Way back in 2015 (or around that time), I did the ’16 Personalities Test’. Even though there is no scientific support – as such – for such measures of personality, I was with my best friend at the time and it was quite a fun thing to do! Interestingly, we both came out with the same type: ENFP (Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Prospecting). To cut a long explanation short, it means I love people, live in a largely intuitive way, my heart largely wins over my head, and I am not a fan of planning things (you can say the last one again).
Fascinatingly, I came out not just as an extrovert, but as 90% extroverted! This means that I am naturally much happier when around people and prefer not to spend much time on my own. Even though not scientific, the test measured me perfectly and it did help me understand my underlying personality traits long before I was diagnosed with Combined ADHD in July 2020. I do dislike being alone. Unless I am writing or drawing (in hyper-focus), I will actively seek out conversation. As an adult, I am well known as the ‘chatterbox’ and the person who is always in touch with somebody. I have very little fear when it comes to striking up a conversation – even with a complete stranger – and thrive on the challenges that come with running a people-centred tuition and coaching business.
However, ADHD does sometimes cause me problems when it comes to socialising. Even though I have always been adept at reading facial expressions and body language (I am a natural empath), I do struggle to regulate my reactions to things going on around me. Since I was a young child, I have struggled with group work and also find multiple conversations distracting. Paradoxically, it is my ADHD which both helps and hinders my social communication skills.
Let me elaborate. On the one hand, I am fearless and impulsive, which makes it easier for me to commence a conversation when another person may find it difficult. Additionally, my naturally bouncy and energetic way of speaking allows me to jump into conversations with ease and I am naturally humorous which can be advantageous when meeting new people. However, I do struggle with turn-taking and also find it difficult to stop myself from interrupting impulsively. Moreover, when I am not interested in a subject matter, I can find listening incredibly hard and many people will notice I ‘zone-out’ involuntarily if I am not engaged and included in a conversation.
The COVID-19 situation has made it difficult to function as a true extrovert and, even though Skype and Zoom calls have preserved my sanity, there is nothing which compares to the joy of meeting people – face-to-face – and striking up a conversation. Nowadays, I always tell people I have ADHD, as know my behaviour can be difficult to understand unless you are aware of my unique brain neurology. Extroverted ADHDers face similar challenges to everybody else, but the added difficulties of being hyperactive, impulsive, and inattentive can make socialising difficult even when rely so much on human connection.
Please be aware that, as an ADHDer, I have no difficulty understanding your body language, facial expression and tone, I just often have trouble regulating my own emotions. When I say undiplomatic things and react in an excitable or overly dramatic way, I am merely struggling with a brain manager who is struggling to keep their paperwork in order! I am empathetic, energetic, and enigmatic, just speak to me for a few minutes and you will see that!
KEEP STRONG ADHDers, WE ARE AMAZING!