Interrupting with ADD and ADHD

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

A big issue for people with ADD and ADHD is interrupting. It makes us come across as rude, crude, and uninterested. It hurts us in social and life situations. I know when I get excited about a thought or feel that I have to be heard, self-regulation can become an issue.

So what can we do to help with this issue? Well I have a few suggestions. One is to confide in a trusted partner, friend, relative or coworker. Ask he or she  how often you may interrupt a conversation (and wait for the answer before interrupting)? Does this happen at different parts of the day? Certain situations? But be prepared to not like the answer. The truth isn’t always delightful.

OK, so not that you’ve established that you can interrupt conversations and found out a little bit more about it’s impact, now it is time to act. This won’t be an overnight thing, but you need to start conditioning yourself to change. One strategy that helps me is to have an object in my hand (stress ball, phone, etc.). When I feel like speaking, I will squeeze my hand around the object (or make a fist if I am not holding anything). If after making this gesture, if what I need to say is still important, I will then find the appropriate time to intervene. But that second pause makes all the difference.

Now let’s take this a step further. What happens if you’re on a bad streak of interrupting? To use a football term…punt. Suggest you need a drink of water or a trip to the restroom and refocus. There’s nothing you can do to correct a situation, but you can move forward. Regroup and create a plan moving forward.

For more information on my ADD, ADHD and Executive Functioning coaching, please visit In addition to working with clients in-person, I also work with clients all over the United States and World online, so please visit for more information. To learn more information about some of the other services I provide, please visit  I can be found on Twitter at ADHDEFCoach. You can also find me on FacebookGoogle Plus and Tumblr. My good friend and fellow ADD/ADHD Coach Tara McGillicuddy invites me as a regular guest on ADD/ADHD Support Talk Radio. Feel free to email me at or call 773.888.ADHD (2343) with any additional questions.


  1. “Now let’s take this a step further. What happens if you’re on a bad streak of interrupting? To use a football term…punt.” LOVE this Jonathan! Great metaphor. Sometimes we need to just create space for ourselves. I think the key is learning how and when to do so tactfully and also how to give oneself PERMISSION to do create this space. Well put!

  2. I have also found that taking notes helps. I would interrupt because my mind was racing with ideas and I did not want to risk forgetting them by staying quiet. By practicing taking good and fast notes, I would stay stimulated and interrupt less. Of course, people then think you are more interested in your notes than you are in them, but oh well.

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