Making friends looks different at each stage of life. In elementary school, you might bond with the kids who sit next to you in class. In high school, extracurricular activities can connect you with kids who share common interests. And in college, you might spend time with your dorm mates and people you meet in class and at events.
Growing up, you don’t have to look far for potential friends or do much to be in touch. They’re right there. But in the adult world, friendships get a bit trickier — especially for people like me with
Adults have to be proactive when it comes to maintaining relationships. That’s because life gets in the way. Things like busy schedules and our daily responsibilities often keep us from checking in with those we care about.
“Once people understood me, we were able to form greater bonds.”
ADHD can make it harder to stay on top of relationships. You might lose track of time and not realize how long it’s been since you’ve seen someone. Or you might forget to call when you say you will. This can make some people think you don’t care, especially if they don’t understand your challenges.
Social skills play a huge role in making and keeping friends. Part of being a good friend is being a good listener and communicator. Like many adults with ADHD, I struggle with paying attention. I’m easily distracted. To people who don’t know me well, or who don’t know I have ADHD, that might come across as not being interested in them or what they’re saying.
It’s taken a little while, but I’ve gotten better at navigating the world of friendships as an adult with ADHD. I’ve taken steps to help me create strong relationships.
As an adult, you have to go out of your way to make friends. It’s usually not as easy as talking to the person who sits next to you at work. Shared interests can help you form connections and build friendships — and make it easier to find something to talk about in the beginning. Social media and websites like Meetup have helped me connect with new people who do what I enjoy doing.
I’m also more proactive about sharing that I have ADHD. Opening up about our experiences with ADHD can be intimidating. But it helps form a basis for trust.
When I started telling other adults about my ADHD, I found out that I wasn’t alone. And once people understood me, we were able to form greater bonds. Friends who understand your challenges make all the difference.