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ADHD Over-Talking Follow-Up: Listener Feedback!

We did an episode on ADHD and over-talking a few weeks back and boy-howdee did you have thoughts! This week, we’re doing a listener feedback review covering how you prefer to manage — and help to manage — over-talking and ADHD in yourself and others. 

The feedback came in two broad categories. First, you shared your personal preferences in how you want others to treat you when you’re over-talking. That is to say, when people you’re close to notice that your stories are veering into ADHD tangent-territory, how do you want that communicated to you? How will you be best equipped to hear this sort of guidance without feeling shamed or judged?

The second big group came in the form of guidance for kids and families. How do you work with your kids or partner when over-talking overtakes family time? How do you instill a culture in your family where you’re teaching and building muscle around sharing conversation space? 

We got some terrific suggestions on the best way you manage ADHD over-talking and we’re thrilled to share!

Episode Transcript

Brought to you by The ADHD Podcast Community on Patreon

Pete Wright: Hello everybody, and welcome to Taking Control, the ADHD podcast on True Story FM. I’m Pete Wright, and I’m here with Nikki Kinzer. Hello Nikki.

Nikki Kinzer: Hello everyone. Hello Pete. Welcome back.

Pete Wright: Thank you. I apology. I apology. I apology for my tardiness.

Nikki Kinzer: Well, you’ve been sick, no need for apologies. You’re feeling better?

Pete Wright: Yeah. Totally. Totally better. The lingering stupid cough, but overall, just fine. So, glad to be moving on from that nonsense.

Nikki Kinzer: We are back.

Pete Wright: Yes.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: And so we are … you know, do you know what happens when you do a show on over talking and ADHD?

Nikki Kinzer: You over talk and you have ADHD still?

Pete Wright: Did you just accuse me of over talking or having ADHD? You know I have issues with that. Judge. Judgment. No, you get a lot of feedback.

Nikki Kinzer: Oh right, yes.

Pete Wright: You get a lot of feedback, and it stimulates a lot of conversation in all the channels. And so I’m really excited that we have this opportunity to do some feedback, because we got some great feedback from people who have written in and shared their stories of both over talking, how they like to be spoken to when they’re over talking, how you can gently steer and guide others, and how you like to be guided yourself in these situations. So, I think that’s very exciting.

Nikki Kinzer: I do too. I am excited to dig into some of these thoughts or ideas.

Pete Wright: Yeah, and we haven’t done just a straight up feedback show in a long time.

Nikki Kinzer: No. No.

Pete Wright: So, might as well do it today.

Nikki Kinzer: That’s right.

Pete Wright: Before we do, head over to, get to know us a little bit better. You can listen to the show right there on the website, or subscribe to the mailing list right there on the homepage, and we will send you an email each time a new episode is released. You can connect with us on Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest at takecontroladhd, but if you really want to connect with us, join us on the ADHD Discord community. Super easy to jump in the general community right there in that chat channel. All you have to do is visit, and you’ll be whisked over to the general invitation and login. But, if you’re looking for more, particularly if this show has ever touched you or helped you understand your relationship with ADHD in a new way, we invite you to support the show directly through Patreon. Patreon is listener supported podcasting. With a few dollars a month, you can help guarantee that we continue to grow the show, add new features, and invest more heavily in our community. Visit to learn more.

Nikki Kinzer: Let’s do the show.

Pete Wright: All right everybody, a few weeks ago we had this question, and it was-

Nikki Kinzer: It really came from me.

Pete Wright: I think it was … what?

Nikki Kinzer: The question came from me.

Pete Wright: Yeah, right. It came from you, and we posted it to others. I think it was as a result of the conversation that we had on the podcast.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes. Because, I wanted to know more about how people felt when someone said, "Oh, I think you’re talking too much," or how do you want to be aware that maybe you’re talking too much or going into too much detail, because I wanted to know more, get more feedback from our listeners on how to deal with this, I think when you’re both the talker and the receiving end of being talked to.

Pete Wright: I think those are listeners.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, you’re right. That’s another way to put it.

Pete Wright: There’s so many … we have a lot of choices with how we frame certain concepts.

Nikki Kinzer: True. They’re the listeners.

Pete Wright: They’re the listeners. They’re the speakers and listeners. And the talking, I’ve been incredibly hypersensitive about this over the last two weeks. I haven’t been speaking a lot because I’ve been sick, but just the nature of having had this conversation has given me and my anxiety a lot to think about. And so whenever I open my mouth with anybody, I’m constantly thinking I should shut up now. Which means as a result, I think I’ve spoken less in the last two weeks than I would have, and probably missed some opportunities to have good conversations as a result. It’s just an interesting thing. Like that sense of [inaudible 00:04:24]. Don’t worry Nikki. Don’t worry. That will wear off.

