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ADHD Adults

I have no freinds

I’m 51 and have absolutely no real friends. I have relationships with family, co-workers, neighbors, social media, and church.  But none of them are close enough to be considered a true friend.  It upsets me when I hear about parties or get togethers from people in my circle where I am not invited.  Is it my ADD that destroys relationships?  I consider myself friendly, nice guy, always offering to help, etc….


Thank you for sharing on a very painful topic to me and maybe others with ADD.  It is an interesting coincidence that I, too, am 51 and have really no friends to speak of. 
I was diagnosed just about two years ago.  I found out due to my daughter’s diagnosis.  In answer to your questions, I have myself questioned if ADD is the main cause. 
I know I find it quite difficult to make friends and maybe even harder to keep them. 
ADD may be a significant contributor.  I am friendly as you said yourself, but do not make myself available to friendship very readily.  I see myself as a bit quirky and maybe unreliable.  I am also quite self-involved. 
I am not saying this as a criticism, but to suggest some likely causes.  Due to moodiness and insecurity I just do not stay connected and seem quite vulnerable to feelings of rejection, whether from real or imagined causes.
This was not always the case, particularly in school, but has become evident over most of my adult years.  Come to think of it, even in school I would find one person to get close to and then not have many other friends. 
I hope to use your letter as a sort of get out of jail free card, in that I do not have to blame myself and that others are in similar circumstances.  But, to really make myself one of the formerly friendless I have to reassess myself and my own value to myself and others.  Then perhaps finding one true friend will emerge.
Actually, my brother in law, who also complains of being without real friends, is emailing with me more lately.  As I have reciprocated recently that feeling of being friendless has started to ease a bit.  He and I are really more friends than family, due to living far apart. 
So, good luck and hope you find what you are looking for!

Posted by Yamalen on May 07, 2014 at 3:06pm

I would be happy to be your friend.  I understand your hurt when you are a nice person and yet friends just don’t happen.

I am 54 year female and it can certainly affect relationships if people don’t understand or as is the case at times the case, just don’t care enough too learn. 

Can you tell me if their is anything that you think you might be doing that contributes to the action unbeknownst to you or maybe then even?

Don’t give up.  I Look forward to hearing from you, if you want to talk.

Posted by gsmiller 777 on May 07, 2014 at 3:25pm

I think back and wonder why I never really “connected” to peers, and like Yamalen stated, I had one close friend through all my school years however, when she moved to Michigan, I lived in Virginia, in our junior year…that ended.
I was diagnosed at 51yrs. old, now 53. I am single, have no children and as it seems most of us, at our age, find out we have AD/HD due to their children’s diagnoses. Although I have been in business for myself almost 30 years, and I do hair all day long…successfully maintaining clients, I find the only “close friend” are people similar to myself. I am ADHD…combination, the two of them, one is ADD and the other ADHD. They are also married so I DO GET IT…as my time with them is limited.
I know how hard it is and I want to encourage you to do what I am doing:
Making myself focus on learning about myself, what is it “exactly” that I do , or not do , that results in “no friends”. As most information on the net, and in books, relate to children…I just ignore that part and listen for similarities in myself. CHADD, ADDitude and ADDA on line have webinars that really help. Also as I get an e-mail just like the one I received to connect me to this thread, I learn a lot, and feel less “alone”.
Just yesterday I came across a book in Amazon called: What Does Everybody Else Know That I Don’t. It is about social skills in adults with AD/HD. I scrolled down reading and found that there are interactive checklists to tell us what actions everyone does, see if there is a specific area that clicks with you…Check it out smile I have also asked others…“What is it that I do that is irritating?” I am told since I started taking Adderall I am not as loud when speaking, I sit down more, I seem to listen better….Kind of like the check lists I found in the book. PS, there is a webiniar tonight @ 9:00 through ADDA that may be of interest. Sign up to be a member and it’s free smile Blessings!

Posted by bbelami on May 07, 2014 at 4:05pm

I am in a similar situation.
Currently I have two good friends, and we support each other.
Otherwise I have some acquaintances.  I seem to be losing a few friends.  Gone are the days when people sought me out because I was unique and interesting.
One good friend has been talking , almost counselling me, about meeting women.
When meeting new people and with no attempt on my part to chat them up, I often get along really well and then … something goes wrong.  I think that I am a bit too different and outside of their comfort zone. 
I have a friend with ADD who has problems getting a promotion at work.  We have talked about this and it may simply because she is ‘different’ to all those boring conformists out there.
I was sacked a few years back, and in the list of reasons they simply made stuff up.  Strangely, there was no mention of bad work.  Again, I think that I was ‘too different’.
My only suggestion would be to join a few new groups, and there may be someone who finds you interesting.
Best of luck.

