Motivational and inspirational writer, Bryan Hutchinson is the author of several books about life with ADHD including the highly acclaimed, best selling "One Boy′s Struggle: A Memoir" and the author of the hilarious eBook that went viral "10 Things I Hate about ADHD"

ADD ADHD Relationships Start Exciting, but what happens next? PART 3 – The lost art of listening

Hear and Listen, and come together

I consider this part to be of the utmost importance for us ADDers. In the previous article I talked about asking questions, being interested, but I did not mean just appear to be interested. People appreciate, respect and even love those who pay attention to them with purposeful interest. I am talking legitimate interest here, not stalker interest.

Don’t you just hate it when you are talking and talking, expressing yourself and baring your soul and all the while you think the other person cares and then later, when you bring up a previous point, the other person has a deer in the headlight look, which means he or she was not listening? That’s pretty rude, don’t you think?

Many ADDers are known for, uhmmm, ahem, not paying attention. When we do not pay attention, we don’t listen and when we don’t listen, we miss important information and certain cues. She just told you a very sad story from her past and her mother past away, but later while you are eating ice cream with her you ask the lamebrain and insensitive question “When do you think I can meet your Mom and Dad?” Uhmmm, never dude, get lost!



Hey, we know we do things like that, no matter how ridiculous others might think ADD ADHD is, it is considered a disorder for a reason! We miss those cues, but it doesn’t have to be that way. One way to avoid missing such cues is to not take the time to have conversations, to keep the exciting momentum going as long as possible. There is a word for that, it is called: Avoidance. There is another way.

If paying attention is a problem for you and you tend to miss out on what people are saying to you, then know that there are ways you can improve, actually, fairly simple ways:

1) When you know you are coming back from drifting, ask him to repeat what he just said, be interested and serious that you want to hear what was said and apologize for missing out.
2) On key points be sure to ask questions. Like: “Really and for how long did that go on?”
3) ADDers can keep very good attention when interested, but sometimes we have to talk to ourselves internally and tell ourselves how interested we are. Create your own interest and therefore focus.
4) Internally repeat back to yourself what is being said. Highlight certain parts of the conversation in your memory for further discussion later.
5) When he or she pauses, fill the gaps with your own personal comments that can relate. Don’t take over the conversation, but give a little of yourself in concise ways.
6) The absolute best thing to do, but maybe not on the first date, is open up and talk about your ADD or ADHD. If the person is worthy they will not fault you and probably will be impressed that you are so open and honest. At this point you can let him or her know that you have a tendency to miss a few things and you can give a short explanation of why this happens. Heck, this might open up a whole other conversation and your partner might even relate and if that person runs for the hills, well then, you are better off.

If you already have your own listening methods, share them with your fellow ADDers, we could all use a few tips in this area.