This reply was originally posted by user adhdmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community.
We had the same issue when my son was in elementary school. A few years he only had one friend show up, who wasn’t even in his class but had some issues of his own, and we knew the family and both boys’ sisters were friends.
I always asked for RSVPs in advance, so I could prepare for the likelihood that only the one friend would be there. But, I ensured that someone would be there.
Those were just parties at the park. I realized over time inviting just a few kids to do something every kid wants to do (like go to the “arcade”) meant they would show up.
You say he’s involved in sports and groups outside of school. I’d try inviting some of those kids this year and not bother with the kids at school.
The friend thing does get easier too. Finally, last year in 7th grade, my son made some real friends (2 other boys). This year they are a pretty tight group. They do sleepovers and those boys were the ones who came for his birthday. So, for this year’s b-day, we invited those two boys for a sleepover full of gaming, then, on his birthday, we took him to the arcade with a neighbor who he’s friends with but who isn’t part of his group of gaming buddies from school. That worked great, and didn’t cost too much.
A few weeks ago, my son told me that he was so happy to finally have “real friends.” He said, “It’s so nice to have real friends. You know, people who actually want to spend time with you. N comes up to me in the halls and says hello before I even realize he’s near me. It feels really good.” Made me so happy for him, and broke my heart for all the years he didn’t have that.