Are You Feeling Lonely?

Many people with ADHD spend too much time living in their own heads and not enough time forming and nurturing friendships. If you’re feeling lonely, you’re not alone — or without help.

a woman with ADHD sits by herself feeling sad and lonely because she finds it hard to make friends
illustration of woman sitting by herself looking sad and lonely, holding her knees; red hair, against blue background

Many people with ADHD that I run into have no friends. I have not done a study on this “fact,” nor have I consulted the Google Oracle for wisdom. I base this observation on conversations I’ve had with adults with ADHD who told me that they had no one who understood them, no one to let down their hair with.

I’m not someone who is chronically lonely, yet there are times when I am. Our loneliness is probably caused by:

The inordinate amount of time that we “live in our head.”

One could argue we all live in our heads, but it is worse for some people with ADHD, who have lots of thoughts, what Charles Parker calls “cognitive abundance.”

[“Why Don’t I Have Any Friends?”]

The imbalance of cognitive abundance and intelligence versus social skills.

I’ve been astounded at the many intelligent people with ADHD that I’ve met who have done well in school. Yet, despite their success, they haven’t been able to cultivate meaningful relationships until decades later, if ever.

Feeling like a misfit.

If someone with ADHD were to adapt P.D. Eastman’s famous book, Are You My Mother?, it would be re-titled Are You an ADHDer? Many of us search for validation of who we are.

Not being easy to be with.

We may create the conditions that make friendships hard and, in some cases, impossible.

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

I hope that those who are diagnosed with ADHD at a young age can develop strategies to avoid the loneliness experienced by some who are diagnosed later in life.