Aspie Dating Tips by Zach Zaborny
Written on 16th Mar 2015 by Alex Lowery
Today we have a guest article by Zach Zaborny. Zach has Asperger Syndrome and is from Fargo and provides talks around the USA and internationally. He has a website of his own that you can view here. The article he sent me is about dating tips for people on the spectrum. This is a subject we haven’t had much of on this blog, because dating is something that I know nothing about, so it’s good to read another autistic person’s pespective on dating. I think some of these tips may be really helpful for people on the spectrum and even people in general. Feel free to read below.
Dating can be tough for everyone, for those both on and off the autism spectrum. On a first date anyone can get nervous, anyone can have trouble figuring out the right questions to ask and anyone can have a good or bad date. As an Aspie, I hope to one day get into a relationship and begin dating someone, but I know that like many things in life, finding someone takes time and effort. Although I haven’t been on a great number of dates, I feel like I’ve been on enough to at least give some advice on how to act and what to say, so, here are my tips
1. Try and meet for coffee, soda or a drink on your first date, not for a full meal. I always prefer meeting for coffee or a drink on the first date for two reasons. First, it’s less time than a full meal would be and second, it’s more relaxed and casual than a meal. If you meet for coffee, the time it takes you to drink a cup of coffee is significantly less than ordering and eating a meal. This allows for a smaller introduction with just enough time to enjoy getting to know the person without spending too much time together. A first date is meant to be an introduction to someone and later dates are meant to be longer events. Also, a meal on the first date can feel more formal and if the date isn’t going well and you want to leave, it’s much easier to leave during coffee than it is during a meal, as coffee is a much more laid back, casual setting.
2. Have a few questions prepared ahead of time. You don’t have to have the entire conversation planned out, but have a few generic questions prepared ahead of time so you know what you want to say initially. If it helps you, write some questions on a note card and take the note card with you on the date. The questions can be as simple as, “What do you like to do for fun?” or “What kind of music do you like?” Those questions are simple and they are great because they cause the other person to ask you the same questions back, so they can learn about you.
3. Try and keep your question answers to 30 seconds or less. I know that sometimes I have a tendency to get long-winded on an answer and go into detail for a few minutes on a simple question. If you can try to answer your question in one or two sentences, that is usually a good rule. More in-depth questions that might come later on, allow for more detailed and longer answers. At first though, keep your answers short, so that you don’t overtake the conversation by mistake.
4. If you have a hard time with eye contact, try to look at the top of the person’s nose. This works because you are still looking eye level with them, without actually having to look directly at their eyes. Another good spot to look at is a person’s forehead; still close enough to the eyes, but not directly at them. Of course, if you are okay with eye contact, then by all means, look the person in the eyes as much as you can.
Although these tips may not fit every dating situation, I feel like they are simple enough to be applied to almost every first date. They are pretty easy to remember and if you practice them, I think you will have good success.
I am by no means an expert on dating or relationships, but I hope that these few tips will help you.
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