He Said-She Said: Socializing and Asperger's Syndrome
- Thursday, July 22, 2010
EDITOR'S NOTE: Each He Said-She Said column features a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness, please click here to submit (selected questions will be posted anonymously).
QUESTION: I have made some attempts to date, and by date I mean build a close relationship with the opposite sex—even if it is just a friendship. The problem is that I have Asperger's Syndrome, a high functioning form of autism. It makes it hard to meet many people. When I do meet someone interesting, it's usually in a group. I feel expected to get to know a woman in a group before I ask her out. Asperger's makes it impossible to socialize in groups. That's probably the biggest reason I'm not really close friends with any women. I also have difficulties asking women out. I have never really gotten a yes. How do I work around my disorder to build close, opposite-sex relationships?
HE SAID: I appreciate the sincerity of your question and, although I have had no direct experience with Asperger's Syndrome, nor know the severity of your condition, I will share some thoughts that will hopefully help you in your relationships.
Asperger's Syndrome, from what I understand, affects social interaction (especially reciprocating and empathizing with the feelings of others), non-verbal communication (eye contact and awareness of body language), behavior patterns (causing repetitive body movements), and may encourage preoccupation with a certain item or subject (one-sided conversations).
Responsiveness, empathy, eye contact, body language, and listening are fundamental in any relationship, especially when you are trying to show interest in (and impress) someone new whom you would like to date. These are difficult yet crucial obstacles to overcome whether you have a diagnosed condition like yourself or just struggle with them personally, which many people do.
I would suggest trying to form close friendships with some of the guys in whatever situation you are in, if you haven't already. Although guys can be pretty "competitive" when it comes to dating women, especially in a group setting, it would be advantageous to have a couple of people who know you, your heart, your desire, your condition and whom you trust.
David had Jonathan, Moses had Aaron, and Maverick had Goose. We all need that "wingman"—someone who is looking out for our best interests (above their own at times), someone who encourages us and builds us up when we're down, a close friend who will stand by and speak the truth to us.
If a guy flies "solo" in a group speaking primarily to women, the tendency is to think the person is only out to find a date. Even though that may be your primary intention, it is always a good idea to get to know others (both guys and girls) because "you just never know" how God may use them in your life or you in theirs.
When you have your wingman in place, together approach a couple of women who you may be interested in getting to know and suggest going out or meeting sometime, like a group or double date in a sense. The whole symbolism of an "alone date" sometimes freaks people out. It carries with it so many different ideas, questions of what it represents, what it's leading to and what it means.
Recently on Singles
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Listen to Your Favorite Pastors
Add Crosswalk.com content to your siteBrowse available content