The Forums Forums Emotional Journey Is It Just Me? ADHD out of sync, non-verbals, on-topic

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  • Shadow Nexus
    #91191 |

    I’v talked about being out of sync in conversations.

    ME <

    > Them

    With other ADHD people, it’s not a struggle, getting drained quickly talking to “normal” people. You avoid being around ‘normal’ people like the plague.

    So, adding on to the topic (comment on out of sync too if you like). Non-verbals are equally a pain the ass. Your completely miss non-verbal cues with ‘normal’ people. Forget getting past interviews, it’s impossible. That’s my problem.

    Funny things happen. I’v been on dates, but she didn’t bother to tell me it was a date! 😉

    How is interaction with other ADHD people with non-verbal signals? Are you in sync?


    Hey Filmbuff… (“Last Starfighter”, right?)

    Talking to people leaves me drained, because there is so much to pay attention to and there is so much else I find interesting. My mind wanders, and I miss important yet subtle ques. Other times, I am thinking to myself “You really don’t have any idea how a XXXXXX works, do you?”. Anyone who knows me, knows I have a very low tolerance for pretenders.

    I am usually written off as a self-absorbed, know-it-all, jerk (edited for cleanliness), When the opposite is true. Yea, I know a lot, because I read. I read, because books don’t tell me I am stupid, or a jerk. Growing up, books were my friends, because my “friends” thought I was stupid or a jerk. I read because nobody talks to me and I need the practice to help me with my Dyslexia.

    I care about what people say and I want to be a part of the conversation, but it takes so much concentration, and concentration takes so much energy. The bigger the crowd, the more energy. Even with my medication, I can only handle social situations for a very limited amount of time, before I need a quiet corner. I want to share what I know, but organizing it into short sound bites, so I don’t blow people away, is something I never have mastered. I end up missing conversation queues, so I end up reinforcing their beliefs about me. They walk away saying “jerk” and I walk away wondering what happened.

    For me, it is much easier to keep my mouth shut, nod my head, and smile. I am sure they are thinking “He has no idea what I am talking about”. All the while my mind has gone on to other things, building robots, exploring some new idea, what ever.

    I wish I could be part of those conversations. I want to be part of these groups. I know I never will be no matter how hard I try. I will always be “out of sync”. I get it. I just don’t get how to fix it and I probably never will.


    Ugh, non-verbal cues….I’m so bad at those. It’s made worse because I can sense they are there, but I don’t know for sure, so I just worry about it. Or sometimes I’ll get a look thrown my way – was that for me? Or somebody else?

    Actually, what I’m really stressed about most of the time is the “politely indirect” request. The cliche example is the host yawning or “suddenly” exclaiming, “Why, look at the time!”

    But I find every chat I’m in has my wondering if somebody’s trying to hint something at me. “Wow, you were really working hard out in the yard today – you must have gotten a lot done!” says my neighbor, and I’m now thinking, “Is he telling me I was annoying him with the leaf blower going too long?”

    Or I’ll bring some Halloween music to a Halloween party and it’s “Wow, you have a playlist for everything, don’t you?” and now I’m worried people would rather I shut the music off. Or, if I’m feeling slightly less paranoid, I’ll decide they like the music just fine, but they’re secretly thinking, wow, what a nerd, she brought music! Because, yeah, it’s a little bit nerdy, to bring music to a party since I’m not the host, but these are collective-effort parties: potluck-type things, and if I didn’t bring it, nobody would, and I happen to think parties need music….

    Maybe those aren’t the best examples of out-of-sync communication. Perhaps they are better examples of out-of-sync behaviors, which I sense is my biggest issue and fear. I’m the clueless nerd. I’m way too worried about what other people think, and yet I’m not exactly sure what they are thinking!

    Ah, Shutterbug! You made me guffaw!!! If I hadn’t seen your lovely av next to it I’d have thought that I’d posted that! As I’ve aged I’ve noticed that I’ve become worse, not better, with social situations. I really dread talking to people, especially if I don’t know them…building robots! Gawd, that is funny! People are like bloody robots! So predictable, so transparent!

