WOMAN: Hi welcome to Autism Talk TV. This is the first of a new series of episodes featuring the PEERS Center at UCLA which does social skills training so in this episode Alex learns to flirt and Alex will be flirting with a real girl at a real doctor's office.
[ Music ]
ALEXANDER PLANK: Hi, we're here with Liz Laugeson and we're talking about dating etiquette as part of our social skills series. Liz, thanks so much for joining us.
DR. LIZ LAUGESON: Thanks for having me.
ALEX: Dating is a really important part of a lot of people's lives and one thing that I think a lot of us have trouble with is letting the other person, your interest, your romantic interest know that you are interested in them.
I know that flirting and other ways of making that happen. Could you give me some advice on that?
DR. LAUGESON: Well, it's very interesting. I've done all this research that actually breaks down what people do when they're flirting, and if they're flirting effectively this is what it's supposed to look like.
So, you start by kind of making eye contact with the person, right?
What do you think you do once you sort of engage them in the eye contact? What should you do?
ALEX: Wait until they look away?
DR. LAUGESON: Well, okay, so if we do that, that might make it look like we're sort of staring at them, right? When they look over at you- let's say I'm looking at you and you kind of look over at me, should I do anything that--
DR. LAUGESON: I should smile, right? Absolutely. Do I want to do a big, toothy smile? Or do I want to do maybe just a kind of casual, kind of nice and friendly smile?
ALEX: Probably a casual...
DR. LAUGESON: Yeah, probably like a little, casual half-smile maybe. One of the things you're gonna need to be doing before you ever ask a person on a date is assessing whether or not it seems like they're interested in you at all.
So by this point you should have them trading information and finding some common interest with this person and that's typically how it starts when you ask someone out on a date.
You're just kind of casually talking, you're trading information back and forth you're talking about something that's interesting to both of you.
[Alex and a girl are sitting in a waiting room]
ALEX: Are you watching Midnight in Paris on your iPhone?
GIRL: I am. Do you know of it?
ALEX: Yeah. I love Woody Allen.
GIRL: So do I. This is one of my favorite movies.
ALEX: Do you have a favorite movie?
GIRL: Um, oh I don't know. What's yours?
ALEX: Uh, it's called Manhattan.
GIRL: I've never seen that.
ALEX: Oh man, that's his best movie.
GIRL: I should definitely check it out then.
DR. LAUGESON: Let's say we find out that we are both interested in seeing some movie that's coming out soon. You might say, well, “So what are you doing this weekend?”
So you're kind of assessing before you ever ask them out how they react to that kind of question. So if they say, “Oh nothing,”…
ALEX: Yeah, that's a sign that they want you to ask them to do something.
DR. LAUGESON: That's a good sign.
ALEX [to girl in waiting room]: I heard they're playing it at that art house theater on Cimpolium next week.
GIRL: Oh, really?
GIRL: Oh, that would be interesting.
ALEX: Yeah, what are you doing next week?
GIRL: I don't have any plans as of right now.
ALEX: Oh, well, you could come with me and watch it.
GIRL: That would be really fun.
DR. LAUGESON: And that's also where you would ask for things like contact information, cell phone numbers, things that you didn't already have.
ALEX [to girl]: Well, you want to exchange numbers or ...?
GIRL: Of course.
DR. LAUGESON: So basically those are the steps for you know, asking someone on a date.
You just want to trade information, find some common interests, ask them if they're sort of, available, at whatever time. If they seem interested, maybe ask them out related to that common interest and then, you know, exchange the contact information and all of that.
ALEX: Now, is there something that has to be said about practicing these things?
DR. LAUGESON: Definitely. I mean, all of the skills we teach in PEERS we not only go over these rules and steps of social etiquette but then we actually want to demonstrate what they look like to our kids and then have them practice.