Reply To: Unable to read social cues

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I think oceanbloom and InfectionLion were empathizing with your hurt, as I do. oceannbloom suggested a couple of good alternatives to emotionally unloading with people present: writing it out or talking it our in private. We all need to find our personal work-arounds; suggestions from fellow ADDers may work or get you to think of something that might.

Find a doctor who specializes in helping people with ADHD. Meds don’t do it all, but they can help. Our real challenges are learning how to live in a neurotypical world with ADHD brains. It’s tough. It doesn’t happen if you just understand it intellectually.

We ADDers work at our particular problematic stuff in real time so we can have real friends, fulfilling jobs that make use of our talents, and rewarding relationships. ADHD is a reason problematic things sometimes happen. It is NOT an excuse.

Most people are not going to tell you if you’re talking too much about yourself or even about a topic you find fascinating but they don’t share. They don’t know you’re missing social cues. They certainly don’t think that you understand your behaviors at all. Some may be concerned that by abruptly telling you to get off of the topic they’ll hurt you, or that you’ll get angry.

Most people have no clue about the challenges of living with ADHD. They don’t even know we don’t do the things we may do on purpose. You were “at ease, until [you were] banned.” Some of the group undoubtedly tried to steer you, but you missed it. After a while, someone decided that you are clueless, that you just don’t get it at all. It doesn’t matter if your heart was in the right place. They don’t know, and in many casual groups, they don’t care. That doesn’t make them or you bad. It just is.

Is this an online group of some kind? Just voice? Just thought of that comment you made. Social interactions that aren’t in person are even tougher environments, because it’s harder to pick up clues and cues. It can also be harder to self-regulate, even if you’ve reached a pretty good level in face-to-face encounters.

Here’s a personal example: I have to remind myself more than usual about not interrupting if I’m on a Zoom meeting. At a recent Board meeting, I was interrupting and the President was getting annoyed. I even realized she was! A colleague picked up on it. She knows me well enough and said, “I have my little hand raised!!” I realized she meant the “Raised hand” communication tool on Zoom, so from then on I also used it when I wanted to speak. And I wrote little reminders in my notes about what I wanted to say, in case I wasn’t recognized right away and forgot. Two ADHD issues, two work-arounds!

Don’t beat up on yourself! Making a mistake makes us all feel bad, but acknowledging it, learning from it, and putting it behind you will move you forward. Don’t give up on people. Ask someone you know and trust to help you recognize one or two specific situations where you have made this mistake or a similar one, if you can. Have them describe the hints neurotyical people might give that you miss. Rehearse to yourself how you can do better another time. Maybe ask questions about someone else’s comments. Agree with a point made or add one fact, then let someone else comment. Listen, observe. Find out who else you can ask for feedback.

I have an honest comment about the good friend you mentioned. That person was trying to make you feel better, obviously, and was listening. However, if the outcome was primarily that it’s OK to blame other people and diss them for not understanding you, I disagree emphatically. Yes, you need to differentiate between casual acquaintances and real friends. Yes, you need to take care of yourself. The request you made for help and resources in your original post is the right way to go. The site this discussion is on has loads of really good information in all kinds of formats, so dig in! Read or listen to or watch stuff by Edward Hallowell (Driven to Distraction), John Rately (expert on ADHD and exercise), Peter Jaksa (Life with ADHD…coping strategies), Thomas Brown, Sari Solden (Journeys through ADDulthood)….Enjoy! Learn! Start being the best you! Only you can do it. Glad you asked for help!

All the best!