Friendships

When the ADHD in You Offends Your Friends

I am 80 years old and have had ADHD all my life. Although treatment is helping me, I need to improve my social skills. How do I explain my behavior to those I have offended?

Do you avoid hugs? Or do you crave deep-tissue pressure? Do you flee from busy, crowded parties, bars, and football games? Or are you wiggling and jiggling all day long? Are amusement-park rides your worst nightmare? Or do your friends call you Evel Knievel? Do you find that you are a little clumsy getting dressed? Or a lot clumsy?These sometimes contradictory symptoms are all signs of sensory processing problems. Flossing your teeth. Parallel parking. Picking out clothes. These everyday tasks are challenging for people with SPD.Do you have low stamina? Struggle with self-esteem? Are your relationships with others rocky? How about paying attention, even when you’re keenly interested in what you’re thinking or talking about? All of these could be characteristics of a person with ADHD, SPD, or a combination of the two. Keep reading to learn more.
Do you avoid hugs? Or do you crave deep-tissue pressure? Do you flee from busy, crowded parties, bars, and football games? Or are you wiggling and jiggling all day long? Are amusement-park rides your worst nightmare? Or do your friends call you Evel Knievel? Do you find that you are a little clumsy getting dressed? Or a lot clumsy?These sometimes contradictory symptoms are all signs of sensory processing problems. Flossing your teeth. Parallel parking. Picking out clothes. These everyday tasks are challenging for people with SPD.Do you have low stamina? Struggle with self-esteem? Are your relationships with others rocky? How about paying attention, even when you’re keenly interested in what you’re thinking or talking about? All of these could be characteristics of a person with ADHD, SPD, or a combination of the two. Keep reading to learn more.

We make assumptions about people’s intentions based on their actions, and ADHD actions are often misinterpreted by others — even friends. Correct those mistaken assumptions by making clear what your intentions were, even if they weren’t obvious.

If you lose track of what your friend was saying, you might apologize and say, “I’m sorry, I think I drifted off. I was caught up in what you said and missed what you said later. I do that sometimes when I hear an interesting thought.”

This corrects what the other person may think (you weren’t interested in what she was saying). Your job is to replace incorrect assumptions with explanations.

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