Ever have your friends and family get frustrated over how often they have to tell you the same thing multiple times?

For people with ADHD, attention lapses can and do strike in any situation – including when you’re “listening” to someone else tell you something.

This is one of the reasons people with ADHD often have problems following verbal instructions. If you never heard the instructions in the first place, you’re going to have trouble carrying them out!

ListenZoning out when other people are talking can cause problems in personal relationships, too. No one likes the feeling of not being heard.

Sometimes it’s possible to fill in the gaps, piecing together the bits of information you actually did hear to infer the ones you didn’t. Other times, you’ll never really need to know whatever you were supposed to be listening to anyway.

There are times, though, when you’ll have to come clean. In these situations, I might tell people, “Sorry, can you just repeat that last thing you said?” Of course, then people will assume you were listening and just didn’t understand, prompting a longer, more drawn-out, and therefore harder to focus on explanation!

Not listening when other people talk can cause you problems in any setting. It can lead you to miss important information at work or in school. In more informal settings, it can just make people feel like you aren’t paying attention to them – because you aren’t.

It’s also one reason I’m bad with names. “Hello, my name is…”

And that’s it. If you aren’t paying attention during that tiny window of time, good luck. It’s another situation where you might have to come clean eventually: “Sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”

“Oh, my name is…”

Damnit, not again! Fool me once, it’s OK, it happens to everyone. Fool me twice, I might have ADHD.

It’s part of the gamble of inattention. Sometimes when you don’t listen to what other people have to say, it doesn’t matter. But sometimes you miss essential information.

Do you have problems concentrating on what other people have to say? Share any experiences or tips below!

Image: Flickr/Ky under CC BY 2.0