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5 Ways ADHD Makes Me the Best, Rudest, Most Caring, Totally Frustrating Friend You'll Ever Have

I'm loyal. I'm funny. I've got ADHD. It makes me who I am. But it can also make me seem uncaring, self-centered, or downright ditzy to new friends. Here's what I wish they knew.

9 Comments: 5 Ways ADHD Makes Me the Best, Rudest, Most Caring, Totally Frustrating Friend You'll Ever Have

  1. Thanks for the article. I would like to offer a counterpoint.
    I have ADHD.
    1. I will NEVER be late. Because I have ADHD, I must stick to a rigid schedule or I am completely overwhelmed. I will likely have to jump hurdles and may even physically hurt myself as I stumble and trip over the clutter in my house to get ready to leave and then tailgate and curse other drivers to arrive on time, but I will not be late. And because I nearly killed myself to arrive on time, I expect you to do the same.
    2. I do not own a smart phone because if I did, I would not put it down. Therefore, I avoid the distraction and use an old flip phone. So don’t expect me to share phone photos or look online for something you need or even to text you. I know my limitations so I have blocked texting on my old-fashioned phone. Deal with it.
    3 & 5. I will forget the coffee I put in the thermos to bring to our meeting. I may also forget the magazine or book I promised to loan you. But I will forget NOTHING that you have told me. I will not only remember your mother’s name, I will remember your mother’s birthday if you ever mentioned it. I won’t remember where I left my keys or whether I already bought the milk I need and so will buy another half gallon I can never use. My memory is selective, but because I have to work so hard to pay attention, I will remember what is important to you.
    4. I am an interrupter, so sometimes I have to clench my hands in a ball to stop myself from interrupting you when you talk. I may even have to hold my breath or bite my lip to stop from interrupting. But I have learned that the reason I have so few friends is that so few people understand me and my ADHD. And the only way they will EVER understand is if I explain it to them as best I can. When I talk, I need them to listen. I need their full attention. Therefore, I will give you the same courtesy if I have to make my lip bleed to keep from interrupting to do it.
    5. I will do anything for you that you need. Just ask. If you email me, I will email you back instantly. But if you don’t respond immediately, I won’t bother you again. Even after we meet and have a lovely visit, you may never hear from me again. Why? Because why would you want to, I will ask myself. Why would you want a friend who finds gatherings of more than two people overwhelming? A friend who doesn’t like to go shopping or to restaurants because she can’t choose what to buy or what to eat? A person will never be good enough or smart enough to be considered worth your while. I hope you call me, I really do. But it’s likely I won’t call you.

  2. Yup. Me, so much. “My mind is a sieve” I’ve claimed this for years, combining it with Abe Lincoln’s phrase that his mind is like steel; hard to scratch something into it, but one it’s there, it’s there.

    Me, I claim my mind is like a steel sieve – the trivial stuff stays in, and the important stuff falls thru.

    Oh, yeah, so many of these. Late, forget things etc. Oy.

  3. Ouch! I am with you re “out of sight, out of mind” and keeping up long distance friendships. And I spend mucho time berating myself for not reaching out, even though I know positive feelings will result from these contacts. Wish I had a fix…

  4. I have found that I have another peculiar behavior, that I know hurts my friends who move out of state, or who I no longer associate with due to changes in my life. I always have the best of intentions, to keep in touch, to send the occasional card or email, or a text… Anything! But I don’t. I tell myself that I know where they are, I know they are fine, they’re living their new life, and I’m content with that. I don’t need to hang tightly on to them. But they are often bewildered as to why I don’t respond to their reaching out, their emails or calls or cards. I’ve explained to some, that it’s not them, it’s me. I don’t have the emotional or mental energy to keep up with the people who move out of my life, out of my reach, out of the circle of space where we would occasionally see each other or talk. (This is not a tolerable situation for me, I know I need to fix this about myself. And I will.)

    As to trying to be that person that other people will like, that is classic adhd thought process! We expend a lot of energy in people-pleasing. It has to do with our self-esteem, how we were treated growing up, and not just by parents and teachers. I never effortlessly fit into any group, I was always that awkward kid who tried too hard, who never really “got it” about the other far-more-popular kids. So I tried to mold myself into someone who fit into that group. It never really worked. I finally had a very profound insight, I think I was in my 40s by then. I realized that there are 6 billion people on this planet, and there’s no way in hell I’m going to please all of them. I still do, of course, when I say “yes” to things that I shouldn’t. “Sure, I can write that website, when do you want it? Tomorrow? Ok!” I think the key things are, keep learning about ourselves. Have compassion for ourselves. Heed our insights, and try to choose whether we consciencely want to continue a certain behavior or thought pattern. Try not to only choose the easiest way. Also key — find our tribe! They’re there. And they accept us as we are, with all our gifts, nothing held back. Hmmm. Didn’t mean to lecture… πŸŒŸπŸ’™πŸŒŸπŸ˜Ž

  5. Omg that’s articulate, both in the way you wrote it, and so so spot on. Well done! Wow, I’m going to pat myself on the back now and exhale, you gave me permission to permit myself to know that it’s sooo fucking hard sometimes, but you what, I’m going with the flow in this crazy world.

  6. I’m going on 49 and really have no close friends. I’m mostly fine with it, like the other commenter said it is less painful if you just don’t try to get close to anyone. I am married and even in my marriage I go through phases where I’ll be more open to my husband and it always ends in me regretting it. It ‘s just too difficult to constantly be watching everything about yourself trying to be a person others will like.

    1. Before i go on and only offer advice here, i want to let you know that it is hard feeling like things are passing you buy and you are not accepted for the person you are. Its especially hurtful when we are at our worst randomly and ironically need it most and do not recieve the validation that we matter and our feelings mater and that we are also not crazy. We just simply have an executive function based deficit (adhd) that makes certain things harder and us work a bit differently. But we still are human, and we still matter. and for that mam, i wish to simply say that you are right, it is frustrating and at times even hopeless. just know there is hope, and if able check out the two things below.

      I Recomend looking up 2 things online seperate from the link below but also check that out too. its a skill i feel every one of our families would benefit to practice and learn together, for our sake and theirs.

      1) Emotional Validation – likley a skill you need to learn as much as your family. Note we tend to have a way of being more invalidated due to the unique nervous system we have. its important people in adhd relationships recognize the importance of this skill in their families and relationships.

      2) look up Motivational Interview – its how to get people to change not in a permissive or directing way, but in a guiding way that is collaborative and cares about the persons capacity to change.

      3) only a calm mind can actually see reality and help to solve these problems, get a talking stick to prevent interrupting, and a cup of tea and possibly sit down with them.

      if any of that helps, im glad. otherwise just know that if anything i have always learned that even in hitting rock bottom that there is always a way forward, and even in the fog of life, there be always an answer to return us to the path of life.

  7. So true! Maybe I should print this article out and hand it people I would want to be friends with. But that would be weird. It’s easier to just not get close to anyone; it’s less painful that way. Good thing I’m an introvert. Actually, next to my husband and kids, I’m my own best friend πŸ˜‰

    1. I have always felt the same way and have accumulated many acquaintances throughout my life. I’m just now learning that I have ADHD and I’ll be 30 on June 5th with no wife or kids, so I’m still figuring it out. 😁

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