I feel like I am being excluded at work

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    • #90169
      dmvaughn00
      Participant

      Hi there, this is my first time posting to a forum here, but lately, I am finding it a real challenge to socialize with some of my colleagues. I am a teacher, and we are about to come off summer break. Some of my colleagues and I attended professional development over the course of two days. I don’t know whether I am reading too much into this, but it always seemed to me that they kept trying to ditch me. Every time we changed workshops, they would leave me behind. When we went to lunch, they were already out the door and loading into the school van without telling me where they were going. Yesterday I texted one of them to find out where they were going and today, again, no one told me until the same person saw me standing alone looking down at my phone. Today, I was actually considering not going with them because of the fact that I just didn’t feel very welcome yesterday.

      My entire life I’ve been an outsider, the oddball. No matter where I go or what I do, I never seem to fit in anywhere. I thought that working in this district would be different, but it feels like people still alienate me anyway for no good reason. If there is a reason, I sure wish someone would tell me so I can work on fixing it. Picking up on social cues is not one of my strong points. People wonder why I prefer to be a loner: to protect myself from getting my feelings hurt. I’m thinking that maybe it would be best if I just keep to myself.

    • #90174
      SierraW
      Participant

      Let me say first and foremost, BOY CAN I RELATE! I have been in similar situations all through my life. I am no expert on social skills, actually quite the opposite. I do however have a belief and affirmation that helps me in such times:

      “I am different and that is okay. I see the world differently and many people cannot relate. I like myself and that is enough.”

      Sometimes the rejection I am experiencing and feeling is imagined. Other times it is not. I can sit and analyze everything I said. Wincing and cringeing at myself when I said something impulsive or overshared or talked about myself for way too long. Or rereading an email that never got that hopeful reply 1,000x. It isn’t going to change who I am or what that person thinks of me. Many people will tell you to join a support group. This is a great idea but not always possible.

      Embrace yourself for who you are. I promise there are things that make you a great friend even if others can’t see them.

      Also, I know from first-hand experience that sometimes co-workers can be extremely toxic and play games. Avoid these people. Avoid gossiping people and never get sucked into that mindset. As people with ADHD we know what it is like to be misunderstood. A true friend would tell you if you did/do something that is rude.

      I am sorry you are going through this. Just remember, you are not alone!!!

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by SierraW.
      • #90179
        dmvaughn00
        Participant

        @SierraW

        Also, I know from first-hand experience that sometimes co-workers can be extremely toxic and play games. Avoid these people. Avoid gossiping people and never get sucked into that mindset. As people with ADHD we know what it is like to be misunderstood. A true friend would tell you if you did/do something that is rude.

        I try to be social because I know it’s something I need to work on, but I also do try to stay out of gossip mindset. The last district I worked in was a VERY toxic environment where people would throw you under the bus or tattle on you to administration for the smallest, most ridiculous things. The administrators liked to micromanage everyone (and they really liked to do that with me because of my issues with being on time). I felt like I could trust no one around me and as a result, I just plain kept to myself because of that environment. The district I am at now actually pales in comparison. In fact, people have generally been more welcoming and helpful, and I do have a couple of actual friends at work. I’ve thought about asking one of the teachers I was with whom I do actually get along out of that group if maybe I did something offensive. I had another teacher on the first day who sat across from me during our lunch who did talk to me some (she’s really nice and I think she might have seen that I wasn’t being included).

        I am sorry you are going through this. Just remember, you are not alone!!!

        Thank you for your insight. I thought this would be the best place to post because I know fellow ADHDers have this problem and I thought it would help to talk about it with people who understand.

        • This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by dmvaughn00.
        • This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by Penny Williams.
      • #90185
        dmvaughn00
        Participant

        @SierraW

        I know from first-hand experience that sometimes co-workers can be extremely toxic and play games. Avoid these people. Avoid gossiping people and never get sucked into that mindset. As people with ADHD we know what it is like to be misunderstood. A true friend would tell you if you did/do something that is rude.