Nikki Kinzer: Okay, good. Thank you. I’m glad.

Pete Wright: I’ll be back to normal in no time.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, because this is not about changing who you are.

Pete Wright: No.

Nikki Kinzer: We don’t want people to think … I don’t want people to walk away thinking the way that you just described.

Pete Wright: Right, it’s hard not to.

Nikki Kinzer: Because, it is hard not to. Yeah. But, I don’t want you to think that you have to change, because you don’t.

Pete Wright: No.

Nikki Kinzer: You don’t Pete, and neither do our listeners.

Pete Wright: No, that’s absolutely true. But, what we do have is some subtle thoughts, insights and requests on how to handle the over talking thing. And so we have these broken up in areas. How would you like to approach these?

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. How about we just, each one, each person takes a comment, and we can talk about it. So, I can go first.

Pete Wright: Why don’t you go first?

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, so this comment says in their household they use the word squirrel as a shortcut to say "This conversation is too much," or "I’m sorry, but I’m no longer listening," or "This tangent needs to be wrapped up to refocus." My husband and I both use it on each other. We both understand it’s about the other person having reached their info threshold. Neither of us get offended. So, a couple of things there I wanted to say and point out first of all is great communication between this person and their husband, because I think it’s awesome that you guys both can see "Okay, this is an issue for both of us. We’re not going to take it personally. All we have to do is say this word and we kind of know what’s happening."

Nikki Kinzer: So, just not even about the talking too much, but just that they have this communication between them on how to help each other. That’s great. I just think that’s a really positive thing.

Pete Wright: Yeah, and it sounds like this one is really about talking, talking to each other. And some of these other suggestions and thoughts are about talking in a group or in public, or having somebody help you when they notice you’re talking too much. This one in particular I like a lot because … and I really resonate with it, because when I go into fireworks brain, there’s only so much I can take, whether or not my wife is over talking or just kind of doing a core dump on me. I feel like that is … it’s something for me to be able to say that’s nice and nonjudgmental in a way that says, "I’ve reached capacity. I have to take a break. We can come back, but right now I have to take a break." I think that’s really lovely.

Pete Wright: We have the next one. It’s helpful to have someone who can give your hand a squeeze, or give a wink or a code word. It feels good to have a partner to help steer you away from the potential social anxiety shame spiral that comes with over talking. An over talking safe word. Who knew?

Nikki Kinzer: Who knew? But what a great idea in a social situation though. Like if you know that this is a habit, or something that you are concerned about, and again, your partner is working with you and not making you feel bad about it, what a … I can totally see my husband squeezing my hand. I may not talk too much, but I talk loud. So he might be like squeezing my hand just to tell me that I am too loud. Lower it down.

Pete Wright: Does he have a code word? What’s your husband’s code word?

Nikki Kinzer: He doesn’t have one.

Pete Wright: Well, this is a great opportunity.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: Let’s make it asparagus. He probably likes asparagus. That’s probably a problem.

Nikki Kinzer: He does.

Pete Wright: All right, well we’re going to brainstorm on this. We’ll noodle this, we’ll come back for a codeword you guys can use together.

Nikki Kinzer: Okay.

Pete Wright: And that’s it. I think the big problem with this one for me is the social anxiety shame spiral. But this is self-imposed for me. I usually am really good about making myself feel bad about something like this, and I think that takes mindfulness and practice and comes and goes.

Nikki Kinzer: Not being so hard on yourself.

Pete Wright: Yeah, right. Right, right.

Nikki Kinzer: Because that’s, again, going back to what we just said before we even started these quotes is not wanting … we’re not saying we should change, and we also don’t want you to feel bad about talking, because you are probably your worst critic. And I think that’s really important, is that what you think people are thinking is probably really what they’re not thinking. But, we kind of can, with our anxieties, we kind of make up the worst case scenario.

Pete Wright: Right.

Nikki Kinzer: And so keeping that check and all of that.

Pete Wright: And here we’re saying out loud, "don’t change. Don’t go changing." And yet, some of this guidance is "Here are tools to help you change a little bit. In the moment, right now, help you change to save you embarrassment, to save you whatever." So, this is that kind of Catch 22 to change no change. Change without changing. Change, don’t change.

Nikki Kinzer: Without shame. Without embarrassment.