    It’s just too much! Quizzical, I only just read your post, and that made me guffaw even more! I’m running late for an appointment, and Iwould love to read and post some more, but I really must head off or I’ll be in a tizz…

    Shadow Nexus

    I like to bring this topic up again. Lets see some more discussion on the subject. Thanks.





    What would you like to discuss about it? Is there something you need help with?

    Sean E Bravo

    I have the same issue, especially when meeting new people or in a new place. The irony being that I’m an entertainer and would happily stand in front of 20000 people in my underwear singing. And then if you Couple distraction with my boar-headed insistence that I’m always right, and my narcissistic assumption that everything is about me, I find myself in trouble. “in trouble” means a lot to me….mostly when maybe I’ve made an assumption, or just plain have read a situation incorrectly and suddenly without warning “everyone” is mad at me.

    Most of the time, I’m BRILLIANT! Half the time I’m worried that I’m in trouble…which is what’s distracting me and usually the root cause of everything. The problem? I very rarely know which situation I’m in. So many times I think things are awesome, only to find out later that “so and so” is mad at me, other times I may think everything was terrible, only to find out that the people I just met are really nice and thought I was great. That’s what makes me nervous about talking to people…I’m sure I only remember the times I’m wrong, but I feel like I’m wrong a lot.

    TONE – OMG – Sometimes out of the blue, I’ll find out that I’ve been oblivious to some sort of damaging “tone to my voice” that seems to offend many people. It doesn’t matter how correct I was in what I was saying or how nice I thought I was being , every good point I make will fall on deaf ears, because I have a “TONE”. That tone seems to escape my lips whenever it likes, without my knowledge of it. It’s broken up friendships, it’s cost me jobs. At 40 years old, I still feel like I have no frikken clue when someone out of the blue is going to get mad at me and say it was the tone of my voice. No real argument…just the tone of my voice. My guess is that I’m afraid of my issues, and I get defensive about it…that get’s reflected in my voice and people think that I think they are being jerks…which makes me a jerk…Crazy…but that’s what I’ve been able to figure out so far.

    I don’t get it. How do “normal” people (humans as I call them) know if the tone they are using is going to be accepted or not by the tribe? I am a very nice and loving person who honestly just means well for anyone and everyone, yet something about the way I say things from time to time sets people off and I’m left feeling like I’m a jerk.

    It’s a huge concern to me. There are times I explode because I’m so angry about being “in trouble” (for lack of a better word) that I end up letting my super creative hyper active mind spin excellent arguments as to why this is an injustice…..only to find out that I’m the only one who cares if I was “right” or not.

    Bleh, this is turning in to a rant…but I guess this is important to me, and free therapy! 🙂

    Anyhoo….the kicker of it all is that I’m a popular, successful, well-loved, personality driven artist who constantly has love dumped upon him…and I can let one little glance or word from someone that I interpret as being “them mad at me” and it wrecks my whole day. Like all I can see is the insignificant little bad thing … and I miss the 99% of the compliments and esteem people give to me….which when I’m having a good day(like today) seems like a lot.

    So I’ve learned to recognize when I’m being negative in my head, but knowing this is the case… everything is all right….I’m loved….I understand the actual situation…..doesn’t seem to help. Even though I’m conscientiously self-talking positive things…I can’t get my emotions to listen to the rationale. So This whole rant is really a 2 part question….

    1) What do you do when someone says they didn’t like your tone as they thought you were being rude….and you honestly were not intending to be rude…words making no difference as your tone supersedes any good thing you may have just said?

    2) what does one do when they learn, practice and even actively put to use tools (such as the strategies for managing ADHD found on this site) but your still suffering the negative emotional effects of something that’s bothering you?

    phew….did that make any sense?

    Anyhoo….I’m sick of being so sure of something that someone did or said (could be anything) and finding out later that what I thought happened, TOTALLY didn’t happen or wasn’t said in the same way as I thought it was. I reacted to the image in my head (which was negative) and people think me rude.

    So…yeah….why is talking to new people hard? All up there…that’s what I’m thinking when my wife says “oh have you met my husband? Sean this is…….”