        My last work environment wasn’t good. It was very toxic and I had no idea who I could trust because the other teachers would not hesitate to stab you in the back or report you to administration for stupid things, and the bad part was that the administrators actually perpetuated this behavior themselves. In that environment, I got to where I hid out and didn’t socialize because I couldn’t trust anyone. I’ve worked at my current district for going on three years, and it has mostly been the opposite from what I endured before. Most everyone has been friendly toward me, even the colleagues in question here, which is why I am confused as to why they acted like I was the “third wheel,” so to speak. I try so hard to get along with everyone and fit in (without falling victim to the gossipy mindset because I absolutely HATE that crap).

        I’m working on improving social interactions, and it’s so hard. I constantly am on high alert to make sure to filter what I say and to behave appropriately. I am generally friendly to others, but on the inside, I’m an anxious mess because I’m constantly monitoring myself and monitoring others. There is a person in the group who I do get along with pretty well and I believe she would be honest with me if I ask her if I did something wrong.

        Embrace yourself for who you are. I promise there are things that make you a great friend even if others can’t see them.

        Thank you for the reassurance. Sometimes when things like this happen, it is so hard not to let myself fall down the rabbit hole of thinking that I’m not worth being friends with. Socially, I’ve always had a hard time fitting in. I’ve always been the circle peg trying to fit into a square hole, and the friends I have right now are aware of my diagnosis and how difficult social interaction is for me because of it. I think that for them, having an actual reason for why I am the way that I am and the fact that I honestly can’t help it helps them see past my flaws. Right now, I have been trying to focus my attention on the friends that I DO have at work and outside of work to keep me positive.

    • #90176
      JBoom
      Participant

      I’ve always had this problem. I’ve learned it has little to do with me directly. Or more to the point, I create it myself by not following all the social protocols necessary to be included. That is, most people aren’t thinking about who to include, they’re just doing what it takes to make sure they are included. Meanwhile, I was waiting around for someone to reach out to me, which often gets interpreted as arrogance or indifference.

      Or, put simply, other people don’t think about you as much as you think they do. If you want to be included in something, it’s up to you to insert yourself and be noticed. And it’s important to be easy to be around, which isn’t always easy for us ADHDers.

      • #90184
        dmvaughn00
        Participant

        @JBoom

        If you want to be included in something, it’s up to you to insert yourself and be noticed. And it’s important to be easy to be around, which isn’t always easy for us ADHDers.

        I’m actually trying to work on being more social. In the past, I had a tendency to just hide myself away and not socialize much outside of the necessary stuff I had to do for work because I was too afraid of accidentally offending someone or talking to much about myself, etc. At my last district, I was in a very toxic environment where even the administrators were bullies and the other teachers would snub you or report you to administration for very ignorant things. In that case, I had to hide out because I had no idea who I could trust and who I couldn’t.

        When I changed districts, I found this one to actually be more welcoming and people are generally more helpful and friendly, and that’s usually the case with my colleagues. I really haven’t not gotten along with anyone. I was also diagnosed with ADHD-PI just before I started working there (this will be my third year), and I decided I would try to work on social interaction more. In my case, my awkwardness and being left out has usually had something to do with me directly, but no one ever has the gall to tell me what I did wrong. I’m trying to be easy to be around, as you say, and to put myself out there, but inside, I’m anxious and continually analyzing my behaviors during interactions in the back of my mind.

        But their behavior was just odd to me. Normally, these people are friendly toward me. On Day 1, I actually had to text someone to ask where they were going for lunch. They left the room without bothering to tell me where they were going. When I was at lunch with my colleagues, hardly anyone had anything to say to me. Then on Day 2, it was a similar scenario. Left without telling me where they were going before telling me at the last second and then when I showed up, no one offered much conversation. I tried to contribute to the conversations when I could (we were in a larger group and I don’t do well in a larger group). They way they left me behind, though, made me feel like they purposefully didn’t want to include me.

