Friendships

Birds of a Feather: Why Family and Friends with ADHD Stick Together

There is a sense of ease that comes with feeling understood. I love to — and need to — spend time with friends who have ADHD, and don’t need an explanation for every social slip, lost thought, or impromptu adventure.

Friends and Family with ADHD Should Stick Together
Pink and orange silhouettes of birds in flight, illustrating the concept of sticking together with neurodiverse family and friends

One of my dad’s brothers is hyperactive, to an extent that you rarely see in adults. He races on to the next activity before he’s halfway through the one he just started. Several years ago, while being rushed out of a restaurant, his wife turned to me and said, “I love it when we’re with his family, because I don’t have to explain him.” She nailed it.

When I am with friends and family who have attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD), I don’t have to worry about the fact that I might, at any moment, make some kind of social blunder. This unspoken tension is second nature to me, so I don’t realize that I am carrying it around until it is gone. More than that, those of us with ADD make fantastic and understanding friends!

Other people with ADD come with a built-in understanding of their brethren that is difficult for neurotypicals to grasp. They are ready for the next adventure or sudden shift in conversational topic, and are never irritated by it. Like magic, running a couple of minutes late or forgetting what you were saying mid-sentence becomes a non-issue, not worth mentioning. They can laugh with you at your idiosyncrasies because they have the same ones.

If I had one suggestion for you, it would be to spend more time with friends who have ADHD. There is a sense of ease that comes with feeling loved and understood just as you are. And when that happens, it not only makes for much better experiences, it can help you accept yourself in a whole new way.

[Free Handout: Get a Grip on Tough Emotions]

Updated on November 14, 2019

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