ADHD & Texting
Has a friend or family called you out for not replying to their text message? Or had acquaintances said you should stop sending them long messages? ADHD can sometimes make it difficult for us to handle texting. What’s the connection between our ADHD symptoms and texting? Find out here.
Table of Contents
~ 1. ADHD Texting: Personal Struggles That I Experience
~ ADHD Forgetfulness and Ghosting Replies
~ The Urge to Check Notifications Immediately
~ ADHD Conversations Through Smartphones
~ ADHD Texting and the Emotions That Come With It
~ ADHD & Texting FAQ
ADHD Texting: Personal Struggles That I Experience
What problems do you experience in your ADHD journey🤔? I’d say there’s probably a lot: from the most complicated of tasks to the simplest of routines. Take me for instance: I often struggle with using my smartphone. Aside from the fact that I regularly forget where I put it and spend hours trying to find my mobile device, numerous problems occur regarding my cellular phone use.😅
Don't get me wrong. I understand that technology helps ease some of our daily challenges and provides us with automated processes that make life easier. There are countless ways technology helped me, from setting scheduled payments in my online banking account to preventing missing deadlines and due dates. Some apps are helpful in money management when my impulsive buying attitude kicks in. I couldn't be more thankful that alarm and calendar tools 📅 provide me with guidelines and schedules of what I should accomplish during the day.
These little, simple things matter to us. And so, I realize that smartphones are one of the best inventions for an adult with ADHD, especially when we have trouble organizing things. But there are things I have observed regarding my ADHD brain 🧠 and how I use these devices, especially when it comes to communicating. Remember that these are my experiences, which you may or may not relate to personally, but let's talk about them.
ADHD Forgetfulness and Ghosting Replies
One time, I received a text message from a friend. The message contained details about our trip which was supposed to happen in a few weeks. Fast forward a few hours before the trip, my friend called to confirm my attendance, and I was so embarrassed that I hadn't remembered the details.
It turned out that after I read the message, I chose to “reply later.” The thing was, I didn't just forget to respond - I also forgot the details of the trip!
My forgetfulness made it seem like I ghosted my friend! 😭
Ghosting is a colloquial term referring to the act of suddenly stopping communicating with someone for no valid reason. Although what I did was not ghosting per se, as I intend to touch base with them eventually, my lack of response made it seem that way. 🥺
I always feel bad about this. Another friend sent me a message asking me how I was. I felt his concern about the way he constructed his thoughts. But then again, my ADHD brain forgot to reply and thank him for his message to keep the conversation going. I felt bad that my forgetfulness got the best of me.
The following week, he told me I was rude for not returning the text he sent me. To him, he felt ignored, and that his efforts were wasted. It seemed like I ghosted him, but in reality, I just forgot to reply probably because I was occupied the moment he sent me an SMS. I think I was too distracted 😵 doing other things, or have been engaged in something important.
I felt guilty for days, weeks even. I felt so bad that my actions unintentionally hurt him. That's when I realized that maybe, just maybe, this is one of the things some people with ADHD experience when it comes to texting or other forms of communication via phone.
The Urge to Check Notifications Immediately
I don't know about you, but once my phone notifies or alerts me about something, I immediately run towards it and check what it says so I do not completely forget that I have a notification to check. I tend to drop everything to know what the notification was about.
The same scenario goes with the messages that I receive. Whether I am busy with things like Home Organization or paperwork, if my smartphone notifies me that I have a message, I'll check it immediately so that I won't forget to look at it later. I know that this is not a healthy habit, but my ADHD brain can't help it sometimes.😔
I came across an article regarding the compulsive behavior of a person who frequently checks smartphone notifications. According to the study, the need to check your cellphone or reply immediately can be a form of anxiety and compulsiveness. Now, remember that other mental health conditions, such as anxiety, can coexist with ADHD.
There was one time when I was with friends and we were having a conversation about something boring for me. I was trying my best to focus on what they were saying, but then my phone beeped, and it notified me of a new episode for a show I was watching 💻. Of course, my first instinct was to check it immediately. And because of that, I couldn't focus on my friends and our conversation.
As a result, they gave me the cold shoulder as they felt that I wasn't interested in joining them. I had to explain that it was my ADHD that made me distracted and I was sorry for not being able to focus on what they were saying.
ADHD Conversations Through Smartphones
I have two types of personality when typing replies on my phone. When I am too interested in the topic, I tend to send a message that is composed of long strings of characters, detailed and full of enthusiasm 📜. I often do this when I seem to hyperfocus on something interesting to me.
Long, seemingly exaggerated walls of text might sometimes be annoying to some people. Though the message seems fine, some people might find it tiring to read. Our thoughts are oozing out as we try expressing everything in a huge chunk of text. This might not be helpful for other people, especially when they are also busy doing something.
My other style of texting is when I send too many short, one-lined messages. I do this sometimes when I get way too excited to share something. In my excitement, I can send 20-30 short messages one after the other. “Talking fast” in an SMS thread might also be disturbing for other people because of the continuous notification they'll receive 📱. And there are also times when what we write on those messages are not a complete thought and might not even be related to the topic.
When we’re too immersed in our text, we might forget that our message also has an impact on the receiver. Some friends tell me that I should ease up in sending messages. They often scold me for bombarding them with messages or making them read long-format texts. Either way, I just can't get a grasp of my feelings when it comes to conveying my thoughts. I hope that they don't get tired of understanding me whenever they have to deal with my ADHD symptoms😭.
ADHD Texting and the Emotions That Come With It
Relationships, especially romantic relationships, can be affected when communication is done via texting 📱. Many people with ADHD might find it hard to easily read and assess others' emotions when they are just looking at a piece of text on the screen. Likewise, many of us might not be aware that the tone of our message might come off as harsh. We might also space out and fail to reply for a long time, making the other person feel neglected.
When we have ADHD, sometimes we tend to overthink things. A simple comment saying "K." might make us a bit worried about how the other person thinks. There are also times when these text messages hit us differently and we might misunderstand what the other person truly means. Conversations like the ones we made through texting might cause a relationship to fail if not handled well 😨.
As such, it’s important to take our time when sending and reading messages. Instead of giving into our emotions (excitement, interest, etc.), we have to truly understand the message and the text we’re sending as a reply. It may be hard, but with practice, we can do it! 😘
ADHD and Texting: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions).
1. Will a person with ADHD experience problems in texting?
A person with ADHD may experience problems in texting and other communication methods. Due to these problems, misunderstandings may occur and relationships may be affected.
2. What ADHD symptoms contribute to our problems in texting?
Some people with ADHD may forget to reply to the messages they received. Due to their inability to handle their emotions well, they might also send walls and walls of text or numerous short messages one after the other. Of course, there’s the difficulty in understanding the emotions and tones of the messages.
3. How can we overcome our struggles in texting?
The best way to overcome it is to take your time when texting. Instead of typing and sending what first comes to mind, it’s better to think of the message thoroughly.