This is a true story: “How a Geeky Aspergers Nerd like Me Got a Girlfriend” – By Michael
Hi everyone. My names is Michael and I have Aspergers (high functioning). I live in the Boston area and I’m 27 years old. I have a question for you: How can a guy with Aspergers – whose social skills suck, especially with the opposite sex – ever hope to get a girlfriend? Well I did it! And if I can do it – so can you!!!
For whatever its worth, I’m going to share with you some relationship advice. Maybe I can save you several years of “trial-and-error” like I had to go through. Trust me, it would be a lot easier – and a whole lot less painful – to simply go and beat your head against a brick wall for 15 minutes than to try to get a girl interested in dating you when you have no social skills.
So …here are my suggestions. And believe me, none of this can natural to me:
1. Be patient. Life does not usually work on the timetable you imagine. Your future sweetheart may cross your way tomorrow or a couple of years from now. A healthy romantic relationship will color your world regardless of how old you might be, therefore do not hurry into things, or you may wind up forcing the wrong individual into the "significant other" role, which will cause pain for everybody involved.
2. Put your arm around her shoulder for just a few seconds -- nothing perverted or harassing. Do not simply always wait for them to do it first. If they don't like it, they will certainly inform you. But touching someone conveys to them that you find them appealing, as well as that you are fairly self-confident. These two points can make someone feel more drawn to you.
3. Become an excellent conversationalist. Do not babble on and on about your mommy, your kitty, or your assortment of insects. A good conversationalist keeps finding things they have in common, and they do it in a laid-back, non-intrusive way. For instance, there is a distinction between asking someone "Have you ever held a snake?" and saying "Have you ever felt the tiny muscles on a snake as it crawls up your arm?" The second is much more descriptive, but provides too much information about a snake experience.
4. Close the deal. If you really like the girl you are speaking with, be the one who finishes the conversation. This helps prevent the discussion from lingering into an uncomfortable silence, demonstrates you are busy (i.e. not needy or desperate), and enables you to finish the dialogue on a positive note. Whenever you end the conversation, merely say "Hey, I have got to go, but it's been great speaking with you. Want to continue this over a cup of java someday?" If she says yes, get her telephone number and move on. If she says no, simply move on. That is just about all there's to it.
5. Do not use "canned material". The easiest method to come up with a connection with somebody is to come from the heart and live totally in the moment. What you say is not nearly as important as the way you say it. Meeting new people is all about exchanging energy, not being a wordsmith. When in doubt, just say “HEY.”
6. Flirt. A major part of being alluring is understanding how to flirt, and the people who are greatest at flirting are people who are forever in a fun and relaxed mind-set. It is the complete opposite of being serious, anxious, or bad-tempered.
7. Help someone. It may be her, or it may be someone else in the room. Is she carrying something heavy? Say "allow me to help you with that" and carry it for her. Is somebody short on funds? Give them a few bucks so they can eat lunch or dinner. Hold the door open for the next individual coming through, even if they have not reached it yet. Put simply, be a kind and generous individual. It will not only get her attention, but it will also cause you to feel good about yourself (you shouldn't be phony or do nice things only when she is around, though). Help folks on a regular basis, in a wide variety of ways. She will notice, and so will the folks she knows, and on the occasion that you come up in a conversation, people will say "He's such a good guy!" and this young lady will begin pondering "Yes...he is, isn't he?"
8. If you discover that girls have an interest in you and then pull away, stop being clingy. You may be scaring girls off with your enthusiasm (which can come off as desperation). Slow down, and steer clear of the temptation to idealize every girl you like. When you are using or even thinking the word "perfect" then you may be putting her on a pedestal. Fill your life with so many things to do that you are too busy to get obsessed with any one girl.
9. If you find yourself getting plenty of female friends but no "girlfriend", avoid the friend zone. The important thing here is to avoid investing time and effort in girls who don't wish to become your sweetheart. That may sound cold, but the truth is that you are "tying up" your feelings by keeping a close acquaintanceship with somebody that you have feelings for, but who is not romantically interested in you. It will be hard to develop feelings for someone else if your feelings for this individual are fueled each time you hang out. Even if you do find a way to develop feelings for another person, your heart might continually be torn and perplexed, and this will be tough to give your new relationship your undivided affection. Occasionally a good thing to do is to take a "friend zone" friendship down to the level of buddy so you can focus more on courting.
10. Keep an open mind. If you are seeking a girlfriend (i.e., someone who will be in a committed romantic relationship with you) you ought to be more willing to forget about initial shyness and clumsiness so that you can get acquainted with an individual over more than one date. Your future lover may be somebody that you initially did not view as "girlfriend material" but as you hang out with the girl, you find a lot more things you like about her and you all of a sudden end up romantically interested.
11. Make her chuckle. Girls love dudes that have a great sense of humor, and the answer to having a good sense of humor is to be fun loving, and unabashedly yourself. If you are not making fun of people in a mean-spirited way, anything goes. Is your sense of humor kinda dark? Slapstick? Cynical? Go with it, and do not be worried about whether she thinks you are humorous because you know what? If she cannot laugh along with you, then this is not a girl you need to invest lots of time with anyway. And you never know? Perhaps another girl (one whom you hadn't noticed before) will be laughing so hard that her soft drink comes out of her nostril, and maybe you have just found your true love.
