Keeping and maintaining friends can be a challenge when you have ADHD. One reason is because of the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ factor. When you are seeing friends every day, perhaps at work or in University classes, it’s easy to stay connected and make a plan to hang out.
However, if that regular contact changes, you change jobs or graduate, it is very easy to lose touch. This has nothing to do with the quality of your friendship; instead, it’s due to prospective memory. Dr. Ari Tuckman says prospective memory is ‘remembering to remember’.
When someone who doesn’t have ADHD thinks, ‘I wonder how Max is,’ they remember that thought until there is a convenient time to pick up the phone and call Max.
For someone with ADHD though, they might think of phoning Max but then the thought completely vanishes. It doesn’t stick around long enough for them to take action and pick up the phone. Having visual reminders really helps prospective memory, which is why seeing someone regularly is helpful.
If you have ADHD, other factors can get in the way too, for example social anxiety, anxiety around making phone calls, feeling like you don’t have anything interesting to say etc. This means that even if you could phone Max, the second you think of him, you might talk yourself out of making the call.
Of course, it takes 2 people to keep a friendship alive, so the onus isn’t always on you. However, if your friend has been doing the initiating to keep in touch and pulls back, the friendship could fizzle out.
Having a friend that you genuinely like and you get along with is special. Even though there are millions of people in the world, everyone is different and you can’t form that type of bond with everyone. Plus it can take years to create a shared history and get to know each other well. This is why it is worth finding a way to keep in touch.
The answer is Facebook. I know lots of people have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.
However, if used strategically, it is a very helpful way to support your prospective memory and keep in touch with friends pretty effortlessly.
There are 2 big dangers of Facebook. One that you get a glimpse into other people’s lives and then feel bad about your own. Research shows that the more time you spend on Facebook, the more dissatisfied with your life you can become. The second is that FB can be a huge time suck because of all the links to videos, articles etc.
The ADHD friendly way to use Facebook to keep in touch with your friends.
Create a FB account if you don’t already have one.
If you do have an account, update it a little.
Put a fresh photo up, make sure your basic information is current like the city you live in and so on.
3) 5 friends
Think of 5 friends you would like to stay in touch with or reconnect with. If you aren’t FB friends at the moment, make a friend request.
4) Mark them as ‘a close friend’
Go to their profile, and mark that they are a close friend.
This means you get notifications when they post something.
5) 10 minutes a day
Everyday log into FB for 10 minutes. Set a timer if you have a tendency to get caught up reading articles, taking quizzes and watching memes.
While you are there, do 2 things:
A) If it’s a friend’s birthday, wish them a Happy Birthday.
You don’t need to write a long meaningful message if that feels too overwhelming. A quick ‘Happy Birthday’ message on their wall is perfect.
B) When a friend posts something personal, a photo or status update for example (not an generic quiz), engage a little. Press the “like” or leave a comment. “Like” buttons are great if you are never sure what to say.
Volia! Thats it.
Log out of FB, and come back again in 24 hours.
6) Post photos
About once a week, post a photo of something that is happening in your life. Post more often if you feel inspired. Just a little slice of your life, like your dog or a nice scenic view. This helps your friends to feel connected to you.
When you get into the swing of this, you can increase the number of close Facebook friends.