She blogs at The Bloggess and you can read some of the replies she got when she shared about an embarrassing moment she had at the airport. (Note: this site has become really popular. You might have trouble loading the page.)
The number of replies and cringe worthy behavior was both funny to read and somewhat painful.
As a woman with ADHD, I think I’ve probably had more than my share of embarrassing exchanges with others.
One of my most memorable happened in 6th grade when I was the new kid at school. A girl was talking to me in gym class and asked me a question. I hadn’t been paying attention, so I had no idea what she had asked.
My answer? “I don’t know.”
Her reply? “You don’t know where you live???”
How many decades later and it still stings.
Those socially awkward moments happen a lot to those of us with ADHD, no matter how hard we try.
And there are several reasons for this:
- We have trouble focusing and paying attention. Half the time when someone is talking to us, we’ve got a whole other dialog going on in our head.
- Because we have trouble paying attention, we never picked up on those subtle social cues that everyone else does. We don’t notice the shift in someone’s expression when we have accidentally hurt them or bored them to tears.
- Many of us have social anxiety, which makes things worse. Sort of an egg and chicken thing.
- We interrupt. A lot. We’ve learned that if we don’t get it out of our head as soon as we think it, it might be gone forever.
- After a while, interacting with others can be painful and so we begin to avoid it. That can lead to even poorer social skills than you had before because you aren’t using those skills anymore.
So what can you do to sharpen your skills?
I have a few ideas:
- Interact with others more often, even if you don’t want to.
- Find an understanding friend who can work with you and point things out that you miss. Start one on one and then try inviting others.
- Do a search online. There are a lot of resources out there to help you learn, like this one from ADDitude Magazine.
- Finally, understand that we all have awkward moments; we’re human. Use your sense of humor and have a laugh at your expense.