Pete Wright: Without shame, right.

Nikki Kinzer: Without feeling like you’re doing something wrong.

Pete Wright: And I think this goes back to just setting up the standard beforehand, not like in the moment when everybody starts noticing and getting frustrated, and you don’t notice yourself, like saying, "Hey, partner, this is what I need from you in social situations, and it’s okay, and I know I’m going to accept it with grace and understanding for you to say or squeeze or whatever to help me understand my place in that social dynamic, if I’m not understanding it."

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: Set it up beforehand.

Nikki Kinzer: So here’s another suggestion that is very good. "When I’m in a group and I feel like I have said too much, or I’m getting too excitable and want to say all the things, I sit on my hands. It’s a physical reminder that gives me even just the briefest moment to remember that other people are interesting too." That’s great. Sit on the hands. What a nice physical thing to do, to kind of just keep yourself grounded and remember.

Pete Wright: Okay, so these physical tricks I think are really handy. When my dad quit smoking, he was a rubber band guy. Are you familiar with the rubber band people? Rubber band people. Have you ever been a rubber band person yourself?

Nikki Kinzer: Well, don’t they … like for pause? Like to pause for a moment or something like that?

Pete Wright: Yeah. It’s like a gentle … yeah, you take big rubber band, and you wrap a few times around your neck until you can’t … no. You put it on your wrist-

Nikki Kinzer: Oh gosh. I was like "What are you talking about?"

Pete Wright: You put it on your wrist, and for him, every time he wanted a cigarette he would just snap it, right? He would snap it on his wrist, and it would give him that-

Nikki Kinzer: And didn’t he eat a lot of Butterfingers too?

Pete Wright: So many Butterfingers. He gained like 40 pounds, and had to go back to the same quit center and use the rubber band against Butterfingers then. This is a grotesque story that’ll be for later in the after show.

Nikki Kinzer: Okay.

Pete Wright: So, he … make sure you sign up. Become a member, because you can hear the goods in the after show. So, I’m not familiar, completely familiar, with the stimulus response that the rubber band in particular is supposed to do, but I know that it’s like when you have a craving. For him, he would snap the rubber band and that slight shock of a little bit of pain would be the reminder and enough of a distraction that he would be able to change context, or change gears, or distract himself enough, and remind himself that smoking is a bad thing for him. And so that’s how he handled it.

Pete Wright: There is something about changing your physical context in such a way that reminds you about a behavior that you’re trying to change in yourself. And so I don’t know that I’m necessarily a big proponent of the rubber band plan. I’d probably need to review a little more about it. The only thing I remember is it felt like a punishment when I was watching my dad do it, and I don’t care for that.

Nikki Kinzer: Right.

Pete Wright: But, I do love the idea of changing something physically about your state to remind you.

Nikki Kinzer: Well, and what comes to my mind is not so much the rubber band theory, but I can see if you’re in a social situation and maybe you can’t sit down because you’re standing, is to have some kind of fidget like in your pocket. Because, that could also be sort of a reminder of holding onto something as you’re waiting to speak. So, just another kind of physical thing that "Okay, I’m going to hold onto this little rock, or this little thing that I’ve got in my pocket," and that’s also kind of the reminder of that give and take of passing the ball that we talked about in the original show, of who’s talking and who’s listening.

Pete Wright: Right. Yeah, absolutely.

Nikki Kinzer: All right.

Pete Wright: Okay, number four. "I give people permission to stop me if they feel I’ve drifted and they’re not following or interested. This usually saves me, and them, a lot of embarrassment and discomfort." What do you think of that?

Nikki Kinzer: I think it’s great. Especially with people that you know really well and that you love and trust and I can totally see one of my family members saying, "Hey, if I’m getting too long winded, let me know." I think that’s a great thing to do, is to give that other person permission to say, "Okay, I understand those details, where are we heading," whatever, without being mean or feeling judged about it. So, I like it. I think it’s great.

Pete Wright: A lot of these are super useful in specific context. This one I struggle with coming out of a big social context, where I normally would, like with a bunch of people. Who’s with a bunch of people anymore?

Nikki Kinzer: Right, I see it being more one-on-one.

Pete Wright: Yeah, like one-on-one, like with closer relationships.

Nikki Kinzer: With someone you’re really close with.

Pete Wright: I wouldn’t go into a party where I don’t know very many people and say, "Hey, stop me when I start over talking."

Nikki Kinzer: I totally, totally agree. Yeah. This is definitely more of that one-on-one people that know you really well, and get it and understand why you’re saying it in the first place.

