ADHD and loneliness

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  • #112564


    I don’t have any friends. I don’t understand how some people have childhood friends and kept it together for so long. I don’t think I’m a bad person. At my previous job, an elderly person told me “It’s rare to find a person like you nowadays. You’re so thoughtful, sensitive and hardworking. You have an old soul.” (I remember in one of the ADHD books by Thom Hartmann, he describe someone telling him during one of his trips about ADHD people having an old soul.) I do apologize when my ADHD symptoms come out (like interrupting people, fidgety, etc), I never mean to hurt or offend someone. It hurts me when another person is in pain and I always think how can I help the person who is suffering?

    With people, it’s like they suddenly disappear. Now, we have chances to keep in touch more easily through face to face, emails, texts, phone calls, etc. But people just stop replying, they vanish. I would text something like “how are you” and then there will be no more reply. I’m thinking “what did I do wrong? The last time we text, everything was fine.” And these are people who told me they will always be there for me and all those kind of nice comments. These statements are very meaningful and should come out with a heart, not talking for talking. I hear about depressed people and how their friends would check in on them. I never had that kind of experience.

    I feel like crying and I wish I was born with a neurotypical brain. I feel like a burden to society. My birthday was last Monday and I thought I should never become a mother. I never want another human being to go through all of this so it’s better to stop my genes from duplicating. Of course neurotypicals have their own problems, their lives are not perfect either but it’s different than ours because we feel so much for everything and we have special labels, need special environments, treatments, etc. That’s why terms such as “ADHD” or “Dyslexia” exists. I have no one to blame but my own personality, as my previous therapists would say.

  • #112678


    I experience this same thing.
    Or if I’m just becoming friends with someone, that “connection” part that I remember happening when I was younger just doesn’t HAPPEN. My recent experience, is that when I offered to take an acquaintance (I was trying to become better friends with) to go to Medieval Times bc I had free tickets, she asked if her bf could come too. I prob should’ve said, “No, I just really want this to be a girls thing/us thing.” But, I panicked—she didn’t offer that he’d be paying his own way–which was akward. Did she expect me to give him a free ticket too? So I ended up mailing her two free tickets. She kinda hounded me for them, and then when I sent them through the mail, I didn’t even get a “thank you.” Felt used, but I should’ve spoken up.

    I finally “unfriended” her bc I asked her, like you, “how she was doing” and just got ignored. She was online, but this is the 2nd/3rd time it’s happened. I see her post stuff & think, how can you become friends w/someone if they don’t engage. Othertimes, we’d chat & it’d be all good. Me, I don’t tolerate that kind of crap. People are complex, but friendships should not be a “struggle” like this. I say…”NEXT.”

    There’s another thread on here about me & another girl talking about this same thing.

    Is what we’re experiencing bc society is changing/values, is it our ADHD brains, is it the people we choose to make friends with.

    I struggle with this myself & it seems that I only connect with independed, adhd/asd types who aren’t trying to have an advantageous friendship.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by  Skypark962.
    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by  Skypark962.
  • #112737

    Simon Help


    I’m 100% sure that there is nothing wrong with you. This problem has nothing to do with your personality or ADHD. You simply didn’t find people who share the same values and use social media the same way you do.

    Losing friends over time isn’t unusual. I know very few people who are still hanging out with their childhood friends. We all change over time and don’t always get along with the exact same type of people.

    I understand how you feel because I lived it myself. It took me years to realize that all of it was in my head and that there was nothing wrong with my personality. After I tried friendship websites like interpals, I gained more confidence about myself and understood that there was nothing wrong with me.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 2 days ago by  Simon Help.
  • #112722


    Skypark962, I agree with you that friendship should not be a struggle. Sometimes I think there’s nothing wrong with us. They are the one with the problem because how can someone feel good to use another person or disappear after saying they will always be there for you, reach out to them, etc etc. So many fake people.

    I probably would have done the same thing and mail that person 2 free tickets. I feel ADHD people are very giving and it’s hard for us to say “No.”

    You know what else? They are the people who give me their phone numbers, email, contact information first! It’s not only 1 person who did this to me. Social media cause more stress and pressure to have “friends” with people posting endless pictures of themselves having a good time with each other.That’s one of the reasons I don’t have Facebook anymore. I only keep a Twitter for my business reason.

  • #112762


    I hear ya, I’ve gotten rid of my fb for about a year, but I guess that’s how people communicate these days. I also feel “in between” generations. I don’t relate to generation x, but I don’t relate to millenials either.

