Do you ever feel like you always do something wrong when trying to be someone’s friend? It’s always the smallest things. Not coming to an event or something coming out the wrong way. And then people cut you out over it. And then I feel horrible and cry and it’s a mess. It makes me feel like I should give up. I don’t seem to have the social skills and ability to maintain close friendships.
I hear you. Welcome to the tribe.
Yep. Been there too.
The good friends I’ve found haven’t been hard work. You just ‘click’. You don’t have to try to be friends, you just are.
If you have to work for someone’s friendship, they are probably not that good a friend.
It can get lonely without friends, but it can get worse having the wrong friends.
Anyway, we’re your friends!
I think friendships just on a neurotypical level is hard. Through in neurodivergence like ADHD and suddenly it’s even harder. I somehow managed to have two best friends that I love and adore, and as it turns out, they both have ADHD as well (something I didn’t manage intentionally; oh and both I had met online originally… ). Because they understood me the best, they understood if I didn’t go somewhere it was for a reason, or if something came out wrong they’ll just be like “…I’m sorry what???” and I’ll just go “oh god that’s not what I meant” and I reword what I said.
I’ve lost people to my ADHD - mostly due to emotional dysregulation (My anger used to be a very loud, very obvious, and very mean thing). And though I apologized explaining that I just couldn’t control it and I’m struggling to learn with how, they still rejected me… not that I blamed them, I was young and said some pretty impulsive things while angry which is never a good combo.
And then you have people who just… clearly never understood why I talked so much, or never understood my anxiety, my depression or my ADHD. They shut me out, they ignored me… and it was isolating. I got myself out of there a few months later and never went back because they weren’t worth my time.
Friends are definitely hard… but in time I’m sure you’ll find some that click with you the way friends should.
When it comes to friendships I have difficulty with listening and letting conversations with people flow. Conversations face to face. It seems I always want to talk about only something I am interested. I have a hard time listening to listen instead of listening to respond. One time I tried so hard for so ling to get someone to be my friend that people started thinking I was a lesbian. Friendships can be hard. In the past at least I have just wanted to jump right in and think “Ok! Let’s be best friends! You’re a nice person!” It’s easy to do when you don’t really have people to talk to or hangout with. Having ADHD and being impulsive can be so aggravating. When I am in new situations that bring on a lot of change, I start looking for validation a lot too. I hate feeling like I’m socially behind.
@gatogal422 Hey Katie.
Yeah I think it’s pretty common. I’ve had similar problems, although nobody has ever thought I was a lesbian, even though I have absolutely no interest in men… I guess it’s a girl thing.
I had to leave the country before I met some actual good friends (I’m not suggesting you have to do this yourself, but travel is always a great way to meet new people).
When I was in uni, I met some good friends too. We already had things in common, as we were studying the same course and had common ground there.
It gets harder as you get older though, everybody settles down and has families, so it’s harder to meet new people who are of a similar age, because we’re all so boring when we get old.
Except for me, of course.
Hang in there. I don’t know how old you are, but I suspect you’re younger than me. If you’re in high school, don’t stress. Everybody has a hard time in high school. You are thrown in with a bunch of completely random strangers who have a range of problems themselves, or strange attitudes, and it can be hard to find someone you can relate to.
I completely agree. I have to consciously tell myself, “Okay. It’s time to listen. It’s not your turn to talk. Don’t interrupt. Don’t just blurt out things that pop in your head.” Also, I feel like I am always talking about the things that fascinate me. I have to make sure I am not dominating the conversation and that I am asking questions about them, too. It can be hard to remember all of this stuff at once.
I have just blurted out the wrong thing before and it seems that other people don’t understand and I can’t take that back. But what I don’t understand is why they are reacting the way they do to this kind of thing. I’m already over it and it seems like they don’t forget. It’s hard to explain to someone the reason you missed their party is because you still haven’t finished an assignment due earlier that week. Why didn’t I just do it on time so I could go? It was my intention but not my reality. And sometimes I am oblivious that people are upset with me until I try to talk to them later.
My emotional disregulation can sometimes manifest as anger, but is mostly a big problem with crying. I am supposed to be at work and I had that exchange with my (friend?) and now my day is kind of shot. I had to escape to go cry in a bathroom. It can be embarrassing and certainly isn’t helping make me popular at my job, either.
