ADHD Texting

Navigating Texting Challenges with ADHD

Forgetting to reply to texts is a common occurrence for individuals with ADHD, often stemming from distractibility and memory lapses. This can lead to missed messages and sometimes strained relationships due to perceived neglect. To manage this, setting reminders to check and respond to texts, organizing messages into priority levels, and openly communicating about ADHD-related challenges can be effective. Understanding this aspect of ADHD helps in developing systems to stay connected and responsive, improving communication and reducing the stress associated with missed interactions.

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Dr. Guia Canonizado - Custorio

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ADHD Texting: When You Completely Forget To Reply

Meta Description: If you’re diagnosed with ADHD, you might struggle to respond to text messages or even remember to check your phone for an entire day. Don’t feel bad - this stuff is common in ADHD. Learn more about it in this article.

Long Introduction: Do you struggle to respond to text messages or answer phone calls? No, you’re not a bad friend or partner - it's common for individuals with ADHD to encounter difficulties in interacting, especially when on the phone. But this forgetfulness can cause tension in relationships,  whether in your dating life, friendships or family. Discover the underlying connection between ADHD and texting, and explore why ADHD can pose challenges in managing digital interactions. 

Why Your ADHD Brain Can Make You Completely Forget To Text Back

When it comes to ADHD, there are quite a few challenges that many of us face. From complex tasks to simple routines, it can be a real struggle. 

Personally, one area where I struggle is using my smartphone. 

Now, don't get me wrong. I understand the benefits of technology in simplifying our lives and helping with tasks like automated payments and reminders. It's been a lifesaver for managing my impulsive buying habits and staying on top of my schedule through alarms and calendars. These small things really make a difference.

In my opinion, smartphones can be a great tool for adults with ADHD, especially when it comes to organization. However, I've noticed some patterns in how my ADHD brain interacts with these devices. Of course, these are my personal experiences, and they may not apply to everyone. But let's delve into these observations and have a discussion about them.

ADHD Forgetfulness and Ghosting

Once, I received a text message from a friend about an upcoming trip we had planned. However, as the day of the trip approached, she called to confirm my attendance, and I was embarrassed to admit that I had completely forgotten the details.

You see, after reading the message, I made the mistake of choosing to reply 'later.' But it wasn't just a matter of forgetting to respond; I also ended up forgetting the specifics of the trip itself. It was a double blow of forgetfulness on my part.

As a result, it seemed like I had unintentionally ghosted her. Now, technically speaking, what I did wasn't true ghosting since I did intend to answer her eventually. However, my lack of response made it appear that way, and I felt genuinely guilty about it.

According to The Mini ADHD Coach Medical Advisor: 

“There are many reasons why people may “ghost” such as conflict avoidance, lack of social accountability and consequences, and sometimes just self-care. Ghosting is common in the dating universe - but it can happen within any relationship.’

But that's not all. Another friend reached out to me with a caring message, expressing concern about my wellbeing. However, in the midst of my ADHD-related distractions, I completely forgot to answer and acknowledge his thoughtfulness. I felt terrible when he made a comment a week later about not responding. It seemed like I ghosted him, but in reality, I just forgot to reply back because I was too distracted  and busy with other things. 

The guilt lingered for days, even weeks, as I realized how my unintentional actions had hurt those around me. It made me reflect on how individuals with ADHD can struggle with texting or other forms of interactions. via phone, unintentionally giving the impression of disinterest or neglect. But usually, it’s not due to neglect - it’s due to distraction. 🥺

ADHD Texting

The Urge to Check Notifications Immediately

I often find myself rushing to check my phone whenever I receive a notification. It's like a reflex for me, even if I'm in the middle of something important, like working or even whilst having a face-to-face chat. I know it's not the healthiest habit, but my ADHD brain tends to forget about the present and prioritize those alerts, fearing that I'll forget about them if I don't address them right away.

ADHD Texting

I recently read an interesting article discussing the compulsive behavior of constantly checking smartphone notifications. The study highlighted how this need to always be checking or responding immediately can stem from anxiety and compulsiveness. It's important to note that ADHD can often coexist with other mental health conditions, including anxiety.

According to The Mini ADHD Coach Medical Advisor:

‘Recent research has discovered a correlation between an ADHD diagnosis and excessive smartphone usage, indicating that ADHD may serve as a significant risk factor for developing smartphone addiction.’

Once, I was hanging out with my friends, and we got caught up in a conversation that I found a bit dull. I was doing my best to talk and stay engaged, but then my smartphone beeped, signaling the release of a new episode of a show related to one of my special interests that I'd been binge-watching. Naturally, my immediate impulse was to check it right away. Unfortunately, that pulled my focus from ongoing conversation.

They weren't happy with this and got annoyed that I'd picked up my smartphone, thinking I wasn't interested in being part of the group. I had to explain that it was my ADHD causing the distraction - not that I didn't want to be involved.

According to The Mini ADHD Coach Medical Advisor: 

Research suggests that those with a diagnosis of ADHD report more difficulty focusing on a conversation, which can be misperceived as rude or inappropriate, ultimately hurting both personal and professional relationships.’

