Children and adolescents are often completely inept at socializing responsibly.
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.
But in that high school ecosystem, that's no mere attribute.
It's grounds for ridicule.
Redditor blossomb1tch__ asked:
"People who were the 'Weird' or 'Quiet' kids in high school, what's your side of the story?"
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 sometimes the alienated kid was originally not very different from anyone else.
But one quirk can snowball.
"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."
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."
"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 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."
"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."
"This might sound pathetic or possibly creepy but sometimes I felt closer to those people than I actually was. Like I had a small group of friends of course, but I loved observing everyone. And then when they would talk to me the reality would hit me that these people really didn’t pay attention to me at all. I felt acquainted with them and they sometimes wouldn’t even know my name. It made me feel like a slight creep."
"I wish I could say I hated everyone like most of the other people commenting but honestly I was just too socially awkward to really put myself out there. I didn’t care too much for most of the people, but I still wanted to be known by them at least. I’m not torn up over it anymore tbh, it’s amazing how little I think about these people now that I’ve graduated. It’s 100% true what people say about none of it mattering." -- danger_slug
"High functioning autism. I didn't understand social cues or knew how to make friends.I sure as hell wasn't quiet but I was pretty damn weird. Still managed to make friends though." -- Fallowsong
"I was definitely weird, but not quiet. I was like outlier popular. I hung around with all the groups, but didn't 'belong' anywhere. Super lonely till my junior year when I got a car and could come and go as I pleased. I just didn't give a shit about the small stuff. So when people were all into prom queen/king, homecoming court, competing socially, I just wanted to smoke pot and hang out. I still don't sweat the small stuff, which works great in most circles but I have to put on my inner jock hat in corporate situations." -- combustablegoeduck
"I was abused by my family and going to school was an escape from them, only to be attacked by bullies. I eventually learned if I didn't say anything, people wouldn't notice me as much, so I just tried to keep to myself and our small friend group as much as possible. I'm still trying to learn how to meet new people as an adult but I just don't see the point anymore." -- TheGamerHat
This is Me
"Still am the weirdo in the bunch! As a kid I was just labeled a nerd. I had horrible social skills. Now my skills are much better but I still don't pick up on cues like everybody else does so folks find me pretty annoying sometimes. I'm able to confirm.those feelings for them and admit that I'm annoying and it seems to break the ice. It has been like this for as long as I can remember." -- marti924
"I was a super nerd. Teachers didn't know what to do with me and if I answered questions in class the other kids would get mad or the teacher would say I know you know how about a regular student answer my question. By saying that the teacher made me the victim of bullying. I had medical issues so I was super thin and petite. I was abused at home in every way you can almost imagine so I wore long skirts, dresses and sleeves to hide the bruises and the scabs from where my flesh was tore open from the beatings."
"My family thought I was a know it all so I got mistreated. I was bullied from elementary all the way through high school by family and other school kids. Oh many teachers thought I was a cheater because they didn't think a Latina could be as smart as I was." -- WickedMags
I'm doing fine.
"I felt like a misfit and thought no one liked me. Just wanted to go somewhere else. I was much happier in college, where I met more of my type of people, or people who were more open to accepting other people as they were, and had a lot of fun. After college, I met people at work that I had a lot in common with, so I still had a robust social life for an introvert."
"Now, in my 40s, most of my friends are busy with their kids and spouses and I spend most of my time alone again. I'd much rather be alone than be surrounded by people and feel alone. I'm pretty good company for myself and stay busy with work and hobbies. I'm doing fine." -- FranzLuciferdinand
"I was screamed at by my mother every day and told no one would ever like me, in-between being screamed at to make her tea while trying to study for school. Long story short, I grew up believing no one liked me and anything that might be perceived as 'for me' like studying was bad - I grew up being told I was selfish and awful. Still can't focus worth shit bc I'm always looking over my shoulder, but at least I no longer believe everyone hates me. People are at worst impartial. That's pretty liberating." -- Popcorn_panic1
"the cool kids"
"I was weird but I knew it. And the only reason I was considered 'weird' was because i was myself and I didn't try to imitate 'the cool kids' and because I was me, I ended up being liked by everyone, even the 'cool kids.' I was called weird, authentic, goofball, dumb, a good listener. But I owned up to who I was. I never denied it." -- Madogg90
"I am naturally outgoing. That said I grew up in a very religious household, and by the time I got to High School my parents were getting divorced. I didn’t begin to develop socially until I was finishing college." -- Southside_Burd
Mind my business...
"Everyone already had their friend groups locked in, I’d try to be a part of one but I’d get ignored, so I just minded my own business. I had friends up until middle school, and then suddenly it was like I was forgotten about. I just learned to accept that nobody cared about my existence. Then I’d get made fun of for not having great social skills whenever I had to talk." -- SadBeans82
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
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