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What Annoys You?

If you want to learn about someone, asking them to list their pet peeves can be surprisingly informative.

I’ve been thinking about this in the context of ADHD. So with that in mind, I’ll ask you: what annoys you? Gets under your skin? Ticks you off?

AnnoyedI bring this up because I’ve noticed a lot of ADHDers seem to be especially annoyed by distracting noises. Of course, background noises that interrupt your concentration can get on anyone’s nerves, but there’s a certain subset of people with ADHD who seem to be bothered by auditory distractions on another level.

The explanation is fairly straightforward, I think: if you’re someone who struggles to sustain attention, it makes sense that you’d find potential distractions especially grating.

As another example, I’m someone who has always gotten frustrated with environments that are inflexible, with lots of seemingly unnecessary rules. One thing that I never liked about school was the structure of it. The learning itself I was into, the rigid classroom setting less so.

I don’t think this is just a personal quirk, but partly an expression of a need people with ADHD have: to be in an environment that is flexible enough to accommodate their differences, and that lets them find a way of doing things that works for them. In this sense, my aversion to highly rigid, structured environments tells you something about what it means for me to live with ADHD.

There are plenty of other ways the things someone finds irritating might stem from ADHD symptoms. For instance, people with ADHD often have a visceral aversion to understimulating, boring situations. Or if someone with ADHD hates being given complicated verbal instructions, it might be because that’s something in particular they struggle with cognitively.

So if there’s a certain type of situation that you find especially – maybe even unreasonably – annoying, it’s worth pausing to take note. That irritation might be a signpost that helps you become more aware of how ADHD symptoms affect your life.

Image: Flickr/martinsphotoart

What Annoys You?

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. (2019). What Annoys You?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 16, 2019, from


Last updated: 9 May 2019
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