Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Report of a Social Attraction Workshop

My last post referred to some help I was looking into regarding social and relationship issues Well this past Saturday I went along to one of the so-called 'boot-camps' that the guy I referred to runs. I say so-called because it is completely opposite to what most people would consider a boot-camp (young thugs being kicked and marched about by a drill sargeants etc) and indeed, when I mentioned to Alan, the guy who runs these, that the word bootcamp did not sound very appealing and suggesting workshop would be more appropriate, he took my suggestion on board.

Anyway, the workshop took place from six till nearly midnight in the city centre. It was just me and one other guy, who I had met in the previous workshop, and Alan. The first couple of hours were spent talking things through and preparing in a nice cafe. The plan for the evening was to go out to several bars between eight and midnight and approach and chat to girls. Exactly where and how we would go about this was very much open-ended, depending on what we wanted (so hardly a bootcamp!)

During the first hour I was feeling a little uneasy for two reasons. Firstly Alan made a few suggestions about how we might approach girls in the bar or attract their attention, ideas that didn't sound entirely comfortable to me. At around the same time as this I hurt myaw on a piece of cake. I had almost recovered from an aching jaw following a filling, and by biting a rather heavy piece of chocolate cake I did the equilivent of twisting my back but in my jaw. The teeth were fine, however I had to briefly excuse myself to go to the toilet to see if I could see what had happened, and go outside and phone Dad to see if he had any ideas about it, as I cannot remember this happening to me before. At this stage of the evening I was feeling somewhat apprehensive, concerned about my jaw and not in the mood for socialising. What perhaps made it harder was that I tend to panic in these kinds of moments, yet this was a lesson in social attraction, so I was trying to give a good impression during this moment of adversity - it wouldn't have been such an issue in an accountancy lesson!

However after calling Dad, I went back in and started to get back on track. I'm proud to say that Alan really liked my opinion opener I could use to approach girls. Before we hit the bars, Alan went through a process called anchoring with me. Anchoring is a concept in neuro-linguistic programming, by which one can get into the right frame of mind for a particular situation within a few minutes. Alan, being trainined in NLP found an anchor that would work for me. We found an empty space downstairs to do this and it took about five mintues. I fwlt a little weary of this and cautious if this would involve being subjected to some kind of mind-control, but the process seemed fine for me and seemed to work even though I did not feel anything during the anchoring process. During the anchoring process I used to nearby leather seatee to reinact a social situation I wanted to be in that night, I wasn't told to do this but I just did it to help myself prepare.

Around 8:15pm we went into a nearby bar. Once we'd arrived Alan suggested I go and walk up towards the stairs and approach a girl along the way, with Alan going to the upstairs part of the bar. I managed to aproach a couple of girls who had just walked down the stairs before I was about to walk up, and gave them my opinion opener. It was a successful approach, we chatted for about five minutes and they even asked me my name. We walked towards the bar area together and I introdued them to the other guy I was with, who has a little more experience with me, having been on a previous similar workshop. We continued to talk with them later on into the night.

In the meantime, I walked upstairs and tried several more approaches. Alan told me during the night that I was doing a good job - I was certainly able to approach girls boldly with confidence, but I made my mistakes and not everything went perfectly. Alan met a couple of friends he knew at the bar too, one being a girl, and they helped us along too. It soon became difficult keeping the energy levels up, as I do get tired easily in social situations - Asperger's means the brain has to work harder.

At around 10:30pm we headed off to another place, that was busier and louder, and far more difficult for approaching girls. There were numerous hen parties, and large groups of women sitting around the sofas. Myself and the other guy approached a few women, and found a few windows of opportunities. It was hard, but as Alan said "this is where you learn." I also began to get my energy levels back here. At around 11:20pm, the other guy I was with sat down on the sofa and decided to call it a day, whilst I persevered for a bit longer. At around 11:30 we both left to go to the station - he got the train eastwards to his place, I got the train westwoods to my place.

It was a really fun night. Great to be able to approach girls with other people doing it, with support, and it was great being able to experiment somewhat with different types of approaches, putting the social skills I've learnt into practice. All being well I'll be doing it again this coming weekend.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Helping People Succeed Socially and Find Relationships: Breaking Down the Processes

If your goal is to learn to drive, to learn to play guitar, to improve your football skills, or to get a promotion, you can achieve this largely by effort and determination. Sure, some people will find these things easier than others, and some will achieve these things by being in the right place at the right time, but just about anyone who finds such things difficult yet has the determination will eventually achieve their goals.

This seems to be the key difference between the goal of finding a girlfriend, and ultimately, marriage and starting a family, and every other ambition. Whilst most people want to find a partner, the problem is that finding the right relationship is not done through drive and determination, and it seems like its just a matter of luck that romance will just happen to blossom at some point before you get too old.

I Am Sick of People Not Having Answers

Now when I talk to most people about wanting to find a girlfriend, I often get answers like "just keep doing what you're doing, it will happen natually one day when you're not looking." Well I'm sorry, but almost everything I have achieved in my life has been done through effort and determination - few good things have "just happened." The problem is such answers often come from people who have had it easy in this area - they just happened to find the right person when they were young or just bumped into the right people naturally and never had to think about it. It just won't do.

Over the past year I have met a few people that I regard as very strong socially, who can find dates with ease. One thing I have been trying to do is to identify and pinpoint what it is they do which makes them strong socially, and stand out (in my view) from others. I am now beginning to think this is the key towards helpeing people with Asperger's Syndrome succeed socially - take the most socially competent people, examine what it is they do in social situations, the ways they approach and talk to people, break down and anaylise what they're doing, and then teach the person with Asperger's Syndrome how to copy them. I think this could help not just people with Asperger's, but many other less socially competant people too.

Now I am not suggesting that anyone has to change their personalities, and indeed there would be some things that could not be performed by everyone. However there is a big difference between trying to change your personality to one like someone else's, and learning what it is another person does that makes them good socially, taking what you can of that person's social skills, and putting new found social skills into practice.

My Experience at a Workshop

Recently I discovered online, a man who runs workshops locally to help clients improve their social attraction, with a key area being to help men approach girls and giving them the social skills that will make them attractive to women. I went to a short taster workshop two weeks ago, and in this workshop, there were around eight men, including myself, and we went through several conversational excersizes, and discussed body language. I have to say I felt very comfortable in this setting, and did not feel like I was out of my league or a fish out of water, but felt compatable with the other guys there.

I have since had a private consultation with this man and intend to go along to another workshop, and maybe more in due course.

Now what I appreciate about the guy who runs this academy, is that through his experience, he has worked out what it is that attracts women, and has broken it down into steps that can be taught to men who are not naturals in this area. He said to me "I can get you a girlfriend," not literally of course, but he can teach me the steps that would make it inevitable that girls would be interested in me.

I seriously think this is the kind of way I will learn to succeed socially. By learning anaylitically what it is that popular people do in social settings, anaylising their conversation techniques, particularly with women, and going out and putting those things into practice. This I feel could be the answer for any man who cannot makes friends or for whom romance does not blossom naturally. That way no one should have to rely on luck to find a relationship, but can now learn how to find a girlfriend by learning the steps and processes that attract women, and yes, though effort and determination.