ADHD and friendships: 6 tips to help you keep in touch with friends

Many ADHD adults have difficulty keeping in touch with friends. It's not that you don't care about your friends or don't want to spend time with them, things just fall off the radar. As you can imagine, this can put a big strain on relationships. At a certain point, your friend might stop calling if you're not taking the initiative to call them every once and awhile.

So, if you want to focus on strengthening your relationships, here are 6 tips to help you keep in touch with your friends:

  1. keeping in touch with friendsMake a list of people you want to stay in contact with. It can be easy to get caught up in a vague goal to "keep in touch with friends," but who specifically do you want to keep in touch with? Write it down and make it concrete - this is an important first step. Your list will help you remember who's important to you, and make your next steps more tangible. You don't want to just "keep in touch with friends," you want to keep in touch with Mary, Steve, and Jordan.

  2. Schedule it in. Making time for friends is something that often feels like it should be spontaneous. It should be top of mind. With ADHD, though, "simple" things like calling a friend are often pushed to the back burner. You don't even think of it in the moment. Because of this, many people end up scheduling specific times to keep in touch with friends or family. For example, setting aside 30 minutes to call or email friends once a week. Or, 10 minutes before leaving work.

  3. Aim for small steps. Rather than focusing on a big goal like "I have to get in touch with my friends," start with something small like "I'm going to send one text to one friend." This is a particularly important strategy if you dread phone calls or dealing with voice mail. Focus on a tiny first step, like just dialing into your voicemail, and take it from there.

  4. If you know you're going to forget to respond to a text or call, respond right away or set a reminder. The easiest step with this is to just deal with it right away. You know yourself. You know you'll forget. So why not just deal with this now rather than risk disappointing or annoying your friend? If you can't respond right away, write it down or figure out a reminder system! For example, mark your text as unread. Or if that's not possible, forward the text to yourself so it's now a new text flashing as a reminder to deal with it.

  5. Take advantage of small chunks of downtime. If you have a 10 minute walk home from the subway, wouldn't that be the perfect time to call your friend? Or, if you're waiting to see the doctor - what would you usually do? Play around on your phone? Instead, maybe that's a good time to send a quick email you've been meaning to write. We all have times during the day when we can do this, we often just don't think of it. So, think ahead and plan to use that time to your advantage!

  6. Be straightforward about your trouble communicating. Your friends are your friends for a reason - presumably they kind of like you. If you open up to them about your trouble keeping in touch with them, they'll appreciate it. It gives them a chance to understand, and to know you really do care about them. The idea is not to use it as an excuse, but an explanation. Who knows, maybe your friend even has some great ideas to help you out that you never thought of!

 

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