I feel so left out – it’s like I’m invisible. Any advice please?

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Adults I feel so left out – it’s like I’m invisible. Any advice please?

This topic contains 25 replies, has 24 voices, and was last updated by  yorkville 1 week, 1 day ago.

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  • #104221

    Honey18
    Participant

    I’ve just been out for dinner with work colleagues and have come home feeling really upset. I am naturally quite reserved and quiet and my colleagues are the opposite! It’s almost impossible to get a word in. I feel so uncomfortable socialising with people when Infeel it’s a forced situation i.e. not with friends of my choosing who I can relax with. This evening was meant as a bit of team bonding. I was dreading it but knew I had to make the effort to go. It was awful. The other 3 women almost competed with each other to be heard, the conversation involved subjects of little interest to me (or long stories about themselves or bitching about other colleagues who I actually happen to like.
    Two of the three didn’t ask me a single thing about myself but had plenty to say about themselves. The other one I sensed was trying to include me in conversation but when I tried to answer I was talked over by the most dominant in the group who immediately started answering the question about herself.
    The thing is I know I am likeable, a good friend and have a good sense of humour. My husband, my best friend and my family know this but I think anyone who doesn’t really know me perceives me as timid, boring with not a lot to say.
    When I am with these rude people i can almost not be bothered to say anything as they are not really listening to my responses.
    I don’t want to be like them but I also hate being so socially awkward and feeling so uncomfortable. I am not being the real me, but I just cannot seem to do it around them.
    I’m the same with the school mums at the school gate. I nod and smile but I can’t be arsed with their inane chatter. I just feel so odd but also that they are all odd and I am the only normal genuine one. I will listen to anyone but it starts to wear a bit thin when they never reciprocate.

    Does anyone else feel like this? I’m feelingg really really down about my apparent lack of social confidence. Can I ever change into someone that people will actually want to listen to?

  • #104222

    justin7278
    Participant

    Firstly why should you change? You sound perfectly normal to me👍 I’m exactly the same in a social situation with people who either don’t know I have adhd or who I choose not to tell them I have it! Usually because as we have adhd we have a great sense of who we should tell or who we shouldnt!! Who wouldn’t understand and most probably them who we don’t trust or we can see straight through.
    Sounds to me that they are fighting for air space and trying to stamp there importance on them being there. Try to enjoy and make the most of your night out and if know one wants to listen it’s there loss. Chances are you will offer a far better conversation than those trying to get ahead!! Go out, enjoy yourself and if these people don’t want to know! It’s there loss. You can soon go back to your normal environment and laugh and joke with your husband and true friends

    • #104406

      graceofgod5
      Participant

      I hear you. I feel the same way in group settings with sometimes competing personalities in the group. I think it really is just how group dynamics work. I was recently in a similar situation. It was a work brainstorming meeting. The group was large and the dominant personalities quickly emerged. I was in the same situation…didn’t want to be there but needed to be because of my position. I was so overwhelmed I didn’t even try to speak up and the time I did try, someone talked over me. It was a very long session and I was struggling to sit still and pay attention with all the competing sounds. Frustrating for sure.

      I believe the things you say about you are true…that you are likable, are a good friend, and have a good sense of humor. My encouragement to you..and a reminder to me..is to rest in that knowledge. You know what is true about you and you like those things. They are beautiful attributes. We don’t really know what anybody else thinks about us unless they tell us. And then we still don’t know because we filter it through our perceptions. I think the tendency with add/adhd is to go to the negative interpretation and that causes much stress and anxiety. At least it has for me!

      I don’t know you but you sound a lot like me and in that case…you have a lot to say and what you have to say is quite interesting and you want to be with people who take the time to really see and know you. That’s where you feel free. So maybe in those other situations, instead of letting them intimidate you, change your perspective to…I choose to only share this much because it’s not a safe atmosphere..instead of “I don’t get to be me.” You get to be powerful.

