I sound like a real bore? Maybe. But there are enormous sensory issues that I experience when in a bar; from the volume, smells of the place, to the social etiquette of how to behave – and then having to translate this into how it works from a team outing perspective. Each occasion calls for new rules to process; for instance in terms of how to order drinks, sit, move about and speak with different people. I have a set of rules that I have learned for each social scenario, and as an autistic person, it takes a lot for me to ‘switch’ into a new set – and especially with the rules I don’t regularly use.
There are also more social challenges, as you’re surrounded by increased conversation, and have to work doubly hard to decipher meanings and to pick up on sarcasm and jokes – which tends to be used more in social situations. I need to concentrate on making eye contact. This isn’t something that comes naturally to me, and yes: it is something I work on and think about when speaking with people. And don’t get me started with overlapping conversations! This is immensely tricky to navigate. I struggle with having background noise, as I need to focus on what each person is saying at a time. I appreciate that in team meetings more than one person may be s