Recently I’ve experienced something of a transformation in my social life. Socialising with Asperger Syndrome is hard, but over the past year I’ve been trying to improve and recently I’ve realised that my efforts are starting to pay off.
I’ve been hanging around with the university skydiving club for a while now. I’ve ‘only’ done a couple of jumps and I’m not currently an active skydiver, but I still like to socialise with them and I occasionally get to join them for some indoor skydiving. In March last year I plucked up the courage to tell them about my condition, and their response was very encouraging. Since then, even though I haven’t been able to jump with them, they’ve been very supportive and I feel like I’ve become more a member of the club than ever before. I’ve made some good friends there. 🙂
I joined Susurf, the university surfing club, about this time last academic year. They’re a fairly laid back lot and have a regular social event every Friday night. I’ve been going along to their socials and a few beginners’ sessions over the past year. Having a regular social calendar has given me a structure I can integrate with and this, combined with their laid back nature, has allowed me to slot in comfortably. 🙂
Both Susurf and the skydiving club have some fun ‘awards’ at their AGMs at the end of the academic year. Having been with them for only a year, Susurf gave me a ‘most socially active member’ award, and other week the skydiving club gave me a ‘level up’ award, because of how much I had come out of my shell. This made me realise just how far I’ve progressed in developing my social skills, and it took me by surprise.
My experience of university has been turned completely around, and I can feel the difference: I feel happier, stronger, and a lot more confident. I think this is having a positive effect on my work as well. This has given me something to think about: I’m enjoying these experiences so far and clearly benefiting from them, so where do I go from here?
In the meantime, tomorrow I’ve got a clash between the regular Friday night out with Susurf and a birthday dinner for one of the skydivers. This time I’m going with the skydivers; apparently the place they’re going to has good steak! It means I’m missing out on a night with susurf, but it wasn’t so long ago that I was lucky to have any nights out at all, so in a way that’s a good problem to have. 🙂