(If you have not already, I suggest you read my previous post, ADD – ADHD: Have You Forgotten How Much You Need This?, where I covered the importance of maintaining connections, before reading this one)
One of the challenges in nurturing relationships is making the time and space to connect with others. Unless we are intentional in our choices, and attend to our relationships, we can actually forget to do this. Even when it is important to us.
Recently, I was talking to a friend, explaining how I often do not want to go out. This surprised her because, as she noted, I appear to do so well and be so at ease in social situations. When she said this, the phrase, fake it till you make it, came to mind.
It is interesting because I know the rules of the road when it comes socializing. It just takes a lot of energy to implement them. Figuring out who to talk to and for how long, the right topics, when to listen and when to speak… It is exhausting!
Yet, I continue to go out because in the end, I really enjoy it. It is worth a little angst.
And I know I’ll miss out if I hide out in the “comfort” of my home.
Like me, you know that staying authentically connected to family and friends is critical to your well-being. Yet, actually maintaining these relationships may be quite challenging for someone with ADD for some of the following reasons:
♦ You may feel so overwhelmed by all that you currently have on your plate that you do not feel that you have the time and space in your life for socializing.
♦ Perhaps, when you do socialize, it feels like an ordeal because of the challenge of fully participating in the give and take of a conversation. It may take great effort to focus and follow all of the threads of the conversation.
♦ Conversely, you may find yourself dominating conversations due your impulsive nature. In either case, it seems too hard…
♦ Maybe, you are unsure how to manage your behavior in the moment. In response to this discomfort, you may decide to limit your social interactions to avoid embarrassing yourself.
♦ At times, it can feel like it takes too much effort to attend to your relationships and be the person that you want to be, so you stop trying.
Ways to Connect
Some of the following strategies are ones that I have used and recommended to clients.
Get involved with a structured activity. By doing this, you do not need to plan.
Become involved in a community, like a synagogue or church, Meet Up group, choir, karate, AA. Community is everywhere. You just need to reach out and find your place.
Print a list friends and family and put it in a prominent place where you are likely to look. Call or email someone once a week, just to say hi.
Commit to going out a specified number of times a week or month.
What is your first step?
I’m sure some of the above resonates with you.
Just think of all the energy and creativity you can have to pursue your goals when your primary needs are met.
In spite of some of the challenges of maintaining relationships, what are you willing to do to make this a priority?
What kind of support do you need to do this? Do you need to learn new skills, so that you are more comfortable in social situations? Maybe, you want a friend to go with you to activities. Think of what you need to make the first and next step easier.