Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Report on an Organised Social on Saturday Night

I went to another organised social on Saturday night. This one was fantastic for me. Although there were a few slightly difficult moments I was very happy throughout the night.

When I entered the pub, I instantly saw a number of people I knew and the first person to say 'Hi' was Maria, who I am particularly fond of. Now my fondness for Maria is not a sexual thing, though she is an attractive lady. To cut a long story short, when I met her at a previous event I found her very interesting, as I thought she was acting rather suggestively towards me, being rather touchy, mouthing the words of the song being played towards me etc, and this is not something I'm used to. On another occasion I managed to get to know her better as a person in a quieter setting, and we had a good conversation and got to know each other better.

Now I went to sit down close to the main circle where people were sitting, just slightly to the edge as there wasn't a space as such. It's hard in any case to join in the conversation, but one thing Maria is very good at is including anyone who may not be interacting much and helping them mix in. So I was very happy. I chatted to several others too, including Martin, a quiet guy, whom I feel I get along with quite easily and is someone whom I feel is on a similar wavelength to me.

There was another group at the other side of the bar, and I found an approriate time to move towards that end and successfully managed in mingle with a number of people, some I knew and some I didn't. It is worth noting that conversations can often revolve around the different events the organisation puts on etc.

One interesting encounter was when I confidently approached one girl and had mistaken her for someone else! (they did look similar) This was quite a good thing, it got her laughing a bit as made a nice ice-breaker.

During the course of the evening I was pleasantly suprised to see a quite a few people I was not expecting to be there. Though it was a good evening there were a few little problems. One is that after a couple of hours of socialising I do get tired, especially in a noisy environment. Sometimes it became hard to even hear what others are saying. Maria was very helpful here. If I ever looked a bit anxious I could just explain that I'm getting tired etc. I haven't told her I have Asperger's yet by  the way.

As the place was becoming very crowded and hot, we decided at one point we would move onto another bar. However the process of deciding to move on and then actually moving on was at least half an hour. I tried to mingle whilst waiting around, and I fear that one lady, who I hadn't met before may have misunderstood me. She said something like "why can't you just enjoy it."

This is one thing I want people to understand. Someone with Asperger's may at times look like they're anxious, not because they're upset or being grumpy etc, but because they're having to concentrate harder than everyone else in the social situation and the fact their concentrating invariably cannot be hidden from on their facial expressions. I tried to explain to the lady that I was tired in some sort of way (didn't say I had asperger's).

At one point I said to Maria, that we needed to find out who was going on and where we were going, so we wouldn't all lose each other. She suggested I tried to round people up to see who was going. I attempted, didn't feel I was doing very well at it, but Maria said "I like it."

In the end a large group of about a dozen of us in total went onto another place. I walked with Maria and a couple of others. Though I was very happy, I often find when people are joking around (as they do when walking from one pub to another) the conversation goes above my head. I do have my sense of humour but it doesn't really fit in with those types of situations.

We arrived at a club by the beach with an outdoor seating area. We initially went into the main club room to buy our drinks. This is not an environment I'm that familiar with, and I was overawed with the crowds and the noise. Maria kept saying to me, in a caring and friendly way "are you alright?" I just explained that there's  lot to digest and she totally understood. Maria told me she worries about everyone in this way.

We sat in the outside area to have our drinks. The others who came along joined us. All in all it was a very nice time. At around 1:00am, Maria's friend really wanted to go home, she didn't like the place, but Maria wanted to stay out until sunrise. Well I was not prepared to stay till sunrise but was not in a rush to go home either, and the idea was for the three of us to share a taxi home, as we all live in the same direction. I think I even may have used a few skills in negotiation that night, in trying to find out exactly what people wanted to do to clarify things and see if we could agree to something. I suggested that we make a compromise by agreeing on a time to leave. Maria eventually decided that she'll "have to be an adult" and go earlier than she'd like.

Maria, her friend and myself all got a taxi home, which was really nice. It was wonderful to feel included in the group. I think I helped to negotiate how we would share the costs of the journey too. All in all a great night out and felt very much on a high afterwards.

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