Pete Wright: Let’s talk about talking too much though.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, this is a trigger, and this is what this says. The phrase talking too much seems to be the trigger, so we want to be careful on how we phrase it with other people. And I think that this is true. This is definitely where people get defensive. And I had gotten another comment from a listener saying that they still remember a time where someone told them that they were talking too much, or I think they said babbling too much, and that really hurt them when-

Pete Wright: Oh, that’s the worst word.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, when they were saying that. So I do think this is … from the listener’s point of view, we do want to be very careful that we just don’t say, "Oh my gosh, really? Here you go again," or making that person feel bad. So, this was interesting. They had an example. "If you’re getting too many details that aren’t relevant to the bigger picture, it may help to interrupt and let the other person know you’re receiving too many extra details, and it’s becoming hard to follow the main plot of the story, which you very much want to hear and understand." That’s a lot of words to say to someone, and to remember to say to someone. But, I think that where I take this is that "Okay, I’m listening to something, and they’re kind of going into more detail." I could see myself maybe asking a question to kind of stop them from going into the detail and redirecting them to "Oh, okay. So that makes sense that you’re at the dog park and you’re having this conversation with this person, but what happened to the dog?"

Nikki Kinzer: Like kind of redirecting them to whatever the story was. Instead of the details with the dog owner. We’re going back to, "Oh, so the dogs got along?" So maybe just kind of asking.

Pete Wright: Yeah, which happens in all my stories. If I’m really getting into the story, sometimes the drama gets ahead of me and I forget the dog. Don’t forget the dog.

Nikki Kinzer: Right, and all the details.

Pete Wright: Yeah. I want to take a step back, because you used the word babbling, and I want to just reflect on that, because I have an immediate, such an immediate negative reaction to that word.

Nikki Kinzer: Well, and that’s the word that the listener used. Yeah, so where is that coming from? Talk about that.

Pete Wright: I don’t know. It’s just such a shame loaded word to me.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: I can’t get to the other side of it, because it’s different. That, to me, is different than over talking, because it’s a word somebody would use, would weaponize and use against you, or you were using it about yourself because it has been weaponized against you before.

Nikki Kinzer: Because, it almost insinuates that what you’re saying doesn’t matter or it’s not important.

Pete Wright: Yes. You might as well just be making sound.

Nikki Kinzer: That’s where I think that-

Pete Wright: You might as well just be making syllables.

Nikki Kinzer: Right. Yeah. No, that’s a really good distinction, and that’s probably why it hurt that person as much as it did, is because it felt … not only are you hurt that they’re saying something about it, but you’re offended too, because you don’t feel heard. And we want to be heard.

Pete Wright: Yeah, we want to be heard.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: So, okay. Suggestions for kids and families.

Nikki Kinzer: So, the first tip here that we received from one of our listeners is that all, that tossing that ball thing, and I love this idea. So, this is somebody that they were saying that you have that ball that represents a nonverbal cue that their talking too much, or the act of shifting their focus. So, I think especially if you have young kids, and you’re at the dinner table and you’re trying to kind of figure out … you want everyone to have a voice and be able to have that time to talk.

Pete Wright: Right.

Nikki Kinzer: I think it’s cool. Like, "Here, you’ve got the potato right now. The Shock-tato right now."

Pete Wright: The Shock-tato? Yeah, as soon as it shocks you, you have to stop talking.

Nikki Kinzer: Right. And now it’s your sister’s turn. And now it’s your dad’s turn. And so it kind of helps maybe curve that a little bit.

Pete Wright: So, I have another bit of a sidebar, do you mind?

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: On this. So in the video, if you’re a member of live chat you would see this. Do you see what this is?

Nikki Kinzer: I see it. I don’t know what it is.

Pete Wright: So, this is a top, a spinning top, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Top, okay. Right.

Pete Wright: And the design of this top is identical to the top that Leonardo DiCaprio used in Inception, the movie Inception. And he used it as a thing where if the top, if he spins the top and it falls over, he knows that he’s in the real world. And if he spins it and it doesn’t fall over, then he knows he’s in the dream, or in a dream in a dream. That’s what Inception was all about, it was this crazy dream thing. So we used to have a thing in college, when I was in a group, and we had a spinning top that we would spin, and as soon as the top was over, you had to finish your point. You were done. And your point was only as good as your ability to spin this top. And sometimes you might have a minute. Sometimes you’d have five seconds and you’re done. That was the rule.