Posted by Bob from Cootamundra on May 07, 2014 at 4:57pm

I am 52 and have drifted from friend to friend all my life. When I encounter new friends I ended up focusing on them and lose contact or feel awkward with the old ones.
I have lost friends through misunderstandings, arguments and lots of other reasons but mainly through the inability to keep in contact.
I believe it is becaus I can only focus on one relationship at a time. I know lots of people and make friends very easily and I think this is because of inability to maintain relationships

Posted by on May 07, 2014 at 6:40pm

This is a difficult and important topic. I have always felt that friendship is like happiness. The more you strive for it the more elusive it becomes.

And didn’t the gorgeous teenage girls fall all over the most scuzzy creatures who had an aloof confidence that seemed so natural to them. Others, eager to please, got nowhere.

It is worthwhile to do that which you most enjoy and which does not require that you have friends to collaborate. When you have that activity underway, going where others are engaged in it will present the possibility of friend making, as long as you don’t try too hard.

Posted by John Tucker, PhD, ACG. ADHD Coach on May 08, 2014 at 2:54am

I have noticed over the years that I have very few friends to speak of and it does weigh down on me heavily at times. I long for those friendships where people call you for your birthday or surprise you by setting something up or ‘forcing’ you to go out, etc. 

I’ve never really had that.
I have had supportive people and several very close (and real) online friendships.

But I’ve not had that connection that I guess…you see in media and when you observe other people that have that ‘group’ of friends.

I’d just say, keep pursuing hobbies and you’ll find somebody that understands at least that part of you.

I’ve been able to meet a few people since returning home after 6 years (and I literally knew no one when I came home) through going out and getting myself involved in whatever I could.

Posted by wandering_Glen on May 09, 2014 at 10:39am

Sometimes we might hone in on things to the exclusion of other things and miss social cues. We interrupt. We start looking around when someone is talking to us. We wander off. We are wired to be reactive, and we spend our day changing course every time a trigger tells us to, or when something interesting comes up or enters our field of vision, so it might never occur to us to invite somebody ourselves. We might be so mired in our difficulties with time management, we never think to look ahead at an “empty” block and actually proactively think about what we might do with that time that might involve someone else.  If we don’t ever take the initiative to start a conversation or take steps to connect in real time (i.e. actually say words that constitute an invitation to do something - coffee - [maybe not coffee if we’re on stimulants already] a suggestion to someone at work to join the lunch walk crowd next Tuesday and see where they go)  if we don’t do that, we might appear aloof or uninterested or self centered. If we don’t take some initiative that leads to interaction, we don’t get the chance for people to start to know us. When they start to know us, we can start to share a little bit about us and perhaps show that our ADHD traits don’t mean we have rude intentions. I have found some ways to tell people about myself where I explain how I might “come off” and “why I do that (annoying thing)”. The new person who just got moved to sit next to me at work asks me a lot of questions (as she is learning the job and the tradition is that anybody who knows anything helps in this way). She now knows that if I jump in when someone is hovering at her desk trying to solve a problem it’s not because I’m trying to be nosy - it’s that my brain thinks I have something that will help and I’m not very good at subtleties. I gave her full permission to tell me when I am talking too much. I’ve told her I’m trying hard, but often am excited about an idea I want to share so I might not notice something so obvious like she is on the phone and I apologized for “being me” ahead of time, but if she just gives me a signal, I will back off.She is the kind of person who is so polite, she never stops anybody, even when she is late for a meeting. Because we had a conversation, I convinced this woman who really needs to concentrate on her task her that there will be no offense if she just says “I have to finish this” and for her I agreed to drop what I am doing to answer any question she has - even if I am in the middle of something -because to me I spend my day shifting gears and it doesn’t throw me off - heck in five minutes I won’t remember I helped her - so it’s a win win. She does tell me she’s in the middle of something. I back off. She does feel comfortable asking me for something even when I’m busy. Now we are becoming friendly. We have to take extra steps to let people see who we are through our habits that tend to annoy neurotypical people.

