Social Skills and Adult ADHD

Adults with ADHD may feel awkward in social situations or have difficulty communicating.  I recently got a note from a man with ADHD who said he needed tips on how to better meet interesting women and make close friends.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Search for social skills training in your area by typing into Google "ADHD social skills training" and your location.  Various clinics, hospitals and others offer training which can provide excellent help for communicating well in social situations.  If you join a social skills class you may also meet some interesting people who understand your situation because they share it
  • Get out and about doing things you love.  People with ADHD can be "inwardly focused" - that is they can get lost just banging around.  If this is you, and you find that you aren't getting out very much, consider joining a group related to something you love (or think you could love). This might be a local orienteering group or hiking club, it might be joining a biking club, joining the local miniature railroad club or going to the local library events if you love reading.  Be creative and look in the local events websites and weekend newspapers.  Trying something out doesn't commit you forever.  Look for options that let you mingle at receptions or during activities (i.e. don't go to the movies!)  Once you find an activity or group you want to try, put several of their next events into your reminder system.  This way you'll remember to go to the events where you might meet people.
  • Practice social skills with your therapist for parts of your regular therapy sessions if you have them.  Or ask your therapist he or she knows of local skills groups.
  • Strengthen your ability to "attend" to those you are with.  Teaching yourself to ask questions (rather than lecture) and to repeat back ideas you've heard from the person you're talking to generally improves how interested a person is in talking with you (who doesn't love a good audience?!)  Consider practicing asking questions and repeating back ideas with a close friend who might serve as a social skills buddy for a while.
  • Be yourself!  Attending well, listening (not lecturing), and doing things you love to meet others with similar interests are all important...but being comfortable is also important.  So try to enjoy yourself and others will enjoy you, too!