Pete Wright: So, I was so excited to find this top, because this top, the Inception top, this one in particular has a little gyroscope in it, and it will never stop spinning. It is a battery powered little gyro that spins.

Nikki Kinzer: Interesting.

Pete Wright: So, I have it in my office so that I get to use it, and then I can talk forever.

Nikki Kinzer: Of course.

Pete Wright: Anyway, that’s a total sidebar.

Nikki Kinzer: You can just keep talking.

Pete Wright: But, it is one of those things. The top, the spinning top thing, is a neat trick for families if you struggle with this, if there are multiple people in the family who struggle with over talking and you spin it, your time is impacted. And if everybody agrees on the rule set, that’s a nice way to kind of build in a culture of learning to make your points more quickly.

Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely. Yeah, I like that. Well and this last tip, I think, which is pretty cool, is take time practicing appropriate conversations and conversation lengths. Try using conversation cards as prompts to use in practice. So, it’s easier to practice a situation with a child and explain kind of what you’ve observed, but I think it’s also … it’s a family thing. So, everyone needs to be doing it. It’s not just on the child, right? Everybody has a conversation card. We all have two minutes to talk about this. Again, it’s like all of these ideas that we’ve talked about is putting a limit on it, and getting them comfortable with that time and being able to be more concise. But, it’s a whole family affair. I don’t think it’s … we don’t want to point anybody out either.

Pete Wright: No, we really don’t. I think that’s where it gets dangerous. The rules that are applied in a microculture, like a family, have to be applied evenly, right?

Nikki Kinzer: Right. Right.

Pete Wright: That’s what it is. And I think that’s what makes the culture whole and healthy.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes. Yes.

Pete Wright: And it’s okay to acknowledge that the rules end up affecting everybody differently, whether you’re living with ADHD, some degree of ADHD on the spectrum or not.

Nikki Kinzer: Right, right.

Pete Wright: But it’s even. It’s fair.

Nikki Kinzer: Absolutely, it’s all about communication, right?

Pete Wright: Yeah, right.

Nikki Kinzer: So, one last idea that came through from one of my Coaching With Nikki sessions last month. We were talking about this topic, and some of the frustrations that people were feeling, and this idea or this suggestion actually came up with using Jenga. Remember that building the blocks thing, and you try to build it as high as you can?

Pete Wright: Oh yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: So what you do is you stick conversation starters on each block, and set it up as normal. And then you explain to the family ahead of time that everyone will get a turn going around the table to choose a block from the tower, and everyone gets a chance to talk on their turn, and then Jenga at the dinner table, it may not be for everyone. Because, I know a lot of times we say, "No phones. No games," whatever. But, it could be kind of a fun thing to do every once in a while, as to get these little … get Jenga out, put some conversation starters and make it a fun thing, a fun game. So not only are you communicating with your family more, which is awesome, but you’re learning great communication skills by keeping things more concise, and it’s fun.

Pete Wright: And the deal is you have to pack a bag. Everybody brings a bag, and if you lose Jenga, you have to leave the family and move out. That’s it.

Nikki Kinzer: No Pete.

Pete Wright: What?

Nikki Kinzer: No.

Pete Wright: Then why do we play games if the stakes aren’t there?

Nikki Kinzer: That is not what we do. You know, maybe make them be the ones that like cut up the cake for dessert or something.

Pete Wright: They have to clean up. They have to do the dishes.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: Somebody loses Jenga, has to do the dishes.

Nikki Kinzer: But, they don’t have to leave. No.

Pete Wright: They have to move out.

Nikki Kinzer: All right, so that’s it. If you guys have any other suggestions or comments, please bring them to our attention. Go into Discord. We have lots of different channels to chat about these kinds of topics and other things too. So, come check us out.

Pete Wright: So much more. Thank you everybody for downloading, listening. This was a short show. This is a quickie.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: We did good. This is like old school ADHD podcast.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, I know. Good. That’s right.

Pete Wright: We sure appreciate all of you for downloading and listening to this show. Thank you for your time and your attention. Don’t forget, if you have something to contribute, head over to the show talk channel. That’s where we’re going to be. All you have to do is become a patron at the deluxe level or higher. On behalf of Nikki Kinzer and all the proud ADHD over talkers everywhere, I’m Pete Wright, and we’ll see you right back here next week on Taking Control, the ADHD podcast.

Through Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast, Nikki Kinzer and Pete Wright strive to help listeners with support, life management strategies, and time and technology tips, dedicated to anyone looking to take control of their lives in the face ADHD.
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