We hope you enjoyed our blogs about “Asperger’s on the Job”. The next book we will read and blog about is “Decoding Dating”by John Miller. This is a guide to the unwritten social rules of Dating for Men with Asperger Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Just like the previous book we read, the author is on the spectrum. While Doug Blecher and Stephanie Carroll blogged about each chapter of “Asperger’s on the Job”, Doug will exclusively blog about this book as the wonderful and talented Stephanie Carroll is on maternity leave.
The introduction started out with the question: Why is there a need for a book on dating for men with Asperger Syndrome? John Miller comes to the same conclusion that I have that most adults want to develop friendships and relationships along with navigating social situations. I would say that anyone that has spent time getting to know adults with Autism and Asperger’s would agree with this statement. Further, if it seems that if someone with Autism doesn’t want to develop relationships it usually is because of anxiety caused by past negative experiences along with the fact that they aren’t sure how to navigate social situations. Miller mentions that learning skills to navigate social situations takes time and must be seen as a gradual process. I think this is really important advice in regards to achieving this goal as setbacks will inevitably occur whether you have or don’t have Autism and you need to keep consistently working on your goal to achieve it.
After discussing this initial question, Miller went on to discus common dating pitfalls for males with Asperger’s and Autism. He mentions an obsessive and irrational fear of the unknown as a major factor. I would agree with this point as I’ve had clients discuss this challenge not only with dating, but taking chances with anything in life. Recently I asked a client if he was interested in dating. His response was “Of course Doug!”. I then asked him what is stopping him and he went on to give me a list of reasons why he couldn’t be successful in dating. Many times those on the spectrum focus on what they are not so good at instead of all of the positives they bring to the table. Another major pitfall that Miller mentions is not knowing when to start, pause, or stop a conversation. He suggests that if you are willing to work on how to engage in conversations with others, take advice and practice conversational skills with others close to you, it will make a world of difference.
Miller ends the introduction by telling the readers that he hopes to encourage people to expand their horizons and go beyond their comfort zones. He promises that some people may find his advice too blunt, but he will not sugarcoat situations. I think on this topic it is best not to sugarcoat situations. When discussing dating most people aren’t blunt enough when explaining what and what not to do and as a result those on the spectrum don’t get a full understanding of the best approach to take. I have found the best way to give advice to those on the spectrum is too be very direct, but at the same being cautious in the way you present the information so that they are open to what you have to say.