Reply To: Concern for my 14 year old son and his isolation

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Penny Williams

I think it’s really common for people with social anxiety to also be introverts. I have significant social anxiety. I do enjoy the company of others, when I know them and know what to expect of them, and know that they like me and accept me. My social anxiety seems to be driven by an inferiority complex.

However, I find it much more enjoyable to be introverted, because I don’t have to work so hard, and struggle with the stress, and push myself until I’m so anxious that I feel physically sick (which is what would happen if I attended a social gathering where I knew no one). Acceptance from others makes it better, but I still prefer to not be social more often, even if spending time with people I’m at ease with. I wouldn’t say that introverts don’t want to be around other people, it’s often just easier for them not to be, and that comfort drives them to be introverted (that’s how I see it).

Now, my daughter’s social anxiety stems from struggling to read and understand people and a fear of upsetting others or of people thinking she’s weird (a kid called her “weird” once in 3rd grade and it has stuck with her and completely changed her). She definitely has some lagging social skills and abilities, where I am really good at faking it socially, but terrified the entire time.

No matter how we label it, some people a just happier being less social. Our job as parents is to determine if that’s the case, and support our kids for who they are.

ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism