You know what I really love about the new year? It’s a brand new start. It’s a clean slate! No matter the difficulties you had last year, January 1st gives you the perfect date to start again and try new strategies and techniques to make the upcoming year the best it possibly can be.
If you have ADD/ADHD, a worthwhile goal for the new year might be to start building new friendships and expand your social circle. Having a number of good friends can be a wonderful resource to help you better manage your ADD/ADHD. A solid support system of family and friends can boost us up when we feel down and give us the help we may sometimes need to get through difficult times. Basically, friends can make us happy, and that is what really makes life worth living.
So, the million dollar question is, how can we form new friendships in the new year when we have ADD/ADHD?
Reaching Out to New People
Half of the battle of making new friends is meeting new people, and this can be a struggle for everyone, ADD/ADHD or not.
Getting out to public social events can require a lot of energy, let alone the energy required to meet random strangers and engage them in conversation. In this kind of a situation, the internet can be a lifesaver. There are tons of Facebook groups that are entirely focused on developing new friendships. If you find one for your area, you might be able to connect with others who are looking to expand their social circle. Just be sure to properly vet the group, and anyone you talk to on there, first. Closed groups that require permission from the admins to join are probably your best bet here.
You could also look into clubs and societies in your area that involve pastimes that you love. If you enjoy board games, you might be able to find a monthly event where strangers get together to play some. If you think that a ADD/ADHD support group might help you meet others who share in your difficulties and develop new friendships, check online for some in your area.
Still in School?
For those in post-secondary institutions, the new year can be a great chance to renew and strengthen those friendships you made in your first semester.
Dorm life can be tricky when you have ADD/ADHD. If you didn’t get an opportunity to get to know those on your floor over the course of your first semester, post-holidays is a great time to do so. You already have a perfect conversation opener, “What did you get up to over the holidays?”
Joining clubs or other organizations is even easier when you are in university or college. Simply check online, or go to a gathering place like the library, and take a look around. You can usually find flyers, brochures, and other advertisements for a variety of clubs and other opportunities for social gatherings. Just make sure you do some research on these groups before you join, to make sure that it will be a good fit.
Explain Your Condition to Your Friends
A lot of the difficulties that face those with ADD/ADHD is a lack of understanding of the condition. Everyone out there THINKS they know what ADD and ADHD are. Most of them don’t have a clue. This can put a lot of stress on friendships if the other person simply doesn’t understand the symptoms you are managing on a daily basis.
Perhaps explain to them that ADD and ADHD aren’t the same thing. Yes, they are similar conditions, but they can manifest in different ways. Make sure you map out exactly what you are going to say, maybe write it out on paper first. You should address the stereotypes of ADD/ADHD ASAP, to let your friends know exactly how ADD/ADHD affects you and how it doesn’t. You probably don’t want to “lead” with this when forming a new friendship, but once you get to know the other person better, sharing this kind of thing with them might strengthen a bond between you.
Schedule Friendship Time
It can be difficult to “find” the time to spend with friends. For those with ADD/ADHD, a spur of the moment hangout might not be an option.
If you have a calendar on your wall, or a planner on your desk, take care to schedule friend-time on days when you haven’t already expended your energy or another project or social engagement. The more planning you put into a hangout, the more comfortable you might feel once it starts.
The bottom line is this, forming friendships can be hard. When you move to a new community, or start a new school, or simply lack a social circle in your area, you might not know how to form these kind of connections. That’s what Friendship Coaching is for. In my Friendship Coaching program, I help you take stock of where you are right now in terms of your friendships and where you want to be. I can guide you to figure out exactly what you want out of a friendship and how to improve your current relationships.
As an experienced ADD/ADHD coach, I know the difficulties some have with developing strong relationships with others. They might feel as if their condition is standing in their way, or they simply don’t know how to reach out and meet new people. If you’d like to start this year off right, with the aim to develop stronger relationships with your friends, please feel free to contact me today.