a new(s) strategy…

As an adult with ADHD, I often struggle in social situations.  If you asked my circle of friends and even acquaintances however, you might not find that they agree.  Although I am much better at completing the dishes or cleaning when balancing my cell phone precariously with one shoulder pressed to my ear…and I love to have people over to my house, I really do experience social stress.  For as long as I could remember, I have used the friend strategy…I could never clean or organize my room without support.  Now, all that support would have to be is a friend hanging out looking at a magazine or something.  You see I did not need the physical help, just warm body support.  I needed to be able to chat with someone, see someone in order to access my efficiency.  I have never been one to be alone for long periods of time and love it.  The paradox is that I really have difficulty feeling ok at a party or other social gatherings.  Hmmmm…I have tried to establish some strategies for myself when I know that I will be needing to show up socially.  I have a list of built in reminders like these:

* Listen carefully
* Stay on topic when talking
* Pause and let others finish no matter how urgent it is to say what you need to say before you forget it because it is a really important piece of information
* be mindful of body posture…don’t fidget
* keep facial expressions in check
* curb the impulse
* what is funny in my head is not always nearly as funny to those around me

So with this list of reminders running through my head, how can I possibly manage any positive or remotely successful social interaction?  It is a risk for me when I am in a social situation particularly where I am meeting new people.  It remains generally hard even if I have known someone for a very long time…
The news strategy is a tip that I read many years ago in order to support the cocktail party scene…or any other social situation that I might find myself in.  I keep up on the news to be equipped for conversation…to avoid long awkward silences.  Even with my closest friends, I find my mind takes off and while I am having a comfortable Ally McBeal moment, the person is staring at me or worse, looking away, adjusting their position or even walking away.  If I have the latest happenings, local, worldly or both, I can usually save myself by throwing a topic out there.  I don’t really follow baseball so saying ‘how about those Redsox’ doesn’t work for me.  The news strategy isn’t always a grand solution either since I have a habit of reading the justice section of CNN or following the bizarre, shocking and delinquent things that local people tend to do.  I may need to adjust this strategy to include other things like research and food perhaps.  I am totally up for suggestions…what is your favorite ‘did you hear about…’ topic?

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