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How to Make Friends as an Adult: A Guide for Women with ADHD

Women with ADHD have difficulty holding onto friendships. They feel squeezed by social expectations they feel destined to miss. Understanding the ADHD brain and how it impacts social skills can decrease the shame and increase the opportunities for meaningful connection.

4 Comments: How to Make Friends as an Adult: A Guide for Women with ADHD

  1. This explains a lot. As a girl and woman, I have always gotten along with and had an easier time being around boys/men. The social rules are easier to follow, and because I was a female at the male table, regarding some of the social expectations with men I would hang out with, I was given a pass on some men-like things (like having deep technical knowledge about some mechanical types of things). When I was younger I was a rough and tumble tomboy, and boys played rough games that I liked. Today at 52, I have a small handful of female friends (3-4), and I have always felt like I am more into our friendship than they were, probably out of feeling a need to be “normal” in having female friends. But I see them only once or twice a year, and it’s usually for lunch or just meeting up, and never anything I really like doing. And they all have other female friends, in one case, many (she is a social butterfly), so I am not their only source of a female friend, and this creates an unbalance in our relationships.

    I know this deep down, and this is why I hang out with men more, platonically. I am weird woman. I like outdoorsy things, like hiking steep hills off trails, jumping off rocks into the river, spending a day exploring nature and swimming, camping, riding dirt bikes, going to punk shows, gardening and I hate shopping in every way to my core. I don’t know any women who truly like to do the things I like to do even close to my age, and it makes me a freak. I loathe shopping,and I cannot do it with someone, because their talking and showing me things they like feels overwhelming and distracting in an unpleasant way, and I can never accomplish anything when I am out with someone else like that, even if I do need to buy a particular item. Plus, it’s hard for me to lie when someone shows me something they like and wants my approval. I often just say: “I am a horrible person to ask, because my tastes are so far out there,” which is the truth in a way. But it’s also a cop-out and they know it, so it makes me a girl who does not play “nice” with others. I hate the trendy, latest fashion thing, and throw away culture of “latest trends.” I tried to find women into outdoorsy things through meet-up, but realized even women who say they are into outdoorsy things, have a more sanitized vision of “outdoorsy” than I. They want to camp in a campground, go to a “hiking trail” and stay on the designated route. I like going to mountain, exploring and finding a remote area that I have never been, then hanging out there for the day or afternoon, to really see the place. Their idea of “outdoorsy” is icky to me. I like my outdoors experience with only people I want to be around, not the general public. So I am weird, weirder and weirdest. I guess I am destined to be alone, though I do like hanging out with people. But I also find hanging out with another woman, even if I can find someone who likes to do anything I like to do, tedious and a lot of work to maintain conversation, not be a jerk and be appropriately “considerate.” I remember having a group of friends as a late teen and young adult, and it did not seem like this. So maybe having a group of friends, takes the focus off of 1 person, and does not highlight their ineptitude as great. But I can’t even find one female friend to meet me in a place I love in terms of the outdoors, so a group seems hopeless. It’s like the older I get the more disappointing female friendships become.

  2. Thank you for this! I have tears in my eyes because I finally understand what’s going on with my brain around friendships. I love and need my friends but I also let long lapses happen in communication. I have other reasons too(depression, working the graveyard shift), but this explains a lot. I feel so much better and relaxed now.

  3. I’m 40 and the only friendships I’ve kept successfully are with other ADHD/aspie women. We are supporting one another in our everyday struggles (nothing is too dumb or shameful) and letting each other make really-long-ramble-messages about our special interest of the moment.

    I’ve sadly found out that only someone with the condition truly understands what’s like to have it. We let each other time to recharge from social interaction, so we don’t get scandalized if one of us is absent from the chat for two whole months and then pops up out of the blue with 30 messages or if someone forgets to ask about some important things about the other.

    Everyone always have something interesting to say and there’s almost none of gossiping about other people lives because let’s face it: gossip is BORING AS HELL.
    This is just my personal experience: friendship with NT is really too hard and for me not worth the effort, so my two cents is to find someone weird and interesting to befriend, someone who truly understand you.

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