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Readers Respond: Saying Things Without Thinking - Share Your Experiences and Tips

Responses: 170

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Updated May 04, 2013

Verbally impulsive responses – saying things or blurting out words without thinking through how they may be perceived – are a common symptom of ADHD. Unfortunately, this can create feelings of embarrassment and regret, as one About.com reader has experienced:

“Does anyone seem to say the wrong thing to someone, realize it later, way after it's too late, and then feel stupid about it for days afterward? How do you recover?” --About.com User

Please help others by sharing your experiences, feelings, and tips for dealing with verbal impulsivity.

Share Your Experiences

On Verbal Impulsivity

I've been working on waiting for a few seconds before blurting out with what I think I have to say or before butting into conversations I overhear. But I don't have much success with it, and even as I know "now I'm doing it again" I just can't seem to stop myself. I have slight success if I take a very determined decision to not say anything at all. I've even managed to be quiet for up to 1 hour, but the moment I give in (which I usually do) the whole card house falls apart and I'm soon dominating the whole scene as always. But, there is one kind of situation where I am slowly getting better hold of things: Written debates. I have made a common rule of forcing my attention elsewhere for a while, and sometimes I've found I didn't need to reply after all. Best of all, it gives me time to prepare a better reply. Yet, it's only possible because I am on medication (Concerta). I'm 52 yrs old and was diagnosed 2 years ago. A wasted early life indeed. Good luck!... :)
—Guest Jean

Saying Things Without Thinking

I wish I knew a way to go on auto-pilot long enough to think about what I'm about to blurt. It's not only when I'm in conversation with someone, but also when I overhear someone else's conversation and chirp in with an answer. That's even worse!! I have, after much embarrassment, learned to just stop a minute - especially when I am feeling especially engaged in a conversation - and think about what I am about to say, but sometimes even that is not enough. Oh well - we're all human and if we can remember that the other person has their own flubs, it helps to keep perspective.
—Guest Wendy

My Blurts

I'm 52 and have known I have ADD for only 2 years now. I blurt out stuff all the time and always have. Most often it seems to be personal information that while true is way too revealing most of the time. Or I just talk non-stop rapidly. I have not yet been able to get a handle on my blurts, but maybe I’m getting a little better as I’m going out on a first date tonight. I haven't been on a date for years. My neighbor gave me a yellow rubber band to put around my wrist to snap to remind me to not dominate the conversation. Although, I do tend to crack myself up. So now my mind says to tell my date, if she asks what the band is, I’d like to respond that I didn't want to pay a dollar for a Lance Armstrong plastic band, so settled for a rubber band! I figure that if I can remember I may be snapping that band nonstop. I wonder if I do snap too often what her reaction might be which leads me to more funny thoughts on how I could respond. I'm now realizing that this has been a blurt, too!
—RDBCUSTOM

Blurting Out

Unfortunately, I usually know when I have blurted out something as a shocked look is on another person in the room and a lot of back tracking is needed. Before I was diagnosed I thought the shocked person was not understanding me so, of course, I would follow with an explanation. I now know after blurting out that it is me who has created a new situation and I apologize and ask the people in the room to please continue as they were then I would like to speak. On another situation I totally said the wrong thing concerning someone’s death. Too late to take back and I punished myself for months after. I am known for being funny, but my response was totally inappropriate. How does one get over it? I didn’t, but now I hear the words death, funeral, etc. and it makes me pause even though I want to speak. These people do not wish to share their lives with me and who can blame them. I minimized their grief by blurting out. Good Luck to you and me.
—Guest Moonkwean

OOPS - SORRY

Well, I have many times said things that were not meant to be said e.g. about their weight. In my defense I was being honest but brutal to hear according to them. I have now learned the art of being artfully untruthful, so that they are happy for people don’t want to hear the brutal truth. How to live with it after being said? Well, to my way of thinking I was honest so I lived with it fine and when the other people got upset, well, they knew that they would always get an honest answer from me. I think if you apologize and let them know that you have this habit of being honest and if they are your friends they will understand. I do realize though after years that it’s best just to tell half truths when it involves them personally. And ask yourself what you would like to hear if you were in their shoes. If you can’t handle the brutal truth then that’s your answer.
—Guest monica- Durban