    I was born in 1985, but my dad would’ve been 76 and my mom is 68. My husband has the same sitch w/his parents age. The internet didn’t come out until I was 12, so I feel like I remember a time before it & has much deeper connections and physically spent time with people. I don’t feel like people in my generation value/appreciate the same things I do & I don’t feel I’m expected too much for them “to act right.” I get annoyed when people are fake or try to hard. Just be yourself, you know? This is real life, not an instagram story or youtube video.

    Full transparency, I am extremely independent and can come off intimidating/intense. This is fine in a crowd, but I think sometimes I def have a wall up. It’s hard bc the two times in the past yrs I’ve tried to make friends w/females THIS happened:

    On FB, she asked me for money…this is what she literally asked. “Can I borrow money to pay my rent so I don’t kill myself.” Being a survivor of suicide—this REALLY pissed me off. I’d talked to her maybe 5 times, ever. I’m not someone to come to for suicide, you either decide to live or you don’t, I don’t feel that is my place to talk someone off the ledge—they have to decide whether they want to be apart of this world–I can’t do it for them.

    Girl#2 I had a client take me home from a bar down the st. I thought it’d be safer than to walk at night. She ran the light & got pulled over into the parking lot. I told the cops, that was my garage apt right there (could hit it w/a tennis ball) & that I didn’t know this person super well–I color her hair. WELL, this girl–who was 50, so I should say WOMAN…had a mixed bottle of pills not labeled (adderall, painkillers etc) which he informed her was felony all by itself, a weed pipe—all of which I didn’t know. And this gets better….when the cops searched her vehicle, she tells me there’s an open bottle of booze & then she asked me to say it was mine. How messed up is that?!? I turned to her & said, “You don’t know me very well, I’m not going to do that. You better not lie to these cops, bc they’re going to know you are.” OH, it gets better.

    She gets back in the car & while the police are there, she throws her weed pipe out of the car. The cop knocks on her window & says, “I don’t care what you do w/that, but you can’t dispose of it in a parking lot.”

    Part of me really wishes they had arrested her. It’s the only way people who are spinning out of control learn, but maybe I would’ve been arrested w/guilt by association. I don’t really know. I just learned from these events, that becoming friends before getting to really know someone can really put your life in danger and is scary.


    • #112781

      Simon Help

      Hello Skypark962,

      I got to praise you for not keeping friendship with two toxic people from your examples. You have a strong head on your shoulders! From what I read on your other posts, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with you.

      As an adult in my late twenties, I noticed that a lot of adults of my age are spending the majority of their free time with their partner so it’s a tiny bit difficult to develop a real connection. That being said I’m well aware that I didn’t really do a lot to find friends. I’m 100% certain that I would find friends by taking drawing courses or being part of a reading clubs.

      I’m also 100% certain that, after you’ll break the barrier you mentioned, you’ll gain more success when it comes to finding the right people for you. Don’t give up! Sometimes, it takes a bunch of tries and failures to achieve our goals.

      • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by  Simon Help.
    • #112824


      Yes, good point on spending most of the free time with partners. I def do that. My husband’s my best friend–other than my mom.

      Thanks for the kind reply. I think I’ll tread slower and maybe I’d have better luck with males vs females.

      You’re def RIGHT ON, with finding others with similar interest/hobbies—I need to do that. That’s a great idea.

  • #113160


    Hey whisperingwings,
    This has been my biggest struggle my entire life. I’ve only really ever had five real, true friends in my life with the fifth being my wife, who I’ve been together with since 2004. Each friendship was my only real friendship (as in, a person I confided in and trusted and loved) at the time we were friends (although there was some overlap). They were the only people I hung out with, and it was only because of their friendships with others that I ever went to parties or events. Nobody else ever invited me or I often knew (or heard) that I was not wanted there. And although I get that I can be annoying, I have never understood why people dislike me so much, when I know I can be absolutely delightful and hilarious and generous and kind. I like me, but I know that most other people don’t. It’s only those five special people I’ve met who not only could tolerate me, but who actually appreciated me. I cherished those friendships. But you know what sucks? I recently learned that two of those former friends won’t speak to me. I have no idea why, but I know it’s my fault and the self-recrimination is constant.

    I turn 40 this month. When I look at my brothers, or pretty much everyone else in the world, it seems like five friends is a quiet Friday night for them. But for me, those were social lifelines that, if severed, would have left me despondent.

