I am currently reading two books that I bought recently, one of them is “Look Me In The Eye” by John Elder Robison. Just like me, he wanted to connect with other people, but he didn’t have the skills to do so. The most obvious behavior he exhibited was not looking people in the eye, you can tell that from reading the title of the book. His father was an alcoholic, and his mother suffered from severe depression. Because of his odd social behaviors, his parents thought he would grow up “pumping gas for a living”. Robison had the ability to visualize electronics circuits, as a result of that he found a job with the rock band KISS. When he was with KISS he designed special effects guitars. After that, he landed a job as an engineer in a toy and game company. His lack of social skills prevented him from advancing in the field, as a result he left his job. That still didn’t prevent him from working with machines, he still kept fixing his own cars. His passion for working with cars inspired him to open his own business, J.E Robison Service. There he repaired and customized cars. Despite his social difficulties in school, he became a very successful person.
The other book is “Freaks, Geeks and Asperger’s Syndrome” by Luke Jackson. The book simply talks about his teenage life and how he suffered with Asperger’s Syndrome in school. It is written as a guide for Aspergian teenagers on how to deal with issues such as bullying, friendships, issues in school and dating. I strongly reccomend both of these books for Asperger’s teens, parents and teachers.
These books do talk about how to find, make and keep a friendship with somebody, but they don’t necessarily talk about the high importance of making plans. The fact is, everybody makes plans. When I lay in bed at night trying to go to sleep, I try to think about what I am going to do the next day. Most aspies are good at making plans for themselves, but when it comes to making plans with other people is when they have the most difficulty. The fact is that you are dealing with another person other than just you, the person you want to spend time with may be busy, or they just don’t want to spend time with you. I knew how to reach out to somebody and ask if they want to spend time with me, but I just didn’t have the confidence to do it because I didn’t really have that many friends to spend time with in school. When kids are younger, parents usually make social plans for them, when you get older you have to learn how to do them for yourself. If you are a teenager and your friend calls you and asks your friends parents if you can spend time with them, it would be pretty awkward. Of course, that depends on the aspie teens functioning level. This is a social skill that is very important, especially if you want to keep the friends you have. Nobody wants a friend that won’t spend time with them, regardless of what their excuse is. These are four easy steps when you are calling a friend and asking them if they want to hang out. I really hope they help you!
1.) Be sure to know who you want to hang out with, and ask them at least three hours in advance so they can have some time to plan and get anything else they have to do out-of-the-way. As a common courtesy rule, don’t call them before 9:00 in the morning or 9:00 at night. Their family won’t be very happy if you wake them up and it could jeopardize your chance of spending time with them in the future. If they answer, be sure to give them an appropriate greeting and have a short small talk conversation. When there is a break in the conversation, that is when it is appropriate to change the topic and ask what their plans are.
2.) Talk about what you want to do. If at all possible, try to think of some things you would like to do with some things you would like to do before you call them. I don’t normally like to call people on the phone, and when I have to I usually spend about a minute thinking about what I want to say. In this case, think about what you would like to do and where you would like to do it. This is especially true if it is a person you haven’t hung out with before. It will make phone conversations seem a whole lot less awkward. You should also ask them if they have a suggestion on what to do. Remember to listen to them and acknowledge you are doing it by making interjections.
3.) Tell them where and when you want to do it. This is the most important thing when you are giving somebody an invitation to spend time with you. If your friend can drive, be sure to ask them if they know how to get there. If they don’t, be sure to give them directions that are easy to understand. Be sure to include landmarks that you will see along the way and about how long it should take to get there. Be sure to include the date and time you want to meet with them, and make sure that time works out for the person. If that date or time doesn’t work out for them, be sure to ask them what date would be best for them. You don’t have to ask them a specific time, just ask them a general time, such as “Can we hang out sometime next weekend?” If they are not sure about their plans, wait a few days before asking them again. Then be sure to ask them what date and time will work out for them.
4.) Be sure to ask how you are going to get there. If you have a friend that drives, kindly ask them if they could give you a ride to or from the outing. If it is a lengthy drive, it would be nice if you offered your friend money for gas. It is a lot to ask a friend to drive them to and from an outing, especially if the ride is longer than twenty minutes. As you know, gas is very expensive. This is a courtesy rule, your friend will think that you are using them for a ride if you don’t give them money back for a long drive. It shows them appreciation for what they did for you.
Additional Points to keep in mind
- Ask your parents for permission. Be sure to give your parents information about everything you plan to do with your friend. Always make sure you have the phone number of at least two trusted family members in-case anything goes wrong.
- If your friend is picking you up from your house, be sure to be ready fifteen minutes before they arrive. That way you can leave as soon as they pick you up, and you won’t be late if you are meeting other people at the destination you’re going.
- Don’t take it personally if your friend rejects you, they could be busy and just not have time to spend with you. If it does seem like they are avoiding you, just move on and find another person to be friends with. It is their loss if they don’t want to be your friend.