ADHD in College

Among Friends

What’s it like to be friends with someone who has ADHD? Let’s ask my best friend…

Friendships and ADHD
Friendships and ADHD

A friend is someone who knows your secrets and loves you anyway. Or so I have been told. One of my best friends is also my current housemate, Danielle. We have been friends a long time — I think since kindergarten or first grade — and have stuck together ever since, through different schools and sports teams, the comings and goings of boyfriends, and our own occasional conflicts.

What qualities, you may ask, have been most important in maintaining such a long-standing friendship? Especially when one of the friends has been known to be a little anxious (that would be me), or to interrupt and take conversations off on tangents (me), to lose track of money and time (me), or forget to take out the trash (Danielle… no, just kidding. That’s me, too). I thought I’d go straight to the source and hear her side of things, so I interviewed her. Here’s what she had to say, minus a few inside jokes, innuendos, and stories I’m not sure would be appropriate for publication in a magazine:

What do you think about Christine having ADHD?

Hey, we all have our thing….

Danielle accepts my ADHD as just a part of who I am. She acts like having ADHD is the same as having a birthmark. It’s just, you know, there.

How is being roommates with Christine different from just being friends with her?

In the time I’ve lived with Christine, I’ve gotten used to hearing “Oh, my God! I totally forgot!” a fair amount. But, if Christine borrows an item of clothing from you, you know she’ll give it back. She has a box labeled “other people’s stuff,” and a “Danielle” section in her closet devoted to clothes she’s borrowed from me. The same thing goes for money, thanks to the IOU notes she keeps in her wallet.

I’m well aware that my propensity to lose track of money makes me very capable of losing track of friends. Now, whenever I borrow money, I note it on a slip of paper and put that in my wallet. And because I truly believe that good friends are more valuable than any money a person could possess, I feel wealthy, even when my wallet is bursting with IOUs.

Do you have any advice for Christine?

Christine should give herself extra time to get to class, because, every time she leaves, she comes back two or three times to get something she forgot.

Hmm, that is good advice. I’ll make a note to remember that, and keep it with my IOUs.

What’s it like to talk to Christine?

Christine will actually interrupt herself to say things like “Wait, what was I just talking about?” It’s funny to be in a conversation with a group of people, including Christine. She always patiently waits her turn, and you can see that what she wants to say is churning in her mind while she tries to listen. When she finally speaks, what she says is about five minutes late. By that time, the topic has changed, so Christine comes across as a little random to people who aren’t fortunate enough to know her as well as I do.

I could complain about my problems all day long, but I’ve learned that listening is critical to friendships. That’s not to say that, when I finally do start talking, it will make sense. Then again, if the foundation of friendship is communication, the foundation of best friendship is making each other laugh. Danielle and I must be quite a pair, because our Oscar Wilde/Mel Brooks senses of humor play off each other’s so well.

“But, seriously,” Danielle wanted me to add, “anyone lucky enough to be friends with Christine knows you could rely on her to walk 50 miles in the rain to be by your side if you’re in need. That may not have anything to do with ADHD, but it makes her one of the most exceptional people I know.” Same goes for you, Danielle.