Burning Man And Social Connections

September 7, 2010 at 7:39 pm Leave a comment

I was very happy when I returned from Burning Man 2010.    I saw a lot of art and connected with old friends on the playa.  However,  it felt like there was an empty void in my soul. I felt like that I did not make social connections to the Burners.

The recurring theme that I have learned is that I make easier connections with people that are older than I am.   For some reason, people in there late 30s and older have the patience and maturity to talk with a person with high-functioning autism.  It seems that the social scripts that I was taught in my social skills therapy works well with this group, but does not work really well with younger Burners who are in the early 20s to early 30s.

It is this group that I desire to have a connection with.  I am closer to the subject group in age than the some of the older Burners, but it seems that there is an easier social connection to somebody who is 45 than somebody is 23.   I believe that the problem does not have to do with abstaining from alcohol and drugs because this problem did exist when I was drinking socially from 2004 to 2006 and when my drinking became alcoholic in 2007 to 2008.

I think the real problem stems from that the subject age group does not attend regular and recurring organized social events that I attend on a frequent basis.   Since I have autism, I do not make friends very easily because it takes people a few months to understand my social quirks and get used to.  However, once I make friends with somebody, I keep them around for a very long time.

At the Burn, there will younger people in my camp, but they were usually kept to themselves and did not give me the proper social space to enter their group.  It was hard for me to enter into a conversation and used my social scripts that I learned from social skills training to introduce myself to them.  In contrast, the older members of the camp were easier to talk to with and have discussion with.

To make more friends in this age group requires a social gathering that is organized and people regularly attend on frequent basis (like two to three times a month).    I think there is other social cues and other things that I miss that do not allow me to make a social connection with this group. I do not know specifically what types of behaviors that I do that are wrong outside of having a loud voice and not having constant eye contact in some cases.  Sometimes, I feel that I am missing another level of social communication that I have the complete inability to understand or comprehend.

In conclusion, I should continue to maintain my social contacts with OC and SD Burners and not really worry about this group.  As I get progressively older, it will no longer be needed to really desire  a social contact with younger burners.  Within in a few years, I will be middle-aged myself and I will no longer worry about trying to get social connection with this part of the community.

Entry filed under: Burning Man, Social Networking, social skills. Tags: , , .

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