Like a Sore Thumb: Adult ADHD and (Not) Fitting In

ADHD and Lateness

Many people with ADHD are chronically late. There are several reasons for this, including difficulty with managing a schedule, trouble remembering appointments and due dates, and getting "hyperfocused" on something else and losing track of time. Here are a few examples:
 
  • Your ADHD behavior: arriving late (or not at all)
  • How you see it: a normal, unavoidable occurrence for busy people
  • How everybody else sees it: inconsiderate, scatterbrained disregard for other people's time
 
  • Your ADHD behavior: paying bills late
  • How you see it: a small oversight that caused no harm to others
  • How everybody else sees it: a failure to hold up your side of the bargain
 
  • Your ADHD behavior: missing due dates at work
  • How you see it: a natural consequence of having too much to do
  • How everybody else sees it: a fireable offense
 
What does lateness say about you? It says you don't care, you're scatterbrained, or that you're just not smart enough to manage your schedule. While none of these things may be true, it certainly isn't the kind of message you want to send to anyone.
 

ADHD and Hyperactivity

Not all adults with ADHD have trouble with hyperactivity, but if you do, it may drive everybody around you crazy. Here are a few examples of how hyperactivity can come across negatively:
 
  • Your ADHD behavior: fidgeting (toe tapping, leg jiggling, etc.)
  • How you see it: a barely noticeable but absolutely necessary trick to help you survive situations that require you to sit still
  • How everybody else sees it: an incredibly annoying distraction
 
  • Your ADHD behavior: wandering around the office, job site, house, etc.
  • How you view it: having a "breather" to stretch your legs and socialize
  • How everybody else sees it: wasting time and bothering others
 
  • Your ADHD behavior: being on the go at all times
  • How you view it: having an active lifestyle
  • How everybody else sees it: exhausting
 
While you may view leisure time and activities such as reading, knitting, or just relaxing on the beach as wasteful, boring, and generally lame, it's important to realize that most people relish such activities and are refreshed by them.
 
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