"I'm in my mid-30s and I've never had a peer for a friend," one ADD/ADHD adult tells us. "Right now my friends are 60 and older. It's not all bad, but it does get lonely. Where can I meet friends my age? How can I form real connections?"
by Linda Karanzalis, M.S.
Friends come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Older friends can offer guidance, provide valuable insights, and offer you opportunities to learn and grow from their experiences. So don’t discount these important friendships, and in the meantime find ways to connect with others in your age group. The good news is social skills can be learned and you can forge friendships with your peers. First you need to understand how attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) impacts your communication. Think of it like this: If you wear glasses and the lenses are foggy and scratched, what you see will be skewed or distorted. So too with ADD/ADHD -- it makes it harder to decipher the signals from others (body language, tone of voice, facial expressions) and to appropriately respond. Ask your older friends and family to give you feedback on how you come across to others and practice refining the skills that need to be improved. Attend a CHADD (children and adults with ADD/ADHD) meeting to meet other adults with ADD/ADHD. There is no need to be alone. Another way to meet others in your age group is by participating in activities focused on your interests; go to MeetUp.com for a list of groups in your area. However, if you have never had a friend, you will need assistance from a coach or therapist experienced in social-skills training to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and to create a plan to move forward.
Former special education teacher Linda Karanzalis, M.S., is the founder of ADDvantages Learning Center and specializes in helping both children and adults with ADD/ADHD and learning disabilities to reach their potential.