Need support: Avoiding to reply to messages for weeks. How would you start the conversation again?

Hey brains,

I need some support. :disappointed: I am avoiding to reply to messages in multiple chats and mails for weeks now. I didn’t even open the chats/mails. Honestly, I rarely open the messenger or the regarding mail account. I also avoid other forms of social media where I could see pictures and be reminded of the persons, which keep contacting me.

The reason mainly is shame:

  • Being ashamed of having fallen far behind and not being able to catch up in “life” (friends).
  • Being ashamed of the lack of progress in general and especially since the last meeting (semi-work related).
  • Being ashamed of being a bad friend.
  • Being ashamed of being an unreliable work-partner.
  • Being ashamed of not being able to reply.

In most cases they aren’t close enough friends that I would openly talk to them about ADHD. Some are rusty friendships, where one is not that close anymore. Some are people I have to work with.
In general I feel that some white lies would be appropriate.
Yet, when I think about the message, I freeze. I don’t know what to write.

How’d you handle the situation and start the conversation again?

Thanks

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Well, sometimes i just kinda close my eyes and go forward - just type any kind of basic “how are you”, hoping the person will tell something i can catch and ask about it more. If they don’t, i start to tell some stuff, and see if they want to ask about it. If neither wants to talk further, then it’s probably not a right moment anyway.

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It’s okay to struggle. For me it also always takes time to reply to people. If that’s the case I’m always honest about it. If I get a message or email and I reply late I jusr always say something like “excuse me for the late response. I tend to have difficulties responding to people fast”

Most people don’t mind you having difficulties with that and it helps them understand why you’re responding late. If they ask why it’s so difficult you can always just be honest. In my case it’s a combo of things. I need to process the message and then I have to take time to think about a proper way to respond since socializing doesn’t come natural to me. And sometimes I just straight out forget. It doesn’t mean you’re not important. I’m just forgetful and I have difficulties keeping up with things.

Most people that I socialize pretty often with via message or mail know that I’m not the best with responding. So they’ll just give me some extra reminders and don’t judge if it takes a minute.

So I think in the end it’s most important to be honest about it. And for mails personally it works well to flag the important ones and actually put them in my planner so I’m less likely to forget.

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Sorry that this issue is so difficult for you! Speaking for myself, I sometimes over analyze and worry about little things, and don’t see the big picture. I think most people are self-involved in their daily lives and probably don’t worry half as much as you do about how much time has elapsed between emails.

On top of other challenges that you may be dealing with why not be easier on yourself? There is no benefit to beating yourself over the head and feeling shame! It may be hard to change how you react to situations but I hope that you can do something to relieve this suffering for youself!

:sunglasses:

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I’m not an expert in the matter, I struggle with that too. But what’s worked best for me is to just be honest with them. If you tell them even just a fraction of the reasons you just listed, I’m sure they’ll understand. You decide how personal you wanna get but usually a brief, superficial explanation is enough. And if you don’t have that kind of relationship with them, there’s probably no reason to be ashamed of not getting in touch for a few weeks. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’re not alone with that problem!

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It is okay to not respond right away. It is okay to ignore people who pester you. It is okay to fall behind. If you feel ashamed, it will be even harder to catch up because now you have to fight a negative feeling on top of everything else!

Here is how I handle such things.

  • In most cases I don’t say I am sorry or just use a generic “sorry for the delay” and just say what I want. Then I read it again and make corrections or tighten up the text before sending it.
  • If I have no more energy to respond, if the topic stops being interesting, I just say so. Something like, “at this late date I no longer remember what I wanted to say. But if you want me to, I will try to respond the best I can”.
  • I simply ignore messages that just rile me up or are not worth responding to. I may write a response but think about whether it is even worth sending and just delete it, if it is not.
  • I don’t lie, because lies have a way of screwing your life even more. It is ok to not go in details. No one really cares any way. If one gets caught in a lie people will lose trust and regaining trust is very very hard.
  • SimilarlyI avoid making promising I may have hard time keeping. Once branded unreliable, it will be hard to shake it off.
  • I treat them with compassion. Even if they say something that riles me up, I think about my response and try to defuse the situation. This can be hard with trolls so I just ignore such people. Trolls eventually go away when you stop responding!
  • I treat others with respect. In an online medium we only get exposed to a sliver of their personality and I wouldn’t want to judge them based on that limited exposure.
  • I do what I can. And I try to communicate openly (except for saying I have ADHD, because most people don’t know what to do with that!). Open communication, showing my vulnerability allows others to see as I am.

Finally, treat yourself with the same compassion! You’re not perfect and you make mistakes, as we do all. It is ok!

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If I could figure out how to be on top of my communications, I’d be making a lot of people happy at work.

(I’ve been distracted with rumination… marital issues, it’s almost all I can think about right now. Fortunately, my boss is understanding, since he went through something similar about 15 years ago.)

I’ve always had trouble keeping up with communications, first because my work is often moving quickly from one tech support issue to another, second because for most of my life my working memory was very limited, third because I also used to be extremely distractible. My ADHD meds have reduced my distractibility and greatly improved my working memory. Unfortunately, I feel anxious most days because of my relationship issues with my wife. And I’ve found that anxiety magnifies my ADHD struggles.

Sorry, didn’t mean to go so long on that.

When it comes to conversation, some people I interact with every day, some a couple of times a week, and others every few weeks or months. I have friends that I only catch up with once every month or so, but it seems we’re always able to keep each other up with what’s important to share with each other, still having a good quality of friendship. Other people that I interact with nearly every day, like some coworkers, only have superficial conversations with me. We talk often, and yet I still know very little about them.

Humans, so many similarities, and so many differences. There’s only one person that I want to spend the rest of my life with, and sometimes she’s the hardest one to talk to. But I need to take a page out of Nick’s book (Space_Ivan), and just “go forward” and do it, even though I know some of the things we need to talk about are difficult topics. Still gotta do it, sooner rather than later.

Thanks for the nudge I needed by introducing this topic.

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Hey, maybe, but I feel like this way you could fall into a trap. I think you can be honest and say something like “sorry for responding so late, I went through a difficult time and I had to take a break from the social media and friends.” Don’t be ashamed for it, resp. work on not being ashamed can be pretty much a life-long process. White lies could become habitual and they’d eventually notice and could think you are making excuses for being sloppy or careless. If you’re honest, then those people that respect who you are will accept that as a part of you and you don’t need those who don’t.

I hope you have resolved it :blush:

personally i just tell people that i don’t always read or reply to messages quickly, i tell people that i don’t like the the modern expectation that we should all be comtactable at all times and that it is nothing personal, you will be suprised how many people understand when you explain it.