View Full Version : Social Delays and Stuff

06-06-16, 04:03 AM
Did any of you have significant social issues growing up? Do you attribute that to your ADHD or to something else?

I wonder because I think the way in which I am most affected by ADHD is social. I've always been slow on the uptake when it comes to social situations, and looking back on my childhood, I had to have people constantly explain to me why my peers did what they did. The various interactions and conversations didn't always make sense, particularly when people said things but didn't mean exactly what they said. Or when people deviated from the rules.

Further, I've always lagged behind people in terms of emotional development. I continued to play with toys when everyone else had long ago given them up, I started being interested in the opposite sex later than others (besides more than just the occasional silly childhood crush), and the transition from one age group to another has been particularly challenging, such as high school to college. These are just some examples of many. Intellectually, I've almost always been at or above my peers, so I think much of the social lagging was ignored by adults.

Most of the deficits I read about in ADHD people are in subjects like attention, defiance, anger, and executive functioning sort of things. I haven't seen too much on the social aspects.

ADHD people do lag behind some, so I'm not stressed too much about it. Rather, I'm trying to determine if there might be some other underlying issue, so I am trying to gather more information on the topic. Your stories and links and whatever you want to give me is appreciated.

06-06-16, 05:03 AM
I've always tried to work out if I just ignored many social ques because I couldn't or wouldn't deal with them, or I never really got the point of various innuendo.

What probably saved me to a degree is that I tried to fit in. And I was a bit cleverer in compensation. Also a lot of intimidation worked as well. Haha

06-06-16, 05:20 AM
The short answer - yes! And now I figured out I probably have ADHD it all makes a lot more sense to me.

The TL;DR version:

I had a lot of issues as a kid. I didn't fit in - especially with other girls. I was happier playing with boys probably because of my hyperactivity. I loved football, climbing trees etc. My friendships with boys were way easier and less complicated.

I got sent to an all girls school at 11 and was totally out of my depth socially. I wasn't like most of the other girls, certainly nothing like the popular ones. I was ostracised and bullied for a couple of years.
By the time I was about 15/16 I learned to fake it enough to fit in, but looking back I know I was playing a role, not being myself.

At university most of my friends were guys again. Partly because I found them easier to get on with, and partly because I was really wary of women because of my experiences at school. I didn't learn how to have good, positive friendships with other women till I was in my twenties.
Now (in my 40s) most of my close female friends share some ADHD/ASD traits, which is probably why the relationships work because we approach relationships in a non neurotypical way. NT women are still a bit of a mystery to me, and I still feel like an outsider in those sort of groups. I can't do small talk and social chit-chat.

06-06-16, 05:22 AM
I forgot to say - social issues can also be a sign of ASD of course, and there is a big overlap between the two disorders. But from what I've read ADHD can definitely cause social difficulties.

06-06-16, 05:32 AM
In school I never really fit in. I thought it was just due to being shy and quiet but looking back I can see that in most social situations I was just out of my depth even ignoring the shyness. I never knew what to say or when to say it or what the others were talking about. I was always scared of saying something stupid which i often did. When I didn't say anything stupid I'd say something weird or strange. I was lucky in that I always had one best friend. Someone with whom I just clicked but with most other people I didn't click.

Things got a lot better in college. I realised that people responded positively to my appearance and shallow as that is it gave me a huge boost of confidence. At uni, I mostly hung out with guys too. I just couldn't find anything exciting to talk about with most other girls and I too found guys to be much more straight forward.

Now I get along with most people but am incapable of forming close relationships. Mainly because. I neither have the time nor the interest to put in any consistent effort.

By the way I also played for way longer with toys than my peers. I never attributed it to adhd. Interesting.

When did you stop playing with toys? I remember one of the last times I played with my smurf figures I was about 12 (my friend walked in on me and gave me super weird looks, which is why I remember).

06-06-16, 06:02 AM
the toy thing/age appropriate playing is interesting. I was more of an outdoor active kid anyway (totally hyper!) so I don't remember playing with toys much at all... but I know I used to still climb up trees way later than most people would. Even now I will if I find a good one, and on the beach I'm always off scrambling on the rocks with the kids rather than sitting in the sun with other grown ups. Plus my interests are probably often considered immature by others - fandom/fanfiction for example. Non NT adults are often bewildered by that level of obsession and focus :D

06-06-16, 08:01 AM
In primary school I found it difficult to relate to kids my age, especially in the lower classes. Later I was bullied a lot and I related more to the girls in my class than the boys (myself I'm male). That was largely the result of social delays.

In high school I was bullied a lot and though I always had some friends, it was difficult to relate to most people my age. That changed in later classes, when I went to a different class and actually became one of the kids some people looked up to. That was also the result of the tough confrontational approach I took. I wouldn't take sh*t from anyone anymore, which led to some people adoring me and others just leaving me alone.

