I can honestly say, I've never had a real friend outside of school until I was about 10 years old. I was always too shy to get close to anyone at school to where we could hang out after school. When I was 10, we moved from the rural country to a small neighborhood. I met a few friends there and that's really where I started learning to socialize with peers. Before then, I talked to adults more than anything and as a kid, you know you gotta watch what you say around adults.
I'm sure being disabled was a main cause of my shyness... I wasn't like everyone else. I did things differently than they did. Most kids make new friends by joining them in some kind of activity and usually that activity was with a ball or something to be thrown or handled... I can tell you, you don't make many friends "watching".
I think the reason I made friends in that small neighborhood was because there wasn't any adults around. I could say what I wanted and that's even when I started to cuss.... lol everyone else was. I remember the first day I started cussing... I said every word I knew at any opportunity I had... it made me feel real cool lol. Of course, when I got home, I had to be careful. I don't think I said 30 words at home for a week.
Today, I'm better at socializing... only a little better though. I'm still quite shy. Get me in a group of people I barely know and I wont speak unless spoken to. Although, if you get me into a group of people I do know, and you can't shut me up.
You are probably wondering what my social life is with the opposite sex. Sure, I can make friends with girls, but as far as dating or relationships, it's not there. It's not really because I'm too shy... It's mainly because I have nothing to offer right now. Have no job, no money, I have a ride but cant afford gas. As far as dating goes, I think I would do just fine... right up until intimacy rears it's beautiful yet ugly head. I'll save that for another post though.
So, yeah, being disabled has definitely affected my social life, but I try my best not to let it. It's a challenge everyday, but I make it work. Sure, there's been embarrassing moments but the good times have definitely out-weighed the bad.