How to avoid arguing with someone who has ADHD?


Being in a relationship with someone who has ADHD and arguing with them can be extremely difficult. People with ADHD find it tough to control their feelings and might feel hurt easily. This can lead to more arguments. Remember, they don’t mean to cause trouble, it’s just tough for them to handle. Learning to communicate in a way that suits them can make a big difference.

Argumentative ADHD

Some people with ADHD are conflict seeking, so they want to argue a lot because it gives them a sense of excitement and energy. They might like the excitement of arguing. This feeling might have started when they were young and continued into adulthood, even if they don’t realize it.

Symptoms of ADHD that can make arguing more likely include:

Emotional Dysregulation

ADHD affects how the brain works, making it hard for people to control their feelings and do certain tasks. It’s like they have a quick temper. When someone with ADHD faces a situation that gets them emotional, they might react strongly or act in ways that seem aggressive or moody. This can lead to arguments pretty easily.

Time Blindness

ADHD affects the parts of our brain that help us understand time and how long things take. This can make people with ADHD have trouble being on time or finishing tasks when they should. It’s called “time blindness.” It’s common in ADHD and can make them late, miss deadlines, or not realize how much time has passed. This can cause problems in relationships if the person with ADHD is often late or forgets to do things, making their partner frustrated.


ADHD can make people feel angry. People with ADHD find it difficult to control what they do and how they feel. They might get mad easily and show it by being irritable or frustrated. This can cause problems in relationships, like talking over others or being easily upset by certain things people say or how they say them. It can lead to arguments.

Poor Working Memory

When someone has poor working memory, they find it hard to remember lots of things at once. This makes it tough for them to follow instructions, organize tasks, or stay focused. It takes a lot of energy for them to concentrate, and when they mess up or forget something, people might think they’re lazy. This can make them feel really upset and create issues in their relationships.


ADHD and perfectionism might not seem to go together, but they often do. People with ADHD might feel like they need to be perfect to make up for past mistakes or to fit in. When they’re perfectionists, they set really high standards for themselves and others. It can make them super frustrated or even angry when things don’t go perfectly, which happens a lot.

Sensory Overload

People with ADHD often have a strong reaction to things like smells, sounds, and textures. They might find these things really intense or feel bothered by them quickly. This can make them feel on edge or easily irritated.

How to Avoid Argumentative Behavior in Adults with ADHD

Talking with someone who has ADHD can be tough for both of you, but there are ways to make it easier. Here are some tips:

  • Give them space: If your partner seems upset, suggest taking a break for 10 to 30 minutes. Both of you can relax and then continue talking later.
  • Be understanding: It can be hard for someone with ADHD, so it’s important to be kind and supportive to your partner.
  • Keep it simple: Keep your explanations short and clear. Make sure your partner gets what you’re saying.
  • Stay focused: Stay focused on what you’re talking about now and don’t bring up old arguments. This helps prevent your partner from feeling overwhelmed.
  • Avoid distractions: Have important talks when you both can pay full attention. Pick a time when you don’t have other things distracting you.
  • Be patient: Remember, everyone makes mistakes, and that’s okay. Talk calmly about what happened and think about how to do things differently next time.
  • Ask for clarification: Sometimes, when people feel really emotional, they might not say things clearly. Repeat what your partner said to make sure you understood them right.
  • Take notes if needed: If your partner has trouble remembering things or worries about forgetting, suggest taking notes during discussions. It can make them feel more tidy and relaxed.

When to seek professional help

It’s a good idea to talk to a clinician who knows about ADHD or supports neurodiversity. They can give you tips on handling ADHD symptoms, like anger or impulsiveness. You can find a supportive therapist online who offers telehealth services, so you can get help from home. If your loved one is having trouble paying attention, they might benefit from in-person therapy to avoid distractions.

You might also suggest they see a psychiatrist to talk about medication options if ADHD is affecting their daily life. Your therapist can help with this too. There are lots of online options for seeing a psychiatrist, making it easier to get help.

Avoiding Stressful Arguments with Someone Who Has ADHD

Understanding and supporting someone with ADHD in your relationship can make a big difference. Remember, they might struggle with emotions, time, anger, memory, perfectionism, and sensory overload. Give them space, be patient, and stay focused during discussions. If things get too hard, ask a professional for help. They can give you advice on how to work through problems and make your relationship stronger.


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