Why Do I Have No Friends? – Could It Be ADHD?

Do you ever wonder, “Why do I have no friends?” Do you have trouble making and keeping friends? Do you have only acquaintances It could just be because you have ADHD. People with ADHD have many traits that can keep them from:

  • seeking out new friends
  • finding people who would want to be their friend
  • having close friends
  • keeping the ones they have.

Why Do We Not Even Want to Seek Out Friends?

I would have to say that the number one cause of this is RSD. RSD (Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria) is a condition that almost every ADHDer has. It is the irrational fear of being rejected to the point where the person feels severe emotional pain. This can make a person reticent to even think about reaching to any possible friend prospects. Read more about RSD in my article: How Does ADHD Affect Relationships? – RSD

How Do We Push Away People From Wanting to Be a Friend? There are 2 sides to this coin:

  1. Whether consciously or subconsciously we do the pushing away, or
  2. Our ADHD traits do the pushing away for us

How We Do the Pushing

This is mostly from RSD, but RSD can be amplified from being burned by others many times. We stop calling or make excuses as to why don’t want to do things with people. I, myself, have a hard time accepting invitations to do things with others. I usually say, “no thanks,” or make up excuses as to why I cannot. Or we just avoid people all together. I have been hurt many times by people, and it’s amplified thanks to that oh so wonderful RSD.

One of those times was when my best friend in 3rd grade was, to me, being mean to me on the playground, when he had only considered it to be part of the game. Being passive aggressive like I am, I stopped talking to him in fear of confronting him on it. This went on until, after a few of weeks, he finally approached me. I explained to him why, and he had told me different. My dismissal of him had actually really hurt him. It took a lot for me to make that friend, and I had almost lost his friendship over my overemotional response

Or we do things consciously or subconsciously that make people not want to be our friends. I have said things to people that I know will make others think that I’m just some kind of freak or weirdo, so they would leave me alone. I have done many things unintentional that had the same effect. It sucks to be socially awkward.

How Our ADHD Does the Pushing

Many of our ADHD traits make us seem as bad friend candidates to others. We tend to be:

  • loud and obnoxious
  • blurt out things that offend others or that make us sound like weirdos
  • forgetfulness
  • spaciness
  • seemingly uncaring
  • a misfit
  • constantly late
  • interupting
  • impatient
  • unable to read social cues
  • overshare
  • talk too much
  • unable to make small talk

With a list that long, it’s a wonder we’re not complete social pariahs. That is probably a great definition of being rude. I can remember how tough it was for being picked on or ignored for being this way. I lost one friend because I greeted too enthusiastically multiple times and caused him embarrassment. And most people do not understand how it’s the ADHD that drives us to do these things.

These traits can cause us to seem not invested in a relationship, and make the person feel that they are just not important to you. When lateness, impatience, seeming to be apathetic, forgetfulness, and unintentional rudeness seem to others that you are a bad friend. It just might be that you are just to distracted by the ten other things in you head at the time. Or you don’t intentionally cut off what they are saying. I think that I do that sometimes, because I don’t want to forget to say the thing I that just popped in my head. You really need to try to put in the extra effort that makes that person feel important to you.

What Can Be Done About It?

For the reason of when we do the pushing, I would have to say that try to recognize when you are. If you get asked to do something, fight that instinct to say no. You just might end up having a great time and making that new friend. That goes even more so if you know this is fueled by RSD. Maybe in recognizing that it is RSD, you can lessen the effects of it. Breathe deeply for a 4 count in and out to calm and focus yourself. Try focusing on the positives that could happen. That new friend could lead to a rewarding relationship that you would have missed out on. Or it could just be the business relationship that brings you business to new heights.

I would have to think that awareness is quite important in combating the ADHD pushing away. This could be awareness of both the ADHD and others of this and why it happens. Awareness could lead to learning to practice avoiding these traits. Once you know that you are doing it, you can begin to work on changing how you conduct yourself in those situations. For example: if when you see someone you know you loudly greet them, and they wince, try toning it down the next time. And maybe apologize for the action in the first place. If they understand that your ADHD might have gotten the best of you, and that you will try to do better in the future, they might just understand. Or they could just understand anyway and deem your loudness as to who you are. Paying attention to how others react to you is a being mindful of the other person’s reaction – their social cues. And this is something we as ADHDers tend not to pick up on. It’s a method of practicing. If you are lucky, you have someone to practice with. They can be there to tell you how others are reacting, how they know that they are reacting that way, and how you can adjust to fix it.

Remembering who you are talking to at the time and how they rank on closeness to you, will cut back on telling them more than they want to hear. For example, if you female boss enters the room, and you tell her she looks like a girl you had sex with, you are most definitely oversharing. And if you see someone showing boredom cues, such as checking their watch or yawning, maybe you are rambling on to no end. You could, also, try to tell the person that you have these tendencies, and that you would appreciate them cuing you when you are rambling or sharing TMI.

All of these things, if not overcome, would hamper you in creating good business relationships that could make your business flourish.

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Conclusion

Once people understand that us ADHDers have some of the most endearing traits of passion, loyalty, intelligence, humorousness, perseverance, and impulsiveness to spontaneity, hopefully most of them will grow to love us for them. You just have to be open to finding them. I have noticed that it is easier to meet someone online. It’s easier to approach someone when it’s not face to face. It could be an great icebreaker to some seriously thick and solid ADHD?RSD ice. It’s, also, a good way to find others that share your interests. And show those people just how much they mean to you using the best of these traits. And, I’m sure you could see just how much all of these traits can make you a great entrepreneur.

