Finding it so hard to join in with group conversations. Why is this?

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    • #106175

      I am 42 and have always found it hard to join in with conversations in a group of more than say 3 people.
      People assume that I’m quiet and shy but when I’m with my husband, immediate family or a close friend I am not like that.

      As I’ve got older I’ve come into contact with more people on a regular basis. Our team at work has grown from 2 to 5. They spend ages chatting and gossiping and making small talk and I just sit and quietly get on with my work. I just can’t seem to join in. It just all seems uninteresting and meaningless to me. They are always complaining about something or someone and I just can’t bear to get involved. I feel like I’m withdrawing more from my colleagues. I can’t fake an interest. Also at times when I do try and join in they just talk over me so it puts me off trying again.

      Yesterday I went to my exercise class of 10 ladies. They’re all lovely but they are all so chatty and know each other really well. I would like to get to know them better but just can’t speak up in such a big group. Also I am there to exercise and its time to myself away from kids so I don’t always want to chat. I think they must think I’m really weird.

      Does anyone else have this problem? I feel so alone with it all, like I’m the only abnormal person surrounded by a world of people who are all the same. What can I do?

    • #106192
      Penny Williams

      That could be social anxiety — I’ve had it as long as I can remember, and avoided gatherings where I didn’t know anyone well no matter the consequences.

      You’re Not Shy or Stuck Up. You Have Social Anxiety Disorder.

      Introverts also tend to avoid groups or a lot of talking, like you describe in the exercise class. We are happier with peace and quiet and smaller, more intimate connections.

      This also could be an ADHD overwhelm sort of thing for you. There are many possible explanations.

      I’ve learned to do what works for me. Participate when comfortable, and kindly refrain when it’s something that will feel stressful. Yes, I miss out on some things. But, I’ve learned it’s just not worth the anxiety and distress of forcing myself. I recognize that this makes me look stuck up or unfriendly to some people, but I’ve had to learn to not let that matter.

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

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