Help for Awkward ADHD Social Skills


My girlfriend has ADD. She used to be a nonstop talker, but medication has helped her with that. She is still abrupt and socially awkward, so her conversation mate doesn’t know how to respond when she stops talking. This is embarrassing for her. What can I do to help?

Melissa Orlov, a frequent ADDitude contributor with Dr. Ned Hallowell, writes about ADHD and marriage and offers relationship advice to adults with ADD.

Try practicing the following exercise for ADHD social skills at home. Start up a conversation and have her ask you, when she finishes a thought, “What do you think?” Encourage her to listen carefully to your responses, so she knows where to pick up the conversation when you finish talking. This can be difficult for people with ADD, who don’t always focus on the other person’s words.

Then reverse roles, inviting her to share her thoughts as you listen closely to her responses. This will help her understand that a conversation is a give-and-take process.

Finally, both of you should consider taking a course in improving communication. It will help your relationship and her social life.

Melissa is co-author of a blog on ADHD and marriage at, and coauthored Married to Distraction with Dr. Ned Hallowell and his wife, Sue. She is also the author of The ADHD Effect on Marriage.

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