Lefty

The subject of not finding the right words to express what you want is my biggest bugaboo. Many times in trying to find the right word, I say the wrong ones. Then I sound shallow or stupid. I'm a 65 yr. old woman who is also a nurse. This problem seems to have become noticeable in the last ten years. I also do things or blurt out something inappropriate at the moment. I've started withdrawing from some social circles just to prevent embarrassment. Funny thing is, during my nursing years I never did this. I was told by one employer that I was his best PR but that I made so many mistakes in writing down treatment numbers that I was losing money for him. He didn't fire me, but I felt so bad about myself, I changed jobs. Why would like to know if others found themselves blurting more as they age. Thanks, Gail (Lefty)
—Guest 06108345

TOO MUCH

I am a 16 year old female who has struggled with ADHD my whole life. I seem to struggle with laughing at inappropriate times - it sucks really bad because I don’t mean to. As for blurting out, I do it way too often. As a matter of fact, I tend to hurt people’s feelings when I do... since I don’t realize what I am doing until after I have done it.
—Guest Moriah Ford-Gowan

For What It Is Worth...

I have learned that "it is better to be kind than to be right" very late in life. Best, Penelope
—Penelope03

New since 50, responses from judgement

I am 51, and only in the last two years have I ever had uncontrolled blurts of rage. They aren't in front of people yet, but there have been closer than I wanted times. I mentioned to my husband of 28 years that I am having it more and more and he says he does hear more often in my dreams me blurt out. I confessed, I am not asleep, just embarrassed and say I was sleeping. What I do know is it's ONLY when I feel judged by someone else. I internalize and then when alone, thinking as I am driving, for example, I will blurt out B*tch, or other bad cuss words, and I DON'T CUSS! I blurted out this morning while still in bed "You don't get it", and only after yelling it out loud did I realize whom I was intending that phrase to and then noticed I was alone and relieved no one heard me. I am so worried it's getting worse. Thought maybe brain tumor or something till seeing this site. I feel maybe I am going crazy, but I know as long as I give it to God I can free away the judgment.
—Guest Karen

saying things without thinking

I have this wonderful man in my life I love him so much but whenever I talk to him I end up saying wrong hurtful things I'm scared I'll loose him forever I just want to learn to shut my mouth
—Guest love candy

I can't keep my mouth shut

One person has already said exactly what happens to me. I can't think before speaking. It's usually half-way out my mouth before I figure out what I'm saying and by then it's too late to take it back! My mouth says things before my mind knows what it's thinking. Sometimes it's a good thing, I make people laugh with my comebacks but most the time I hate it because I'm usually saying the wrong thing. I hurt people all the time, I make people angry and just in general I'm known for being a B because I can't think before speaking. It's terrible, I hate myself for it because no one believes me when I say "oh crap I did not mean to say that! I'm sorry!" But they believe all the other crap that accidentally comes out of my mouth -_-
—Guest NightRaven

I find problem in saying things

I find problems in saying things and find it much easier to write to someone about how I feel esp. when I feel extremely bothered. When I am angry either my talking goes out of control to a point where there is no turning back or I don't say it at all until I implode.
—Guest Shiv Chaturvedi

Lunch gone bad

Today at lunch me and my girlfriend were eating lunch when somebody in the hallway screamed something and i was going to say "yea, Carlyn!" to agree to what they were saying to my girlfriend, instead i blurted out "yea, Michele!" who is my ex girlfriend. This made me look really bad, and i can't understand why i said her name instead. When i did say it i really wasn't thinking about anything, and i surprised myself. My girlfriend does not believe that it means nothing, and i am now in a pretty bad situation with her. I now understand that it has something to do with my ADHD.
—Guest Ryan Fleming

That's Not What I Meant!

I have recently been diagnosed with a handful of medical issues at 35. One side effect of more than one of these is brain fog. But that doesn't quite explain why all this crap comes out of my mouth and I don't know where it came from. Someone has to have a remote controlling this, or I am living two lives simultaneously. One in my brain and the other my speach. After 2 blowouts with my boss today I looked to the trusty internet and found this. DATADA! Add ADD to my resume! Unfortunately for me, I am a performer/entertainer. When things don't go as planned under my watch I try to explain them using all the wrong words. She is losing confidence in me for sure. After 13 years I am good at what I do but she thinks I'm a complete idiot and has to question my position. My job is under scrutiny in the news and any mishap on my part could effect the whole industry. I avoid interviews, guest interactions knowing that my mouth is way ahead of my brain. At least now I can blame ADD. This sucks
—Guest Word vomit

add

I'm 27 yrs old and I have add and adhd. I totally feel this I am impulsive. And I blurt out inappropriate comments to conversations ppl take it as i'm immature but i'm not. I can't help it. I've been struggling with these disabilities for my whole life and it's so hard to live with it
—Guest jenn

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Saying Things Without Thinking - Share Your Experiences and Tips

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