    I say all this not to sadden you any further than you already are. It’s simply to tell you that you are not alone and the pain you are feeling is entirely warranted. ADHD makes relationships difficult and people are assholes.

    But I also want to reassure you that not every person is an asshole. As I’ve aged and mellowed a bit, I have learned to find “my people.” These are the people who appreciate the old souls. And though those won’t all become deep, meaningful, lasting relationships, I assure you that at some point you will meet a special person who likes you and understands you and, yes, tolerates your (our) annoying ways. They are out there and you will find yours in due time.

    I wish you the best.

  • #113186


    That’s weird, I thought the old soul thing was unrelated to my ADHD but I see a lot of people have that same experience… LoL.

    I’m not lonely but I’ve always felt very different from my peers, for sure.

  • #113210


    I am agonizingly lonely, I too have had the “friends till the end ” friends, yeah the end was three of them betraying me.
    I keep people as acquaintances, I don’t let them get close enough to use, hurt or abuse me, it hurts but it hurts less than having your heart broken.

    • #113390


      I know what you mean, precisely. I got really politically active after 2016, only to have someone I quickly trusted (let’s call her Janice) do some batshit betrayal, first on me, they on everyone else in the group. I don’t often have witnesses to some of the shitty behavior I’ve been exposed to, so I at least had reassurance that it wasn’t just me. But like you, I’ve had a LOT of terrible, toxic relationships that have soured me on letting people get even remotely close to me. In they end, so many of them have betrayed me in some way. But once in a while, I make a connection with someone who seems trustworthy. Some of the people in my political group have recently become mostly trusted friends, but it has taken two years and I’m still very wary. I still have social phobia ESPECIALLY after what Janice did. It’s only gotten worse and has demoralized me for months. But these trusted friends still hang by me on a Facebook chat group and they don’t harass me for taking time away.

      So, I still think it’s worth attempting to reach out socially, but you have to go slow, take your time, and build a sturdy foundation. It’s not easy, but it’s been deeply reassuring to find a few people who are kind enough to be patient with me as I work through my shit.

  • #113256


    On the old soul thing, I have a theory that people with ADHD are more earnest and transparent. I noticed recently that my family is actually really passive aggressive, just really petty things like disconnecting a charger you use, sitting where you sit on purpose, leaving the house suddenly when you know you had plans, I don’t know if I’m selling it, the list could continues forever just trust me.

    ANyways, I notice what they’re doing, I acknowledge and ask them not to do it, knowing they’ll do it again. But that’s it. I get bored thinking of ways they maybe expected me to react or retaliate in some other petty way. I just don’t feel like dealing with it, though me acknowledging that they’re doing has helped ease these weird (boring) tensions

    I used to work in a retirement home, and that’s very much how the residents felt like to me. They expressed what they felt and that was it. They were way past the trite social tactics (that I don’t understand and don’t feel like understanding).

    • #113389


      Gotta agree with you again. I think it’s the frankness, the lack of filters. My Grandma Kate called it like she saw it my whole life and I was like her. Nobody ever had to wonder where they stood with me and I’ve burned so many bridges in my life when I found someone who committed some grievous wrong. Jobs too. I’ve never been afraid to call out shitty behavior at work, which has made it difficult to get other jobs.

      I like how you connected this to actual old people. I always thought of “old souls” in a reincarnation sense, but your explanation makes far more sense.


  • #113263


    I’m currently feeling that loneliness. I just got separated from the Air Force for having ADHD (which the Army, surprisingly, is more than willing to try and waive to bring me back in) and it was like losing a second family that never questioned or berated me for my quirks. We were a team, and we had to bring each other up if we weren’t doing our part at 100%. I’m making friends again at my new job, but they’re not really close connections because I fear that they won’t understand what I go through. Hell, I even had one guy in my training class completely deny that ADHD existed (I laughed at that though, because if it didn’t exist, then I’m about as normal as a rat-sized elephant). Just don’t give up on friendships, as the right ones can be a boon against that soul-crushing loneliness we can sometimes feel.

    Also remember this: ADHD is not a personality disorder. There’s nothing inherently wrong with you. You were just caught with the unlucky break of being unable to regulate things like attention, emotions, and impulsive behavior. But you were also given a gift of creativity, open-mindedness, and a willingness to tackle whatever comes your way with all your energy. Harnessing it is the only thing that requires extra assistance beyond your own efforts.

