TV those interests are usually something like trains or superheroes, but it really can be anything — including Autism itself.
Working through trauma isn’t something you can turn off. There can be decades of painful memories, weird habits, and confusing interactions that start making sense for the first time when we get diagnosed. That process is continuous — it doesn’t stop when we’re with friends.
Your friend might trust you more than other people. Your friend may talk about Autism more around you than other people, and that may be because they know you don’t judge them for their Autism.
There’s nothing unhealthy about an Autistic person being very focused on Autism. However, in my life, things calmed down after a while. Getting diagnosed as Autistic as an adult was a massive reckoning.
After years of trying to mask my Autism, being blatantly focused on Autism was a healing act of self-love. That said, over a year after my diagnosis, I have a lot better idea of who I am and what I like, and don’t feel the same crushing urgency to focus on Autism all the time.
For me, personally, it was like a dam breaking - first there was a huge wave that drowned everything else around it, but then that went away. The river is still flowing, but it's not fighting to overcome being held back for so long the way it was before.
Of course, everyone is different. Just know that there are a lot of valid, pressing reasons someone might be “obsessed” with their Autism. In situations like these, a little patience goes a long way. End