View Full Version : Help me help him


!EducateMe1
12-10-16, 09:08 AM
I have a co-worker who has told me he has ADHD. After doing some research this morning I see that a few of his "work issues" are adhd related. We have a good work relationship and we are comfortable talking about it. Most likely I will just ask him how I can help him, but I wanted to get some other opinions about how you would appreciate being approached and what help would actually be helpful.
For example: He interrupts frequently. He's smart and knows what he's talking about so I do want to hear what he has to say. What is a good way to remind him he's talking out of place? I would like to find a way that is subtle and doesn't interrupt the flow of the conversation.
Thanks for your input.

Unmanagable
12-10-16, 01:11 PM
I think it's great you're trying to help. Be sure to remain very mindful of his actual desire for you to be that heavily involved in his symptoms and expressiveness. It's a very personal thing and could create much awkwardness. It could easily lead to resentment if not handled with clear and concise communication, which can also be a struggle at times.

Does he already openly discuss details and agree that all of the things you identify as "work issues" are real issues that he wants help with? It can be a slippery slope when you cross the line of professionalism and dive into deep personal issues. I would tread lightly and very respectfully.

If he's clearly in full and total agreement of wanting your help on that level, perhaps agree upon and practice a non-verbal hand signal, or something similar, that won't create a need to verbally interrupt the flow.

I used to find that kind of thing helpful with some of my former students. Some days when they struggled with being present in the moment, it didn't work as well and required flow interruption, but I'd say it helped at least half the time.

In the workplace, I would most appreciate space to just be myself so I wouldn't feel the need to remain "on guard" to know which mask I need for which task. Expanded understanding and more willingness from others to relax their masks and roles, even if just a little, and just "be". However, society doesn't really support that scenario much, so I remain in my own space figuring out how to "make it".

Faraway
12-10-16, 07:31 PM
I absolutely agree with Unmanageable.
You seem to be a nice colleague (or you may like that person very much) and its great that you try to help.
Its hard to tell why your co-worker told you about the ADHD, may be just to explain himself, may be searching help, may be for some completely differnt reason...who knows???

But to get back to your example - and pretty simple for all examples you havent told us yet- if something yor co-worker does seems to be a problem - just talk to him like you would talk to anyone else.
Quite easy.
As I said before, you seem to be really friendly, so talking should work fine.
(And dont be afraid, sometimes people with ADHD are easy to upset, but they are usually not resentful, so there is always a change for another try)

Corina86
12-11-16, 09:07 AM
I still wouldn't recommend telling people at work that you have ADHD, even if they have ADHD as well. It's very possible that he won't be able to keep it a secret even if he tries to. And it can have serious consequences, even if there are 2 of you in the company, unless one of you is the boss. Also, offering people help and advice when it's unasked often seems patronizing, even if it's with a good intention. If it bother you that he interrupts you then just tell him so, but don't meddle in how he communicates with other colleagues. Maybe he's doing it on purpose, maybe he doesn't care, maybe he knows it and can't help it, maybe others don't mind it so much etc.

stef
12-11-16, 09:22 AM
Anyway though, it's nice he has a supportive colleague

!EducateMe1
12-11-16, 11:56 AM
@Unmanagable-I agree that I need to be mindful of his desire for my assistance. I have not asked him yet if he is interested in my help. I am in the process of educating myself so I am more aware of how to help (if he wants it).
He has openly told everybody that he has ADHD. I am not aware of the circumstances or reasoning behind his disclosure, that was done prior to my employment with the company. He does still bring it up in conversation a couple times a week. Sometimes it sounds like an excuse if something isn't done correctly, sometimes it's "I can't sit still, I didn't take my ADHD meds today".
Keeping in mind I have not asked if he would like assistance; I did use your hand signal suggestion yesterday. We were both in a conversation with the boss and it was the bosses turn to talk. It worked well, but I didn't have a chance to talk to him to find out if he appreciated it or was offended by it.

@Faraway-Good points, I'm not sure of his reasoning behind disclosing. To me it seems like it's mostly to explain himself, but that is just my opinion. I also agree that just talking to him would be the best solution.
I used interrupting as an example because it seemed like a reasonable starting point. I do plan on getting his opinion on other things when I talk to him.

@Corina86-I don't want to patronize him at all, but I see how it affects other co-workers. To continue with the interrupting example. It only bothers me because I have to stop talking and wait. If I listen to him while I'm waiting I will lose my train of thought. So what ends up happening is I have to ignore what he's saying, which I don't want to do because he may have a good idea or point to make. Others will tell him to stop or keep talking over him which only draws attention to the situation and that is one thing I'm trying to avoid.

