Going on a date can be an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience, especially for teens and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The key to a successful date lies in being authentic, respectful, and considerate of your own needs and those of your date. In this blog post, we’ll provide you with practical tips to help teens and young adults, particularly males, with ASD act confidently on a date, ensuring a positive experience for both parties involved.
- Be Yourself: Authenticity is the foundation of a successful date. Be true to who you are and let your genuine personality shine. Your date should get to know the real you.
- Practice Active Listening: Show genuine interest in your date by actively listening to what they say. Ask follow-up questions and engage in meaningful conversations. Active listening helps create a connection and shows that you value their thoughts.
- Maintain Eye Contact: Maintaining eye contact demonstrates attentiveness and interest. While it may feel challenging, even brief moments of eye contact can help establish a sense of connection.
- Be Mindful of Body Language: Pay attention to your body language. Stand or sit up straight, avoid fidgeting excessively, and avoid crossing your arms, as these may unintentionally communicate disinterest.
- Choose Topics of Conversation: Opt for light, neutral topics to start the conversation. Discuss shared interests, hobbies, or experiences. Avoid diving into overly personal or sensitive subjects right away.
- Share Stories and Experiences: Sharing anecdotes and stories can help create a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. Use humor and positive experiences to foster a comfortable dynamic.
- Express Curiosity: Ask open-ended questions about your date’s interests, hobbies, and experiences. This shows that you’re genuinely interested in getting to know them better.
- Compliment Sincerely: Compliments can be a great way to make your date feel appreciated. Offer sincere compliments about their appearance or something you genuinely admire.
- Respect Personal Space and Boundaries: Be mindful of personal space and physical boundaries. Respect your date’s comfort level and avoid invading their personal space without permission.
- Show Respect and Courtesy: Treat your date with respect and courtesy throughout the evening. Use polite language, hold doors open, and show appreciation for their company.
- Enjoy the Moment: Focus on enjoying the experience and getting to know your date. Stay present in the moment rather than worrying about how the date is progressing.
- End the Date Graciously: When the date concludes, express gratitude for their time and company. You can express your interest in future plans if you feel a connection.
Acting confidently on a date as a teen or young adult with ASD is about being genuine, respectful, and considerate. By practicing active listening, maintaining eye contact, and engaging in meaningful conversations, you can create a positive and enjoyable experience for both you and your date. Remember that each interaction is an opportunity to learn and grow. With authenticity and a willingness to connect, you can navigate the dating world with confidence and make meaningful connections that enrich your life.
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry – The AACAP provides a wealth of information on Autism and ASD
Autism Speaks – A non-profit organization dedicated to providing information and support around Autism and ASD
CDC – The CDC provides up-to-date information on a wide variety of conditions, including Autism and ASD
*Updated October 4, 2023
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Jonathan F. Anderson, LPC-s has worked in the helping profession since he started college in 1990. After completing his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas, Austin in 1994, he attended the highly-regarded University of Minnesota to earn his Master’s degree in 1997. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is recognized as a Board Approved Supervisor by the State of Texas Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. Jonathan has completed Level 2 of the Gottman Method of Couples Counseling, and in 1998 received training from the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation in Advanced Critical Incident Stress Management & Debriefing. To learn more about Jonathan’s practice, click here: Jonathan F. Anderson, LPC-s.