I am fortunate to say that I have had many friendships over my life so far. It’s funny, but when you are such a loyalist, like many of us with ADHD are, then you think that someone is going to come in your life and stay because why wouldn’t they? Sadly, that’s not always the case.
Loving and caring a lot are usually strong traits of ADHDers because we don’t do anything by halves. However, the process of making friends is never something that’s come naturally to me, which may surprise those who know me well. You see when I’m socialising, I’m quite a confident and bubbly person, but the ability to reach out beyond that, to go from ‘hey we get on’ to ‘let’s be friends’ is something I’ve never completely grasped.
“In High School being different yet authentic is something which makes you quite the loser!”ADHD Girl
I remember when I went to my High School induction day, I was so nervous and yet straight away I found a girl I got along with, and we hung out for the whole day. Naturally, I thought that meant I had sealed the deal, but when I officially started high school several months later that was not the case. She had found a different crowd of more popular people and I stuck out like a sore thumb.
Something else which has always escaped me, is the ability to conform or hide who I am, basically the skill of not being weird is something I completely fail at. In the real world, that can be a sought-after quality and something which others greatly admire. In high school it qualifies as loser status.
The sad thing is when I was younger when I actually would make friends, it’s taken me years to realise that I always drawn to one sider relationships. I suppose in some way it was to fill some desire that I had to feel needed. However, if there’s one thing, I’ve learnt it’s that these friendships never really work out, particularly as you get older, because you realise you need more support than these people are willing to offer. You also get so busy that you tend become to be pickier about how you spend your time and who with.
In terms of making friends I suppose you could say that we ADHDers are vulnerable because we care so much and because we tend to suffer from low self-esteem AKA we are usually willing to put up with a lot more being messed about than the average joe. That doesn’t mean though that we don’t deserve people who will love us unconditionally.
“My best friend knows and loves my ADHD brain.”ADHD Girl
It wasn’t until I moved into my house almost 4 years ago now that I found, what I would say is, my first equally beneficial friendship. My neighbour is someone who supports me emotionally and goes out of her way to help me and my children without expecting anything in return. I never realised that’s what true friendship meant until I found her, and she has since become my best friend.
She knows about my ADHD and loves me anyway. She’s even not afraid to tell me when my ADHD is getting out of hand by jokingly saying “Those little worker Rachael’s in that brain of yours are working overtime. You need to turn them off!”
Now I’m more cautious about who I allow into my life and invest my time chasing. Part of it is because now I have children, time is more precious, but another part is that I have a new self-respect. Knowing that I’m a good friend and a pretty weirdly awesome person, I know that I deserve to be surrounded by people who are going to love me, encourage me and inspire me.
Everyone in the world deserves at least one fulfilling friendship, where they are not treated like a burden, but an asset. We ADHDers tend to be the world’s greatest friends due to our loyal and caring nature, hopefully we can find equally great friends in return.