Hello to all my ADHD peeps, and ADHD loved ones,
Last post I talked about having social anxiety, but I didn’t talk about how we can deal with it and start to work towards improving this problem so it is easier to make friends. This post I will remedy this and start talking about how we can work on decreasing this anxiety. As with any recommendation different people are going to have different results. Make sure that you are being kind to yourself. You are not going to get up tomorrow and no longer have this problem it is going to take practice and there are going to be times when it is frustrating.
First we are going to start with changing our mindset. It is very easy to get into a mindset that it is difficult to change so we just become okay with not exposing ourselves to new social interactions. This works, but there are always going to be times where you get put in a situation where you HAVE to talk with other people. Maybe for work or some other situation you are just placed into that you have to converse with people, so this mindset just isn’t going to work. I can promise you that 99% of people are not going to judge you when you are talking with them. It is very easy to get into our own head and start becoming hypercritical of ourselves, but that is not a fair assessment of yourself. You are a unique individual no matter who you are and you need to let that shine. I believe that one of the easiest ways to start talking without judgement is to volunteer. The best part of volunteering in places like The Salvation Army is they allow you to interact with a lot of different people in short spurts and this is something that allows you to practice frequently and it will allow you to get a feel for conversation starters that work and the ones that run into dead ends more often. In volunteer roles like this you also will not see the people you’re conversing with often, if ever again, and the likelihood they’ll remember anything about your previous conversations is slim. The other great thing about volunteering in places like The Salvation Army is the fact that you are going to be around people that are older than you. It is always a lot easier to talk to older people in my personal experiences and this is because a lot of them will lead a lot of the conversation and in a lot of cases they are going to want to know about you because older people love two things in most cases: telling stories and listening to stories. Older people in most cases are also some of the least judgmental when it comes to conversing.
One big thing that is easy to do when you start expanding your social circle is to over share and this is a typical problem that is found in people that have ADHD. One easy trick of this is to make sure that you you are thinking before you are speaking. If it is not something that you would tell your parents or your loved one don’t throw it into a random conversation. It sounds silly, but I can promise you it is easy to overshare when you have ADHD especially if you are someone that has the hyperactivity (impulsivity) tendencies. I know for us it can be difficult to listen to what someone is saying while trying to control anxiety and not overthink what we’re saying and adding on thinking about what you say before you say it can sometimes be too much. So another option is to think about what you can say during a conversation before hand, make a list of good conversation starters and fun facts to share about yourself.
If you are a fidgeter that is okay one really easy tip to keep your fingers or hands moving is to place a paper clip in your hands and flip it around. The reason a paper clip works well is because it doesn’t make any noise and it is something that is small so it doesn’t draw a lot of attention. As you get more comfortable with people, people will start to understand things like fidgeting. The people I sit near in class all know that I fidget, I just tell them to kick me if I start moving my legs around too much because I can promise you you are not the only one that gets bored during a three hour lecture on Cell Biology.
Let’s start here for right now, and in a couple of days I will continue adding to this list because I have quite a few things to add to this, but lecture preparation calls.