Social situations may be very difficult for some people with ADHD (Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder). They don’t seem to have the type of antenna which picks up the nuances and undertones of social interactions. They often are not aware of how other people are feeling or how they appear to others.
1. Stop, look, listen, repeat
Listening is difficult for many people but especially people with ADD.
Many years ago two air planes collided, one was taking off as the other landed. The plane taking off had received a command from the control tower :”You are cleared for take off”. The pilot couldn’t know that the transmission system had blinked like an ADD brain by losing the little word “NOT”. But the pilot failed to follow established protocol to repeat back the command received.
2. Bodies talk. Learn to understand them
Body language conveys more than 65% of your message. Does your body say what you mean? Do you understand what other bodies are telling you?
3. The tone of your voice says more than your words
Voice tone conveys your emotions and counts for about 30% of the message. Listen to yourself; do you sound angry, whining, or bored? Listen carefully to others. People with ADHD often misinterpret the emotions of others. If in doubt ask quietly “Are you angry with me?”
4. Be interested in others
People with ADHD may be so engrossed in their own world that other people seem like blurs. Stop, take the time to say “Good Morning. How are you?” and listen to the response. Find out if they have children, what their favorite activity is. This does not mean that you need to become bosom pals; this is just normal social discourse which helps to make life a bit more comfortable for everyone.
5. Use names
You don’t remember names? Here’s an exercise to help you remember people. Cut pictures of people out of a magazine. Study each face for at least five minutes. Learn something about the person: something unique or unusual.
6. Count to ten before you explode
Many people with ADD have problems with anger. They tend to see the world through their own unique glasses; when others don’t agree with them, they get frustrated and blow up. Do a post mortem on one of these occasions and identify the triggers which led to the melt down. Were you hungry? Tired? Have a friend or spouse make a video of you. When you recognize the feeling of an impending disaster, take a walk.