      We are all odd in our own sort of way. I like to call it “gifted.” Us add-ers have a unique set of qualities that are very good things that others don’t have. That doesn’t make us better…just different. I’m trying to think on those things because I have the tendency to really not like who I am because I can’t seem to function like “normal” people do in life. Then that gets me mad and sad and I don’t want other people to have that kind of power over me to influence how I see myself.

      One thing I’m learning is to ask for what I need. When people find a listening ear, they gravitate toward them. It feels so good to be heard and while we love being that for others, we have the same need. We have to teach people how to care for us. It may mean saying…I really love caring for you and I love to hear your stories. I need a listening ear from you too so that I also feel cared for in this relationship.” If they still don’t reciprocate you may need to set boundaries and limit how much you are willing to listen to them.

      I’m sorry you’re feeling down. I so empathize with you and I hate it that you feel that way. It’s an awful feeling. I wouldn’t want you to change anything about you at all. Who you are is amazing.

  • #104233

    pc2300
    Participant

    I have felt just like you, many times. Until I read a life changing book last year about introverts. After that, I never felt bad again about being more reserved. You sound like a genuine person. A kind person who values quality friendships over quantities of friends. Who values a true connection with people, rather than small talk about the weather. I think the book might make you feel better. It’s probably available at your local library and I think there is also a Ted Talk by the author.It’s titled Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I hope it will cheer up. Sending hugs to you.

  • #104244

    1Christine
    Participant

    Leave work at work, continue smiling at parents and be around the people you like and who make you feel good. Listening is a well developed skill. I was a shy kid, later became a social butterfly and have now become a trusted confidant of a few. Find your people or your tribe. It’s okay that you know that you have nothing in common with these people. Don’t involve yourself in these personality contests. Your child’s friend’s parent can be a start to a friendship. You really need one best friend. You haven’t done anything to be judged, so give yourself a break. You are who you are.

  • #104270

    seashell
    Participant

    OMG 😮 Honey, you sound just like me – I’m so glad that you have posted today as I’m experiencing a similar situation.

    I have for some time now been meeting up with a couple of mums, one of them whom I have known for 10 years now. We meet for lunch every so often but I really don’t enjoy it because they are so bitchy, calling people down but being ever so nice to their face and chatty on their Facebook. It doesn’t sit right with me and I feel really uncomfortable when they do it because it’s just not me. I just have no time for this kind of behaviour. It belongs in the school playground! I’m a genuine person like yourself, who has a good laugh with my husband and kids, yet being in the company of these women makes me also feel invisible and I think that they see me as strange just because I’m quiet and don’t give them the juicy gossip they so thrive on. When we were last out, they hardly spoke to me and proceeded to bitch constantly, talking to each other to the point that I got up to go to the loo because I felt so bad. I was almost crying in the loo. when I got home and confided in my husband, he said that they clearly have different values from me and thought that I should just stop meeting up with them, but do it in such a way that keeps my dignity, without a big fall out. So, any invites I get to meet up are now met with a polite thanks, sorry I can’t manage but do enjoy your lunch…

    You have no idea how glad I am to know that I’m not alone in feeling like this. The other posters are right – why should you change? I’m certainly not going to – I’ll carry on being they way that I am. I know that I’m a good friend, confidante and someone who can be relied upon. Life’s too short for all this nonsense and, like you Honey, I cannot be arsed with it!

    Take care xx

  • #104271

    sharonclark449
    Participant

    You are not alone in this. I have always felt like that…always spoken over and never listened to unless I raise my voice above everyone else and then they look at me as if I’m an alien lol I can’t win. I’ve never been able to do small chat when I talk it’s something factual or meaningful. You will see me standing alone in the school playground most of the time nodding or smiling to other mums or if I am included in a group with conversation I feel I have nothing to contribute or can’t get a word in or if I try to contribute I’m spoken over or brushed to the side. It used to effect me, now I just smile to myself when I see some of the self righteous fake mums having their meaningless conversations and I’m pleased I’m not part of it as I know my worth and it’s better to be a caring genuine person than a fake social butterfly that no one can depend upon.
    So you enjoy being you and don’t let the loud self obsessed fakes of this world get you.

