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.

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