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Louis Scarantino is a self-advocate for autism. In this post, he provides 10 tips for dating – these tips are geared towards others on the spectrum! This post was originally posted on The Mighty.

Nearly everyone with autism has a desire to go on a date sometime. It’s a huge struggle for a lot of individuals with autism, including me, to go on a date and be successful. There are many things people with autism struggle with when it comes to dating. However, you can be successful on a date with autism if you prepare for the big night. Your chances of getting a second date are a lot better if you remember the following things.

1. Be yourself.

Nothing is more important than to be yourself. Don’t expect to impress them being someone you’re not. Some people with autism want to be someone they’re not to impress someone they like. It doesn’t work, though.

2. Dress nicely.

You always want to look nice when in public. This is a must when you’re on a date. Wear clothes that make you look good — no hats, sweats, or ugly shirts of any kind. If it’s winter time and cold, wear a nice coat. People with autism can be picky about how they dress, but still try to dress the best you can.

3. Have good personal hygiene.

Shower and put on deodorant, cologne or perfume. You want to smell good on a date. Plus, if you get a hug at the end of the date, you don’t want to smell like garbage.

4. Have good dental hygiene.

What if you end up kissing on the first date? Brush your teeth, floss, and use mouth wash. Chew a mint or piece of gum after eating too. Keep this as well as possible. You don’t want your date to be turned off by your breath.

5. Have good table manners.

This can be hard for someone with autism, but can be worked on. If you are at a table for dinner or any other meal, having good table manners is a must! Don’t make bodily noises. Don’t eat too fast. Don’t be messy in any way.

6. Be a gentleman (for guys).

A lot of individuals with autism can have some trouble with this, but it’s still not impossible. Offer to pick up the bill. Hold the door open. Open the car door. Pull the chair out for the lady. If you have a compliment, don’t be afraid to say it. Just don’t focus on physical appearances — think of other things to compliment on too. Girls like that more than you know.

7. Ask your date questions.

Make sure you’re letting your date know you’re interested. Ask them questions about themselves. I know for some people with autism it can be hard to not ask a lot of questions. Sometimes it could be that they’re not sure what to ask. Sometimes they love answering questions or talking about themselves. That’s a struggle for a lot of people. But think about this, “Hey I’m on a date and I want to learn about who I’m with.”

8. Listen.

If you listen during most of the date instead of doing all the talking, your date will definitely know you’re interested and they’ll trust you more.

9. Say goodnight properly.

If they want a handshake, give them a handshake. If they’re comfortable with a hug, give them a hug. If they want a goodnight kiss, go for it! Make sure you ask them to text or call you to let you know they got home safe. You do the same!   

10. Don’t be needy on the follow up. 

It can be very hard for someone with autism to not dwell on how the date went. I’ve been there many times. All you can do is hope it went well based on the other nine things I’ve mentioned. It’s disappointing if it didn’t go well, but don’t be needy. Let things happen naturally.

Dating is hard regardless of disability, but with disability it can be harder. It’s not impossible though, if you follow some of these tips! My upcoming book “Autism: Love Is Too Hard” will tell you a lot of my experiences with dating and things I could have done differently in the dating world.

Go on the date! Have fun! Good luck!

26731609_10215006363580607_8024745951885965610_nLouis Scarantino is a young man on the autism spectrum. Growing up in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Louis admits that he had a tough time in high school. However, once he attended Luzerne County Community College, his life changed for the better. Louis graduated in 2013 cum laude and received an award in his major for the Most Outstanding Student in Office Information Technology. After meeting Shania Twain, his favorite singer, at a concert in Las Vegas and actually going on stage with her, he decided that he wanted to become a writer and motivational speaker. Louis follows this dream with his blog posts, and by posting on sites like The Mighty. Check out his website for more great posts! Louis will be expanding on this topic of dating with his new book, entitled “Love is too Hard: The Dating (Mis)Adventures of a Man with Autism.”