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Old 01-05-18, 05:16 PM
ryanLRC2015 ryanLRC2015 is offline
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Being friends with someone with ADHD

I have a friend that has ADHD and when we are together, we have a good time. We talk a lot and seem to enjoy each other's company. I don't even think about her ADHD, she can be very HyperTalk times but it doesn't bug me. I just let her be herself. The problem seems to be when we are not together. She never responds to text messages and when she does respond, it is short, usually one word answers. In fact, in the past, she would go weeks to months without responding to texts. It got to the point where I thought maybe she didn't like me as a friend anymore.

We met at college in the fall of 2013 when she transferred from a different school to the school I graduated from. She was only at the college I graduated from for a year due to poor academic performance in both schools. While she was there, she didn't treat me the best in social settings. If we were alone, she was fine. She even invited me to church and also dinner a few times. But if we were in a group setting, she would completely ignore me. Not even acknowledge the fact that I was there and would even try to exclude me from plans with the group.

I did call her out on her behavior nicely but firmly. After that year ended, she stopped going to that college. She stopped talking to everyone but me due to them getting sick of her and not liking her anymore. She started pulling away from me but she didn't eliminate contact. She went almost a whole year without talking to me, but then when it came time for me to graduate, she attended the graduation ceremony which I was surprised she went to. We talked a little during the summer and then stopped talking for several months. Then she would pick up again a little and then stopping again. It was a pattern for a couple years. Weeks to months of no contact or an occasional one word answer, followed by a sudden spike in an interest to hang out.

At first I thought she was just using me as a friend of convenience. In most cases, people who used me in the past as a friend out of boredom would do this same thing or at least act very similarly. Then one day about a year ago, she invited me to a parade and to make things more convenient, she invited me to spend the night at her house the night before the parade. I was surprised but I did it. There was a brief period where she wasn't around but her dad was. Her dad started talking to me about her and it changed my view about her.

For two years, I thought her behavior was just towards me. I thought maybe she didn't care much about me and I even started to give up on her as well. It got to the point where I stopped asking if she wanted to hang out. But when her dad started talking to me, he told me he is thankful I never gave up on her. He told me that she has basically stopped hanging out with other people, besides family members and at times, people she works with at her church and may attend a work related function with her coworkers. I was surprised that he opened up to me about that. I never asked about it, he just started talking about her behavior which probably meant it really bothered him too.

She had basically shut everyone out. She even pulled away from her best friend from the first college she attended before transferring to the one I was at. She did it due to the fear of being hurt. She was always hurt in the past during college and mostly before college due to her ADHD and her feeling like she can't fit in. Her strategy now is to not let anyone get close to her. I can understand since I have done the same thing to others. I have been hurt many times in my life and I have considered giving up on making new friends. If someone invites her somewhere, she will make up any excuse to not hang out.

She did the same thing with me. If she ever did respond to me, she would say she is busy. I understand everyone is busy but the reason I always suspected that she was using it as an excuse a little too much at times was due to her telling me about her work life. We both work part time. She works at a fast food place and I work at a high school. Even though I am part time, I still work way more hours than she does and still have plenty of free time so I knew she couldn't be as busy as she made herself out to be. And my suspicions were confirmed by her dad. I asked if she had depression too and even though he said no, I sometimes wonder if she does.

Depression and social anxiety is common among those with ADHD from what I hear. The other reason I suspect depression or at the very least Anhedonia, is because in the past, in the rare cases we did hang out, she would be completely emotionless. Not happy, but not sad either. Basically just like she didn't care. And her parents have told me the same thing. She just acts like she doesn't give a crap. She isn't angry or anything, she just doesn't appear to care. Conversations would be awkward and monotone. Her facial expressions would look very blank, almost as if she was not mentally there and appeared she didn't really want to be there. Even if she was the one that initiated the plans to hang out, which was rare.

At first, I thought it meant she was hanging out with me out of obligation, and maybe she was a bit. Which is why I started pulling away a bit. Didn't want to burden her. But I now know that a big part of why she was like that was due to her ADHD and her medications. According to her, they make her feel like a zombie and feels like she has a brain fog and even admitted to going through periods where she just doesn't give a crap about anything. I know she also has social anxiety and even though she has denied being depressed, I wouldn't be surprised if she did suffer mild depression and just may not want to open up about it, which is fine if that is the case.

