I had the opportunity last Saturday to dress up and attend the wedding of a good friend’s daughter. It was a beautiful event. There were probably a couple of hundred people in attendance at the wedding, which was held at a church, and reception, which was held in an old train roundhouse.
Because of the large number of people I did not know at the reception and the loud music, I felt very uncomfortable. I nearly had sensory overload due to me trying to jump in with a group of people who were not only grouped around tables but moving all around at the same time.
After about an hour and a half, the father of the bride stepped outside as he also needed a break from the crowds. I told him I was getting very overwhelmed trying to socialize with people and that maybe I might have committed a social error by not bringing a date (not that I am close to any women my age who might have wanted to go). He told me not to worry and introduced me to his friends. Almost immediately, I felt at ease.
During the conversation, I introduced themselves and told my friend’s friends what I did for a living. Good advice for those with Aspergers who are not sure how to start a dialogue with someone new is to ask first what they do for a job, and then you can share what you do for a living. If you don’t have a job, share what you do to pass the time, such as hobbies or volunteer work. You might be surprised you and the new person may have similar interests.
A few years ago, I would have given up easier and immediately left at the slight thought of being uncomfortable in a social situation. I am glad I persevered and stayed because I wound up having a wonderful time at the party.
If you or your child with Aspergers is feeling uncomfortable in a new social situation, encourage them not to give up easily but instead to keep trying. By being regularly exposed to new social settings, each one became more comfortable for me. What people on the spectrum need to realize is that perseverance builds confidence and character.
My friend was very appreciative of me attending his daughter’s wedding. I was honored to be invited to a grand social event.
How do you navigate new social situations? Comment in the section below.
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