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My teenage son doesn't socialize

Posted by on Feb. 18, 2013 at 8:16 PM
  • 23 Replies

My 15-yr-old son is very intelligent, good-looking, athletic, and has many friends at school.  He plays high school baseball and also plays the saxophone in two different bands at school.  He has also gone to school dances with a date, one who he invited, another where a girl invited him.  But he does not date.  He says he's not interested in dating because can't find a girl who can have an intelligent conversation with him, which is important to him.

My concern is this:  he doesn't ever inititate any social get-togethers, although he will go over to one particular friend's house if he is invited over.  He does not like anyone coming over to our home (except this one friend - and this rarely).  He stays in his room most of the time, on his computer, where he researches his interests (science, engineering), even taking Physics and Computer Science classes online (for fun!)
He has no interest in parties or social gatherings where there are many people.  He socializes at school (which he tells me) but has no interest in socializing outside of school.  And he seems quite content with this arrangement.

He has no interest in a Facebook account (he thinks it's "stupid and a waste of time"), he rarely texts or uses his phone except when necessary.  He has no interest in "small talk" with others.  In fact, he thinks it's a waste of time.  If the conversation is not of an interest to him, he doesn't participate.  

He seems quite happy, not depressed at all.  He is definitely a reserved kid, but is this normal?  I have thought about pushing him a bit to engage more, but I know he would never go for it, and it would just end up going nowhere.  Especially since he is only 2 years away from college, I'm nervous about sending him off into the world with these lack of social skills!  I've tried to teach him certain social skills, but he just shrugs it off. Should I be concerned, and should I continue to push him a little more?

by on Feb. 18, 2013 at 8:16 PM
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by on Feb. 18, 2013 at 8:59 PM
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I have the same concerns with  my son who is 14. Only, my son does not have any athletic interests and does not have any after school activities, either. He says he has friends at school  and I see other kids say Hi to him so I am inclined to believe him.

That being said I have the same worries. I have talked about forcing him into some kind of after school activities but have not followed through with it because frankly, he seems perfectly content. Not unhappy or lonely at all. He is not interested in Facebook either. I can't say I am unhappy about that, really. But he comes home from school, goes to his room and gets online. He has not had a friend over or gone to a friends house in years.

 I suspect I should be forcing him to do something social but that seems counterproductive. I can't see it going too well when he is being forced to do it.  Sorry I can't help but I can sympathise. I am curious to read other responses to your post because It sounds like I could have written to same one!

by on Feb. 19, 2013 at 1:26 AM
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If he seems happy and not depressed he may just be content to be an introvert. He has social skills or he wouldn't get along with the kids on a team, in band or in school.
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by Bronze Member on Feb. 19, 2013 at 1:33 AM
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If he's happy, then he's just an introvert. It sounds like he has the skills to socialize, but that he simply prefers to do a minimal amount of it.   Sounds normal to me. 

by on Feb. 19, 2013 at 1:43 AM
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I agree with the fact that he is most likely an introvert, and being one myself, I understand his choice.  He's not antisocial.  He is involved and has friends.  But introverts are drained by being with people all day, and they need time in their heads to recharge.  whereas extroverts are receive energy from being around people, so they are spurred to socialize more. 

Your son sounds like a very intelligent, focused, and mature young man with many healthy interests.  He will not have a problem making friends in college, but I bet he finds friends with very similar interests!  Many colleges make this easy.  You will find when you start arranging college tours that many college offer housing based on common interests, and most are pretty good at matching roommates based on compatible habits and schedules.  He will probably find some really great friends!  My daughter was very active in many things, but could also be a homebody and avoided certain types of functions.  She has done wonderfully in college so far.  My dh and I have gone up to visit, and we have been able to meet people and have been very happy with her choices in activities and friends.  And everywhere we walked on campus people were saying hello to her by name.  She's only been there since Sept. 27, and she did not know a soul when she moved in.

by on Feb. 19, 2013 at 1:58 AM
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He sounds a lot like my brother...he will be 19 in May and has never had a gf b/c he says all the girls in town are sluts and stupid (he's right)...he doesn't play sports, doesn't go to dances...he will go to the football games on a Friday night if certain friends go...He spends most of his time with my father.  They buy broken quads on craigslist and fix them...that's his passion...he goes to Voc Tech for auto body...He's very intelligent and has a hard time finding ppl on his level...Good Luck momma!

by Member on Feb. 19, 2013 at 7:13 AM
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I would say you have one of the "old souls", a kid who knows what they want and just doesn't want to settle for less.....something less satisfying.  My daughter is like that and while she socializes some, like you said, she does not socialize alot.  She doesn't date, except to go to a few dances- mostly with her friends.  But she's just not that interested in guys.  She's interested in school, her future and thinking ahead.

She's 17, a junior and seems to be doing very well for herself.  I wouldn't worry about him- I have a feeling when they get to college, they find more students like themselves where they'll really begin to "click" and fit in.  Right now it's a little pond, but they'll enter a big lake then :)

by on Feb. 19, 2013 at 7:48 AM
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Your son sounds a lot like my daughter - not interested in dating, happy to socialise with friends at University (and before that, at school) but not interested in visiting or having visitors.  She's 18 now and quite happy in her own world.  Most of her friends are similar - happy in themselves, not particularly social and prefer intellectual conversations rather than anything else.  Since it makes her happy, I don't push the issue.

I never was much of a one for socialising either, and neither is DH.  She comes by her quiet nature honestly, that's for sure!  Sometimes I wonder how DH and I ever got together seeing as we are both private, quiet people!

by on Feb. 19, 2013 at 8:04 AM
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I agree with the other moms....I wouldn't worry. He sounds like an intelligent, mature young man, who just knows what wants and just doesn't care to deal with the "teenage drama" outside of school.
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by on Feb. 19, 2013 at 8:39 AM

Thank you all so much for all your helpful advice!!  

Another related concern of mine is that while he does have friends, and kids at school really like him, he chooses not to engage with a lot of these kids when they try to talk to him because, as my son puts it, they "don't have anything significant to talk about" (as I said before, he sees no reason for small talk).  To me, this comes off as arrogant.  Although I don't think he is inherently an arrogant kid, he may look this way to others, which will not serve him well in life.  

I have had this discussion with him, emphasizing that even tho he may think small talk is stupid, it's a necessary skill to learn.  He even has a hard time talking to me and his sisters (his dad not so much, who is a molecular scientist and therefore can engage in "worthwhile conversation"!) 

Any advice on how to encourage him to learn these skills?  I feel it all goes on deaf ears!

by Bronze Member on Feb. 19, 2013 at 9:26 AM
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My SS is like all of yours, except here is what happened this year. He too, has never had a date, never had a friend over, never gone to a party, school dance, spent the night,  or ANY social activity. He decided he needed to talk to someone because he recognized that maybe he should be interested in talking to people, dating, and doing things. He took a really long test the other day and the dr. said he scored 99 for clinical depression. I didn't think he was depressed, nobody thought that was it. He is quiet but he smiles and laughs with us at dinner, makes good grades and is planning on going to college in the fall for engineering.  He just seemed shy, introverted and smarter than his peers so we thought he was just different but mostly content until he came forward. I guess the test is accurate, I hope medication is what is needed for him to feel better, he seems the same to me as he did three years ago when we met and his dad says he is better if anything. I don't know. Just wanted to share this with you as another angle.

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