5 ways ADHD can affect social skills

ADHD can make it hard for people to focus and pay attention. But it affects more than just school or work. ADHD can affect social skills, too.

Here are five common social challenges people with ADHD may face — and ways you can help.

1. Trouble picking up on social cues

The ADHD link: People with ADHD might not notice how their behavior affects other people. They may interrupt a lot and even bug people by breaking social rules.

How you can help: Role-play different social situations together. First you play the other person in each scenario. Then switch roles. Finish by talking about what went well and what could be done differently.

2. Trouble keeping friends

The ADHD link: People with ADHD can be intense and demanding without knowing it. They can have trouble taking turns and sharing, and friendships may burn out.

How you can help: Sign up for a sport or another group activity. It may be easier for people with ADHD to learn about “give and take” in a group setting rather than one-on-one.

3. Going off-topic

The ADHD link: People with ADHD sometimes lose track of a conversation or get distracted by unrelated thoughts. They may also misinterpret what others are saying.

How you can help: Record a conversation. Listen to it together and talk about where you both hear someone going off-topic. Talk about how the conversation could have gone better.

4. Being unreliable

The ADHD link: People with ADHD can have trouble with planning and follow-through. That can lead other people to think they can’t be counted on when doing group projects.

How you can help: Encourage people with ADHD to talk with the group members about how they’ll divide up the work. Then help make a checklist or chart to keep track of personal progress.

5. Overreacting

The ADHD link: ADHD can make it hard to manage emotions. People with ADHD may lash out when they’re upset. Or they may have meltdowns at an age when it’s no longer appropriate.

How you can help: Try to pay attention to feelings like anger and irritation. What does it feel like? Being mindful makes it easier to recognize when “emotional temperatures” are rising.

Explore more ways ADHD can affect daily life.


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