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Socializing Tips for Adults with ADHD

written by: Olive Estrella Coronado • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 10/7/2010

Adults with ADHD may experience difficulty in social situations. Here are some tips that can help them interact with others and build better relationships.

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    Hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention are the top three things that pose problems in socializing for adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). How can an adult with ADHD address these problems that hinder them from building and maintaining good friendships and other relationships?

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    Improving Verbal Communication

    Socializing for adults with ADHD is tough. One major difficulty is verbal communication with others, as ADHD people tend to be easily distracted and forgetful and they have a strong tendency to interrupt as well. How can these people slowly overcome these problems? Here are several tips:

    • Watch others carefully on how they communicate effectively. Imitate their nonverbal cues, facial expressions and gestures and keep practicing these things until they come naturally. Also take note of the polite expressions uttered and the responses given.
    • It would be good for ADHD adults to actually rehearse a conversation in the mirror. In this way, they can see for themselves how they sound and what they look like. Perhaps they can even ask a trusted friend or someone close to them to check and provide an honest appraisal and constructive criticism.
    • When an ADHD person feels the need to interrupt, they must control themselves. One way to do this is to write down their thoughts instead of suddenly blurting them out. When the time is right, they can then share these thoughts. It is a good idea to explain to other person/s what is being done so they are not offended when something is jotted down in a notepad.
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    Getting a Grip on Impulsivity and Anger

    People with ADHD have the propensity to be impulsive, acting first before thinking. Talking rapidly and not giving others a chance to butt in are signs of impulsivity. Other signs include blurting out unnecessary or perhaps even hurtful comments, quitting a job or jumping from one task to another quickly, engaging in affairs, deciding to relocate, and taking great risks without much consideration. Along with all of these, outbursts are common when angry. Forms of anger range from shouting loudly without any concern for other people, hitting, throwing, and showing other aggressive expressions. To lessen and control these, an ADHD person can do the following:

    • Find out what it is that triggers irritation and anger and be aware of the symptoms such as raised heart rate and a cold sweat. When the symptoms appear, pause and take time out. Count to ten and take some deep breaths.
    • An ADHD adult must have an outlet for their anger to calm them down. It should be something they like to do and are good at. For example painting or dancing.
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    Enhancing Focus and Attention

    Inattention can be a key reason why relationships and friendships crumble to the ground. Paying attention and focusing on a partner or friend is an important factor to consider with regard to socializing for adult ADHD. For example, when one attends a loved one’s graduation or basketball game and fails to focus, this is a cause for conflict. The adult with ADHD sends out signals to the other party that they are not interested or do not care at all. How can these people improve their focus and attention? Here are some tips:

    • The ADHD adult must pay close attention to what others are saying and doing. People may be sending out a different message through the use of nonverbal cues and actions that speak louder than their words. That is why it is essential to also take note of tone of voice and body language.
    • ADHD individuals can hone their listening skills by answering questions about conversations listened to or by responding appropriately and repeating passages in conversations. They can also train themselves to build better concentration by pointing out details in illustrations/pictures such as a blond-haired boy wearing a red shirt in the picture of a busy street with throngs of people.
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    In socializing for adult ADHD, it is important to take baby steps only at first. It is also recommended that adults with ADHD focus on improvements one at a time. Upon learning to monitor their moods, words, and actions an ADHD person is on the way to enhanced socialization skills, more friends, and better relationships. Goodbye, solitude!

    References:

    http://helpguide.org/mental/adhd_add_adult_strategies.htm

    http://www.help4adhd.org/en/living/relandsoc/WWK15S

    http://www.thehealthcenter.info/adult-add-adhd/

    http://www.addresources.org/article_social_skills_brown.php

    http://www.addresources.org/article_adhd_untreated_pera.php