Today, I taught my first ever dating workshop to a group of individuals on the autism spectrum. Most of the members had mild autism or Asperger's Syndrome, and many of them were very nervous. We had actual girls come out from a nearby college to help work with the guys, and everything went great!
To be honest, I was not supposed to teach the workshop. I felt that I wasn't the right person for the job, and so I appointed a girl who was very outgoing and offered honest feedback about this sort of thing. But, it ended up at the last minute that she could not make it, so I was in charge, and for that I am grateful. Looking back, I now realize that it should have been me all along that facilitated this workshop. Overall, I felt very confident running this workshop even though just about everyone was nervous at times, sometimes super nervous. Although, I did experience slight anxiety at times, but for the most part, I felt confident teaching this workshop.
We started off with a discussion about dating and that the most important thing a girl looks for in a guy is CONFIDENCE. So, we talked about posture, body language, being assertive, projecting one's voice, handshakes, etc. Then, at some point, I broke the guys and girls off into groups and had the guys practice going up to the girls and striking a conversation with them. After that, feedback was provided on areas that could use improvement.
Overall, I felt everyone did a great job. I was super grateful for the girls that participated. I really hope they can return and help with this workshop in the future. They were amazing. My group members also did well, and I really pushed some of them out of their shells and past their comfort zones, and I think that's a good thing. I felt some guys really learned a lot and hopefully they take with them what they were taught and practice. Who knows, maybe one of them will actually meet someone and perhaps something blossom between the two of them. That would be nice.
Also, I learned a couple of things from this workshop. Perhaps the most important thing I got out of it is that it is best to contact a girl at least two days after meeting her because sooner than that can seem a bit desperate. I understand how from a girls perspective that can make a guy seem desperate, but I just never saw that perspective before until today. So, for that, I am grateful. It makes sense though when you think about.
In addition, I felt even the girl participants learned something. There was one exercise where I had the girls and guys switch roles and had the girls pretend they were the guys. Interestingly, the girls found the exercise though and realized that it is difficult to try and constantly find things to say to keep the conversation going.
Overall, I felt the workshop was a sucess. I am very excited for the direction that my program and autism groups are taking. I feel good progress is being made. With that said, I thank you for reading today's entry, and I wish everyone a most awesome day of awesomeness!