12. Practice genuinely complimenting girls. Challenge yourself to find something beautiful in any girl. It does not need to be something physical; it can be a cute gesture, an admirable characteristic, a skill or talent. Recognizing and expressing true gratitude for any and every girl could make you more interested in girls and girls more interested in you.
13. Put yourself out there. It's not necessary to hit the pubs or the cafes if that is not your scene, but you need to do something that exposes you to new folks. Follow interests and pursuits that mean a great deal to you. The World Wide Web has made this a great deal easier. Check community forums, listings, classified ads, and listservs for events in your area or meetings which are likely to attract people with similar hobbies or interests. You may also check out new interests or activities--you might find a brand new passion and a lover in one fell swoop!
14. Something you should look at is letting her know you're single. Putting on a "single bracelet" is going to do the trick plus they are stylish. You can find nice ones at various online stores.
15. Talk to as many girls as you possibly can, not just girls you are instantly drawn to. This gives you sound practice in speaking with girls (particularly if you have any anxiousness about that) and studying how girls really feel and think, in general. Turn it into a goal to speak to a minimum of 5 new girls each day (in person, any girl, any age, any physical appearance, and any personality).
16. When you go on dates with girls, break the touch barrier. If you are afraid of touching somebody the wrong way, to the degree that you hesitate and never touch them first, your motives are good and all, but your "touch paralysis" is not assisting you at all in the romantic department. Take a couple of minor "touch risks".
Anyway, these things really worked for me. I was able to get a date with someone I really liked, and perhaps more importantly, the more she got to know me – the more she seemed to like me.
Oh …and did I tell you I proposed to my girlfriend (whose name is Kristi by the way) after only 3 weeks of dating her? No kiddin’! Here’s how that went down:
I wanted the proposal to be a surprise (as much as possible anyway …Kristi had a hunch that it was coming)…
…not something boring like proposing over dinner …or something obvious like proposing at a moment she would clearly expect …or something bizarre like proposing with a ring tucked secretly in a plate of Linguini with Clam sauce.
I thought proposing in a church would be appropriate. Her brother is a pastor …my father was a pastor. And we had agreed from the beginning that God would be the foundation of our relationship.
So I had my mom call the secretary at Park Place Church of God (where my father pastored for 14 years) to see if she would be available to unlock the church on a Saturday night (February 14th – Valentine’s Day – at exactly 6:00 PM). Mom explained to the lady that I would be proposing to my girlfriend at that time. The secretary said “yes” …she would be at the south entrance to unlock the door at 6:00 PM.
But I still had a problem… If I told Kristi I wanted to take her to church on Valentine’s Day – she would be very suspicious. What would be my excuse? This will be too obvious.
Valentine’s Day came, and I didn’t have any bright ideas about how to get her to church without blowing my cover.
At 5:45 that evening, my mother called to ask if I had picked up some CDs off her front porch and put them in the house. I told her I had. She said she put them there for a reason – they were CDs of the previous Sunday morning service, and she put them out to be picked up by the CD delivery-person.
Then it hit me… this might be a good excuse to get Kristi to Park Place without being too transparent.
I lied and told her that mom had just called and needed us to go to the church to pick up some CDs of last Sunday’s service. And we needed to do that now before we went out to eat. She said “o.k.”
We got to the church at precisely 6:00 PM. The secretary (my partner-in-crime) greeted us and let us in.
I then offered to show Kristi around the church before we picked up the CDs from the office (which, there were no CDs).
We went down the Hallway of Former Pastors, and I showed her a picture of my father hanging on the wall. I recalled my father telling me that I would know when I found someone worth marrying, because I would love everything about her. This was definitely the case with Kristi. I had seen the good, bad and ugly – and loved it all unconditionally.
We went to the private Chapel and snooped around… passed the Sunday school rooms… then we on to the sanctuary.
I had an expensive ring burning a hole in my pocket, and I was eager to give it to her…
We walked slowly down the long aisle toward the front of the huge, empty sanctuary. It seemed very quiet, dark and somewhat haunted (by good rather than evil spirits, of course)… our footsteps echoing off the walls. I envisioned my father up there behind the pulpit – delivering his sermon -- as I had seen him do many times before.
We ended up at the altar and stopped for a moment. Something told me to “do it now.” So I got on my knees …began to cry …held the ring up to Kristi …and asked her to marry me.
She took the ring …said “yes” …and cried with me. We kneeled there -- hugging and crying for several minutes. After we both gained our composure, we headed back to the south exit.
On our way out, the secretary -- curious about how things went -- asked, “Well, did she say yes?” Kristi laughed, showed her the ring on her finger and said, “I knew this was coming!”
Anyway …long story short, we got married 3 weeks after I proposed. Yes, we moved quickly – from first date to marriage – but it has been the best decision of my life :)
HERE’S TO YOUR FUTURE SUCCESS WITH YOUR ANGEL FROM HEAVEN,
The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook