TL;DR: gained social skills, built a social life, then just dropped it all, now stay in way more, and am wondering why. I have asperger's, and my social skills used to be lacking. So I didn't have that much fo a social life, didn't feel at ease with people, had friends and went out but was always sort of a loner, one who was okay with hsi own company. Part of having AS is, for better or worse, you don't really give a rat's as about what people think of you. But then one day I decided that I wanted to see hwo the other half lived, try this "having a social life thing", learn how to socialize and pick up the minutiae of social conduct. It was all an experiment then, to see what that would be like and then if I didn't like it, I;d go back to being a more solitary person who went out a lot less. I guess I just wanted to try and see what the big deal was about when people went out and seemed to be having such a great time with friends. It was always a mystery to me. "What are they *getting* out of this?" Right then, as though from out of the blue, I met a woman who hung out on a local bar/music/cafe scene in my town where I was already hanging out on the edges. Nothing had ever been so perfectly timed in my LIFE, and I had no idea she was going to change my life into something so drastically different. Everybody loved her and she was very socially skilled, regarded as a real sweetie, and sorta the den mother of the hood. Well she and I got to be friends and she spent basically 5 nights a week, four to five hours a night teaching me how to socially behave, interpret body language, pacing in a conversation, etc. There is no social training for people with AS that can replace how she and I did it...actually IN the field, in a familiar social environment, with her being right there to offer in-the-moment instruction in real-time, as I actually interacted with people. Also when I'd been talking to someone and the interaction was done, I;d ask her "Ok, how'd I do?" then she would directly break down what I did right and what I needed to work on. People knew what we were doing, so they weren't put off if, say, we were standing by a few friends, and I'd say to her "Ok I want to break off and go get a beer but I'll be back, so do I need to say bye to everyone else or how do I handle that?" Then she'd tell me. Her friend(s) in such a cases would ask why were doing that and we'd tell her, and it didn't bother anyone. The people who surrounded me in this scene could also see my social skills increasing. But it took a lot of time, and we had to do a lot of very exact schooling. I'd often go out for the night with a bunch of questions to ask her written down on a piece of paper as they ioccured to me throughout the day: "Do you approach a group of people sitting at a table different from if they're standing?" "Is that done differently for different sized groups of people?" etc. It was THAT exact, but as I got the hang of it, I had more friends, and everyone warmed up to me just fine. Damn, I was actually for once ensconced in a social scene, at ease there, and had many acquaintances. And no less than at my age, 45, and mostly around comrades who were anywhere from 21-32 in general. I finally was getting some idea how the other side lived. I also got my first job working for someone else that I didn't get fired from for saying the wrong thing to someone or other. If someone laments their social skills or how to approach people, the last....and I mean the LAST thing they need to hear if they have AS are the dual mantras of: "just be yourself." and "Just relax." That is absolutely useless to someone with AS and is not going to help them at all. Only real social skills instruction will ever help them, not to mention help them to be able to do either one of those other two things. Until there is real social skills instruction, they will never "get it" no matter what. I still have AS of course, there is no cure for it, and sometimes I often have to deliberately look at and analyze what is going on in social situations, and sometimes I lose pace and can't keep up with the conversation since I'm having to always run in my head that background app which deciphers the body language and tone of voice of others, etc. I also go home at the end of the day and review some of the interactions I had and all too often realize all the signals and subtext I missed. For instance I missed that when the makeup and hair of one of my female workmates is frazzled and smeared, it means she's under a lot of stress. So now when I see her, I have to manually think "Her makeup looks okay today, so she must not be stressing much." I just never connected how she looks to her mental state. Most people get that by instinct to a degree that it comes naturally, but I'll always have to deliberately have that app going, though having learned the skills means that I use a lot of the interactive skills by habit now, so I can take my hands off the wheel a bit. Mainly it all worked and got me the kind of social life that most people who go out a lot have, and to boot it got me a good reputation too. I eventually was able to come out from under this gir's protective wing. For most of this, just knowing her got me a lot of slack from people since she was well regarded. Before I knew it, I was out doing karaoke four nights a week, I was hanging with the hottest bartenders this hood had to offer, always getting invited to social events, you name it. It was all a total blast. Then, one day, I dropped just about all of it overnight and sorta just up and stopped going out. Well, not enitrely, but I pretty much cut it back to a lot closer to what it used to be. My social life is now a lot less robust, I still know those people and am on good terms with them, but I stay in a lot more and just hang out at maybe one social spot that I've always hung out at and do not go to the shows and other bars around the hood anymore. I have not done karaoke in months. It doesn't bother me at all that I made this move. Maybe I have always been one who really does prefer his own company and I forgot how renewing that is to me, and that I wasn't spending enough time by myself anymore. And when I made that move to not going out as much, I pretty much stuck with it more than not. If there was one single actual reason I could point to, if at all, it was that while the at-large social life in itself was fun in it's own right, one distinct purpose I wanted it to serve was that of getting me more of a domestic life to share with someone, aka, someone to hang out at home with. A girlfriend, if you will. All the hanging out never did that for me. I've never been great with women and I am sure in this case the age difference with most of them didn't help, but still, around 3 years of hanging out should have given me somethng to show for the time in that regard. It was as though, of everything that girl taught me, the one area that she could never really cover was the matter of attracting women. It felt like the instruction just couldn't get me to that, the top of the pyramid. I searched for male help from my friends in this regard, but they weren't a lot of use. Maybe that girl and I had a way of sharpening my skills that was the only one who worked for me. Maybe no one was really ever going to be qualified to take a guy from having no really workable social skills to being able to successfully attract women and do well with them. I'm not sure anyone could. The skillz always fell short in that area. That's not the point though and I am not looking for advice on women here. It just got kinda though to watch everyone else get laid all the time when I only got some once in all that time. Everyone I knew was also burning through one or two relationships in the time I knew them, while I stood there still single throughout it all. It's tough to be around that when you're an apparently hopeless case. You just get tired of watching everyone else get the girl. But that was hardly even most of the reason. The place served as a fuck scene in many ways, and if you ain't getting fucked, then you're always going to just not be in the club as much as you'd like. The thing is, I don't know WHY I just all of a sudden dropped it all. It wasn't really the not getting laid thing, that was just something I didn't like about it. It was as though I just stopped and didn't miss it. Maybe I really am more of a loner than I thought I was, maybe in spite of all the fun I had and the friends I made, I forgot that maybe it's not in my nature to socialize all that much. Or maybe what I really always wanted out of it was a girlfriend, and when I saw that none of what I was doing was serving that purpose, I saw no more reason to keep putting effort into it. Yeah, hanging out is fun alright, but after a while I had given it a fair chance, and after a while, I got that feeling that just the hanging out was never going to be enough on it's own, so I lost interest in it. Again, I am not looking for gf advice and it doesn't bother me all that much that I am single. Really I'm just fishing for possible causes as to why I dropped it all and felt fine doing so. Right now, going back some months, I'd be at this very moment at sunday night karaoke knocking out song after song to my many adoring fans and a bar full of cheering patrons. I always rocked sober and rarely drank when I went out, fwiw. I always thought that was something cool about how I did it all. I'd walk into the bar and they'd set out my seltzer water for me by the time my ass hit the barstool. I'd then head home at 2 am or maybe get invited to one of the DJ's houses to smoke some weed and hang out. And now I'm sitting here in my bathrobe typing this, a bit meloncholy (I always felt that way on sunday night), puffing pretty much contentedly on my hookah with some jazz going in the background, and tbh, I don't feel this little one-person scene of mine lacks anything tonight. If anyone here as an outside observer has any ideas as wha happened, please do fill me in. Thanks.