Thursday, 11 November 2010

Please, Please, Please, Allow Me To Explain Myself

Today I had a conversation with my parents that unfortunately was rather disheartening. Sometimes it really gets to me the fact that as a 28 year old I have never had one girlfriend in my life. When it comes to women, I feel very much like an Older X Factor or American Idol contestant, who is a great singer, yet has tried for years to make it for years in the music industry and has never had their big break.

I have tried a lot in the past seven years, placing ads in the local paper and responding to them, siging up to a few dating websites, and trying to build a social life in general. Out of all the people I meet at work and other groups, only half of them will be female, a smaller percentage will be nearer my age, some of which will be in relationships, and others of which will not fancy me and vice versa or are just not suitable dating material. Most of the time on the Internet I will see a girl who looks interesting, send a quick message to say "Hi, how's your week going?" etc and the vast majority of the time they'll never get back.

Now my Mum thought (very hope she's wrong, as she doesn't see me in social situations much these days) that my problem may be that people first notice my Asperger tendencies about me, and may instinctively believe I am not ready for a relationship. I can quite suspect that people will notice me looking rather anxious, having to concentrate hard to follow conversations, and maybe appearing a bit distant and not getting jokes. I often feel that many people, though certainly not all but probably the majority of younger people, just don't really know how to relate to me, They'll be friendly enough, but they might think there is something not quite right that they cannot pinpoint, and wouldn't be inclined to invite me to social events or have me as part of their "in" crowd.

Now this is where I say "please, please, please, allow me to explain myself." I never know exactly what people are thinking, but if my suspicions are correct, I really want to have the chance to explain why I am that way. I would hope that if the people in question, especially potential girlfriends, realised the reason why I may appear anxious or uneasy in social settings is because I am having to concentrate harder to follow what's benig said, which invariably will impact my facial expressions, and if I can explain the complixities of jokes and reason with them how abusard it is to expect one to understand a joke in a flash etc, then I would hope people would take back any reservations they have about me as a person. If this is with potenial girlfriends, that they would be persuaded not to rule me out, knowing that these things do not signify unfriendliness, but are things that are just unavoidable (to a degree) for one with Asperger's.

On a slightly different note, what I really need right now is a viable means to meet many local, single girls of my age group. I am good looking and think I have much I can offer a girl but don't get the chance to demostrate my abilities in this way. I don't think pubs and clubs are that viable for me. Internet dating seems like a dead-end for me. In other situations one may bump into the odd single girl here and there, but when it's only the odd girl there is a limited chance the two of you would be compatable (I'm not settling for any old girl.) Maybe I should attempt to organise something?

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Asperger's Syndrome - Growing Up With A Developmental Delay

One thing often said about having Asperger's Syndrome, that I can testify to, that it involves having a developmental delay in learning and understand social interaction. One with Asperger's may eventually pick up all the social skills that others have, but the whole process takes longer. Things many people may learn instinctively in their childhood and teens, people with Asperger's may not learn until their 20's and 30's or later.

Now this may not be much of a problem if every human being around you shared the same developmental delay. However the problem arises when you are being educated in schools when every one else is years ahead of you in terms of their social understanding than you are. You find that others in school are telling jokes that go way over your head, and may interact on a far more complex level that is  beyond your capability. It can make you feel quite threatened by parties or large assemblies of social gatherings. Perhaps a bigger problem can arise when teachers organise group work or activity events, and organise games of various types. The problem is distinct because no one can identify this developmental delay by looking so no one may make any allowance for you, as they would for people who have a physical or more obvious mental problem.

This can cause the one with a developmental delay to develop many complexes when growing up. One way one may deal with the issue is by becoming a loner. I think that happened somewhat in my case. But a more interesting complex which I developed in my teens is something I have called "old man syndrome." You can probably make a rough guess of what this means. I will attempt to explain more in a future post

Friday, 5 November 2010

My Three Step Plan for Arranging to Meet Up

In my last post I spoke about devising a plan to try to arrange to meet up with Maria, whom I'd got to know earlier this year on organised socials. Well today I think I have devised my plan.

The background to this situation is that I have already tried the subtle approach of simply sending a Facebook message to suggest we catch up, and I have recieved no reply. And I have decided I will not take a 'No' without a fight! Although I am genuinely not seeking a relationship with Maria, I want to remain in touch as a friend and have her as part of my social life, and have more than just a bit of interaction on Facebook.

Before explaining my three step plan, I wish to explain that whenever I'm trying to develop a closer relationship with a woman, the thing I want to avoid most is not being able to develop the relationship and not have her know that I was intersted. If I am lacking any positive responses, I still want to ensure that the girl knows clearly that I am seeking a relationship with her. I never know whether girls are suspecting that I am trying to develop a relationship, and I certainly do not want to find that the girl would have been prepared to enter a relationship with me, if only she'd known that I was interested.

Now with Maria I have devised a three step plan to try to arrange to meet up with her. I may not end up doing this and find a better approach, so nothing is set in stone. But for now here it goes:

Step 1: Continue to interact on Facebook, including hopefully a bit of online chat, and bring in a few bolder hints that I seriously want to meet up with her. I may say something like "really hope I haven't seen the last of you." It is possible that one or two bolder hints may give rise to a get together in some capacity. But I think it is more likely to act as the warm-up process for Step 2.

