ADHD Makes It Difficult to Concentrate on Conversations


Distracting, unrelated thoughts pop into my mind when I talk with friends, to the point that I tune out their words. Can you suggest strategies that would help?


If you find yourself with an idea that’s just too good not to share, ease it into the conversation by saying, “I’m sorry to interrupt, but I don’t want to forget this thought.” If you’ve already interrupted without realizing it, stop the conversation and apologize: “I just realized that I cut you off back there. I get so excited by a thought that I can’t stop myself. You were saying?”

Some people with attention deficit disorder are distracted because they’re anxious. If you feel nervous, take a few deep breaths and focus on the conversation. If you stop following the drift of the conversation, you might say, “I’m sorry, I got lost in thought there for a second. Can you repeat what you just said?”

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Ari Tuckman, Psy.D., MBA, is a psychologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. He is the author of More Attention, Less Deficit, and Understand Your Brain, Get More Done. Dr. Tuckman also has a podcast about ADHD that has over one hundred episodes and more than two million downloads and speaks about succeeding with ADHD at CHADD each year. He is a former vice president of ADDA and now has a practice in West Chester, Pennsylvania, where he works with adults and adolescents with attention challenges.

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