ADHD and Lying: Telling White Lies at Work

Five white lies that adults with ADHD should avoid telling at work. Plus, when telling the truth helps you succeed on the job.

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ADHD adults and telling lies and lying at work and at home. ADDitude Magazine

We all do it. Telling a white lie can save time, save face, and make those difficult days on the job just a little easier to cope with. But sometimes little fibs can backfire - and you can find ourselves in a big heap of trouble, especially if you have adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD).

Not long ago I responded to a letter from an ADDitude reader who was on vacation. She had promised her boss she would work on a project over the summer and have it ready for him the first day she was back in the fall. It was the last two weeks of summer and she was away on holiday, not having completed the project that was due immediately upon her return. There was no way she could finish it on time, so she asked me what she should tell her boss when she got back.

My advice was to call him immediately and let him know that the project would not be ready. Saying nothing for two weeks was not a good option. It would be a fib of silence that would ultimately cause her even greater problems, and it was disrespectful of the other person's responsibilities. Giving her boss a two-week heads-up could help to avoid last-minute complications and provide him with an opportunity to do some damage control. Not saying anything, on the other hand, would lead her boss to expect that everything was fine when it wasn't.

Below are five little fibs to avoid, along with substitute responses that will serve both you and the other person involved. Remember, practice makes perfect. The natural inclination is to fib just a little to buy more time, appear in control, or just plain avoid the issue. The substitute responses will be difficult at first, but the more you practice, the easier it gets.

White Lie #1: No problem!

This article comes from the February/March 2005 issue of ADDitude.

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