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6 Ways ADHD Makes Me the Weirdest Friend

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Dear “hoped-for” friend,

HellluRR! We’ve made moves toward a true friendship. You appear to be “sane.” Our offspring are potential playmates. We have some things in common, like endless exhaustion. You seem like someone who could evolve to someone that might help me clean my house, or who will not frown on Artcraft hoarding. We could share horror stories about poop. We could celebrate “beer thirty!”

Other relevant stories:
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What is ADHD?

Before we make the official step into full-on friendship, there’s something you need to know: I have bad brain and gene struggles. It’s just obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder (PD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression. I just needed to tell you so that it doesn’t ruin the friendship thang we got goin’. Here are some forewarnings about what friendship with me will bring.

1. I ‘ll be super late, or super early.

What time is it? I have absolutely no sense of time, yet I make plans. Oh, do I make plans! I set like 10 alarms. I leave super extra early. But there are days my alarm doesn’t go off, or I turn it off in my sleep because by husband snored too loud last night, or the baby woke me up more than two times and I hardly slept, or I lost my keys — always check the freezer, no idea why the hell I do that — or small children act excessively like small children. I get stuck in traffic. I need a coffee run; oh, how I live for coffee! I just forget to look at the time.

In fact, I don’t look at the clock at all. I find I have to force myself to look at the clock. But whatever the reason, I may show up 20 minutes to an hour late. Or I get up three hours early and getting ready only takes two hours. I don’t need a shower. I make lunch too early. I misread the time on my phone. Now I’m not late, I’m half an hour early.

This happens a lot.

2. I love my iPhone.

It’s not you. Something’s always happening — an email, a Facebook notification, an Instagram like. If you think it’s hard to put your phone down, it’s triply hard for me, whose brain is hardwired to stare at it all day. This means it’s difficult for me to have a conversation without checking my phone.

I don’t think you’re boring. I’m not trying to tune you out. I often can’t stop myself. And when I do get a text, an email, or notification, I have an obsessive need to respond. I can do all these things while carrying on a full conversation. I’m paying attention to you. I’m just paying attention to something else, too.

3. I forget stuff… a lot of stuff.

I try really hard to be prepared. Probably too prepared, to the point where I lost track of getting prepared. I try to pack lunch bags, stock daycare bottles for tomorrow, pre-make my coffee. By the way, you don’t want to see me try and make my coffee in the morning. I’ve put grounds in the water containment and water in the coffee filter cup… it’s so bad. But a lot of the time, the intention doesn’t match the reality. I always think my diaper bag is packed when it’s not, or my ID card for opening the door to work in hanging in my car around my rearview mirror when it’s actually on the kitchen counter. This can put a damper on outings. I might have to run home — happens three times a week, usually. I might have to visit the store. You might be kind enough to lend me something for the tenth time. For that, I will be eternally grateful.

4. I will interrupt you with a completely unrelated and random thought.

You’ll be talking on about your latest, most interesting stories. I’ll nod, and nod, and when you pause, I will say something like, “Oh, my gosh, did I tell you how my kid keeps eating my hair?” I will then go into a detailed description on how my little one likes to consume odd things and might keep you from getting a word in edgewise…

This is incredibly rude. I should still be nodding and murmuring consolations about what you’re talking about, but the eating hair thing came on so suddenly, and so strongly, that the need to tell you superseded all social convention. I’m not ignoring you. I’m not obsessively self-centered. My conversational skills just misfire quite often.

5. I forget important intangibles.

I will not remember your mom’s name, even if I have met her three times, once over a long lunch. Vital events tend to fade in my memory; I can hardly tell you what I had for breakfast, let alone who was present at a hilarious conversation gone bad. It’s not that I see these things as trivial or unimportant. It’s just that I can’t freaking remember!

My mind is a filter for certain details.

When important stuff comes up, and I can’t remember it, you’ll need to remind me… no offense.

I’m a good friend. I’m fun; I meet new people easily (even if I don’t remember their names). I can chat with you until the sun goes down or the toddlers start beating each other up. I’m loyal. I’m funny. But I’ve got that Mc. Funk Funny Brain that makes me who I am.

Make sure you know that going into this. We can be great friends.

6. When I try to be “too cool,” it ends up being awkward for others when I don’t even notice.

I often find the weirdest things to be quite hilarious. Mainly myself. If you see me talking to myself and then laughing, please don’t worry — this is a norm for me. You gotta laugh at yourself sometimes!

I mean, when you can’t find your keys and then you find them in the freezer… you gotta laugh at yourself. Or when you’re bored and alone and playing with the Snapchat funny filters, looking at your face, you gotta laugh at yourself!

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Originally published: January 16, 2018
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