    I answered this one a few years ago, and I am still avoiding social situations. I know why I have difficulties talking with people, and I know why I miss ques. This is especially difficult in interview situations.

    Since I answered this post a while ago, I was diagnosed with Autism. So, I know why social situations make me uncomfortable and why I am so reluctant to participate. I know it is important to be part of these social groups. I understand the benefits. That knowledge is acedemic.

    I also know I lack the capacity to learn how to participate in these situations. My wife wants me to join her by going to a few small gatherings. So I can get practice. For me it is not a question of practice and application of knowledge, it is a question of ability. So, I send my wife to the events, and get “reports” on what happened.


    Wow, you guys are hitting the nail on the head for me.  Feeling “out of sync” describes it perfectly and Sean E Bravo, I get the “tone” predicament too.  What I hate most is when people answer your Question #1 with “just change your tone”.  Grrrr… how do I change something I’m not even aware I’m doing? and certainly its not my intention to put “tone” into everything I say.  My mind wanders off very quickly when in social settings and its so exhausting having to use all my energy just to “keep my listening ears on” without the distraction of everything in my environment – especially in crowd situations.  Its gotten worse for me too, as I get older.  I miss social cues and non-verbal cues.  And yet, I can hear the crickets chirp when I’ve said something that once again, wasn’t interpreted correctly.  ……aggghhh I give up sometimes!  Then, as usual, I try again to fit in, keep up, slow down, be quiet, be nice, just try…and the list goes on.  I need extra battery packs Duracell….


    I just can’t let this subject go. A while ago I was talking with a few co workers and someone tried to “High five” me, I replied to him “It’s OK.  If you have a question, you don’t need to raise your hand. We are all friends here.”

    Everyone thought that was the funniest thing they had ever heard. It wasn’t until I was getting ready for bed, that I figured out I messed up again. Then I started laughing.




    Too funny!! In my work as an instructor, I too have said something in a nonchalant manner only to be surprised by a giggle or a laugh. Its not unusual for us all to laugh during training sessions because I’m the one who sets the starting tone of the day….fun!

    The funniest part of your story to me is imagining what the look on your face would have been as you delivered the “punch line.” That is what put them over the edge.

    You have a little creativity brewing perhaps?

    Ramblin On


    Hello ramblinon,

    I don’t consider myself to be terribly creative. People have told me I am creative, but I just don’t recognize that in myself.

    I’m curious, what tipped you off?



    I believe that when a person see’s a situation unlike any other in a group, or quicker than others, they are using their creativity….sometimes called quick wit. In your story, you just said it as you saw it….it, meaning the person raising their hand to ask a question whereas others saw it as a high five. That’s creative visualization.

    secondly, I figure that your handle (shutterbug) represents an interest in amateur photography….and you’re 59.

    people have said that I am successful in business, similarly too your creativity but I too have never really seen it their way….I sometimes think I’m faking it and will be found out one day. Messed up thinking but by never taking it for granted i remain motivated….some of the time

    ramblin on


    I find this interesting that some of you do not pick up on visual cues from people very well. Is this a trait?

    I’m very good in social situations, at best when there are three poeple, and only I know them both, they are complete strangers. The trick is to find something of commonality between the two to get the conversation going.

    As a trainer I need to watch body language not only theirs, but what message am I giving to them.

    But I am a terrible listener, I interrupt people all the time, but can get along with just about anyone.



    LOL, that is just too funny. And I can see myself doing exactly the same thing.

    A high five is enough to fill me with dread in the first place. I just don’t have the necessary cooridination. I either move too fast, or too slow, hit their hand too hard, or miss it completely… it’s a miracle I have never given someone a black eye or a broken nose.

    I am terrible at picking up on visual cues. I step in to hug someone when they were going to shake my hand, and hold my hand out for a shake when they are moving in for a hug- one time driving my hand right into the other person’s stomach.

    And hugging in general just messes me up. It’s just so awkward, I never know exactly what to do. And if someone touches me unexpectedly…. 😯


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