One of the hardest things for many individuals with NVLD is their difficulty understanding social and communication clues. They are seen as either too friendly, too socially insensitive or both which makes things even harder. For me personally, even though I have come a long way, this is still an issue today and I certainly wish things were different.
As a teenager I struggled socially which affected my understanding of boundaries and balance in peer relationships. For example, a number of my sister’s friends included me in things so as a result I always wanted to be around them often more than they expected or wanted. This lead to some frustration and awkward moments. On the other hand some people who I was friendly with thought I was “cooler” than them because I hung out with a popular crew so they lost interest in hanging out with me for awhile. This made things so confusing for me because I didn’t understand the social and communication clues that each group of friends were giving me to manage each situation correctly.
As time went on I attended a college that worked with students with disabilities. Fortunately I could be more honest about my deficiencies with others since the students I was with were very similar to me. As a result those I spent time with were honest in a kind and sincere way if they needed some space or if I was becoming too socially intrusive by being overly nice and complementary. Sure it was still embarrassing when this happened however as I got better at picking up on social clues it made much more sense to me. As a result I had a consistent group of friends who knew me well which made my life so much better.
In my adulthood I am still impacted by these deficits. I find myself going well beyond what would be deemed “normal” when I thank those who have helped me get to where I am today which makes them uncomfortable. As a result I feel they didn’t appreciate my gesture however the truth is they did after my first gift or email but after the 3rd or 4th time they began to be socially “turned off” as I was overdoing it. Thankfully those same amazingly supportive people from my past are helping me get better at this. I now know one nice gesture is enough to express my gratitude.
Overall, as difficult as it may seem at times, things do eventually click socially. The most important thing you can do is to be honest about your difficulties with others. Most of the time people are understanding and supportive of you as you work through the deficits as the reality is that everyone has their own challenges. I know the personal friends and adults in my life help me grow each day and for this I am very thankful.
I am forever grateful for having such wonderful friends, my speech therapist wonderful care, and my cross-country coach guidance and great humor as it allows me to grow each day!Share your own story