  • #104275

    cstan
    Participant

    Yes. Why should you change? They sound unpleasant and seem to be competing for brownie points. You sound like the person I would want to talk to. It is always unpleasant to feel left out but consider the source.

  • #104283

    Angel A
    Participant

    Hi Honey. You sound just like the kind of person all of us on here can relate to. I detest bitchiness and unkind people. Do NOT change for them. Embrace the lovely person you are with a kind heart and remember that shallowness is such an unredeeming and unbearable feature in people. None of us should be arsed mixing with idiots like these. Just smile politely knowing that inside you are a vastly superior individual with the intelligence to have a ‘real’ conversation (and just laugh to yourself!) Hold your head up high and BELIEVE in yourself!! Took me years to offload eejits like those girls. Best of luck.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 6 days ago by  Angel A.
  • #104293

    laura.lochen
    Participant

    Goodness!

    I’m not ADHD (spouse and daughter are) and I’m an extrovert and these people sound like no fun to be around at all! I agree with the other posters, don’t feel like you have to change or feel bad about yourself. Some people simply don’t seem to be able to (or don’t bother- which is worse IMHO) recognize the cues when someone is being extra quiet or uncomfortable. I also prefer smaller groups but I can be boisterous or overly talkative anyway. I have learned to look around me and dial it back when I see people not being comfortable. Honestly, who needs shallow people that don’t think of others? They are missing out on a pleasant relationship with someone who obviously cares.

  • #104296

    nasus
    Participant

    It sounds like your coworkers are lacking in basic social skills. If you want to socialize, just listen and think positive thoughts. And please be kind to yourself and don’t blame yourself for other’s rudeness. I sometimes feel invisible, but I thought it was because I’m overweight. For example, I’ll be waiting for something such as at a store, and when the staff person arrives they immediately start helping the person who should be after me. I try to use humor, but over time I definitely say something. “I must be invisible” is the worst. Usually I’ll just say, “I was next”.

  • #104298

    xian
    Participant

    Yup. Very familiar. My wife is a partner at one of the largest law firms in the world. Though no longer as true (she’s been a partner for 10yrs now) once upon a time I was expected to attend social events with people I did not know, frankly, did not care to know, and… because most partners are men, I was often left with the expectation that I socialize with the wives (who, generally were nice but entirely disinterested in me). Combine that with my INTJ personality type. Disaster was not the right word… but it created tremendous anticipitory stress and often fights with my wife because I did not want to go, my wife regarded my attendence as an expectation (not so certain this was true), and, she would rely on me as an island of refuge in the sea of bs-erry that she was swimming in. Which, of course, made me feel like a prop (which, I guess I was – but we sometimes need to do these things for our loved ones).

    So, you are not alone. Awkward social situations will occur, for whatever reason. The advice abovs is sound. Find your tribe. It took me a long time but patience was rewarded. It will be for you as well.

    Hang in there – those worth paying attention to will reveal themselves by paying attention to you and others around them.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 6 days ago by  xian.
  • #104308

    Boomer
    Participant

    This is an excellent subject, but I don’t think it’s related to ADD, rather it’s an introvert vs extrovert issue. Perhaps with social anxiety adding to it. I don’t have ADD (I’m an ADD mom) and everything you describe fits me exactly. Please strongly consider reading the book PC0023 recommended on introverts. Some ways I survive the social world are: only accepting invitations if a close friend is also attending, that I know will pull me into conversations, and I can hang with. Note-I’m only invited because I’m a member of that particular group- like a get together for all moms in a classroom, and it would be awkward if I was the only one not invited, I call it the polite invitation…and they are hoping I won’t accept. I sometimes want to attend because it helps to network for volunteering purposes etc. And I may meet someone new that I can relate to. If it’s a small group I sit by the quiet types and try to carry on separate conversations with them. There are some unavoidable awkward situations where I’m clearly the odd man out, I just make an excuse to leave. I think I’m a couple of decades older than most on this feed, so want to encourage you all to get out there in the world, I promise you’ll meet good friends, feel confident that there is nothing wrong with you, the world is just made up of different types/personalities.