Just recently, ever since a few months ago, she has been asking a lot to hang out. Like every week to every other week, sometimes a couple times a week, we hang out. I am baffled at the sudden spike in her willingness to hang out. She initiates a lot of plans, although I do to. She has a lot more energy now and shows more emotion now than she did in the past. That is why I suspect either she was depressed in the past, or something about her medication was causing her to act aloof, or even a combination of both. She does treat me a lot better now than she used to as well, although I am still cautious to an extent.

I just want to be careful to make sure she won't start mistreating me again but I am beginning to be able to trust her way more now though. She even apologized for her wrongdoings and admitted that she was a bad friend back in college and she tried too hard to fit in by pretending to be someone she isn't. Normally I don't give second chances, but since she apologized and seems to have really changed, I decided to give her a second chance. Especially since no one else in the past has ever apologized or admitted their wrongdoings.

I won't be surprised if she goes back to her aloof ways though, that could always happen especially since I hear people with ADHD and other problems internalize their emotions. But for now, I am glad she is well and whatever it was, whether it was depression or medication that caused her to be so socially withdrawn, I am glad she is more social now. She is still afraid to meet new people, I am the same way. But at least she is not ignoring me and other friends she has had in the past. I no longer talk to anyone else in the group we were in during college as well. They turned out to be bad friends too.

Overall, learning more about ADHD had helped me understand more about what her and others with the disorder deal with on a daily basis. She is still very bad with responding to texts, but nothing like she used to be. She has gotten way better. And one thing I give her credit for is that she never uses her ADHD for poor behavior. She never has, even back when she didn't treat me right in group settings, she didn't use it as an excuse. I've seen other pie old and I hate that. I am hearing impaired and I never use it as an excuse for anything. So I am thankful she never has. Do you think she may have been depressed for those couple years? Just wondered. I am glad she has gotten better regardless of what it was.
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Old 01-05-18, 05:50 PM
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Re: Being friends with someone with ADHD

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Originally Posted by ryanLRC2015 View Post
Do you think she may have been depressed for those couple years? Just wondered. I am glad she has gotten better regardless of what it was.
From what you wrote, I get the impression that she's trying her best. ADHD is a very serious disorder that often leads to comorbid conditions (depression, anxiety, drug abuse, risky behavior, etc).

As a friend, I would tell her that you simply want to make sure that she's seeing professional help, that she doesn't need to tell you the details of her issues she doesn't want to, and that you're there for her if she does want to confide. She might simply want you there for small talk / general fun with a friend, and that's alright as well (assuming you're okay with it)!
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Old 01-05-18, 06:09 PM
ryanLRC2015 ryanLRC2015 is offline
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Re: Being friends with someone with ADHD

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Originally Posted by CharlesH View Post
From what you wrote, I get the impression that she's trying her best. ADHD is a very serious disorder that often leads to comorbid conditions (depression, anxiety, drug abuse, risky behavior, etc).

As a friend, I would tell her that you simply want to make sure that she's seeing professional help, that she doesn't need to tell you the details of her issues she doesn't want to, and that you're there for her if she does want to confide. She might simply want you there for small talk / general fun with a friend, and that's alright as well (assuming you're okay with it)!
Yeah I agree. Good thing is that she does not do drugs or alcohol. She is against all of that. Yeah I think she is trying her best. Yeah I will definitely do that. Yeah there is nothing wrong with just being there to have fun or hang out. She does open up to an extent at times, just not a lot. Which I respect. Maybe she will in the future. Usually when she does open up about something, it happens in small doses at a time. I can understand if she doesn't want to admit to having depression if she has it. She has an extreme fear of being judged. I am the same way. Unfortunately people who are depressed are judged harshly because of it, just as much as those with ADHD, if not more, so for her, having both would be a double wammy. I am glad she is more talkative though.
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Old 01-06-18, 01:39 AM
Ronelh Ronelh is offline
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Re: Being friends with someone with ADHD

Glad you gave her a second chance! Sounds like you are a good friend.

I can identify with her. I have long struggled to make and maintain friendships. In college it was especially bad. Oh man, I was so socially awkward. I didn’t feel I fit in anywhere but didn’t want people to know what a misfit I was, so I either tried too hard to fit in, or I gave up and barely tried at all. Not a fun way to live. And not a good way to make friends.

I didn’t know I had ADD back then, wish I had. But I did have some very patient and gracious friends -one in particular- who stuck by me and coached me through my social awkwardness and explained the social rules I was missing. I’m so glad they did.

Fifteen years later, I am still kind of awkward socially, and I am still not particularly good at making or maintaining friendships, but I’m a lot better than I used to be, and a lot better than I would be if my college friends hadn’t helped me. I have friends, not tons but enough.

