Social situations may be very difficult for Adults with ADHD. They don’t seem to have the type of antenna which picks up the social cues and undertones of social interactions. They often are not aware of how other people are feeling or how they appear to others. Here are some ways to increase your social skills and increase your confidence.
- Prepare For the Event – Spend some time thinking about the event and what to expect. Is it a small gathering or a large one? Is it a celebration for a close friend or family member or just a get-together? Is it a professional, formal event or casual and social? Think about who will be attending, what their interests and personalities might be, and how you might be expected to interact. If you don’t know any or many of the people attending, try to learn more about them before the event so you can mentally prepare some conversation topics. If you know you maybe uncomfortable at these events, you might want to prepare a list of conversation starters to help you.’
- Smile and make eye contact – There are two important actions in any social situation, they are a smile and eye contact. When you encounter someone that you are not familiar with, look them in the eye, offer a natural smile and introduce yourself and follow up with a question such as “How do you know Joe and Sue?” This can make up for any awkwardness you may feel.
- Listen and show interest – When someone is talking, listen to what they are saying and show that you are listening by nodding your head, smiling appropriately. Being curious about what the other person is saying is a great attribute. People are fascinating and have amazing stories to tell, so give them the invitation to open themselves up to you.
- Learn to read body language – Some people can be so oblivious to the underlying cues they are getting from people around them. They don’t know when to stop talking or take a pause to allow someone else to speak. If you’re not skillful at reading body language, start paying more attention to it. Negative body language from others might include crossed arms, frequently looking away, moving or turning away from you, coughing or yawning frequently, or a forced smile.
- Just Be Yourself – It can be hard if you feel uncomfortable or awkward in a social situation. However, if you just be yourself it can be much more attractive than trying to be something that you are not. The real you is a unique and interesting person, so allow others to get to know that person. It may take some practice to feel more confident with being natural while socializing, but it takes a lot less energy to be authentic than it does to maintain a false persona.