Of Awkward Moments and ADHD

I'm back from being muggle sick, but feeling approximately as well rested as a cat that only got eight hours of sleep today... If that makes sense.

Hello!!! I’m back! Two weeks of muggle sickness definitely weren’t fun, but now I’m back to being almost healthy. Yay! (Still, I very much identify with the cat above, that’s approximately how I’m looking typing away right now…anyway…)

Did you know that there is a National Awkward Moments Day in the US? I think that’s really funny! And, is it just me, or does it feel like with ADHD, there are a lot of these moments? To me, it definitely feels like that. More on this later, though.

According to the Internet, Awkward Moments Day is about being able to laugh at ourselves when we do something awkward. Which is a great idea. It’s also something I’m not really that good at. On the contrary, I have the tendency to obsess about whatever I’ve done wrong forever. (Seriously, there are awkward moments from years ago, that still make me feel intensely uncomfortabel anytime I accidentaly think about them.) But, I’m working on it.

So, awkward moments and ADHD. I feel like the vast majority of the awkward moments in my life come from inattention. I mean, I can’t actually remember how many times I’ve forgotten someone’s name, literally the second they told me. I honestly had a friend, when I was a student at uni, whose name I didn’t know until they did a solo presentation during our second semester together. (And, just to be clear, we were already friends then, it’s not like I became friends with them after that… I just, well, forgot their name after they introduced themselves, and was too embarassed to ask.)

And sometimes (okay, lots of times) I don’t pick up on stuff that’s going on, because my brain just doesn’t register them. I’ve missed so many new haircuts and new glasses on people, it’s not even funny. Plus, I’m really not great at picking up on things that are going on with my fellow humans, emotionally. Anyway, I actually didn’t realize my colleague of six months had cut her long hair into a bob last year, until one of the kids at work pointed it out. Oups!

Impulse control is another ADHD issue, that makes for some pretty awkward moments, for me. If I’m off medication, I often say things without really thinking about them, for example. And I often don’t think things through all the way. Like last year, when I got into an argument with my colleague, because despite her insistence, and the huge wall calendar that said otherwise, I was absolutely convinced that Halloween wasn’t a public holiday in Germany (and, technically, it isn’t a holiday at all, what we have here is a protestant holiday called reformation day), only to find out that it actually was, for one time only, last year. I had just completely missed the news. That was quite awkward.

I also regularly tell people things I probably shouldn’t. Although I’m not sure if telling someone I have ADHD when I first meet them is a good idea or not. Anyways, I tend to get pretty personal way too soon (I think…).

Hyperactivity isn’t that much of an issue for me, but it can definitely cause awkwardness. Like the countless times I’ve been called out by annoyed colleagues or fellow students, for rapidly clicking a pen for a while, and driving my fellow humans crazy with it. Getting called out for fidgetting is always so much fun…

So, yeah, I feel like having ADHD kind of increases the frequency of awkward moments. Personally, I hate awkward moments (as you probably figured, from my tendency to obsess about them). I hate doing something embarassing, even if there isn’t even anybody around to see it. I just hate it. And it isn’t fun.

But I’m working on this. Because if ADHD makes awkward moments more likely, I guess it’s a good idea not to get hung up on them so much. Actually, I find that consciously deciding that something is funny, instead of mortifying, is a good starting point. It’s really hard, but it works (a bit… but I hope it will work better once I manage to actually find these things funny).

So, in honor of Awkward Moments Day (that was yesterday, by the way), here’s one awkward moment I can actually laugh about:

Back in school, my family took a trip to the south of France. Now, if you’ve ever been to France, you know that French people aren’t big on learning English, and I was the only one in my family who knew even a little bit of French. Except, it turns out, my awful high school French didn’t exactely prepare me to have any kind of conversation with someone who speaks with even a little bit of a dialect (shocking, I know… also, I really didn’t understand French, even without any accent, tbh). So, we were at a McDonalds, and I was doing the ordering, and the lady behind the counter asked me something in rapid (at least to me) French. I, of course, didn’t understand a word, so I just smiled at her and responded with “Oui??” (which means yes, in French, in case you didn’t know). Cue a huge eye-roll from the lady, who points to the display above her head and goes “This OR this?” I was soooooo embarassed!!!

Oh, also, there’s a funny story I just remembered, from some of my friends who learned Italian in school (I didn’t, too impatient) and took a “field trip” to Rome. It wasn’t terribly warm at the time, and the heating in their room was broken, so they spent half an hour, carefully figuring out how to ask the receptionist to have the heating fixed in Italian. Went down, probably played rock paper scissors to determine who had to speak to the receptionist, and finally posed their question in perfect Italian. To which the receptionist replied “Kein Problem, ich schick gleich jemanden.” (“No problem, I’ll send someone right away.”), because they were actually fluent in German.

Alright, that’s it for today. I hope you had a laugh at my awkward stories, and if you have one of your own you want to share, as always, feel free to do so in the comments!

Image by Buenosia Carol