Remember when you were a kid and you could make a new best friend in an hour at the park or pool.
I love Carnival Cruise Lines’ “Bobslide” ad – “hard to believe they just met yesterday” – it made me smile every time I saw it during the Olympics.
Some lucky folks carry that talent with them into adulthood. I watch them from across a crowded room or at a backyard party and marvel at their ease meeting new people and making small talk.
But for many ADDers making and maintaining friendships can be a challenge, a challenge that often leaves us feeling isolated and lonely. Friendships are vitally important to our health and happiness, but when you struggle to remember names or worry you’ll say the wrong thing, it often feels safer to just stand off to the side by yourself.
ADDittude Magazine’s 10 Tips for Making Friends caught my attention and got me thinking about my own struggles making friends. I confessed my #1 friend-making hurdle to the wonderful ladies of the MOMSonADD Facebook group – I am epically awful at remembering people’s names.
I also shared a kinda funny, kinda sad tale to substantiate my claim.
The thought of anyone thinking me “fancy” really is comical. But this tale has reverberated in mind for months.
How many great friendships have I missed out on because I didn’t remember their name? Instead of risking embarrassment and admitting I still couldn’t remember their name, I remained quiet or stayed away. How often did this avoidance tactic inadvertently give the wrong impression.
Since my friend told me this “fancy” tale, I’ve tried to be more up front with people I meet (and think I might cross paths with again), confessing my name-recall challenges and asking them to please not be offended if I ask their name repeatedly. I’ve been amazed how many people admit they too struggle with remembering names, which immediately puts me at ease.
I’m also trying to remember to repeat a new introduction’s name several times during that initial conversation – it supposedly helps to imprint that new name in our brain. (I can’t recall where or when I heard this, but I have found it helps a bit.)
I know that the more distractions around me when I meet someone, the less likely my brain will store their name. If I meet you on the playground, it may take me years before I finally remember your name. And God forbid I run into you out of context, say at TJ Max or the grocery store or at a restaurant (cleaned up, in real clothes, hair done and makeup on) – you’re face is familiar, but from where and when? I’m sure, while my brain feverishly rummages about for intel on you, a less then brilliant expression settles on my face and you probably think I’m a total airhead.
And then are those people that remember every name, face and place, and, of course, these are the very people my feeble mind seems determined to name block. No matter how many times we cross paths, I just can’t seem to store & recall their moniker, or where we met. Then, eventually, you get the look. It’s subtle – a slight pursing of the lips, squint of the eyes, or tilt of the head – but this ADDer knows it well, that moment when they officially put you on their flake list. Do they have any idea how sorry I am or how that look makes me feel?
One of my fellow MOMSonADD & blogger, Miss Jennifer P. Williams, made me feel better when she shared this comment…
I had the pleasure of meeting Miss Jennifer and her blogging bud, Elaine, of Miss-Elaine-ous Life, at a bloggers’ conference last spring. A dynamic duo, ready for adventure, fun and new friends, but I had no idea Elaine also has a secret super hero identity – ADD Wing Woman.
We ADDers need (and treasure) those special non-ADD friends that understand our foibles. They don’t feel the need to call attention to our gaffs or try to fix us, they just quietly support us as we do the best we can to be the best we can be. We all need a Miss Elaine, an ADD Wing Woman (or Wing Man). I feel very blessed to have a few of those special folks in my life.
ADDitude Magazine’s slideshow has some great tips for making and maintaining friendships when you’re constantly distracted and often overwhelmed. I particularly liked #2 –
When life swings between two extremes – lost in an ADD fog or in the hyper-focus zone – it’s all too easy to forget to stay in touch. I’ve taken this piece of advice to heart – putting names of neglected friends on my Apple reminders list and making time each week to touch base with at least one of them. It’s been great catching up with friends that I think of often, but often forget to reach out to.
On my list this week – my blogging bud, Cynthia (she’s Oh So Pinteresting), and my shutterbug pal, Alison. (You have both be warned, ladies!)
Do you sometimes struggling with making & maintaining friends? What are your friendship stumbling blocks? And what are your tricks for overcoming them?
This is a great post Lollie. Another thing us ADDers need is other ADD friends so we feel (a little bit more) normal. Thanks for doing that!
Thanks so much, Jen!
I’m happy to be one of your ADDer pals – we ADD gals gotta stick together!
I have a hard time remembering people’s names sometimes too. Especially when meeting a lot of people at once! A lot of times I’m better at remembering the name(s) of the kids versus a Mom I meet – ha! I know, so bad.
I do love being Jennifer’s Wing WoMan though! 😉 Thanks for mentioning me, Lollie! xo
ADD Wing WoMen deserve a shout now & again.
And I was so glad to meet you & Jen at Blissdom last March – gosh, it’s already been a year! Hopefully we’ll catch up IRL soon.
I loved meeting you Lollie! You are so happy and have a great smile! 🙂 I hope I do get to see you again soon.
Loved this article. I am pretty good with names, but I loved the reminder that sometimes when people appear aloof, there is a reason behind it! p.s. I was lucky enough to meet Jennifer and her Wing WoMan Elaine, too!
I guess this post turned out part my personal confession, part an ADHD public service announcement, and part a plea for understanding.
Thanks for remembering aloof doesn’t always mean aloof. And thanks for stopping by.
Great post about making new friends at any stage in life. We have to all be a little more forgiving in the moment. Glad to be in your corner!