    • #104392

      xian
      Participant

      Boomer: social anxiety is a very common companion to ADD so on that point there is a direct relationship.

      However, your point is still an important one. Introvert v extrovert can actually be products of social anxiety (either can be a coping mechanism, especially if one deviates from the norm strongly in one direction or the other).

      Further, one supects that the coping mechanisms recommended for introverts w/out ADD could be useful to introverts with ADD.

      Thank you for your comments. 😎

  • #104314

    jessiebluekiller
    Participant

    I am the same way. Socializing takes effort, and its unreasonable to expend that kind of effort on people who don’t listen, or at the very least don’t make you feel heard.

    I struggled with that through the bulk of adolescence, and really didn’t find people that I felt my whole self around until my early 20s.

    Feeling invisible sucks. Being reminded that your external personality is dependent on the people around you, that your You-ness isn’t a constant, also sucks.
    Maybe you might click with some of these ladies on an individual level, but as a group they are stealing your energy. Its ok to avoid this.

  • #104353

    penguindrooster
    Participant

    You are definitely not alone. But remember that people like that use bragging and hateful tales as a way of hiding from their own agonized feelings of loneliness and pathological insecurity.
    Nevertheless they’re obnoxious and hideous and don’t deserve a minute of your concern.
    That said, getting stuff done at work requires mumutual cooperation so you need to make them think you are a team player.
    Here’s how: When they’re boasting about themselves listen for something that piques your interest, even it its only a little bit. Then interrupt them and ask them to elaborate on what they just said. This will convince them you are listening and give you extra points for showing an interest.
    There’s an old American book called “How to Win Friends and Influence People” the book contains a million little strategies for making those around you feel heard.

  • #104396

    BoP
    Participant

    The worst part is when the rude people who talk over me turn things around and call me rude–because I am not talking enough! My mother-in-law did this all the time. She would ask a question. I would try to answer, and she would already be talking over me. Then I was rude! This also happened with the husband of my wife’s friend. He said he wanted to meet me at a bar. When I showed up, he ambushed me with the “why are you so rude” questioning because I didn’t talk enough. Naturally, he always spoke over me whenever I tried.

    Another big problem with this–Sometimes, I genuinely have something to say about conversations. I try to say it, but get cut off. I try again several times and get cut off. By the time I have an opportunity to speak, the ADHD-directed conversation has changed to a completely different topic and my contribution is no longer relevant.

  • #104399

    Lanew72
    Participant

    Friends are over-rated! Keep the one’s you’ve got, treasure you old man and welcome the new friends you click with. Forget the mom’s at the gate, they’ll spread you’re business all over town and not think twice about how it affects you or yours! Don’t lose sleep over what you don’t got, and count all the blessings you do have. PS, the girls a work aren’t any better than the mums at the gate, trust! Listen you your inner voice and take heed when your old man gives you wisdom about friendships. Women could learn a lot about friendships from men, js!
    AND…you’ve got us!

  • #104438

    strwbry
    Participant

    I used to feel that way ALL the time. Two things have helped me:

    1. I don’t care what people think. I’ve accepted that my ADHD makes me weird and laugh about it. I think I’m awesome and my friends think I’m awesome. That’s all I need. Plus, I’m an introvert. I only need like 3 friends to be happy. It sounds like you don’t even like these women. They sound like awful beings. I wouldn’t waste my time trying to fit in with them. Trust me. Not caring what they think gives you back your inner power and makes it so much easier to put up with them.

    2. I drag my husband along. Yup. He’s the prop. Usually it’s to family functions where I don’t fit in and everyone is loud and opinionated. He just so happens to be extroverted, so he’ll take the focus off of me and give me someone to wink at when everyone is being ridiculous. Sometimes, he’ll even make sure I’m included in the conversation, but I can think of nothing worse than the moment when all those women stop talking and stare at me, waiting for me to speak… Lol! But seriously, just knowing someone is there who knows you and loves you makes a world of difference. Maybe next time y’all go out you could suggest inviting the spouses/families/significant others. Although, if they’re as wired as they sound, they may not want the hubs around.