I hope I eventually find people that are more understanding.
Thanks for saying you guys are my friends I appreciate that. It just seems like all around me people effortlessly find and maintain friendships. It is easier said than done to find people that I don’t have to work to be friends with. But I really hope I do.
I’m 26, by the way and already feel that people are settling in their families or at least their longstanding friends they already had. I went to grad school and I am thinking of returning for more education soon. However, its currently been even more of a challenge without a school and being surrounded by dozens of people that love the same stuff you do and are roughly your age.
Tried group therapy? Or any other form of ADHD group support?
I’ve found one group in my city, but the office is shut for renovation until the end of August.
Congrats on grad school. It’s further than I ever made it!
Group therapy is not something I’ve ever thought of. I’m very introverted as well and do better with one-on-one interaction, so I’m not sure how I’d do in a group. However, it would be full of people that would understand these challenges we go through in life. I might look into seeing if there is a group and also a group that isn’t just for children either.
And thanks! The key was that in grad school I loved the subject matter, so could usually focus or even hyperfocus on what I needed to do there.
I have a love/hate relationship with meeting new people. But I figure I’ve got a better chance of success in an ADHD group.
Have you tried explaining it to them, explaining ADHD and the struggles it comes with? It’s hard for neurotypicals, or even people that don’t struggle with executive function in general, to understand why something like that is so important that we have to skip something. To them they think “oh just come have some fun and do it later!” not realizing that… destroying whatever momentum we’ve picked up to work on the project makes it harder to pick up later. Plus then we have even LESS time to finish it. This is why I surround myself with people now that understand my struggles, and it just happens to be that MOST of them have ADHD (or are like 10 years older and are wise on the matter ). I also educate them, explaining certain aspects and why they are a struggle for ADHD brains. Some of them will accept the info with an open mind, and others may be closed off and those closed off people I tend to keep at a distance… because I don’t need that in my life y’know?
But finding the right people can be so hard. My two best friends were totally random online encounters… it wasn’t something I went looking for, or even planned for. And it can be frustrating having to go through all the trash to find the occasional treasure… and hopefully… you’ll find people that will tell you up front if you upset them… instead of not telling you til you try to talk to them… because that’s just rude. I hate when people don’t tell me they are upset with me because then I can’t fix it, be it via apology or via explanation of why I had to do what I did.
Thanks for the insight! I guess my concern is with it sounding like I’m using it as an excuse. There a lot of people that are uninformed or misinformed about ADHD. I haven’t always been open to telling people about it because I worry that it might not be accepted. However, you are right that people who are closed off to learning about it may be better kept at a distance. if someone won’t accept me for the way I am, then I don’t need that in my life. More recently I’m trying to be more open about telling people I have it and think it is a good idea to figure out good ways to bring up the subject and explain it to others.
Yeah I struggle with not feeling like I’m using it as an excuse as well, but than I started realizing I’m using it as an explanation. It’s the explanation for why my project isn’t done, which led me to have to not go to a party, because I procrastinated… and struggled getting started… which stems from struggling with executive dysfunction due to my ADHD… because the prefrontal cortex of our brain LITERALLY does not function the way it’s supposed to. It actually ties TO the brain itself. Which not only tells them it’s not an excuse…it reminds you as to why it’s an explanation and not an excuse.
I’m wondering if everyone else feels the same way about friendships as you described cuz I too have troubles keeping up with friends and sometimes when i try i start to feel like I’m using their time to feed my social hunger. Which in turn makes me so anxious to make them feel happy and work as an entertainer instead of just chilling out and enjoying myself. And yeah the friendship start to die out as soon as i get a rejection, cuz at that point idk if i should reschedule or let them tell me when they wanna do it. So when nothing happens i cut out all communication untill i hear back from that person and ill probably never initiate anything with them because i dont wanna get rejected again.
Sadly I’m still there
Why do I fail at being responsible?, every time I try I give them another reason not to trust me
I’m there with you. It’s so hard, because I want them to understand exactly what I mean, or I’d like them to get just as excited about something as I do. I have a handful of friends that I’m truly close with, and I don’t usually look to add to that. When someone comes along and we sync up, I’m open to exploring that option, but I try to be careful and not put my whole heart out there for people to…well…hurt. I’m working on having reasonable expectations for friendships, too.