Posted by Juggler on May 09, 2014 at 4:10pm

I have a few friends. Most of them have ADHD them selfes. I notice I space out a lot when I am with people. Some of those who really know me are able to tell. I am lonely a lot and it is frustrating. Did I mention that I tend to come too late for appointments? I have also noticed that I forget stuff which some people seems to have a hard time to understand, and I get very easily hurt, even by things that could be interpreted like critisism. I have often felt that many people avoid me, specially as a kid in school, and I never understood why. I felt sort of frosen out from most groops. So I found a friend in the computer instead…and in my imagenary world.I was usually alone in recess, except few exceptions throughout school…I really really really hated that!! After school I often sat alone in my room and drew pictures or played with my toys. Now theese days I find it is hard to keep up most friendships for the reasons mentioned above but also because I have a hard time knowing what too talk about and reading social cues.

Posted by Electra2 on May 13, 2014 at 1:28am

Thank you all for the sincere replies.  A true friend is someone who is honest and I see that in your replies. One obstacle I have is I work out of my house in a virtual office community.  The people I work with on a daily basis are spread out across the country. I’m in Texas, my boss is in Tennessee, my colleagues are in Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, and Illinois, so going out to lunch is out of the question.  I’m visiting new churches in my area to join.  I’m seeing a lot of men my age absent from church.  A lot of elderly,  women, and children.  At my previous church, I wore out my welcome by correcting other members when they made what I believed to be a false statement about the bible, the weather, the ingredients of pie crust.  I thought correcting someone with the true facts would be accepted as a compliment, but in reality it’s viewed as being rude.  I’ve also broken promises to a lot of people. 
I guess I’m feeling down because my non ADD brother has his golf buddies, fishing buddies, hunting friends, and always has friends over.  He has friends from high school still, a lot from church, work,  neighbors, past neighbors.  etc…  I get along with my brother, but I’m not in his inner circle of friends. 
I do stand corrected, I do have friends here…

Posted by spage_hasADD on May 13, 2014 at 9:46am

Spage, you are definitely not alone!  Thank you for having the courage to share your feelings.  I’ve struggled with being introverted and few friends my entire life;  I thought it was just the “way I am.”  Like some of the others I am the one who always feels and usually is “left out.”  I struggle at jobs not only because of the mistakes from the ADHD which expose me to criticism and negative comments, but also feeling “different.”  I attribute it to my trying to stay out of inappropriate and offensive jokes that are passed around.

But after reading something on the ADDitude website about how sensitive ADHD people are to rejection, I’m starting to look at things differently.  I am sure I miss the “social cues” and my kids have already pointed out to me that I’m “different” and often embarrass them.  I’ve gotten to the point where I feel comfortable going up to most people and getting acquainted, but then I don’t know how to take the next step from acquaintance to friend.  My mind goes in so many directions and I have so many projects and things I’d like to do that it’s easy to avoid rejection by not inviting people to do things with me.  And times come along when I feel very lonely and wish I had friends. 

I appreciate what everyone has said and I hope you continue to share your feelings because it helps me!

fyi - I am female and 62, but I look more in my mid-50’s.  I know there are places like, but that is way out of my comfort zone.


Posted by nancychef on May 13, 2014 at 11:51pm

I’m in the same boat as the rest of you. I only had one or two close friends growing up. And now just a few co-workers that I say hi to when I bump into them in the store. Social awkwardness to the point of being afraid to start talking and say the wrong thing or not knowing which one the 100 thoughts to start talking about.

Posted by Jeff413 on May 14, 2014 at 1:10am

I’m right there with you, also! I was a lot more social when younger, but had the same two best friends for years. As I’ve gotten older (and was diagnosed around the age of 50 with ADHD) I’ve noticed how much harder it is to relate to other people.

In my last job my co-workers were mostly 20-30 years younger than myself, and I had little to no interest in their conversations which seemed to revolve around gossip, the men in their lives, their children, or church.

After 30 years in the medical field, I am exhausted all the time, and have little energy to tolerate other people anymore. I have a small scattering of “friends” locally, but again, they’re all married, we know each other from work, and 9 times out of 10, that’s what we end up talking about.

The very last thing I want to talk about when I’m away from work…is WORK. I’m not married, I don’t have kids, and I’m not interested in hearing endless narratives from people who don’t mean that much to me.

Yes, I do get lonely, from time to time…and I do miss the “good old days” when I had a group of friends to socialize with in many different ways. Then again…I did have a lot more energy back then!

Posted by pamelynt on May 14, 2014 at 7:25am

People over a certain age have a hard time creating new relationships PERIOD.  grin 

As you get older, you don’t need the same things as when one was young, so there is no need to jump through hoops.

One may need to look at what being a friend really is

I have learned that if I am not comfortable with myself, I will see this in other relationships.

If I am comfortable with myself, I will be this way whether anyone is around or not. 

ADHD may be a factor in failed attempts at doing or getting something that one may not need at all. 