    • #90187
      JBoom
      Participant

      It’s possible there is an actual effort to exclude you (social groups can be outright mean spirited), but it’s also possible you’re just reading too much into it. The only real way of knowing is to just ask. And if you want to be included, again just ask. While you may feel slighted because you had to ask, keep in mind there’s probably things you do to others that unintentionally make them feel slighted. We all have our own crazy narratives to explain our experiences, and those narratives don’t always match, even when interpreting the exact same scenario.

      Perhaps they’re planning a surprise party for you. 🙂

      I’m a different sort of person, and I accepted a long time ago that certain people are just too plain and simple to get me and thus find me insufferable. I’ve never been a part of any popular social group, or even any sizable social group. I keep to one or two good friends and leave it at that.

    • #90371
      Penny Williams
      Keymaster

      I hear two potential things going on:

      1. Social anxiety: “I’m actually trying to work on being more social. In the past, I had a tendency to just hide myself away and not socialize much outside of the necessary stuff I had to do for work because I was too afraid of accidentally offending someone or talking to much about myself, etc.”

      I have it myself and it can be brutal. It does make us pretty paranoid about what others are thinking of us. Good for you for trying to be more social!

      In my experience, people with social anxiety are seen by outsiders (those who don’t know they have anxiety) as stuck-up or standoffish. Years into our marriage, my husband actually told me he thought I was a snotty b*%&h when he met me, because my being very self-protective and reserved translates to outsiders that way. Then, they don’t include you because they assume you don’t want to be included.

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

      OR

      2. Rejection sensitivity, which is common with ADHD and can cause you to see rejection where it isn’t.

      How ADHD Ignites Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

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

    • #90440
      steadyprogress
      Participant

      I can relate. 1000 times over. I was in the exact same situation just one year ago…and I am crawling my way out of it now.

      First – kudos for sharing. it is not easy to share these parts of ourselves that leave us vulnerable and open to criticism.

      I have always seen myself as an outsider as well. Since I was a young child. Starting with the fact that I was the only child of a divorced single mother attending a local catholic school in another town…where everyone had mommy and daddy and brother and sister and walked to school. I took the yellow school bus. With one other kid. In a school of a few hundred.

      The story I told myself then — and the story I heard until very recently was — “you are different than everyone else, and that is BAD.”

      But that was never the truth then, and it is not now.

      I bet that You don’t assimilate to the norm and that You question the status quo. That is amazing and it makes YOU uniquely YOU.

      There is value to that. In so many parts of life. It is a matter of finding people who support yuo and your ideas and sharing those deep vulnerabilities and insecurities with them. And keeping the regular ol’ social banter to those who you might want to “fit in” with, just to survive. They dont have to see the real you.

      Consider yourself a strong person for being able to carry yourself forward, regardless of other people and what they are doing.

      The biggest improvement I have seen with any and all of these social anxieties has been changing my mindset, and approach, to looking at things. I loosened up a bit.

      Perseverating on bad thoughts made me sad. Therapy made me more confused. More adderall made me more anxious. Talking to friends frustrated me because they just DIDNT UNDERSTAND. and told me “youll figure it out, you’ll find your way”. And then I started resenting them.

      Journaling got me nowhere….and had me thinking — “I cant even articulate my own thoughts to MYSELF right…”

      I was a negative self talker all the way through. I catastrophized. And I put my destiny in other people’s hands.

      I have always seen myself as an outsider as well. Since I was a young child. I was the only child of a divorced single mother attending a local catholic school in another town…

      You don’t assimilate. That is amazing. Consider yourself a strong person for being able to carry yourself forward, regardless of other people and what they are doing.

      And then ask yourself – who can help me, who wants to help me, and what action can I take to show them I ACCEPT their help?

      We are all socially awkward at heart.

      I listen to a podcast – Unf*ck your Brain. It has been a saving grace in shifting mindset. I still take adderall, but 50 mg less (per day!!!) than I had been taking.

      Slow and steady. Dont beat yourself up. And keep going!!! And in those awkward moments…try to remember that this too is a temnporary moment in time.

