Steps to Inform Your Date that You Have Autism With Minimal Awkwardness

1. Acquire a date. This would be easier if you knew anyone of the appropriate gender/orientation. Blaming your autism for this deficiency is preferable to taking responsibility for your anti-social tendencies.
2. Discount casual social interaction as a means of acquiring a date. The neurotypicals’ herd-instincts lead them to cluster in defensive formations, preventing you from singling out potential targets. Instead, research online-dating options.
3. On your profile, list all of your unusual interests, which will make you seem studious and intellectual, while also dropping subtle hints of your diagnosis. This will keep your potential dating pool as wide as possible, while simultaneously scaring away anyone that you might find awkward to interact with.
4. Wait to match with someone on the dating app. Then panic and wait at least 24 hours before initiating any contact.
5. Exchange pleasantries via text. You are far more articulate over text. Be sure to ask them questions about themselves, but subtly guide the conversation to topics you are actually interested in.
6. Get asked to meet in person. Panic. But do NOT delete the dating app. Doing so will result in a failure state and require beginning again at step 1, including that part about blaming your autism for everything.
7. Arrange for a casual-but-not-too-casual date. Be conservative with your choice of venue. It is important at this stage for your semblance of normality to be above reproach.
8. Change venues two days beforehand because you realized that the restaurant your date suggested serves literally nothing you can eat without experiencing sensory distress. Claim a food allergy if you have to.
9. Do not allow yourself to become anxious over your physical presentation. Trying to update your wardrobe in accordance with modern fashions will only leave you baffled and depressed. If you are not accustomed to styling your hair, trying to figure it out at the last minute is ill advised.
10. Pick up your date in your car. The fact that you own your own car sends a strong message that you are capable and independent and very well-adjusted thank you, even if the car was paid for by your parents and is two decades old.
11. You may be tempted to attempt conversation on the drive to the venue. This is not advisable, since you can pretend to be distracted by driving and put off the impending social interaction for as long as possible.
12. You have researched the venue’s menu beforehand, so ordering your own food is easy. Do not display any distaste at your date’s choice of multiple flavors and textures in a single dish.
13. Attempt to initiate the aforementioned social interaction. This would be easier if you weren’t trying to eat at the same time. Simply eat your food as fast as possible. You are very skilled at speed-eating from all of those lunches sitting alone during grade-school.
14. Exchange pleasantries and discuss mutual interests. Be relieved that you actually do have mutual interests. Do not discuss any given shared interest for longer than fifteen minutes. Proactively create conversational tangents if needed.
15. Become consciously aware of your date’s physical appearance. Assure yourself that you are only seeking social compatibility, but it is nice that your date has a pleasing visual aesthetic regardless. It is appropriate to belatedly compliment their apparel.
16. Continue the pattern of subtly dropping hints of your neurological atypicality. You want them to think of you as a person first, but you also would prefer to terminate the relationship prematurely if they are uncomfortable dating someone with autism.
17. Realize that, despite your clinically deficient social skills, your hints have been far too subtle for your date to pick up on. Or perhaps your inability to read body language simply prevented you from noticing their reaction.
18. Suddenly become neurotic about examining your date’s body language. You don’t want to miss any messages they might be intending to send. This will last for about thirty seconds before your social energy must be diverted elsewhere.
19. Wait for the date to come to its natural conclusion. You will have to blindly guess when that is. Be relieved that the whole exchange resulted in no physical trauma, and the emotional toll was minimal.
20. Return your date to their dwelling. As they leave, remember that you never actually told them about your autism. Determine that such would be a better conversation topic for a second date anyway.