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 Orlov is a marriage consultant, specializing in helping ADHD-affected couples rebalance their relationships. She is a cum laude graduate of Harvard College and the author of the award-winning books: The ADHD Effect on Marriage and The Couple's Guide to Thriving with ADHD. She blogs for and Psychology Today and has been interviewed by The New York Times, CNN, Today, US News and World Report, and CBS, among many others.

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