Social situations are something I have always found difficult. The number of social rules that you are expected to follow without even knowing what these rules are. It seems that everyone else knows what these rules are and failed to tell autistic people.
It might be something that I find difficult but it is also something that I enjoy doing. Spending time with my friends is really important to me and there are lots of things that they do that make social situations much easier for me. I am really grateful to them for this and so I wanted to share some of them in this blog.
Setting a clear plan: This includes the time we are meeting, where we are meeting and the places we will visit during the day.
Who else will be there: I find situations where I don’t know anyone else who will be there really difficult so finding out who else is coming is really helpful. This way I know who else will be there and who I already know.
Meeting 1:1: Sometimes I find that large social situations are too much for me to cope with so my friends will arrange for us to meet on a 1:1 basis instead to avoid that overwhelm.
Meet in familiar places: It takes a lot for me to go somewhere new so meeting in familiar places makes me feel much more comfortable.
Send the menu in advance: I have a lot of sensory issues around food so finding a restaurant that I can eat at can be a challenge. Some have my friends have started to send me the menu of the place we intend to eat so I can check through the menu and make sure there is something I can eat.
Provide a quiet space: Large social situations with lots of noise and bright lights can be draining and overloading so if possible provide a quiet space to go to away from others to recharge.
Let us arrive early: I often arrive to parties early as I think I have to be there for the start time! However, this helps for me to adjust to environment and friends usually don’t mind as it means I can help with setting up.
These are just some of the adjustments that my friends make to enable me to feel more comfortable in social situations. I am so grateful to them for doing this, even if they are not aware that they have put these adjustments in place. Small adjustments can make social situations much more manageable.