Arguing With Someone Who Has ADHD: Healthy Arguments Guide

Julia Ovcharenko, CEO of Numo
January 4, 2024

Say you and your partner are having a casual argument, just a little spat over what to do on weekends. But suddenly, the innocent talk goes from zero to a hundred in the blink of an eye. We might all have experienced this, especially if one or both of us are ADHDers.

Oh, yeah, for ADHDers, any petty dispute can quickly turn into a fully-fledged beef. people with ADHD. Are ADHD symptoms to blame for this? Those can really mess with your grasp of the situation and conflict-resolution skills.

No worries, though, as today we will delve into all the nitty-gritty of conflict resolution for ADHDers.  

So, let's immerse ourselves in the ADHD conflict world and learn how to deal with it in a smart way.

[Reasons for ADHD Arguments] What is Happening When Arguing With Someone Who Has ADHD

So, you may ask, “Are people with ADHD choosing drama and have anger issues”?

Nah, it's not about choosing to be dramatic. People with ADHD often deal with something called emotional dysregulation. This means that feelings, especially anger, can go from 0 to 100 real quick. It can make relationships pretty tough at times.

Why does this happen? That has to do with brain functioning, a link between the amygdala and cerebral cortex. When things get tense, the amygdala sends its signal to a cerebral cortex that "cools things down" a bit.3

In ADHDers, that relationship is weaker, which means the cooling effect is diminished.  When things get tense, it can be hard for an ADHD person to stay calm and think clearly.

When You Don't Have ADHD, But Your Partner Does

If you don't have ADHD and you're dating someone who does, you might sometimes feel like you're not getting the attention or appreciation you deserve. It can feel like you're carrying the whole relationship on your own, and that's tough.

When You Have ADHD, and Things Get Heated

If you're the one with ADHD, you might feel like you're always getting called out or controlled by your partner. Even when you're trying your best, it can feel like it's never enough. That can make you want to pull away, or "ghost," to avoid feeling trapped or judged. 

The Problems Being a Dual-ADHD Couple

When both you and your partner have ADHD, it can feel like you're soulmates or arch-enemies, sometimes all in one day. That's because ADHD traits like impulsivity and emotional ups and downs can make a simple chat turn into a full-on argument.

6 Solid Tips for Navigating Arguments with Someone with ADHD

Before you throw your hands up and think, "This can never work," take a look at these tips for keeping the peace.

[Tip 1: Learn More About ADHD] Tip #1: Get the ADHD Downlow

Knowledge is power. The more you know about ADHD, the better you can understand why arguments escalate. Whether you have ADHD or not, understanding its impact on your relationship can be a game-changer.

Pro Tip: Check out Numo's quick reads for the lowdown on managing ADHD in relationships.

[Tip 2: Keep Your Cool] Tip #2: Keep Your Cool

For those without ADHD, remember that your partner can get distracted easily. When things get heated, stay calm. It's tough for someone with ADHD to process a lot at once.

And if you've got ADHD, tune into how your partner feels. Just because you don't like their tone doesn't mean you should ignore what they're saying.

[Tip 3: Take a Breather] Tip #3: Take a Breather

Feel like you're about to jump into an argument without a parachute? Hold up. Take a deep breath and focus on how you're feeling. This pause can keep you from saying something you'll regret later.

[Tip 4: Active Listening] Tip #4: The Power of "I" and Active Listening

Open and honest communication starts with you. Using "I" statements helps keep the blame game at bay. And listen up—really listen to what your partner's saying. You know, nodding, summarizing, and not interrupting.

[Tip 5: Separate Symptoms from a Person] Tip #5: Separate Symptoms from Personality

Important rule: your partner is not their ADHD. Their focus issues or emotional swings aren't character flaws, they're symptoms. And for the partner without ADHD, remember: if you're nagging, it's because you're stressed, not because you're a bad person.

[Tip 6: Lean on Numo] Tip #6: Lean on Numo for Support

Sometimes the best advice comes from people who get it. Numo's got a whole community dealing with ADHD. Share your highs, your lows, and everything in between.

Wrapping It Up

Key Takeaways

Here's the quick rundown of what we've covered:

  • ADHD traits can make relationships rocky. If you're the one without ADHD, you might feel overlooked or not important.
  • Arguments with someone who has ADHD aren't impossible to navigate. The right moves can actually bring you both closer.

A Quick Note for Those with ADHD

Your emotions aren't your identity; they're just something you experience. So embrace what makes you unique, and don't let anyone make you feel less than awesome.

Equip Yourself with the Right Tools

With the right strategies and the Numo community in your corner, handling your emotions and those tricky arguments becomes a lot easier. Think of it as having a toolkit to fix any relationship snags.


1.Fight-or-flight response | Definition, Hormones, & Facts
2. Peer Journal. I understand you feel that way, but I feel this way: the benefits of I-language and communicating perspective during conflict
3. Evidence of emotion dysregulation as a core symptom of adult ADHD: A systematic review

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