Thank you all for your thoughts and suggestions. As I've said I haven't asked if he would like my help so this may all be for nothing, but I'd rather have knowledge going into a conversation.
Last question: In your opinion would face to face be better than an email? I don't want him to feel pressured or on the spot. Would it be better to email and give him time to consider my offer? Personally I would prefer face to face.

Unmanagable
12-11-16, 01:06 PM
Face to face is my personal preference when receiving information, as text can so often be misinterpreted. However, when I'm the one attempting to get a point across that requires much explanation, I tend to do better in writing rather than thinking and speaking on the fly.

stef
12-11-16, 01:36 PM
Face to face, but make sure he's not super busy and choose a quiet time of the day

Faraway
12-12-16, 11:59 AM
@!EducateMe1
the more I read, the less I think he is asking for help, may be you better just observe for a while. (I think it is funny that you prepare yourself with so much effort to help him, just in case..)
And just to let you know, working can be tough with ADHD and often is so indeed, but not necessarily has to be.
I would not want my colleagues to offer me there help because I have ADD - woud make me feel very uncomfortable.


@Corina86
he obviously found a way around that keeping-secrets issue :-)
I also do it that way, makes it much easier. but of course you only can do so in environment where people are willing to accept that.

Faraway
12-12-16, 01:10 PM
Last question: In your opinion would face to face be better than an email? I don't want him to feel pressured or on the spot. Would it be better to email and give him time to consider my offer? Personally I would prefer face to face.

as incidentally as possible. like "hearing you talking about ADHD - and I dont know much about ADHD, but I wondered WHETHER there is anything helpfull your colleagues can do - and if so let me know."

and although it might be hard, wait for a good relaxed moment.

(you really like that guy, dont you? if really really yes, I would suggest a different strategy;-)

Pilgrim
12-12-16, 06:02 PM
Depends on why he is being verbose, if he's doing it to be helpful give him some latitude.

If he's doing because he's rambling. Politely let him know.

intothewind
12-13-16, 11:12 PM
I find its best to simply be told right then and there to hold on. A little hand motion works too. I have a couple coworkers who do this to me and I understand. They do happily listen to what I was going to say once they finish their thought. Make sure he realizes his input is valued.

In a meeting situation he could write down what he wanted to say so he doesn't forget in the wait to speak.

Postulate
01-29-17, 08:17 PM
I have a co-worker who has told me he has ADHD. After doing some research this morning I see that a few of his "work issues" are adhd related. We have a good work relationship and we are comfortable talking about it. Most likely I will just ask him how I can help him, but I wanted to get some other opinions about how you would appreciate being approached and what help would actually be helpful.
For example: He interrupts frequently. He's smart and knows what he's talking about so I do want to hear what he has to say. What is a good way to remind him he's talking out of place? I would like to find a way that is subtle and doesn't interrupt the flow of the conversation.
Thanks for your input.

You cannot, his dopamine levels are too low so he does not realize the true extends of his behavior, because noticing your behavior requires a type of attention of a higher dopamine plateau. Recommending medication is best.

sarahsweets
01-30-17, 06:35 AM
He has openly told everybody that he has ADHD. I am not aware of the circumstances or reasoning behind his disclosure, that was done prior to my employment with the company. He does still bring it up in conversation a couple times a week. Sometimes it sounds like an excuse if something isn't done correctly, sometimes it's "I can't sit still, I didn't take my ADHD meds today".
Playing devils advocate here...
It doesnt matter about his disclosure and what he says about it, he still might not want your advice. There is a big difference between talking about your own issues and receiving advice when you didnt ask for it. And I dont think him saying he didnt take his meds is necessarily an excuse- its quite valid actually unless maybe if he says this everyday.



@Corina86-I don't want to patronize him at all, but I see how it affects other co-workers. To continue with the interrupting example. It only bothers me because I have to stop talking and wait. If I listen to him while I'm waiting I will lose my train of thought. So what ends up happening is I have to ignore what he's saying, which I don't want to do because he may have a good idea or point to make. Others will tell him to stop or keep talking over him which only draws attention to the situation and that is one thing I'm trying to avoid.

Just because you see how it impacts other people doesnt mean you know how it impacts them nor does it mean its your job to decide that it does.

Thank you all for your thoughts and suggestions. As I've said I haven't asked if he would like my help so this may all be for nothing, but I'd rather have knowledge going into a conversation.
Last question: In your opinion would face to face be better than an email? I don't want him to feel pressured or on the spot. Would it be better to email and give him time to consider my offer? Personally I would prefer face to face.
I dont think either is a good idea. I think making general suggestions leaving adhd out is a safer route.

sarahsweets
01-30-17, 06:37 AM
You cannot, his dopamine levels are too low so he does not realize the true extends of his behavior, because noticing your behavior requires a type of attention of a higher dopamine plateau. Recommending medication is best.

Recommending medication definitely isnt best because the OP is not a doctor and has said the coworker is already on medication.