    Best of luck to you Honey!

  • #104517

    cinrosmaran
    Participant

    I’ve been reading a lot recently about Aspergers. While I’m reading through these posts I’m wondering whether there are others who may have Asperger’s and are only aware of the ADHD, introversionand social anxiety. There are quite a few commonalities between the two disorders and I only recently become aware of how much alike they can appear.
    If anyone else is interested in checking it out, Tony Attwood has some wonderful videos on YouTube. Temple Grandin is the woman most people know of but there are other women now discovering that they also have Asperger’s who are also writing blogs and speaking about like Alix on TEDex.

  • #104614

    grcicotte
    Participant

    Find time aside from the group to take the co-worker aside who showed courtesy and attempted to engage in real conversation. You won’t have to shout, and they’ll be rewarded for their effort. Clearly, you’re not invisible.

    One co-worker demonstrated to you that intellect can be stronger than the need for self-aggrandizement. There may never be more than that one person, but don’t pass up the opportunity to help develop the team. You both may need it in the face of the excessiveness displayed by the others. When my wife and I go out in public, she takes care of guiding me to actually say something without being stupid. It’s a challenge, but if you make a gaffe, the obnoxious self-absorbed types won’t hear you, and the intelligent ones will forgive you.

  • #104651

    pluevo
    Participant

    For myself, and I am not sure if it is due to my ADD, but I find small talk and a lot of common chat excruciatingly UNINTERESTING. I don’t get the point of a lot of it, and I can’t seem to either say things that I don’t mean or else pretend to care about things that I really don’t care about. I find it so exhausting if I am forced to ‘perform’ adequately in those types of conversations, and then don’t pull it off even when I try.
    Besides ADD, I also have mild Aspergers (which is usually less conspicuous in females). There are a fair number of people who do not realize that they have Aspergers in addition to their ADD. For me, it means that I also find it hard to follow group cues, even during a discussion about something that actually interests me. Group conversation seems like a tennis match in which there are numbers of players, and I cannot anticipate or recognize when the ball comes my way, or how or where to hit it without messing up the game. I am so slow to realize what to do that I usually end up staying silent.
    I have been hard on myself my whole life about this. I am older and did not find out about my conditions until just the last few years. Knowing about them would have helped, and I regret beating myself up for so long. Don’t do that, please. It is not a bad thing to be genuine. I was once surprised when a friend told me ‘you are the least superficial person I know.’ When you get older, you will be more glad that you did not waste your hours on petty chatter.

  • #104777

    snowgirl
    Participant

    Wow your story sounds like how I have always also always felt in social situations. I just told my hubby yesterday, who does not have ADHD that I was hoping not to run into a neighbor when I went out for a walk because I hate and don’t know how to do small talk.

    I agree with many others that posted it is not worth it to not be who you really are. I have always had only a couple close friends because I hate trying to play the mind games and be clickish if that makes any sense to you. In other words I would rather be with and around people who accept me as I am.

    ((Hugs))

  • #104938

    kerr3
    Participant

    I agree with the two posts re high-functioning autism syndrome disorder (formerly Asperger’s). Those who have ADHD and have ( considerable ) social anxiety should also look into comorbid conditions like ASD and possibly sensory processing disorder. My son who has adhd, also have ASD and SPD.

  • #104939

    kerr3
    Participant

    Sorry, it’s Autism Spectrum Disorder, not syndrome.

  • #105113

    yorkville
    Participant

    Hi,
    I was in exactly the same situation at work. It was horrible…to be completely honest my coworkers were shallow and downright mean people. I agree with others that it’s futile to try to fit in with people you don’t even like….best to just be yourself as much as you can be….thing is, if you turtle..then you’re not being yourself either….don’t let them do that to you…I wish you didn’t have to bear that weight…it totally sucks!!! and I completely empathize with you…and wish you much…well, if it’s that nauseating to be around them and you inadveertently throw up…I’m just saying…better to target someone’s sitting next to you than the carpet which may be permanently stained….ok..maybe that was too sassy…either way, I wish you all the tolerance the universe can send your way!

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