    • #90450
      MargaretRodriguez
      Participant

      I am also facing the same kind of behavior from people around me. Don’t know how and why people do this kind of stuff to someone.

    • #102348
      strwbry
      Participant

      Wow. Thanks so much for posting this on here. I’m struggling with the same feelings right now. I’m in school to become a teacher, and I feel like I’m struggling to fit in.

      I have never fit in with other women. In high school, I made friends with all the other weird kids, and it was wonderful. I get along better with men. Less rules. Most of the people at my job have pretty weird personalities, so we get along.

      But teachers, I feel like it’s a group of very socially adept women. It’s so intimidating. And I have to get along with these people. I really want to get along with the women in my class. They all are very nice and have such interesting stories. I would love to get along with them and enter “girl world” successfully. I know I don’t posses the social skills to assimilate, but I sure would love to.

      It’s not even about acceptance or anything to me. I mean, they don’t know about my ADHD. My friends all do. I say weird things all the time. I’m so awkward. I love that about me. It gives me great perspective and keeps people on their toes. But, with that comes a complete lack of confidence in my social abilities.

    • #102349
      addken67
      Participant

      OMG my people. Hi. First reply. I am excited to talk to people like me. Ohhhhh wow these people are screwed up the same way I am we should all chill. Soooooooooo muuuuuuchhhhhh to talk about. There are so many of us why do we not have our own fun getaways. No cruise ships big boats freak me out.

      But I digress. Internally I embrace that I am different and have to learn the expected behavior of these people. Conditioned responses I find are easier to track than the social cues that create them, a reverse engineering of sorts. I try to focus on a behavior around safe people first, where I am more relaxed and can be more outside than inside my head. Do I need to explain outside and inside or does that just make sense..it must…then don’t announce you are faking normalcy…yes faking..but since I don’t get their bleeping social code it will have to do.

      So now we have seen the behavior and are ready to try it out. Think Pavlov’s dogs here they are conditioned to react to a stimulus you just have to use the right one. They don’t think about everything like we do. There aren’t several voices/conversations going on in their heads. Here boy get the stick. (I am not advising to throw a stick at them!!!!)

      See if it works. your friends might mess with you a little but they won’t be cruel.

      Pick something small and almost trivial. I find a small smile when I make eye contact is very helpful. You don’t talk to everybody you smile at I guess its a I see you and I won’t be coming over to steal your food or kill you primal code…as opposed to staring through them lol. Happens in a group too before you can speak to everybody. Perhaps a small nod accompanying the smile. Try stuff.

      They have a different culture and way of life than we do. They are failing miserably at understanding us so we have to try and get them…which is hard. Every day we leave our world and have to live in theirs. Accept it. You are different but not alone, seems there millions of of us.

      I AM LIKE YOU..well…maybe not exactly my crazy is not every bodies crazy.

      Greetings my ADHD sister 🙂

    • #102624
      lindamarie
      Participant

      I’ve been looking for some people to talk to about how I’m feeling right now but it’s particularly difficult for me because I feel like I’m butting-in on someone else’s problem. It makes me feel guilty, too, that I’m not being very positive or helpful to others who are hurting as much or more than I am.

      Also, I just looked back and saw that this thread started in August… I noticed, too, though that another person posted last week.

      I guess I’ll try to sum it up: I am “older” and looking back I know that I must have had ADHD as a child. It wasn’t something that was diagnosed then, much less was there anything much said about girls’ behavior except that they needed to be quiet and nice if they were going to get along in life.

      Add to that — my mom died when I was 3 and my dad died when I was 13…

      Somehow, though, I developed some pretty good coping mechanism. And they worked for me until the last several years.

      Now I seem to have developed social anxiety and rejection sensitivity which have “run off” basically almost all my friends and family.

      I want to change, but I don’t want to have to explain myself for my behavior the last few years. I have been irritable and standoffish, which embarrasses me terribly.

      Can people like us get out of our ruts or must we simply accept that our lives will always be sad and lonely?

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