Those Dreaded Manners & Social Skills

"Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that aren't yours. Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies & cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life--learn some & think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play & work every day some."
-Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (15th Anniversary Edition) 

I want to thank you, readers, for your kind feedback. When discussing this blog, you often comment on its honest voice. Reflecting on that, I began to brainstorm the moments when I feel the most guarded. Here's the post the emerged...

My friend Ben & me keepin it classy last NYE.
There are many perks to working in publishing. What I cherish most is the wealth of books that surround me. Recently I picked up All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (15th Anniversary Edition) by Robert Fulghum. Never sure of a book before I crack its spine, I was thrilled to discover Fulghum's uniquely personal voice. Reading on, it didn't surprise me that he originally wrote this collection of essays for friends and family, without aspirations of publication.

There's a specific feeling I get with those I love, a calm excitement about being wholly myself. But occasionally, professional or social events call for you to take a deep breath and mind your manners. Such settings can take many forms: dinners, galas, meetings, international trips, seminars, operas, classrooms, or company parties. During such restrictive moments, I often feel my badger mind peeking out its grizzled face. My skin even started to crawl when I wrote the phrase, “mind your manners.” The idea of manners makes me feel too quiet, too stiff, too controlled, too inauthentic. And yet, at times we must yield.

To prepare for such moments here are a few steps that you can take:
  1. Rest up so that you’re alert and attentive.
  2. Resist overindulging in caffeine. That could encourage your monkey mind.
  3. Exercise if you need to calm those pre-event jitters.
  4. Dress appropriately. Ask what a friend or colleague is wearing.
  5. Observe your environment and it code of conduct. Awareness of others’ behaviors, facial expressions, body language, and conversation topics is key.
  6. Have a good time. Being true to yourself is a life philosophy of mine. Stay conscious of your setting and its manners, but don’t zip yourself so tight that you can’t shine through. 
I value candidness. We ADHD’rs have no choice but to speak, act, and write frankly. We simply don’t have the patience for such subtleties. But it's important to remember social niceties, especially during this time of year when calendars are chock-full of holiday events.
    When do you feel you must “mind your manners”? Does your badger mind stay under control? 

    For more info on ADHD and social skills see this article from The National Resource Center on ADHD: Social Skills in Adults with ADHD