The first process for me when I was diagnosed at 54 was to “defrag.”  This was a term I heard from someone in a support group and it clicked for me. 

With this process, bit by bit looking at all the ways I tried to fit in (so that folks wouldn’t think I am strange) and perhaps for the first time, just be me, no defenses, and it was scary. 

I looked at the rules of behavior, covert or overt and over time discovered that I was following what other people said would make fit it, be part of the crowd.  I’ve come to realize this is what they needed and to see if this is true for me. 

I have also learned that it is so much better to give than hoping someone will give to me.

So for me being of service seems to be key, or participating in activities .. be it in the virtual or real time world that I enjoy doing.  In this way whomever I am end up being with, we already have something in common.  If I am busy being of service and enjoying it, then there is no time or place to experience loneliness. 

I was also introduced to The Work of Byron Katie, that helps me look at my unconscious beliefs that leads to all kinds of stuff.  I even get to look at how I feel about dealing with ADHD and realized I was my own worse enemy. 

I cannot respond or react to what I do not believe in.  So if I believe I am strange, others will mirror that back to me.  Even if its true that I am not like the other people .. who set up the rules of comparison and determined what is acceptable or not? 

Even if it turns out that the majority do things in a certain way, what does that have to do with me?  As the saying goes, who I am not should not be based on your opinion of me.

Its a lot of work—a life long process, however my goal—intent is to be comfortable with me, and not seek approval and acceptance from others because that will trigger ADHD symptoms. 

I hope you are getting (as I am) when I am symptomatic, that on some level I am not being true to myself.

Posted by BlackNurvana on May 15, 2014 at 6:48am

I have no few friends due to the fact that people use me. I am 43 and used to just want to help people. I had lots of “friends” when I was like this, but the help was never there for me when I needed it, which was rare when I asked for it. This was before I knew I had adhd. I had moved a friend 6 times, asked him for help to move a fraction of my things and he bailed to sleep in. I am bitter about that and wont even go out of my way to visit him. Once I stopped helping people move, I suddenly had no friends! Fast forward to now, I have few friends, but they are true friends. They have bent over backwards to help me as much as I have helped them.

I guess my rambling can be summed up like this…. a few true friends are much better than lots of false friends.

Posted by Newlife on May 16, 2014 at 1:49am

Well, what can I say, I joined today for this very reason & here it is. A thread full of people who feel the way I do & have similar lives. Yemelen in particular could be me. Im 49, outgoing, used to be fun (till years of rejection got to me) & on the surface should be great as Ive got a fairly succesful business & am not unattractive, dress well & am not unintelligent.

Yet here I am, lonely beyond belief, & actually wondering whether I should set a time limit on this & just take an overdose at some point on the basis that as we get older it doesnt get better, it gets worse. A lot of social avenues I could take to meet friends will only result in me being the oldest woman in a group of much younger people, a humiliating experience that could be the last straw.

I have friends, but they are not close ones. Even though theres no indication that they dont like me they dont like me ENOUGH to make room for me so as soon as something else comes along they pull away. I pretend not to notice of course as I know that if I do say anything they will be gone for good & seeing them once every three weeks (for the good ones) or every six months is better than nothing. Then of course theres being single which DEFINITELY isnt going to get better as men my age want younger & I dont find much older men attractive.

So somehow Ive got to fix this, if its even possible. Has anybody tried anything that made a significant difference? Has anybody tried things that made no difference? There has to be an answer doesnt there? Why do some people with ADHD not have this, is it even ADHD or somethinhg else? Some form of Autism or something?

Ive had counseling (little to no difference), tried Prozac (fantastic but caused me to fall down all the time), am on Dexamphetamine (ok, but not the full answer) am also on St Johns Wort (until the loneliness goes away all it will do is stop me taking an overdose right now) & am looking into neurofeedback, hypnosis (can I be hypnotised into stopping some of my less savoury behaviours?) & NLP. I might possibly see a psychologist who specialises in ADHD or a CBT therapist. Expensive & Im not sure how much it works.

Posted by Jaffa Cake on Jun 01, 2014 at 6:44pm

Hi Jaffa Cake,

It is possible that the things you have tried did not work because there is nothing wrong with you. You may indeed have to fix the situation but you don’t have to fix ‘you’. It sounds like all you need is a few strategies which can easily be developed by working with a coach.

I recommend that you call Terri Gantt.

She is a superb and sensitive listener. Within a few minutes of speaking with her you will feel the burden ease up.

Posted by John Tucker, PhD, ACG. ADHD Coach on Jun 01, 2014 at 10:35pm

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