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  • Writer's pictureNatasha Schellander

ADHD and Social Interactions

Do you have ADHD and find you are tired ALL of the time when socialising in large groups?

This is a common issue. Managing multiple interactions simultaneously can be incredibly

exhausting. This is because ADHD can cause focus, attention, and impulsivity challenges.

However, there are techniques you can use to make the experience more manageable and

enjoyable. In this blog post, we will discuss some of these techniques. We’ll also provide tips

on handling specific group situations. So, whether you’re attending a party or a concert,

read on for advice on how to make the most of your social experiences!

Improving social competence

Improve your overall social competence by working on the following:

Practice your social thinking and social skills during interactions with others. You can do this

by consciously practicing:

  • Picking up on and interpreting social cues

  • Listening and looking so that you pick up on both verbal and non-verbal messages

  • Taking the perspective of other people

  • Maintaining social boundaries

  • Sharing equally a conversation and staying on topic

  • Emotional regulation

Managing Multiple Interactions

An example of multiple interactions could be that you’re at a party, talking to someone, but

someone else at the party has decided to join your conversation. So now there are three of

you. Another example is if you’re in a work meeting with a team of people who are talking

over each other, having discussions about how to resolve a department issue.

Socialising in large groups and trying to pay attention to multiple conversations can feel

overwhelming and chaotic. This is when sensory overload can occur.

Here are some quick tips on handling multiple social interactions: 

  • Keep the conversation focused on one topic at a time.

  • Delay your initial reaction

  • Focus on relevant information

  • Use your problem-solving capacity to consider your response options

  • Then choose an appropriate social response

  • Ensure that you’re taking breaks often, especially at a social event that goes for more than half a day, such as an end-of-year work function.

  • Breathe in slowly and fully exhale

  • Be patient with yourself.

Attending a Party

Going to a party can cause social anxiety for many people with (and without) ADHD.

Here are some strategies to calm your nerves and overcome your fears:

  • Resist the urge to cancel. It may feel like a relief in the short term but this will make your social anxiety worse in the long term.

  • Arrive early and get a lay of the land. This can reduce the stimulus in the environment and make it easier to focus on conversations.

  • Having a few conversation starters in mind. This can make it easier to start a conversation with someone new.

  • Spending too much time in a stimulating environment can be overwhelming, so stepping out to get some fresh air for a few minutes can reset the nervous system.

  • Set a doable goal, like introducing yourself to two new people and having a five-minute conversation with each.

  • Don’t drink too much. You don’t want to become dependent on alcohol to attend parties.

  • Wait for the anxiety to pass. If you try everything and still feel anxious, don't beat yourself up. Sit with it. It won’t kill you. The symptoms will pass in 15 to 20 minutes.

Attending Conferences and Group Job Interviews

When you have ADHD, you can quickly feel disadvantaged in group job interviews or large

work events, such as conferences and trade shows. However, there are some things you can

do to boost your confidence and maximise your chances of success. 

1. Try to focus. If you can’t seem to keep your mind from wandering, try focusing on a

specific person.

2. Take deep breaths. This will relax and hopefully prevent you from becoming

overwhelmed by the excitement.

3. Talk to those around you. If you’re hyperactive, those around you can diffuse the

situation and make everyone feel more comfortable.

4. Leave if necessary. If you’re becoming too overwhelmed, it’s OK to step out for a

breather or leave the event altogether. Most importantly, you don’t let your

excitement turn into uncontrollable anxiety.

5. Take the time to prepare thoroughly. Review common interview questions and

practise your answers out loud if you have a group interview. This will keep you

calm and focused when it’s your turn to speak. 

6. Try to relax and be yourself. Don’t worry about impressing everyone in the room;

focus on making a good impression on the interviewer. 

7. Don’t be afraid to ask for accommodations if you need them. For example, you

might request a break if you feel overwhelmed or ask to sit in a chair instead of


If you take the opportunity to do the above, you can show employers that you’re capable

and confident—despite having ADHD.

Lastly, don’t forget to have fun! 

ADHD doesn’t have to hold you back from enjoying your social life. Socialising can be a great

way to connect with others and make new friends. So, go out there and enjoy yourself! Just

remember to use the techniques to make the experience more manageable. 

We are proud to be a part of an inclusive community that celebrates neurodiversity. If you

would like a friendly chat to discuss your challenges, click on the link below to get started:

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