Published on ADDitudeMag.com
10 Tips for Making Friends
Friendship costs nothing but time and attention, and it gives just about everything that matters in life. These suggestions will help you make—and keep—friends.
You've Gotta Have Friends
People with ADHD can have
more difficulty than others making friends. We have to struggle to create the
structures and observe the protocols that friendships depend on—from being on
time and remembering names to putting our foot in our mouths and not getting
too close too quickly. But every ADDer can make—and needs—friends. Here’s how
to do it.
Make a List
Make a list of all your acquaintances
and friends, past and present. Go through your address book (do you still have
one?), your cell phone, and your e-mail. Write down everyone you enjoy spending
time with. Reach out to one person every week or so to meet for lunch or to call
and chat with.
Have Fun, Find Friends
Go to places or
participate in activities that you enjoy. It is easier to begin a conversation
with someone when you have something in common. Think about the activities you
enjoy and search the Web or local paper for groups that share your interest. If
you like cooking, take a cooking class at an adult education center. If you
like exercise, join a gym.
Do Errands, Connect with a Buddy
Is your life too hectic
to make time for friends? Consider asking a friend to keep you company while
you run errands or get your car fixed. Not only are you being productive and
crossing things off your to-do list, you are spending valuable time with a
Put it on Your To-Do List
Build time into your schedule
to connect with friends. You might want to set aside 10 or 15 minutes a day or
take an hour on the weekend to call and catch up. Once a week, try to get
together with friends who live nearby. For friends who live farther away, every
few months is fine for a get-together.
Improve Your Listening Skills
Make a conscious effort
to listen to and understand the people around you. Conversations are a
dialogue, so you need to not talk over another person’s words. Pay attention to
how often you are talking during a conversation. Instead, tune in to
your friend’s words and visualize the story he is telling.
A good way to deepen a
friendship is by asking how your friend is doing and what is new in her life.
Write down general questions you can ask anyone, such as “What did you do
today?” “How is your family?” “Did you have a good day at work?” Having a list
of questions ready helps you focus on the other person and gives you an
opportunity for back-and-forth conversation.
Move Beyond Social Blunders
As an adult with ADHD,
chances are you have blurted out something that hurt someone else’s feelings at
some point. Be on the lookout for body language (such as moving away from you,
crossing arms, tight lips, angry eyes) and apologize immediately if you have
said something that upsets the other person. Ask friends and relatives you
trust to help you sort out what you said wrong. Ask an ADHD coach to help you
with social skills.
Friends Don't Have to Be Perfect
The moment a friend or
potential friend disappoints you, don’t run in the other direction, as many
ADDers do. Don’t brood over an imagined slight. Cut the other person the slack
you’d like to be cut.
Don't Let Good Deeds Go Unnoticed
Let the people in your
life know you appreciate the kind things they do for you. When someone does
something special, send a note of thanks—a handwritten note or an e-card.
Acknowledging good deeds, gifts, favors, and everyday kindnesses make other
people want to be around you.
Count Your Strengths
While you may not have
the best social skills, there are plenty of reasons someone would enjoy being
with you. Write down three strengths, such as being a good person, being
generous, or having a great sense of humor. Before heading out to a social
function, remind yourself of your strengths and remember you are worth being
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