“Tis the Season
Now is probably the busiest time of year for social interactions, whether that means office Christmas parties, a cookie exchange at a friend’s house, or meeting a few people for dinner.
And if you ask me, they’re all hell.
There needs to be a way to survive social situations easily.
Call me a Grinch, but I just don’t like social situations. I’m not very comfortable with them.
All the Socially Acceptable Reasons
As people with ADHD, we can have trouble with social situations. And it doesn’t seem to matter if the event is with people we know or not.
Here are a few ADHD things going on:
- We have trouble making transitions from one thing to another. This is usually illustrated by our troubles getting out of bed in the morning and going to bed at night. But it can just as easily be trouble leaving the house and going somewhere else. And it’s even worse if that somewhere else involves someplace we’ve never been or people we don’t know.
- We can be socially awkward. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, we often miss social cues that others pick up on naturally. And we’ve been doing this our whole lives. Second, we don’t pay attention very well – even when we really mean to – and we miss bits of conversation. It isn’t unusual to find yourself struggling to answer a question that you didn’t hear.
- We have low self esteem and social anxiety, which means we’re always worried about doing or saying the wrong thing. Check out 5 Ways to Reduce Your Social Anxiety. Or being dressed inappropriately – you know – you wore a ballgown and everyone else was in jeans.
- And while we’re on the subject, we have entire scenarios in our head. (Probably one of the reasons we aren’t paying attention.) You’re so intent on thinking of just the right thing to say when the time comes that you completely miss the conversation or – worse yet – you say what you intended to say and no one understands how it’s relevant.
Get Me Out of Here!
No, this is not where I tell you how to make a quick but graceful exit. Sorry.
You need to learn this stuff.
Here’s what I wish I knew in high school:
- Smile and say hello to people. Just be friendly. It goes a long way.
- Listen. Really try to listen without worrying about responding. Some people really do like to talk about themselves.
- Relax, even if you did wear the ballgown and no one else did. Make a little joke, laugh, and get over it, and so will everyone else.
- If you find yourself lost in thought when someone asks you a question, apologize and ask them to repeat it. If you can pull it off, tell them you were so busy admiring their fill-in-the-blank that you completely missed what they were saying.
- Take a break now and then. Find a quiet spot or a friendly face and just take a breather for a few minutes.
- And remember, January isn’t that far away and then all of this will be over for a while.