Anti-Spacing Tips for ADHD

Let me start with this. I love my wife, Kim. In fact, I love her so much that at the end of the day as part of an ADHD life hack, I replay my highlights for the day (it gives me a little dopamine hit before I fall asleep) and she’s almost always in them. I replay something that made her laugh, or a nice walk that we went on. But recently, she said something to me that sort of hit me like a ton of bricks… 

“I can’t always tell when you’re listening to me.” 

If you’re new here, I have ADHD and sometimes I space out. Growing up, I was called a space cadet even. (Can you even say that anymore?) Because of my ADHD, I would often get distracted or daydream instead of focusing on what was right in front of me. 

Wow, That’s Crazy

Kim and I wrote a whole book on marriage communication called Everybody Fights. The book was about what we learned in marriage counseling. We wrote a whole chapter called Are You Even Listening To Me? It was about active communication and magic words you can say for conversations that require extra care and attention. These tips are great for neurotypical people. Heck, they even helped my neurodiverse self for a long time! But the problem is that I learned how to cheat them. 

I have a catchphrase for any time I’m not listening to someone (and I’m almost mad at myself for sharing it because it really works in every situation.) I say, “Wow, that’s crazy.” If I catch myself spacing out and I can read the body language or the tone of the conversation, I usually can respond with that phrase in a few different deliveries. Happy, sad, outraged, or actually crazy, you can say it in a lot of different ways. Recently, we even made a video about it.

Advanced Tips for ADHD Listening

The problem is that I started to use some of the marriage magic words in the same way as my get-out-of-jail-free catchphrase. Phrases like “Tell me more” and “Can you clarify that for me?” If I caught myself drifting and missed something Kim said, I was able to say these and catch back up into the conversation. 

And that’s not great. 

Today on the podcast, I discuss more about this phenomenon and give advanced tips on anti-spacing for people with ADHD based on some research I’ve done and strategies I’ve put into practice. For whatever reason, truly listening takes a lot of effort for someone like me with ADHD. But I am trying to get better. 

Take a listen and tell me what tips work for you. Thanks for being here. (PS. If you listen to the pod and want to vote for our show, click here.)