Step 2: Right now it is seven weeks till Christmas. In another five to six  weeks it'll be time to send Christmas cards. I will definitely send Maria a Christmas card, probably via Facebook, and if I have not yet managed to see her by then, I will send an accompanying message with it. In my message I will withold from telling her that I have a crush on her or going that far, but I will state very clearly that I am very fond of her. I will explain why, and be quite specific about the ways in which I've enjoyed her company. I will say that I was disappointed not to hear from you last time and I really, really want to meet up, in some capacity or another, one to one or in a larger group, but that I am not looking for a relationship with her and it is not a sexual thing. Maria knows that I am very honest, and I will remind her of that fact, so she remembers to take my words literally (I wish everyone would be honest about their intentions, because dishonesty causes an enormous amount of confusion!)

Step 3: If I get a 'No' type of message from Maria after Step 2, and there remains little prospect of us meeting up, or if I fail to get any reply within about a month say, I will send Maria a link to this blog. Now I am very selective about whom I share this blog with. I share it with my family and a few close friends, but there are some people I would not share it with because having them know all my thoughts could make some situations rather awkward for me. Maria knows nothing about this blog. However one way or another I want to her read it eventually. And if it doesn't look like she's prepared to have me in her social life, it is imperitive that she knows my feelings about her and what I am trying to achieve. Indeed, it may be that by reading this blog, she might think it is so good (don't want to boast but that's what many people think) and she realises what she means to me, that she decides that she really wants to meet up with me and develop a closer friendship after all. She certainly won't forget about me easily!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Why Can't We Just Meet Up As Friends?

In a previous post I spoke about trying to arrange to meet up with Maria, who I've got to know on organised socials and am immensely fond of, not in a sexual way, but really just as a person.

I sent the Facebook message on the Tuesday of the week before I was off work, and she did initially get back to me on Facebook chat to say she'd got my message and it seemed as if she really was keen to meet up, so I told her just to let me know when you're free. However, during the week she never did get back to me, so as it happened I have not seen her since the 25th July, and have not yet met up with her outside an organised social. (She appears not to be going to organised socials for the moment, and I myself have recently unsubscribed from the group, although I may well go back next year. Before anyone asks, the reason for me not going is not because of Maria, although it may be a factor in my decision. The main reason I'm not subscribed is because I'm starting to tire of it generally, having other commitments such as a course I'm doing, and that I'm less inclined to want to go out in winter.)

I have had some interaction with Maria on Facebook since, and my plan has been to leave it for a few weeks and then get back to her in some way. How I'll do that is something I'm still working on, but I have a few ideas.

In discussing the matter with my parents, it made me think of a various taboos in social life, unwritten rules relating to how to mix with the opposite sex, which quite frankly, are piontless and benfit no-one. They are nothing more than obstacles to maintaining and building friendships. Let me explan:

Meeting Up As For a Coffee and Chat Just As Friends. Why Not?

Why is it a taboo for a man and woman to meet up one-to-one, just as friends. Maybe it isn't in all circles, and there may be some exceptions here. I understand if one or other partner is married, it could cause a problem sometimes if their partner was concerned that it would jeopardise their relationship. But why is it a problem for two single people of the opposite sex to meet up for a drink and chat?

Why does arranging to meet up with a member of the opposite sex have to involve working up some other excuse to get together, rather than just having a 30-60 minute conversation? Or alternatively why does it have to involve having to bring a load of other people along, going through the hassle of deciding who else to invite, and finding a time when everybody is free, in order to ensure that the other person doesn't think you're trying to date them? (Mind you, if all women are going to get edgy whenever a certain man wants to date them, why should anyone be suprised that I've never been in a relationship?)

Now when it comes to relationships, there are three main scenarios to deal with.

1. Both Man and Woman meeting up are at least open to, (perhaps eager for) the idea of the relationship with each other.
2. One or other of the partners is at least open to the idea of a relationship. The other just wants to be a friend.
3. Neither Man nor Woman want a relationship with each other. They just enjoy each other's company as friends.

Now I cannot see any reason why in any of those scenarios, there should be a problem with the two people arranging to meet up one-to-one, yet in many situations the only scenario that would be acceptable is scenario 1. I understand that scenario 2 could be difficult, but that is only because of another taboo matter relates to how you go about explaining your feelings to another person. If we could break the taboos that prevent us from being more open and honest about our intentions, (and especially if the one who wants a relationship has another viable means available to obtain one from elsewhere), then meeting up shouldn't be a problem.

The most confusing one is 3, which I think is the case with myself and Maria. We are total opposties in many ways, but we've got on like a house on fire and bounced off each other well. But I am not looking for a relationship with her, and I very much doubt she is with me either. But why should that stop us from just meeting up as friends, for a cup of tea or a walk? Especially if I can make my intentions (or lack of) clear. Now how to do that is another matter, wrought with taboos, which no doubt will be covering in a future post (perhaps very, very, soon).

By making this kind of meet up a taboo, nothing is achieved, no harm is prevented, and all it does is to create an artificial rule which acts as a hinderence to maintaining and developing a friendship. Why? What Purpose Does it Serve?

I think my plan is to forget about other people's taboos, be real and honest about my intentions and just be a go-getter in this area of life.