Body language signals can tell if your date is bored
By Engelbert Lau
Based on my personal experience, dating can be challenging for someone on the autistic spectrum. I find it very difficult to read body language. Body language is confusing, as two people can have very different reactions to the same comment. This is a list of 10 signs I watch for when talking to a girl.
- When she looks at her nails
When a girl finds her nails more interesting than me, I know I need to get to the point of my story as soon as possible.
- When she rolls her eyes
If a girl rolls her eyes, I’ll try to switch the topic. If I’m in an elevator, I’ve learned that a safe opening question is to ask someone how was their weekend. Another safe elevator topic is asking people if they have upcoming vacation plans. The moment that I walk into an elevator, I will quickly calculate how much small talk I have to make based on the number of floors both people have to travel together. If I’m lucky, I can avoid all small talk if someone is only going up one or two floors.
- When she starts looking at her phone
If a girl is constantly looking at her phone while I’m talking, I need to change the conversation topic (and find a topic that interests her). This gets really awkward if I eventually ask her about a bunch of different topics, and she answers every single question in a brief sentence.
- When she starts fidgeting with her pen
Fidgeting in general indicates someone is bored. I’ll try to switch topics, but there are only so many questions I can ask. My head will hurt when I run out of conversation topics. I usually ask people about their weekend or upcoming vacations because people like talking about what they do outside of work. I enjoy sports, movies, television and books, so I’ll try to work those topics in when possible. I’ve had speed dates where it felt like time stopped for 8 painfully awkward minutes. I knew the speed date was going to be disaster in the first minute when I found out that the girl loves the outdoors and doesn’t have a television. The activities that I enjoy the most are all indoors (i.e. hip-hop, hockey, kung-fu, movies, television and reading). I hate both camping and hiking. I think it’s miserable to sleep in a cold uncomfortable tent. When my ex-girlfriend dragged me hiking, I thought “oh look, there’s a tree. Great – there’s another thousand trees. A pond of water is exciting now (because that’s the first thing we’ve seen in the past hour that isn’t a tree).”
- When she folds her arms
I get really confused when a girl folds her arms. This can mean different things. Sometimes, the girl may be cold. Sometimes, the girl may be angry. Usually, I’ll ask the girl if she’s cold. If the girl is not cold, I try to remember if I accidentally said something offensive.
- When she shakes her head
If a girl starts shaking her head, I will ask her for her opinion on a given topic. I will try to avoid topics like politics and religion, as people can have very intense beliefs on those subjects. I’ve had a girl tell me I’ll go to hell because of my lack of religious beliefs.
- When she sighs
If a girl sighs, I’ll try to switch the topic. I’ve had to memorize specific topics to bring up with different friends. If someone likes a sport like hockey, I can ask them if they’ve seen the most recent game. If someone likes movies, I can ask them if they’ve seen any movies recently. It takes time for me to figure out what are the optimal conversation topics for different people.
- When she uses her arm to hold up her chin
This is a bad sign. At this point, the conversation topic is so boring that the girl has to use her arm to hold her head up. After I read I Know What You’re Thinking: Using the Four Codes of Reading People to Improve Your Life by Lillian Glass, I started noticing that my co-workers will often do this during lengthy meetings at work.
- When she starts reaching for her keys
People generally reach for their keys when they want to go home. In general, I try to talk fast and get to the point quickly. I’ve had people complain that I talk too fast. For me, talking fast is a survival mechanism (to prevent other people from getting bored).
- When she says she has an early morning at work
An early morning at work is usually the girl trying to be polite, instead of saying “I want to get the hell out of here, now.” It’s easier for me to understand blunt people, compared to people who sugar coat anything. I get confused at work if my boss gives me a compliment sandwich (this is when someone says one nice thing, one negative thing, followed by another nice thing). I can’t figure out if I’m doing a good job (because two positives outweigh one negative), or if the actual point was the negative message only (meaning the two positives were a bunch of fluff).
Englebert Lau was diagnosed with a mild case of Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 30. The majority of Englebert’s professional career has been working in Information Technology as a Business Analyst. Englebert created http://www.hitchhikeraspie.com. The purpose of this website is to share a light hearted perspective on Asperger’s Syndrome. Englebert would like to increase exposure about Asperger’s Syndrome for a wide range of people, by providing examples of how it affects his everyday life. Englebert loves TV series and movies, especially the HBO Game of Thrones series.
Englebert has the most popular blog this last quarter on the Art of Autism: Top 10 Signs you have Aspergers.
No. 5 is the best. I think this is just a general skill everyone should learn.
here’s some advice: It’s not the fact that you are boring them or don’t have enough to say – it’s the fact you are running on and never giving them a chance to input so they feel like they are being lectured to, instead of having an actual conversation. At this point after 5 mins of prattling on if you do ask them they are going to keep the answer short because they fear another 5 minute response to whatever they say – people communicate better when we don’t focus purely on ourselves in the conversations and when we keep the interactions short.
Funny thing is, I usually start fidgeting the more interested in a conversation I am, or when I want to get a word in edgewise.
As Shawn wrote – (I have this same problem) you aren’t listening to them. You are too wound up about yourself.
Arm folding can be defensive, not anger or cold; someone feels vulnerable & is trying to protect themselves. I don’t understand dates, I’ve always met boyfs. in a Pub, then got to know them, I don’t think I could do ‘dates’. Good luck 🙂
It’s easier when you’re older I think, if that’s any consolation..! I finally realised I’m far happier as single parent, than struggling to fit in & constantly alter myself to please a badly chosen man who tries to control, change & bully me.
Has anyone tried https://www.asdating.org? It’s a completely free site for people on the spectrum to find a partner – be that in friendship or love. There’s a diverse range of members and is worth a look if that’s what you’re interested in.
I love this website. I can relate so well to this article. Even the way the author describes his ways of gathering and using information in these situations is so interesting, helpful and relatable to me.
I can relate so well to it, in fact, and so many folks have mentioned the possibility, that I took the excellent aspberger’s quiz. It seems like the best free quiz on the internet from what I can tell, and I admire the amount of research that went into it.
Turns out I’m “neurotypical,” but maybe in the high range getting closer to almost aspberger’s. I don’t know. Maybe that explains why I can relate so well. It is odd. I don’t understand why the thinking/behavior of aspberger’s folks makes so much sense to me, yet apparently I am neurotypical.
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