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ADHD Conversations Through Smartphones

When it comes to typing replies on my smartphone, I've noticed that I have two distinct personalities. If I find the topic particularly intriguing, I tend to unleash a torrent of characters, crafting long and detailed texts brimming with enthusiasm 📜. This usually happens when I become hyper focused on something that captivates my interest, like social media posts.

According to The Mini ADHD Coach Medical Advisor: 

Hyperfocus' is a phenomenon related to one’s complete absorption in a task, to a point where a person appears to completely ignore or ‘tune out’ everything else. This term is most often mentioned in the context of mental health disorders such as ADHD, autism, schizophrenia, etc.’

Sometimes, we might find ourselves typing long, hyperactive posts of text that can be tiring for others to read. While we're trying to express our thoughts and capture every detail, it may not be the most helpful approach for busy individuals who prefer one concise message. 

On the other hand, there's the tendency to send an overflow of short, one-lined texts when we're bursting with excitement. We can end up bombarding the person on the other side with 20-30 rapid-fire texts, creating a "talking fast" effect in the thread that can be disruptive due to constant notifications 📱. But these messages might also lack coherence and relevance to the topic at hand, making it a bit confusing for the person receiving them.

According to The Mini ADHD Coach Medical Advisor: 

‘The tendency to flood messages and engage in excessive phone usage among people with ADHD is closely linked to their desire for social connection. Sometimes, this can come across as "too much" due to their heightened excitement and tendency to practice multi-interactions, which involves participating in multiple simultaneous conversations. 

A study conducted in 2015 found that individuals with ADHD were more likely to exhibit problematic mobile phone use and engage in frequent multi-communicating. The study also highlighted the importance of social reassurance as a key motivating factor behind this behavior.’

ADHD Texting

Sometimes, in the midst of our text conversations, we may forget to be aware of the impact our messages have on the recipients. It's not uncommon for friends to advise me to take it easy and avoid bombarding them with excessive messages or lengthy texts. But honestly, it's a struggle for me to find the right balance when expressing my thoughts and emotions. I just hope that they don't become exhausted from trying to understand me and my ADHD whenever we communicate. It can be quite overwhelming at times, and I genuinely appreciate their patience and support.

How ADHD Can Affect Text-Based Communication

Text-based interactions, particularly in dating and romantic relationships, can pose challenges for individuals with ADHD. When we rely solely on written words on a screen, it becomes difficult to accurately perceive and interpret the emotions conveyed by the other person. We may unintentionally overlook the subtle nuances or misinterpret the intended tone of their message, leading to a lack of understanding. This can make maintaining a healthy dating life pretty challenging.

Additionally, our ADHD symptoms can cause us to become easily distracted or forgetful, resulting in delayed responses that may make our partners feel neglected or unimportant, like forgetting to confirm a date. It's important for us to communicate openly about the challenges we can face with this disorder and find strategies to bridge the gap in understanding.

According to The Mini ADHD Coach Medical Advisor: 

‘ADHD individuals often struggle with picking up on subtle social cues, including the subtext. This challenge extends to text-based communication, where misunderstandings can occur. To minimize these issues, we can review our choice of words to better detect subtext. For example, phrases like "I'd love to go on a date with you" generally mean yes, while phrases like "If you want to" may imply reluctance. Asking for clarification can also help in these situations.’

ADHD can lead us to overanalyze simple comments, such as a single "K." response, which can trigger worry about how the other person feels. Text messages can be easily misinterpreted, causing misunderstandings and placing a great deal of strain on relationships. If somebody doesn’t reply immediately, this can trigger feelings of rejection - it’s ironic really, isn’t it? People with ADHD can focus so much on these feelings that they don’t realize that they were the first person to forget to write back in the first place. 🥴

According to The Mini ADHD Coach Medical Advisor: 

‘People with ADHD often experience overthinking as a manifestation of their condition. Impaired disinhibition in ADHD is associated with worrisome thoughts, as supported by existing evidence. However, it is important to note that there are ways to manage and alleviate these challenges.’

ADHD Texting

It's crucial to approach message-sending and reading with mindfulness. Rather than solely relying on our emotions or impulses, it is important to carefully understand the message and craft a thoughtful response. Although it may pose a challenge, with practice and dedication, we can improve our social skills! 😊

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ADHD and Texting: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions).

Can ADHD make it more difficult to remember to text people back?

Yes, individuals with ADHD may encounter difficulties in texting and other forms of online interactions, which can lead to misunderstandings and impact relationships.

Which ADHD symptoms contribute to our problems in texting?

Some common ADHD symptoms that can contribute to texting problems include forgetting to respond to messages, sending excessively long or numerous short messages, and struggling to understand emotions and tones conveyed through text.

How can we approach texting with ADHD differently?

One effective approach is to take our time while texting. Instead of impulsively sending immediate responses, it is beneficial to carefully consider and compose our messages when they are more complex in nature, taking time to sit on a message before sending it.

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