  • #113394


    I only have a single friend and I don’t get to hang out with him very often as he lives quite far away.
    Having said that he is a “friend” I must confess that he never comes out to see me and most of the contact is generated by me.
    I can cope with the isolation-it is what I have known for most of my life and although I do crave company occasionally even the most ideal social interaction can swiftly become something which I can no longer adequately comprehend and I just have to get away.
    I do not tell dirty jokes, do bnot hold radical political views, am a devout atheist and do not have any bizarre habits or tastes which could offend, nothing ever gel’s in company though and I just know from experience that I will say or do something which makes me stick out for all the wrong reasons and slowly witness the people around me slipping away.
    All of this is simply too stressful for mm nowadays and I am not prepared to expend the emotional energy on such things any more as I just know how it will turn out, on first meeting, people will be nice, open and calm and would apparently not be averse to further contact but then I blow it somehow, I can rarely work out what exactly puts them off and at my age of 60, I don’t see that changing.
    I have my hobbies and interests, music, Carpentry, I have always read a lot-mainly non-fiction- even if I remember very little of what has passed before my eyes, certain facts will stick which means I am good at quizzes but my brain is ill-equipped to do anything of much practical use so life is deeply frustrating. I told my ADD assessor that I felt as if I had a fairly powerful “engine” located within my skull but lacked a “gearbox” so my engine just roars away to itself and I remain motionless

    Got a great new smartphone but don’t know how to unlock it?-welcome to my brain!

    So yes, staying alone helps me deal with it all, I am not subjected to the endless reminders of my inadequacies and failings,
    I suppose it is a slightly cowardly approach and some may think I have simply “given up” but there are only a certain number of times that you need to bang your head on a brick wall before it finally dawns upon you that the wall is going to win so why put find something less damaging?

    I could waffle on like this for days but I think you get the picture,
    It ain’t easy, progress will be rare and probably transitory, you will meet kind people, value and respect them, always be both kind and honest yourself, avoid wherever possible doing and saying stuff which have resulted in feelings of guilt in the past and occasionally, just occasionally good things will happen-that’s the best I got.

  • #114232


    I have no friends at all they have all drifted off, taken advantage or just cant keep applied! i have also had mates/partners do wrong by me and know my RSD will make them a victim and me the villan , i have educated many but its like giving most the tools to tear you down when they need to deflect on their own behaviour,after a while it starts to suck the life out of you, your self respect your confidence become non existent and you start questioning everything you do and say,makes you consider if there is a place in society for you, i’ve heard others say ‘trust me’ more times than i care to remember i’ve learnt those are the ones you do not trust and at the age of 45 i find it difficult to trust anyone even myself!
    i liken ADHD like being on spin cycle in a washing machine.

  • #114235


    You are not alone. Most with ADHD have similar problems and our anxiety on top of the ADHD makes things much worse than they actually are. First, it is best to be selective on who you consider a friend and who you choose to spend your valuable time with. You will find your people and I can probably count on 1 hand how many good friends I have. I’ve also had a few good friends drift into and out of my life over time. But always steer clear of toxic behavior in people. You do not have room in your busy brain for that.
    Finding your people is hard and they are few and far between. You may find a few individuals that fill areas in your life and become good friends and may also embrace who you are. You should also seek a good ADHD coach or CBT therapist to help you work through the interpersonal problems you have. Just don’ fake it and be true to yourself. I figured that out after college. Now at age 50, I am very happy. I found someone who gets me and we’ve been married 22 years (she is the only neurotypical in the family). Neither of us have a lot of friends but we have found our people (or tribe as some call it).
    I consider ADHD a gift or superpower. It is like an evolution of the brain in terms of creativity and/or intelligence. It would be a shame not to pass the gift of ADHD to the next generation, yet sometimes it deeply pains me to see my son go through many of the social issues you describe and that I have lived. I know it will pass and with the right support, he will find his way (just as you will).
    Start with a positive attitude and use your powers for good. Build a good support team, start with a good doctor (psychiatrist) and therapist who understand adult ADHD. Note that it may take a while to find the right ones and dont be afraid to move on if you see no progress. I was lucky with a psychiatrist but went through 4 CBT therapists before I found one I could connect with, sort of like friends. I am still primarily a loner and sometimes wonder why I dont make friends easily but I am quite happy with where life has taken me.
    Stay positive, build your team and find your people. Best wishes!

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