Romantically/sexually I had a gf when I was 17, then again when I was 21. Apart from that I never really had much success with women and didn't know how to talk to them. Right now I'm 31 and for the past half year I have been in my naughty phase a bit, having romantic/sexual encounters with some women. So I'm really a late developer at that front.

So yes, I think my development has been delayed in a lot of ways.

06-06-16, 02:49 PM
There's a big connection with this. How it hurts you is the social awkwardness , relating to people now. This has been a real struggle and continues to be.

I actually regressed. I had my basketball posters up on my walls up until 10 years ago. In regards to meds I find I spot a lot more.

And also I never let anyone give it to me because they feel they can. I just can't, this is really a symptom of being bullied when I was younger.
I think the only reason I got through my young years because I was the best athlete. I think.

06-06-16, 03:26 PM
I lagged behind a lot in social areas continue to as well. I don't really instinctively know how to respond when given a gift or a raise at work. I try to emulate what others do but it always feels like everyone knows something is off, that and it just feels weird to me. I embraced being aggressive and kinda of a prick to not just seem weird and it worked but there are problems with doing that.

06-06-16, 07:02 PM
Ever since I was young, I always found it much easier to be friends with boys, even though I usually had one close (girl) friend during most of the time. But at school and parties, I was always quiet and sort of on the side. I was teased, maybe even close to bullied, for a short time in elementary school, but most of the time, people just decided I was "weird." I've always felt incredibly insecure around other girls, especially the ones who seemed to be "cooler" and "prettier" than me, and even in college, I still have an issue with approaching or being approached by one of them. Growing up, I always felt like an outcast, and I ended up embracing it (Myspace and sc3n3 kidz days, lots of black clothes and makeup and angry music). I've made friends of all ages, but I often find that it's easier to approach younger groups (I made a lot of friends within the Freshman class that just entered, and I'm a sophomore) but I've also been accepted by people who are just older than me and I used to prefer them, lol (it gave me a status boost)

I never understood how people could form groups of friends and hang out with them all the time, or go on trips with them, whatever. But I've still managed to get to know a lot of people and I've had good friendships with them. It's just that it's very hard for me to form close friendships. I often turn to romantic partners for affection and closeness, but I'm currently working on the friendship aspect. I feel very uncomfortable showing physical affection for my friends, and for as long as I remember (maybe 8 years) I've had trouble feeling like I can be affectionate with family, which really upsets me because I want to reciprocate my mom's need for it.

As far as romantic relationships go, I had my first boyfriend when I was 13. I saw on this one website that people with ADD tend to go for more "intense" people, for example, people with BDP. I thought that was incredibly ableist, but now that I look back on it, I think that he did have something like that. However, i've always worried about being Too Intense in relationships and I'm constantly afraid of losing my partners because of it. If I message them, and they read it and don't reply, my head starts thinking up all the reasons why they're avoiding me and I start gearing myself up for heartbreak. And then when heartbreak does happen, oh boy. At LEAST a week of depression will set in. It makes me feel so worthless and unwanted and awful and crazy. I have trouble understanding that ADD affects relationships due to what is perceived as inattention -- Almost all my attention always goes toward a romantic interest.

06-07-16, 12:31 AM
Call me childish, but I still think there's nothing wrong with climbing trees when the right one presents itself--as long as you aren't climbing ones that are too tough to climb at one's age. ;)

Thank you for your feedback, everyone.

When I was a kid, I think I must have completely missed all social cues. I never stopped talking to let someone else speak, I barreled through everyone and everything, I wasn't even aware that I was supposed to be picking up "subliminal messages" from people's body language and tones.

I'll look into the crossover between ADHD and ASD. I don't think I fall on the autism spectrum because I never had any of the obvious traits as a kid, such as lack of eye contact, using big words, hanging out with people outside of my age group, etc. But there is definitely some significant social aspect of growing up that I clearly missed, and it intrigues me.

I'm also interested in hearing from people who didn't experience social delays in addition to people who did. So basically, anyone can tell their stories here.

06-07-16, 05:06 PM
Major delays: not speaking properly until a very late age (my parents weren't even sure I could speak), problems pronuncing words, rejecting social interaction, then when I wanted social interaction I started being bullied badly. In high-school things improved slightly because I've read lots of books on communication. In college I did ok and became quite likable (by girls; guys didn't start liking me at all until my late twenties). I still feel like a kid inside and I love a lot of kids' stuff, including cartoons and even toys. I started being attracted to guys at puberty, but relationship-wise, I'm very scared of commitement and, most of all, responsability. I can't see myself as a mother. I don't feel like an adult at all.