Now if I could just get a handle on the “keeping in touch” thing. When I’m very busy, I hyperfocus on work and don’t even think about contacting anyone, even if it’s a necessary call to a repairman, unless I write myself a note to do it. If someone texts me when I’m too busy to respond right away, it just won’t stick in my head to remember to respond later. I am usually left with saying, “Sorry, I’m terrible at responding when I’m busy.” Which isn’t much of a solution. Grr! I suppose I should be more faithful in writing reminder notes to myself.

Anyway, thanks for being patient and understanding with your friend. I trust you will be a friend who helps her to do better, like my old college friends did with me.
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Old 01-12-18, 07:59 PM
ryanLRC2015 ryanLRC2015 is offline
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Re: Being friends with someone with ADHD

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Originally Posted by Ronelh View Post
Glad you gave her a second chance! Sounds like you are a good friend.

I can identify with her. I have long struggled to make and maintain friendships. In college it was especially bad. Oh man, I was so socially awkward. I didnít feel I fit in anywhere but didnít want people to know what a misfit I was, so I either tried too hard to fit in, or I gave up and barely tried at all. Not a fun way to live. And not a good way to make friends.

I didnít know I had ADD back then, wish I had. But I did have some very patient and gracious friends -one in particular- who stuck by me and coached me through my social awkwardness and explained the social rules I was missing. Iím so glad they did.

Fifteen years later, I am still kind of awkward socially, and I am still not particularly good at making or maintaining friendships, but Iím a lot better than I used to be, and a lot better than I would be if my college friends hadnít helped me. I have friends, not tons but enough.

Now if I could just get a handle on the ďkeeping in touchĒ thing. When Iím very busy, I hyperfocus on work and donít even think about contacting anyone, even if itís a necessary call to a repairman, unless I write myself a note to do it. If someone texts me when Iím too busy to respond right away, it just wonít stick in my head to remember to respond later. I am usually left with saying, ďSorry, Iím terrible at responding when Iím busy.Ē Which isnít much of a solution. Grr! I suppose I should be more faithful in writing reminder notes to myself.

Anyway, thanks for being patient and understanding with your friend. I trust you will be a friend who helps her to do better, like my old college friends did with me.
Yeah I know it can be hard. I have trouble making friends too, and keeping them as well. In the past before my college years I did try to fit in but it never worked well so thatís why I didnít try as hard in college. My friend felt the same way. She tried way too hard in college and when that failed, she pulled away. Yeah now that I know more about ADHD, I can see why she is the way she is at times. I used to think she just didnít give a crap, and in some cases she really doesnít and has even admitted it, but in other cases it is just her ADHD. I do give her credit for not using her ADHD as an excuse for bad behavior though. And I am glad you told me how you deal with ADHD and i hope you find friends that will last a long time.
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Old 01-13-18, 10:04 PM
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Re: Being friends with someone with ADHD

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Originally Posted by ryanLRC2015 View Post
Yeah I know it can be hard. I have trouble making friends too, and keeping them as well. In the past before my college years I did try to fit in but it never worked well so thatís why I didnít try as hard in college. My friend felt the same way. She tried way too hard in college and when that failed, she pulled away. Yeah now that I know more about ADHD, I can see why she is the way she is at times. I used to think she just didnít give a crap, and in some cases she really doesnít and has even admitted it, but in other cases it is just her ADHD. I do give her credit for not using her ADHD as an excuse for bad behavior though. And I am glad you told me how you deal with ADHD and i hope you find friends that will last a long time.
That's super common for people in general to struggle with creating meaningful friendships in college. ADHD can make it even harder. Research shows that quality matters a lot more than quantity, so if you think of her as one of your quality friends, then just make sure that you're communicating to her whatever needs you have as a friend!
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Old 01-14-18, 05:54 AM
ryanLRC2015 ryanLRC2015 is offline
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Re: Being friends with someone with ADHD

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Originally Posted by CharlesH View Post
That's super common for people in general to struggle with creating meaningful friendships in college. ADHD can make it even harder. Research shows that quality matters a lot more than quantity, so if you think of her as one of your quality friends, then just make sure that you're communicating to her whatever needs you have as a friend!
Yeah I agree with you. She did admit to trying too hard. It got to the point where she didntít really treat me right and acted like a bad friend to me sich as excluding me in when we were in a social group. Eventually the other group members turned on her and she just pulled away from everyone including me. I am giving her a second chance and so far she is fine. I am cautious but so far so good. I agree, quality is better than quantity. I used to think it should be the other way around, but not anymore. I completely agree with you.
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