Since people that understand us and our condition best are perfect candidates, other ADHDers usually make the best candidates for our closest friends. And most importantly, through all of this, it is important for you to stay you! You will only find the truest and best of friends if you are. I have said in the past,”Screw’em! They really weren’t worth it in the first place!”

14 thoughts on “Why Do I Have No Friends? – Could It Be ADHD?”

  1. Thanks for opening up about ADHD, it can be difficult to do so. It’s a funny world with people, and it’s getting harder for some. There seems to be more people getting offended by the smallest thing. Not really taking a look to understand what’s really going on under the surface. I think we all have some degree of attention disorder, especially with so much to distract us these days, our focus is more internally.

    I think it is a good idea to talk to people calmly about the issues between you, and more so if you are friends. As you mentioned with your friend in grade 3, both of you will see things differently, and both of you could have feelings of rejection. Talking it out could resolve those problems and make life more soothing.

    Reply
  2. I very much believe people will either like you for who you are, or they won’t. I don’t think that trying to change your personality in order to make friends can be healthy in the long term. You will start to feel like a fake, and become depressed because the people you’ve made friends with won’t know the real you. Much better to be true to yourself and learn to be self-reliant rather than to crave the approval of others.

    Reply
    • Your comment has made me think about what I wrote more than any other. Thank you for that. I had to go back through my post a few times to try and see what I might have said to make you think that I want anyone to change their personality. This was not my intention. I just want people to be aware of how they might be pushing others away, and how they can adjust to try and stop it. Also, you can see how I might be trying to bring people out of their little bubble.

      Your comments have, also, made me revise my post to try and convey this. Please reread it and tell me how I did.

      Reply
  3. ADHD has been a part of my little family for almost 5 years now. That is when my daughter was diagnosed with it. And I cant agree with you more. It pains me to see her trying so hard to make friends yet give up the whole process when she gets the wrong cues from other kids. But the sad part is that  people around us do not have enough emotional intelligence to understand these challenges. And good tips on your site on how to make it better! 

    Reply
    • Thank you. My hope with this website is to provide knowledge for both the people with ADHD and those around them about what ADHD is and how to make it work for you instead against. To know that this could have helped your family in any way, makes me feel that I am doing so. 

      Reply
  4. Helooo, I must say a big thanks for sharing this amazing article to the members of the public, it’s really going to be of helpful. ADHD is one serious challenge that should be carefully handled. I will surely recommend this article to our next door neighbor whose child is currently a victim of ADHD they’re really going to appreciate it. 

    Reply
  5. Hi,

    As people always saying “be who you are”. Changing your personality just to gain friends and immerse yourself socially that is awkward to you for me it is a disaster. It is like torturing yourself. 

    Upon reading your article I think I am ADHDer hahaah. But thanks to your article as you explained it in details and it helps to those persons with ADHD. Oh just some question, is ADHD is more common in boys than girls?

    Jerry

    Reply
    • I am in no way telling people to be anything but who they are. There are just some little tweeks to this that can improve yourself. My biggest turning point was when I overheard some people I was playing a card game with talking about how the things I said were negative and off putting. I realized that I was trying too hard to be liked, and I was just trying to fit in. I started to just quietly play the game so I could observe the ebb and flow of the interactions. I realized that I was trying to insert myself (an ADHD trait) into things that I knew nothing or very little about. When I finally got in the flow of the conversation, things started to go better. I learned that I could let my ADHD flow when I wasn’t trying too hard. When I could get the flow going well, I started to become funny. I was then attracting more friends. Many people still find me annoying, but I couldn’t give 2 craps what they think. I was really becoming more of my true self, and that’s all that mattered. In many ways ADHD can be an asset as well as an asshat. I still do many things like interrupt and forget where I am before I say things too loudly that others shouldn’t hear. That embarasses the other person, and it leaves me apologizing. It’s a constant struggle. 

      I you think that you might have ADHD, read my next article that is coming out soon about what adult ADHD. 

      The research I have done has said that more boys have ADHD than girls. I think that girls fall through the cracks, because they don’t present with the hyperactivity as much as boys and are then not as noticed.

      Reply
  6. Hi and thanks for this great and informative article. I believe I have ADHD but when I was a kid it was never diagnosed as I don’t think it was even discovered then. I was just seen as naughty. I never really had trouble making friends but I did struggle to hold onto them, usually because of my behaviour some of which you mentioned in your article. As I got older I did find myself neglecting to make friends, saying no more times than yes when invited somewhere and if it wasn’t for my girlfriend I probably wouldn’t have socialised at all. Great article.

    Reply
    • I wasn’t diagnosed as a kid, also. This is for 2 reasons. 1. Like you said, most people had no idea what it was or believed it was real. Believe it or not, it was discovered as a condition in the late 1700s. 2. I was not all hyper. They now know that you can have ADHD without being hyper. Be on the lookout for my next article about what adult ADHD is. I would have to think that what helped me the most was realizing that one of the things I was doing that was off putting was trying too hard. When I realized that if I let my ADHD flow, I could be funny. That helped me attract more friends, and the people that didn’t get me or found me to be too much, weren’t worth it in the first place.

      Reply
  7. Hey nice article you have there. This article is indeed an eye opener. My aunt identical twins  has been suffering from ADHD since aged three (3), which has cause a lot of concerns to everyone in the family, having seeing this article, I think it will help a lot hence I am recommending it to my aunt.

    Reply
    • She doesn’t have to suffer from it. She can get help from a med professional who is well versed with ADHD, an ADHD coach, and from understanding just what ADHD truly is. My next article I am working on now is about what ADHD is.

      Reply

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