The good news is, ADHD isn’t a disorder you have to suffer alone. The people around you are going to suffer too.

When you have ADHD, you feel the brunt of the symptoms, but the people in your life will feel secondary effects in ways that are small, ways that are big, and ways that are just plain annoying.

That third category is the one I want to concentrate on: Those irritating little things that make people with ADHD just that much harder to put up with. Here are some of the ones that pop up the most in my own life:

This one surfaces with alarming frequency, and it never ceases to surprise me. It basically goes back to not really paying attention when I make plans with other people.

One way this happens is that if I regularly meet someone in one place, I miss it if they switch up the location. For example, if we usually meet at coffee shop A, and they text saying “let’s meet at coffee shop B,” I’ll probably just see the words “coffee shop” and skip over everything else.

Another way this happens is that if we’re meeting at a chain, I’ll inevitably go to the wrong branch. Or just a different place with a similar name. All these scenarios lead to the following confused phone call:

“I’m here, where are you?”

“I’m here too! Where are you?”

“I’m here…”

“Where is here?”


Even if I get the place right, there’s a good chance I won’t do as well with the time. As I’ve written about before, people with ADHD have a tendency toward lateness.

That said, I’ve actually improved on this one a little. I wish I could tell you I discovered some super effective coping mechanism that eliminated lateness and time management problems from my life in one fell swoop, but my secret anti-lateness technique is just that I started taking Uber.

So now, if I end up in a situation where taking public transit will mean being obscenely late (or non-obscenely late if it’s something with a strict start time), I just eat the cost and call an Uber. Unfortunately, having that fallback option only enables bad time management.

One of the things about ADHD is that we tend to have a lot of ideas about things we want to do, projects we want to start, etc. Some people think of this as part of the “ADHD advantage.” Unfortunately, the ADHD disadvanage is that we don’t actually do most of these things.

But that doesn’t necessarily stop us from sharing with the world all our awesome plans for the future, or even saying we’ll include others in these plans. Nor, when said plans don’t materialize, does it stop everyone in the world from rolling their eyes at us and thinking, “I’ve heard that before” the next time we have a brilliant idea for something we want to do.

This is one I’m trying to work on. We know it’s annoying, but we do it anyway. That’s pretty much what impulsivity is about knowing not to do something, but then doing it without thinking. There’s a disconnect between knowing and doing.

If it’s any consolation, know that we interrupt ourselves even more than we interrupt you. In fact, trying to talk and being interrupted is a little window of insight into what it’s like having ADHD the only difference is we’re trying to think and getting constantly interrupted.

What annoying ADHD-related habits and foibles do you have? Or what annoying ADHD-related habits and foibles do people you know have? Please share in the comments! (If you’re married to someone with ADHD, here’s your chance…)

Image: Kimball