Some people are just predisposed to having social problems as adults. It doesn’t mean that you are destined to have social issues forever, but you may lean towards an awkward social disposition because of your core personality traits.
Some of these inborn personality traits include a naturally lower drive to socialize. These people are often considered antisocial by their peers and caretakers. In reality, are just less inclined to go out and meet people. They would rather sit at home alone and pursue solitary activities where they don’t have the pressure to perform socially. While not everyone can or should be a social butterfly, this lack of social skills may predispose naturally introverted people to lagging behind others when it comes to social development.
A classic example of this dynamic is when someone with an anxious temperament has a higher sensitivity to negative events and changes in their social environment. These social-environmental triggers can end up being an inhibitor that thwarts them from warming-up to new people and situations.
In many cultures, such kids can also be seen as sensitive or socially inapt. This stigma can stick with the child for a long time following them into adulthood.
Along the same lines, there are also kids who may not be anxious but have a lower threshold of adaptation to change. When you socialize with people – especially new people – you have to be okay with a certain level of change in social relationships. Because of their preference for static social relationships, they may be shy around new people or unable to meet and befriend new people.
Also, certain kids may have offbeat interests that influence their social development. For example, if a boy likes to play with nail polish or if a girl is seen as too aggressive in sports, then societal expectations will put them at a social disadvantage, especially in rigid societies with specific gender norms. Such kids may otherwise be socially gifted but because of their peculiar interests, they miss out on the opportunities for social development.
One surprising finding that researchers have found is that if a child or person is extremely smart, they can have problems adjusting socially. Their minds work on a different level and this difference is highly evident to themselves (but may not be to their peers) – in which case they either have no patience for the person who is of lower intelligence – or they are not able to relate on the same level as the other people of average intelligence.