Dating Resources for Individuals with Autism
Going on a date is exciting, but also a little stressful. You may be wondering how to make sure that it goes well. Here are some tips and suggestions to help you understand the process of asking someone on a date, how to have a successful date, as well as information on online dating.
Tips for a Successful Date
Be on Time
Make sure you are on time. This shows that you care.
People appreciate when you’re polite. Holding doors or saying “please” and “thank you” can make a big difference.
Asking questions shows you’re interested. Have some questions ready to ask before your date. Avoid inappropriate or personal topics, such as sex, religion, politics, money, and previous dating relationships.
If going out to eat, don’t walk with your mouth full and practice good table manners. Also, don’t keep your phone out or use it too much on a date.
Don’t lie or make up stories about yourself to make yourself sound more interesting. Your date will probably find out the truth and may be hurt or angry.
Be Aware of Personal Space
Just because it’s a date, doesn’t mean the person wants to be touched or for you to be too close. Keep an arm’s length distance on a first date and only get closer if your date initiates it.
Listen, Listen, Listen
Listening is very important. It’s the best way to get to know your date. You can show that you are listening by having good eye contact and reacting to what your date is saying, by smiling and nodding.
Say something nice like ‘You look pretty’ or ‘You look handsome’. Don’t give too many compliments, it may sound like you are not being genuine.
Dress to Impress
Wear clothes that match where you’re going and what you’re doing. Be sure that your clothes are neat and clean.
Smile and Have Good Eye Contact
This shows that you are warm and friendly, like the person, and are interested in them.
Don't Talk Too Much
On a date, the amount each person talks should be about the same. If you are talking too much your date might get bored or feel ignored or unappreciated.
You may not like or agree with everything your date says or may have different interests or beliefs, but try to have an open mind. Just beacuse you don’t have everything in common, doesn’t mean you can’t have a good connection.
End the Date Well
Should you try to kiss your date, hug, shake hands, or end with a simple goodbye? A good rule is to end the date with a less physical contact, such as a goodbye or handshake, until you know for sure that your date wants a more physical relationship.
Trying to be like someone else is never a good idea. If someone is really worth your time, they’ll like you for who you are.
How to Ask Someone on a Date
Start off with a Conversation
Before you can ask someone out on a date, you need to get to know them. The best way to do so is to have a conversation. If you do not know the person that you want to ask out, start off by introducing yourself and
asking for his or her name. If you do know the person, say “Hello.” Make sure to smile and make good eye contact.
Don't be in a Rush
It usually takes more than one conversation before you know someone well enough to ask them out on a date. It’s good to give it about 3 conversations before asking someone out.
To get to know someone well, you’ll have to listen and ask a lot of questions. You should work to find things you have in common and make sure you show that you are interested in what they have to say.
Check for Romantic Interest
During your conversations, you can check to see if the person seems interested in you, such as by smiling back, looking you in the eye, asking you questions, and showing interest in what you talk about.
If after a few conversations, the person does not seem interested in you, asking him or her out on a date may not go well. You should focus on continuing to get to know them or just building a friendship.
Ask the Person Out
When you are feeling confident that the person has interest in you, it’s time to ask him or her out. Keep it simple.
Ask, “Would you like to get together sometime?” This leaves all of your options open and can allow the person to be involved in choosing the date.
Be sure to smile and have good eye contact.
Be Prepared for the Response
Even if you did everything right, there is always a chance that the person will not want to go on a date with you. While rejection can be difficult, it is a normal part of dating. It’s important to keep that in mind and not let yourself be discouraged from trying again!
If the person says yes, ask where he or she would like to go. You could suggest a restaurant, movie, walk in a park, activity, such as bowling or mini golf, or any other place of interest. If you listened carefully during the first few conversations, you may have an idea of what the person’s interests are or where he or she may like to go.
Go Out on a Date
Go Out on a Date!
Benefits of Online Dating
- Avoid rejection that can happen when introducing yourself to someone
- Can be done in the comfort of your own home
- Can communicate by email or text instead of face-to-face
- Learn about a person’s likes and dislikes before meeting so you can plan what to talk about or do
- Move at your own pace and respond to messages as slowly as you’d like
- Protect your identity until you feel comfortable sharing more information
Risks of Online Dating
- Not all people are interested in a committed relationship
- Can be overwhelming with so many people to talk to
- Can be harder to tell if the other person is romantically interested
- Lacks the nonverbal or physical part of dating, such as touching or eye contact
- People may lie, including about their appearance and finances
- Some people use online dating sites for deceptive purposes, such as financial scams or inappropriate sexual behavior
Types of Online Dating Sites
Some sites are free to use while others cost a subscription fee.
- Matchmaking: Fill out profile and questionnaires, profile is placed on the site, and daters get matched with similar people
- Preference: Daters are looking for the same type of people, such as
sites for a specific religion, sexual orientation, or activity
- Meetup: Register online and get notifications about meetups that may interest them. Simply show up and meet other people
- Social Networking: Daters can meet others in their area to date or
through connections with people they already know
This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.