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6 Questions for Recognizing Normal People

Knowing the symptoms of ADHD is an important first step to living with the disorder, but sometimes looking at things from the other side can also help. What are the symptoms of being … normal?

Normal PersonOf course, we can all probably agree that there’s no such thing as a “normal” person. But for our purposes, let’s say normal means neurotypical, anyone without ADHD.

So what are the signs to look for? Is it possible to diagnose the condition of not having ADHD?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about 6 questions for recognizing ADHD. These are taken from a brief survey researchers developed that helps people do a preliminary self-evaluation for possible ADHD symptoms.

Well, if we have six questions that we can use to evaluate symptoms of ADHD, don’t we also have six questions that let us evaluate symptoms of not having ADHD? All we have to do is turn the symptoms on their head:

  • Do you easily concentrate on what people are saying to you, especially when they are speaking to you directly?
  • Do you usually stay in your seat in meetings or other situations in which you are expected to remain seated?
  • Are you often able to unwind and relax when you have time to yourself?
  • When you’re in a conversation, do you let people finish what they’re saying rather than completing their sentences for them?
  • Do you frequently do things in a timely manner?
  • Are you able to keep your life in order and attend to details without depending on others?

These questions aren’t enough for a definitive diagnosis, but if you answered “yes” to all of the above, you should know that you display several possible symptoms of normalcy!

Reading back over these symptoms of being normal, my first thought is: wow, anyone who doesn’t do these things must be a total jerk! Who doesn’t listen to what other people are saying, repeatedly gets out of their seat during meetings, and then expects other people to keep their lives in order for them? No wonder people with ADHD can have trouble with interpersonal relationships!

Of course, none of this is to say that people with ADHD never do the things on this list. Someone who was without exception unable to concentrate on what others were saying or who finished every single sentence in a conversation would be a very extreme case, indeed.

Still, I sometimes find that this is a useful exercise for gaining perspective on ADHD. Take an ADHD symptom and imagine the opposite of that symptom, then visualize how your life would be different if you had the symptom of “normalcy” instead of the symptom of ADHD.

The point is that because we live with our symptoms constantly, it can be hard to find a reference point for what “normal” feels like. And if you don’t know what normal feels like, it’s hard to understand how having ADHD feels differently.

Finally, for those of you who freaked out because you answered “yes” to all six questions and you’re starting to think this whole “normal” thing describes you with eerie accuracy, let me say this: Don’t worry. There’s nothing you need to do. In fact, many believe that normalcy is a made-up condition altogether!

D’you know other symptoms of being normal? If so, please share below! Help spread awareness about normalcy.

Image: Flickr/Michael Taggart Photography

6 Questions for Recognizing Normal People

Neil Petersen

Neil Petersen writes regularly on education, learning disabilities and technology. He received his B.A. in 2014 and was diagnosed with ADHD at the beginning of his college studies. Neil also works for a music education non-profit and hopes to help create an education system that can better serve students with ADHD.

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APA Reference
Petersen, N. (2017). 6 Questions for Recognizing Normal People. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 12 May 2017
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