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Children and adolescence are often completely inept and socializing responsibly.

Their hormones are flowing. They're obsessed with status and social hierarchies.



Maybe you remember that age—or maybe you're currently in the throes of it. It felt like doing well socially was a zero-sum game: be cool or be decimated.

Unfortunately, certain traits were rewarded and others were not. For example, it's easy to interpret loud energy as confidence and humor.

But some kids just didn't have loudness in them. They were patient, didn't feel the need to take up the air time.

But in that high school ecosystem, that's no mere attribute. It's grounds for ridicule.

A recent Reddit thread asked for the Mose quite kids' side of that story.


blossomb1tch__ asked, "People who were the 'Weird' or 'Quiet' kids in high school, what's your side of the story?"

For plenty of people, the reason for their timidity only became clear as they grew up and understood what was motivating it all the while.

The fog clears, and a previously unobserved deriving force becomes obvious.

From Quiet to Manic

"I had undiagnosed mental illnesses and no mental health support system" -- stealtoadboots

"Same. In my case I was the weird quiet kid in elementary school. From Kindergarten to about halfway through 5th grade, I suffered from selective mutism in school, mixed with severe depression."

"Part way through 5th grade I started to talk in school, but continued to suffer from severe and debilitating depression until freshman year of high school. By high school I wasn't the quiet kid in school anymore."

"At that point Bipolar I made its grand appearance, and, while mania may have made me weird, it did not make me quiet. Didn't actually get diagnosed until I was in my late 30s. Everything made a lot more sense after that." -- librarymania

Hard to Relate When You’re So Far Away

"I had undiagnosed inattentive ADHD so my head was in the clouds more often than not." -- coronaslayer

"Undiagnosed ADHD-PI + social anxiety (almost certainly caused by social rejection by peers in K-8)."

"Not fun. And not recognized until I was in college." -- PyroDesu

"I have ADHD as well :) It was tough at first but I've learned to embrace it to an extent. It's never too bad to live in the clouds, as the ground sucks sometimes. I hope you're doing well <3" -- blossomb1tch__

A Pivotal Discovery

"Had Autism, didn't know." -- [deleted]

"It's not very specific and there are loads of varying symptoms. Why it's called a spectrum."

But biggest indicators for me at least were strong, unusual obsessions. As in I would get extremely obsessed over a topic that there's no reason to be obsessed about. Some other indicators are trouble making friends or maintaining relationships."

"Sensitive to bright lights and sounds. Stimming (fidgeting). OCD tendencies. Often people get frustrated or irritated with you about your behavior or things you might have said, but you have no idea why they are."

"And the biggest indicator is if you think you might be autistic, you probably are." -- drewisawesome14

Tremors and Tiredness 

"Secretly and unknowingly suffering from severe anxiety and depression mixed with a little insomnia to boot." -- perspicacity-404

"Lol I have social anxiety and insomnia, (my sleep schedule is very irregular) for the last two days I didn't sleep and my anxiety was on the top of mount Everest..."

"...I just got a full nights sleep yesterday and the amount of confidence I had today was unbelievable." -- Dry_Ad_7848

Others highlighted an important dynamic.

These Redditors explained that sometimes the alienated kid was originally not very different from anyone else.

But one quirk can snowball.

Chicken-Egg

"It's a downward spiral. You get picked on a few times, and don't take it well. After a while you learn to not draw attention to yourself by being quiet and withdrawing."

"When you withdraw, you internalise more, which isn't necessarily healthy."

-- AlterEdward

A Last Ditch Effort

"I guess I'll share my side. I was frequently seen as weird and bullied for wearing pajamas and not looking put together during school, and just being an awkward kid with poor social skills."

"The reality was my home life wasn't that great, I had undiagnosed anxiety, and I was doing the bare minimum of showing up so people wouldn't think I was dead."

"When I made valentines letters for my class one year I got teased for trying to be nice and it only hurt my reputation more. This made me scared to talk to my peers, emotional and 'quiet.' "

"Thank god I graduated."

-- blossomb1tch__

Laying Low

"I thought everyone hated me, so I stopped talking to people because I didn't want to bother them." -- biaforeverwar

"If complete strangers (aka kids not even in my class) are spending a disturbing amount of time making fun of you, you tend to think that everybody hates you."

"Source: me." -- shf500

And a few didn’t see their quietness as a problem at all.

They owned their decision to keep their cards close to the best. They dispassionately noticed their uniqueness, and that was that.

Nothing To Speak Of

"There's not much of a story. I just didn't feel the need to talk as much as other people." -- Asriel92

"I never knew how people could think up new things to talk about every day. I've never had the knack. Plus, I was so nervous of saying the wrong thing." -- BringBackRobotWars

"Yes agreed. I felt a lot of people talked for the sake of saying something but it was nothing of substance." -- toast_with_butt

Eyes on the Prize 

"I wanted to go to medical school. I knew I wanted this since I was 6. I was not going to do anything to jeopardize my dreams, so I didn't do anything the other kids did."

"I didn't go drinking at the high school parties. I never did any drugs. I was a good kid."

"The few times I got sent to the principals' office, I was laughed at and sent back to class with no punishment. I caught hell for being a 'goody-two-shoes.' "

"What am I now? I'm a doctor."

-- angmarsilar

Little Overlap

"I had nothing in common with the people at my school with the exception of 2 friends. I wasn't into anything that my peers were into or that they felt was important."

"Nothing has changed really."

-- you_are_marvelous


I'm sure if you look back on your time at school you'll remember at least a couple kids just like this.

Or perhaps you were the quiet kid.

Either way, now you likely know a little bit more of the untold story behind it all

Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

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